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After Dawn - a tale of love, loss and hope in contemporary Hawaiʻi



Halloween Event at Basically Books October 31, 2015


"A Touch of Mystery"


Come in and talk story with the authors of these locally written books!

Followed by spooky story readings... It's a Halloween celebration!


Featuring these authors of Hawai'i based novels with a touch... of mystery:


Al McDermid

Tom Peek

Justina Taft

Frankie Bow




Basically Books is located in historic Downtown Hilo at 160 Kamehameha Ave.








Book Signing at HOT Concert February 6th & 7th, 2015


Harmony On Tap: "One for the Books"


Harmony On Tap will present a benefit concert February 6th & 7th at 7:30 p.m.

to raise funds for the Friends of Hilo Public Library.


Children may attend for free, and each child will have the opportunity to

choose a free book from the giveaway shelf. Adults will have the opportunity

to purchase a book, and Justina Taft will be on-hand to sign copies of

After Dawn. The fundraising event will be at Hilo's First United Protestant

Church, 1350 Waiānuenue Avenue. Tickets are available for a suggested $15

donation at the door or at Basically Books in downtown Hilo.










Book Review at Monkey Monster Thoughts

January 31, 2015


"After Dawn" by Justina Taft


"After Dawn" by Justina Taft is a beautifully executed paranormal romance set in Hawaii. But not the island paradise of postcards and Hollywood. This is a refreshing view into the lives of everyday people in everyday Hawaii. Yes, in comparison to the frozen parts of the world, Hawaii seems like a paradise. In fact, Hawaii is a paradise. It has idyllic weather most of the year. It has warm beautiful beaches, amazing hikes featuring incredible vistas... a perfect tourist getaway. I love my island home. And yes... there is a bit of surfing and there are hot muscular guys in the ocean in this book... it IS Hawaii after all... But the main character is a girl who canʻt surf!!! And I thought everyone in Hawaii surfed!  Whaaat? 




There is also real life modern Hawaii. Drugs and gang violence. Bad politics and homelessness. Taxes and Traffic. While this book doesn't delve into any of that, it is surrounded by the hustle and bustle that is the reality of Hawaii. It deals with real life struggles. That is the Hawaii I grew up in and that is the Hawaii that this book is based in. "After Dawn" is a refreshing read. It is a reminder that real life happens everywhere. Death and love. Marriage and Divorce. The search for ones identity... Taft brings it all into this book located on a beautiful rock in the middle of the pacific.

And then there is the spiritual Hawaii. This modern book is drenched in the dream and spirit world of Hawaii. Taft weaves her love story into the spirit of this tale in more ways than one. The Hawaiian mindset can be a duality... The people struggle with what it means to be Hawaiian. They struggle with not fully knowing their own culture because of being down-trodden and of own self-neglect that started a few hundred years before this book ever came to be. It is only within the last few decades... since the late Seventies maybe... that a cultural revolution has been slowly unfurling. Hawaiians can now learn their language in school - since most families have long lost the ability. Hawaiian can seek ways to immerse and fully understand what it means to be Hawaiian in this modern world. Taft explores these topics almost from the beginning of her book. There is an undercurrent of something lost - then found - throughout her story.

Taft has composed a romantic world set in the ebb and flow that is the real Hawaii. I recommend this novel to anyone who loves Hawaii. You can buy this book at the websites listed below. Happy reading!



For the full review, visit:







Author Interview by Frankie Bow, Mystery Writer

December 11, 2014


Author Interview: Justina Taft


Q: What inspired you to write After Dawn, and what was the development process?


Q: The Hawaiian language and culture are at the center of After Dawn, rooting it in Hawai’i; this story couldn’t have taken place anywhere else.  Why did you choose to place the story here? 


Q: What would you say is the unique twist that makes After Dawn stand out from other books in its genre?



Read the answers to these and other questions at Frankie Bow's Blog!










Book Review at Pure Textuality

December 8, 2014


Review by Chelsey: After Dawn


Aurora is on the cusp of adulthood. Plans for college and enjoying life with her friends are cruelly derailed when Aurora receives a heartbreaking diagnosis from her doctors. Committed to being same person she always has been, Aurora fights on—through sickness, her parent’s difficult relationship, stress—with her faithful friend, Alex, ever by her side. Soon, however, Aurora’s dreams are invaded by a handsome man who, though they don’t speak the same language, is obviously trying to draw her into their shared dream world—permanently. Set with a beautiful Hawaiian backdrop, After Dawn is a poignant, often heartbreaking tale that captures the essence of humanity, friendship, and love.


For the full review, visit:









Book Signing Event

November 22, 2014  at 2:00 p.m.


Basically Books "First Book" Author Forum

in historic downtown Hilo


Join local authors Justina Taft, Aja Hannah and Diane Scheurell for readings from their books and discussion of their work.  Meet & greet with the authors before and after their presentations. Signed books will be available for purchase.  This is a FREE event.


For more information, visit:









Local Authors Panel

September 14, 2014  at 3:00 p.m.



Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention


Join authors Aja Hannah, Justina Taft and Patsy Saiki as they share their local perspective on writing and publishing here in Hawaiʻi nei.  Moderated by Science Fiction author T.L. Smith.


For more information, visit:




Book Signing Event

September 2, 2014  at 6:00 p.m.


Words & Wine

at KONA STORIES in the Keauhou Shopping Center


Join local authors Sue Garrod, Justina Taft and Joe Holt for wine, appetizers and short talks about their work.  Meet & greet with the authors before and after their presentations. Signed books will be available for purchase.  This is a FREE event.


For more information, visit:








Book Review in Big Island Weekly

June 18, 2014


Local Author Debuts Romantic Novel



By Bren Chance


Hilo-based author, Justina Taft, has expertly woven together a tale that depicts the real culture of Hawaiʻi in three languages. English, olelo Hawaiʻi, and local pidgin speak the dialect of love and friendship. After Dawn is classified in the romance genre, but is really more about the deeper levels of the heart- friendship and family.


The main character, Aurora, is hapa-Hawaiian. She, like many local children, was raised by a mother from the mainland and a father who is strongly vocal about the Hawaiian culture not being relevant to today’s world. Aurora, however, is curious and begins to study her people’s language and culture while attending the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa. She questions the logic of not being given this knowledge directly from her own family.


Aurora is diagnosed with a terminal illness, which sends those close to her into a tailspin trying to cope with their own issues while helping her keep up her coursework as she deals with the effects of ill health. As her loved ones deal with relationship taboos, she enters into her own unusual romantic relationship with a kane o ka po, the Hawaiian term for a lover who appears to a woman in her dreams.


Part of the magic in Taft’s story is the friendship between Aurora and Alex. As Alex assists his beloved friend through her many swift transformations, Aurora guides and supports him as he explores his sexual orientation and his outward appearance. It’s a delight to see the author using the gender terminology befitting how the characters present themselves in the now, and anyone who struggles with not being sure what terms to use to describe a transgender person can learn much from Taft’s example.


Those raised in the Islands will recognize and appreciate the attention to detail when it comes to language, culture, locations, local history, and what it’s like to actually live in Hawaiʻi. Readers around the world will enjoy this deeply enriching experience of Hawaiʻi as they live, love, and explore the other side through this inspiring story. Where many books offer just a bite of the local flavor, After Dawn is more like a well-prepared luʻau with all the sauces, spices, and songs.


After Dawn is available for purchase at Basically Books in downtown Hilo, and online through Barnes and Noble. Also available for Nook.








EDITORS: For review copies or interview requests, contact:

Lulu Marketing Services

Tel: 888-265-2129

Email: pressreleases(at)


New novel blends love, life, Hawaiian culture
Young woman diagnosed with deadly illness gains insight through reconnection with her heritage
HILO, Hawai‘i  –  The new romance novel, “After Dawn” (published by Lulu) by Justina Taft presents a story of love, loss and hope in contemporary Hawai‘i. “After Dawn” was inspired by Taft’s close family friend who died when Taft was a teenager. “You never know how long someone is going to be in your life,” Taft says, “so you should make the most of your time with them while they’re here.” The main character, Aurora, is a young part-Hawaiian girl just starting to explore college and the adventure of life. When a surprise diagnosis brings her world to a screaming halt, Aurora, her friends and her family struggle to handle their new reality. “Ultimately, it is about looking at loss from two sides of the coin,” Taft says. “Maybe a loss is not just an ending, but also a new and unexpected beginning. I hope that readers will come away with a sense of peace – a feeling that when we lose a loved one it is certainly a sad ending for us, but maybe, for the person who has passed on, it is also a beautiful escape into another realm.” Although loss is a pervading theme throughout “After Dawn,” subplots introduce the concepts of connecting with history, culture and the subconscious to enrich one’s existence. Taft also delves into topics of romance, infidelity and LGBT rights, rounding out Aurora’s existence with real subjects from the world today.


“After Dawn”
By Justina Taft
Softcover | 5.83 x 8.26 in | 216 pages | ISBN 9781483409481
E-Book | 216 pages | ISBN 9781483409672
About the Author: Justina Taft earned her doctoral degree in theatre arts from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. She was raised on O‘ahu and now lives on the island of Hawai‘i with her children and assorted pets. “After Dawn” is her first novel.


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