Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Welcome 2017, Novel #4, a new beginning in Eleuthera

Book #4: What's it all about?

Next month, I take my first trip to Eleuthera, an "out island" of the Bahamas, with an amazing history. I am researching my fourth novel, currently untitled, but for the sake of this travel adventure aspect of my blog, we'll call it The Preacher's Cave. It was in 1684 that Captain Sayles and his band of Puritans sailed west from Bermuda in search of greater religious freedom, only to shipwreck off the coast of Eleuthera on a reef called the Devil's Backbone. Sayles named the island after the Greek word for freedom: "Eleuthero." 

The island's original inhabitants, the Lucayan Indians, had been forced into slavery 100 years prior and taken to work the gold and silver mines in South America by the Spanish. Thus, the island was empty when Sayles and the others shipwrecked.

The Preacher's Cave, Eleuthera
I became interested in Eleuthera after reading a non-fiction book on the fate of 60,000 British citizens/loyalists who supported British rule during the American Revolution. The British supporters were forced to leave America following the revolution. Some went to England, an unfamiliar country for most. Many went to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, but those who wanted to keep their slaves (plantation owners) chose to attempt life in the Bahamas. Because they had lost their land and possessions, they thought that they should keep their slaves. Of course, the Bahamas is mostly rock, and not suitable for the kind of farming the southerners wanted.

Nothing would be easy for the loyalists. First, they decided to settle in British-owned Northern Florida. This land was ideal for them, but then King George, whom they had vehemently supported, gave Florida to the Spanish King in exchange for Gibraltar so these American Loyalists felt trapped. They were Americans without their America. 

My novel is about the dispossession of women, all women, but in particular, an African woman, Mbali, her slave name Mary. When Mbali is sold in Savannah, she curses her owners, praying to her gods that they lose everything, their land and loved ones, how she has. When her owners are forced from their land, their loved ones forever changed by the revolutionary war, her prayer has come to fruition. What fate, what reversal of fortune awaits Mbali in Eleuthera?