Ask the Author
After I discovered my ancestry through DNA, I wanted to tell the story about the people who could have been my ancestors. Growing up, I was denied the truth about who we were as a people, and lived with false narratives of our heritage. Writing The Wisdom of Rain gave me a chance to explore what could have been the journeys of those who came long before me. Though fictionalized, this story is based on historical facts.
I wanted to write this story because it speaks to my heart. It hits people differently – as it should. On one level, it’s a story about race, class, power and identity. Yet on a deeper level, it’s about love – the love of self, or lack thereof. It speaks to how an absence of self-love and self-acceptance can lead one down a path of pain, struggle, deception and superficiality. But alas, that path can also reveal terrifying and hidden truthsout of which love can grow, if you are open to it. It’s a story that pushes us outside our areas of comfort.
I love stunning vistas and there are many places that are aesthetically pleasing in this story. But what you see is primarily a veneer, and if you look beyond the appearance, a greater truth is revealed. For example, the Caribbean region is one of these jewels with its powdery sand beaches, magnificent turquoise water, villages with colourful homes, towns, and striking flora and fauna. But behind the attractive exterior lie powerful truths that expose the scars and footprints in the sand, and the blood and pain in the water.
If you do something to inspire or annoy me, you might end up as a character in one of my books. Seriously though, when an inspiration or annoyance replays for protracted periods in my mind, an image forms. And, just like planted chia seeds blossom into a full blown chia pet, similarly these images can grow into scenes within the book.
Without a doubt, one of my favourite authors is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. A quote of hers that I love and reflect upon often is … “Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.” I like stories with reparative elements, although, as in life, some characters are irredeemable.
Again referencing Adichie, “Stories matter.” And for too long stories of my ancestors, and my own story, have remained untold and unacknowledged. We’ve been led to believe that our stories don’t matter. I have the opportunity to change that judgement and add to the voices of people like me, sharing our own narratives. By doing so, I am helping to inspire a new generation to repair the broken dignity Adichie references.
My characters tend to evolve from memorable acts, or statements that come from different people. They are not the replication of any one person.