Latest news from Koa Books

Eruption ranger reunites with national park to celebrate its centennial

Before he was an award-winning novelist or acclaimed writing teacher, Tom Peek was an “eruption duty” ranger and wildland firefighter at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. These were two of several unique jobs he did to keep bread and milk on the table and paper in the printer—all while gathering experiences that informed and inspired his work.

Another exciting Hawaiʻi Book & Music Festival!

The Hawaiʻi Book & Music Festival celebrated its 11th year as the archipelago’s premier literary and musical gathering. Thousands attended the free Honolulu gala, held on the weekend of April 30 - May 1. Tom and his wife Catherine Robbins flew over from the Big Island to get the latest scoops on Hawaiʻi’s book and music scene and to meet up with writers and publishers from across the state—including Tom’s new publisher Bess Press, which acquired Daughters of Fire in early 2016.

Aspiring environmental leaders at Pacific University explore Daughters of Fire

On April 18, Tom met via video conference with more than a dozen students at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon (, part of their exploration of cross-cultural perspectives. The students, a mix of Environmental Science and other majors, had read Tom’s novel Daughters of Fire for Dr. Shawn Morford’s Environmental Leadership course.

Longtime Hawaiʻi publisher Bess Press acquires Daughters of Fire from Koa Books

Longtime Honolulu-based publisher Bess Press ( has acquired the publishing rights to Daughters of Fire from Koa Books, which recently sold its imprint and all of its titles to other publishers (more on that below). For almost forty years, Bess Press, a family-run house founded by former New Yorker Benjamin "Buddy" Bess, has issued numerous books about Hawaiʻi and the Pacific, making it one of the biggest and most successful publishers in Hawaiʻi.

New Year’s resolution: start writing on the WILD SIDE!

What are your plans for the New Year? How about kicking it off with some wild writing—something raw, deep, startling, zany, eccentric . . . powerful? You can jump-start that process in Tom’s latest writing workshop—Writing on the Wild Side!—Saturday, January 23, 2016 at the Volcano Art Center. The workshop takes place at VAC’s beautiful Niaulani Campus, just a stone’s throw from the erupting summit of Kilauea volcano. What better place to explore our deeper subterranean minds?

Public Radio podcast features Tom on blogging and finding one’s true voice

On the morning of Christmas Eve veteran talk show host Chris Vandercook interviewed Tom on Hawaiʻi Public Radio. The two men, both long involved with words, chatted about writing, blogging, revision, and finding one’s true literary voice. The podcast of their conversation is available at You can listen to the whole program or scroll down to hear just the segment on writing.


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