January 7, 2013

The Next Big Thing: GARVEY'S GHOST

Andrew Blackman has tagged me in this meme The Next Big Thing, in which writers answered questions about their next books.

I've just finished writing GARVEY'S GHOST, so I'm very grateful to Andrew for giving me this opportunity of pre-publication publicity.

What is the working title of your book?


Where did the idea come from for the book?

"How will I negotiate the African presence in my life?" According to the historian, Roy Augier, this is one of the most important questions that we in the Americas must ask ourselves.

How we answer this question will affect how we see ourselves, how we speak, our food, dress--everything about us.

I thought it would be interesting to set the story in Miami, a place at the crossroads of the Americas that is still creating its own cultural identity.

Here are some of the characters:

Kathryn Bailey: Her father is a black Jamaican and her mother is East Indian. Kathryn grew up in Miami after her parents left the island in the great Jamaican exodus of the seventies.
Jasmine Bailey (Kathryn's daughter): Her father is a white American.
Jacob Cooper: Black Jamaican, RastafarI, and Garveyite. He has fallen in love with Kathryn.
Tony Samuels: A Black Jamaican who passes for white. He is also a gigolo.
Russell Davenport: African American Garveyite who conducts seminars: "For Black Women ONLY."

What genre does your book fall under?

I guess I should call it literary fiction because it ain't Fifty Shades of Grey.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Thandie Newton, only because I'm in love with her, could play the role of Kathryn. It would be an ideal opportunity for many Jamaican/Caribbean actors to be discovered. I really wouldn't want to hear any Jah-Fake-an accents.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A mother searches for her runaway daughter.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

A few of my books have been self-published, but most of my books have been published by Peepal Tree Press. I am very grateful to Peepal Tree for all the help they have given me over the years, and I hope they will publish some other books that I have in mind. I believe, however, that GARVEY'S GHOST needs an American publisher, so I am seeking an agent and/or publisher for the manuscript.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

It took me a year to write this version. GARVEY'S GHOST had previous incarnations, but when I learned about the death of Trayvon Martin, it sparked a sense of outrage that fueled the writing to the last page.

This is not to say that GARVEY'S GHOST is an angry or hateful book. At its core, it's a love story about two people grappling with issues of trust.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
There aren’t many books to which GARVEY'S GHOST could be compared. It does have several references to the myth of Persephone, Ulysses by James Joyce, and "The Song of Solomon" in the Bible, which is why it could be defined as literary fiction.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

 Besides the literary references, other events from real life inspired me to write GARVEY'S GHOST:

·       The death of Trayvon Martin
·       The re-election of President Barack Obama
·       The exoneration of Marcus Garvey
·       A Miami gigolo who was passing for white

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Besides a mother's search for her daughter who is trying to negotiate her racial identity, Kathryn falls in love with a Rastaman, Jacob Cooper, who challenges her notions of race and ethnicity.

Next up

According to the rules of the meme, I have to tag five other writers:

Thank you, again, Andrew. I'm looking forward to reading A Virtual Love.

Image Source: http://solidearth.com/2012/11/29/after-nar2012/next-big-thing-sign/

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