My readers love romance, and so do I.
So why did I write this book … a historical saga?
Truth? Because I promised someone a long time ago, someone dear to my heart, I would. This person believed in me and saw the writer in me long before I did. That’s why, when I took my notes I wanted to be as true to the spirit of the characters as I could be. It is not autobiographical per say, although some aspects are ;).
Ahh … well that would be telling. But truthfully, all of the main characters set up home in my heart. I tried to do right by all of them. I hope so anyway. The important thing for me was situating their contrasting personalities as I perceived them to be. For example, Bessy is no natural heroine, circumstances have been thrust upon her. She has none of the strength and forthrightness of her best friend. Bessy possesses a different type of strength, a kind which doubts but perseveres nonetheless for lack of an alternative, no matter the sacrifice.
A word about the book BAE line-up?
Let’s just say the male contingent is coming in strong. Post-emancipation coincided with industrialization and a time of unparalleled progress, but also turbulence. Both men are fearless, and unrepentant in their commitment to their own ideals. They formulate their own rule books so to speak. Neither is pre-programmed. Neither a ‘yes’ man. That’s probably the reason they are so wary of each other.
Hardest thing to write?
Definitely the ‘slimy creeps’ … and the deeds and opinions manifest in such men uggh. On a more minor note, the second hardest element was getting the language appropriate, situational research took time as well. Sigh.
This is a sweeping saga, a long story about ‘nation-building’ and social change, class and racial conflict in the late nineteenth century … It’s one big fat story lol, so not my usual. It touches on some themes I hold dear though. Such as the early movement towards the right of self-determination. The nature and emergence of diasporic identities. The expansion of secular freedoms and the struggle for sovereignty.
Where is my connection in all of this as a writer?
I am a West Indian, born and bred. Nuff said lol. But seriously, thanks to my West Indian father, I also grew up living and travelling the region, always taking a keen interest in his work, and West Indian history and politics in general. As a result, I had this story bumbling along in my head for years.
‘Becoming Bessy‘ is what it is. A story first. A work of fiction mostly, with morsels thrown in which would have hopefully made my ‘special someone’ crack a smile!
Coming in February #BlackHistoryMonth