When people ask me how I managed to write an entire book, my only answer is by the grace of God. The idea to write The Last Navigator came from experiences I had during graduate school class in Hawai’i. When I embarked on my trip, my prayer was that God would reveal His Wonders to me in all of the beauty that is Hawai’i. It wasn’t difficult to see the works of His hands in such an incredible place. What I wasn’t prepared for was finding God in the cultural practices of Native Hawaiians and Polynesians.
During my coursework, I was fortunate enough to attend a show at the Polynesian Cultural Center on the island of Oahu. The show, called “Hā: The Breath of Life”, was a mixture of cultural dance and songs that represented the various Polynesian peoples in Hawai’i and the surrounding islands. Even though the show had nothing to do with God, per se, it had an element of faith that could not be denied. That element was “Hā”, which in Hawaiian means the breath of life. I reflected on this word for a while and realized that “Hā” is not just a Hawaiian term. In the Old Testament, God breathes Himself into Abram to make him Abra[ha]m. God’s breath of life is “Hā” as well and that revelation was extremely powerful to me. I could truly see God in all of Hawai’i, even in the non-Christian cultural features. It confirmed to me that God is indeed in everything.
As I was writing The Last Navigator, I attempted to show the reader this truth rather than simply stating it. I wanted to reach as many people as possible, Christians and non-Christians alike. I debated with myself on the matter quite a bit and eventually had to turn to God for answers. I prayed about it while writing, asking God to reveal to me the best way to let His Light shine through the words of The Last Navigator. His answer to me came when I was around chapter six. As I was typing, I thought of different ways to represent God in the story. Prolific Christian fiction authors, like C. S. Lewis, for example, seem to have little difficulty finding a way to weave God and the Bible into their novels so why am I having so much trouble? That’s when it hit me. God is described in the Bible as being “the bright morning star” (Revelation 22:16 NIV) so what better way to intertwine the Bible into my story than to name God the Great Star. In the book, the Great Star is in everything, just as God is in everything. Lani interacts with the Great Star throughout the narrative and He guides her to her ultimate destiny. From that moment, I let God take the reins and the story seemed to tell itself. I was amazed when I completed the book and took the time to go back and read it. I could see God’s handiwork in each twist and turn of the story. It never ceases to amaze me how He never ceases to bless me.
J. G. McNease is an administrative professional by day and an avid writer by night. In 2011, she received her Masters of Social Work degree from Louisiana State University in her hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Her educational background, passion for the human condition, and Christian faith, among other things, have a significant influence on her writing and storytelling. Her interest in the Pacific Islands began during her graduate coursework when she traveled to Hawaii for a graduate class in 2010. While she was there, she found the Polynesian culture and history fascinating. As a result, she co-authored an academic article with her husband, Kyle McNease, titled, The Resounding Sounds of Cultural Resonance: Social Work Practice in the Hawaiian Context. In 2012, the article was presented at the 11th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Social Sciences in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Since her debut novel, The Last Navigator, J. G. McNease has written several other short stories which she hopes to compile into a collection of works. She has also begun working on the companion book to The Last Navigator, which has a working title of Through Ryan’s Eyes. She works and writes in Tallahassee, Florida, where she and her supportive husband currently reside. Learn more about J. G. McNease and her upcoming works at http://jgmcnease.wordpress.com.
The ancient history of whales is rich with ancestral tales of superior wisdom, prehistoric tradition, and unending love. Through haunting songs and fluid dances, stories were told of the valor of warriors, the triumph of great chiefs, and the celestial songs of a mythical tribe of whales—the Navigators.
As a young female whale just coming of age, Lani finds herself daydreaming: not about the local boys, like her best friend, Prissy, but about the myth of the Navigators. When a new comer arrives at the islands and rumors spread about his connection with the Navigators, her imagination ran wild with possibilities. Against the will of her elders, Lani seeks out this new comer in an attempt to satisfy her inquisitive mind. What she finds is more than she ever bargained for. Breaking tradition, she leaves behind her duties as a female, her friends, and her family, and sets out on a quest for knowledge and truth. Along her journey, Lani discovers more than just the mystery of the Navigators. As lifelong family secrets are exposed, she makes unexpected—and unlikely—friends, experiences the pains of loss and faces the fear of death. Through her trials and tribulations, Lani discovers herself, finds her strength, and changes the history of whales forevermore.
A story of strength, self-discovery, love, and legacy, The Last Navigator resonates with anyone who has, or ever wanted to, know more and be more in life. It speaks to the hearts of young and old, inspiring us to be true to our heart’s desires and follow our dreams.