New Client Alert — Kamalani Hurley

  • By: James McGowan | Date: Jul 11 2022

Kamalani Hurley


What you Write:

Kid lit nonfiction and stories for and about Native Hawaiian kids.



James McGowan, whom I knew was the right agent for me when he cared about pronouncing the Hawaiian language words in my manuscripts.


Why BookEnds?

Because unlike other agencies that say theyʻre looking for unique stories and underrepresented voices, BookEnds really is. I’ve found a home here.


What genres do you write? Read?

I’m an omnivore when it comes to reading. I devour everything. I’m finally reading Invisible Child by Andrea Elliott. I just finished Crying in H-Mart by Michelle Zauner and Murder Among Friends by Candy Fleming. And in-between I read mentor texts – picture books, MG nonfiction (like the Chicago Five by Steve Sheinkin,) and graphic novels.


Plotter or pantster?

I’ve always considered myself intuitive, so I’m a pantster. I let the words take me where they want to go. I read somewhere that this way of thinking is typical of indigenous writers, and there may be some truth to it since I donʻt always think in terms of the three-part story arc. Now that most of my projects are nonfiction or informational fiction, I’m determined to break that habit of being a pantster. I’m trying to love outlining so that I know where the heck the stories are heading.


Synopses, love them or hate ‘em?

I’m a list maker, and so you’d think writing short, to the point summaries would be easy. The hard part for me is keeping my opinion out of what are supposed to be the main points.


Do you have a writing playlist or a vision board? If so, what’s on them?

I have a pinboard that takes up a lot of the wall above my desk. It’s for keeping track of projects and ideas that may or may not go anywhere. And its color-coded – green for the current WIP, pink for to-do-nexts, blue for biographies, yellow for STEM, purple for cultural topics. It’s an old-school, glorious riot of little colored cards with matching push pins that helps me keep organized.


Drink of choice when writing? When not writing?

I fuel my morning writing sessions with iced unsweetened green tea. In the afternoons, I like a nice iced skinny latte. It is the perfect mix of nutrition (skim milk) and indulgence (a shot of sugar free vanilla). That jolt of caffeine helps me through the afternoon doldrums.


Day or Night writer?

I’m an early riser. What works for me is a morning routine that includes grabbing my coffee and starting to write before I can be distracted, before reading the news or checking emails. When I’ve met the daily goals I’ve set for myself, I reward myself with gardening chores.


Twitter or Instagram? Or Facebook? Where can we find you?

I’m a bit of a dinosaur, so I only do Facebook more or less regularly. It’s a marvel to be able to connect with other dinosaurs (my beloved high school classmates) and family and all those groups, writing and otherwise, that I belong to.


If you could meet any author, living or dead, who would you want to meet and why?

I’d be tempted to scold Andrew Sharp for his shoddy research. I’d ask him where the science was when he wrote Ancient Voyagers in the Pacific. He stated that the vast Pacific was settled by accident and not by skilled seafaring Polynesians who were experts in celestial navigation! He couldnʻt believe that navigation was possible by native people who didn’t use Western instruments. Unfortunately, his writings were influential for decades.


Where can readers find you on the web and social media?

You are all invited to visit my forthcoming website, (It is currently being finalized and I hope it will launch soon!) I named my blog, ʻEia Koʻu Manaʻo, thoughts of a Native Hawaiian writer. Iʻm also on Facebook. Send me a friend request at Kamalani Hurley. Twitter (@Kamalani_Hurley ) and Insta (kamalanihurley) I use mostly to follow writers and Hawaiian organizations and to stalk my kids.