RESEARCHING EXOTIC SETTINGS
FOR MYSTERY NOVELS
ANTIGUA AND THE CARIBBEAN
Was It Hard Work? . . . You Got to Be Kidding!
Mystery Visits Antigua is a Golden Age Mystery featuring Aunt Amelia Winthrope. Am I ever having fun with this character!
I've done a pre-pub/pre-promotion cover with story overview that is uploaded. I used it in my interviews and contacts when in Antigua this month. I found that having the visual piece helpful to those I interviewed. They opened up more to my questions, gave me some wonderful referrals to folks that would have specific information about a place or time or event.
I've included below an update on my Antigua trip, and a bit about my "research" trip to the Caribbean Stonhenge. I hope you enjoy it. And, out of this trip, came an invitation to attend the Antigua Literary Festival held the first weekend in November.
Well, of course, I'm going, and I'm psyched. There are some wonderful literary Caribbean authors who will be speaking and attending. I feel priviliged to be asked.
So, friends, read on, and I hope you enjoy.
Yours in the mystery of writing and of life,
The trip? It went well--how could a person say otherwise? Fun thing going up to the Caribbean Stonehenge, although little of that site is left now. It's fast eroding because it isn't a priority for being maintained. For my last few trips to Antigua, one of the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean, I've been asking and asking to go up to the site with our Antiguan friend, Wayne. He acts as my kind of "minder" while I'm on the island.
The megaliths are on Green Castle Hill, about 600 ft. high with a vertical grade of 35-40 degrees in places. And it's above a stoney masonry factory that is busy carving out the limestone and volcanic rock that will end up in fences around expensive resorts and compounds. So, they often are blasting at the hill/mountain. At any rate, one of the villagers from Green Castle, Bonehead (true name) led the way with Wayne and me following. Lots of lemon grass, whipping ankles and legs, rutted trails, shale and loose rock. I made it about 7/8's of the way, the wind was gusting about 35 knots, and there was no protection from it. I had to stop. The guys went up to the top and took pictures for me.
The way down was harder, and the men held my hands as we slipped and slid down the mountain side. I had this idiotic picture in my head of looking like a debutante, hands outstretched on either side to a "gallant" escort, who helped me down steps, as I swept regally into the ballroom. The guys did hold my hands, but I was sweating, slipping, sliding, and they were, too. Hair hung in my eyes, cap half off. All, in all, I was not a pretty sight.
And then we had to cross paths through a potholed field with a bull who didn't look too happy to see this sweating, redfaced lady encroaching on his turf.
Then had an interesting session with trying to get a diabetic testing kit that I ordered for a retired Leeward Island Police Force commissioner. He couldn't afford one, so I had my son Stateside buy and FedEx one to my attention. (Things have a way of not getting to people in the small villages in any timely manner). Finally ransomed the diabetic kit from customs and took it to my friend, who also is vetting my manuscript.
Let me tell you, power in developing countries, is with the individual holding the rubber stamp--seal of approval. Never have any doubt to that. Had to have five sets of papers, rubber stamped in order to get that testing kit "free at last." My friend has the kit and all is well.
Truly, I had a marvelous time, a learning one, and I'd sure do it all over again.
BTW, I was asked to come back in November to attend the Antigua Literary Festival. It is primarily for Caribbean authors and this is the second year that is has been held. My WIP, Murder Visits Antigua, plus my story published on Amazon Shorts, "Antiguan Memories," makes me eligible to be invited.
If anyone has the time, please check out the story. It costs 49 cents from Amazon. And, I need more reviews posted on it. Write me off list, if you'd like a copy to peruse. The story is speculative fiction:
Set in the 1930s on the Caribbean Island of Antigua, a disillusioned Anglican priest,
a mute Antiguan young man, and the spirit of a murdered slave girl--all seek release
from their captive states.