It crossed my mind earlier this week, with the upcoming launch of Children of the Ocean God later this year, that it would be helpful to readers to dedicate a few blogs to the back story of my first historical fiction novel. Hence, with this post I would like to share with you the genesis of Children of the Ocean God and even more importantly why writing this book has been such a special journey for me. It has literally been a labour of love to write this story, which I’m burning with excitement to share with the world.
The idea to write Children of the Ocean God was born just over five years ago, while I was finishing my memoir, Walking in the Footsteps pf Promise. It dawned on me that there was a fascinating story to be told about my mysterious ancestors on my father’s side, the Garifuna (aka the Black Caribs). Although I initially didn’t know what exactly what to focus on, I felt compelled to write about them in my next book. This drove me to find out whatever I could about the Garifuna. I scoured the internet, read several books, talked to my father, and watched several YouTube videos, to find a starting point for the novel. It took a few months, however, eventually I settled on writing a novel about the Second Carib War. This was a tragic conflict between the Garifuna and the British which took place on the island of St. Vincent, from 1795 to 1797, during a tumultuous period in the Caribbean colonies. It ultimately led to their defeat and subsequent mass deportation to Roatan island, in present-day Honduras.
Interestingly, my first working title for the novel was “The Ashes of Our Tears,” which was intended to convey the devastation and abject loss of the Garifuna following their defeat at the hands of the British. However, after reading the epic poem “Hiroona: An Historical Romance in Poetic Form” by Canon Horatio Nelson Huggins, I knew that I had to change the title to something more uplifting. Towards the very end of the poem, there are a few lines which lingered with me:
You spring, you say, from earth’s foul sod;
We, offspring of the ocean god!
Your heaven no heaven could be, I swear,
Could white and red men mingle there!
No! Keep your heaven: in deadliest hate
I’d turn me from its very gate,
And hell’s own darkest terrors dare
If I on entering found you there!
(Excerpted from Hiroona: An Historical Romance in Poetic Form by Reverend Canon Horatio Nelson Huggins.)
It is from these lines in the epic poem that the title, Children of the Oean God has been derived. In my next blogposts I will share about how I started writing the novel shortly before the Covid pandemic and how I overcame various obstacles during the writing process. Thanks for stopping by!
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