Friday, 16 December 2016

The Idea came from my own ancestry....

...And from a part of British history you didn't know about.

Like most who watched Who Do You Think You Are, last week, I was most intrigued to discover that the well known TV Science presenter, Liz Bonnin, like me, also has Indian-Trinidadian roots. In fact, I didn't watch the programme at the time, but friends contacted me the following day to ask me if I had seen this most interesting revelation. So I watched it on Catchup TV.

The Indentureship period lasted for 79 years between 1838 -1917. An estimated total of 551,395 Indians were taken to work from India to the Caribbean, on ships that were previous slave ships, with the chains removed. The journey across the sea was horrendous and lasted between 3-6 months from Calcutta. Not all survived the journey. On arrival, life was far from the rosy picture that was promised. This Indentureship period, a part of  British history, is little known except by some historians - mainly ones who studied West Indian history.

My novel, The Last Year of Childhood, is set in 1917 Trinidad, in the backdrop of the tough living environment, where hard work was rewarded with poverty, dangerous working environments, injustice, sickness, and corruption. 

The main character, 12 year old Latchmin, is the daughter of indentured Indians, and is fortunate to have a better life than most in the village. She is a determined young girl with a plan to improve her future. But no one can escape the killer diseases they face. The novel opens in her bedroom where she is seriously ill, and dying from typhoid. 

This novel is one of a kind, but there are plans for more!

It is a sort of VS Naipaul come Khaled Hosseini.

It is Commercial Literary Fiction, -very readable, with plenty of depth for Book Groups to extract good discussion. The characters will intrigue you, show you something you really didn't know, but you will identify with all that happens because they are as human as you are, and their hopes and dreams are the same as you have for yourself and your children. They fear the same things you do, and they feel sad and lost when terrible things happen to the ones they love.

This novel will be published, whether it is by traditional means, or self published. I've been told over and over again, that it is a novel that needs to be published. I feel the market is ready for it! Fiction readers need more than what is already out there. There is nothing at the moment about this aspect of British-Caribbean History .

Brexit will bring the return of the Commonwealth in better ways than the past.

This novel is fresh and new.