I live part of the year in the Caribbean and the other part in the U.K. I lived in Trinidad, the southernmost island, for 4 years from 2006 to 2010. It is 10 degrees from the equator and only 12 miles from Venezuela in South America.
Below I have Photographs of actual locations that feature in the book 'The Seventh Island' and commentary of my life (and near death) experiences during 2007.
They say you should 'write about what you know' well my incredible experiences provided me with enough 'material' for two books at least. In 2007, and for close on a year, I endured being robbed, conned, stalked, death threats, accused of attempted murder, and terrorized by malicious texts, emails, calls, libelous articles in national newspapers and voodoo.
Yes voodoo. Chapters 21 and 24.
Grand Central Station - NYC
This is a b/w photograph
taken by myself of the concourse at Grand Central Station which is featured in chapter 16.
Also chapter 16 someone escapes up the MetLife escalator.
The Celsius at Bryant Park
Chapter 6 the location for lunch at Celsius at Bryant Park.
This is the actual terrace where I lived, which is featured in several chapters, especially Chapter 43 where a ransom demand is received in a very extraordinary way.
Okay, here's our dog, Sky R.I.P. he was a lovely dog. He was only with us a short time but he made a huge impression on us. We don't know exactly what happened to him.
Anyway he is now immortalised in the book. Read it to find out how. It will shock and surprise you.
Similar dangerous incidents happened to other colleagues I worked with, one guy was shot and was lucky to walk away with his life.
For two weeks I had to be escorted by an armed guard 24/7 for my safety. Unless you experience the thought that you might be followed and that any darkened out car may contain a gunman to shoot you, it's difficult to describe what it feels like. Hence my absolute need to get the story into print. Writing the final words on the last page was a weird and satisfying feeling.
Looking out over Grafton Bay
I took this photograph at New Year 2010-2011 at 6 a.m.from the balcony where Carlene (@carlenesharpe)and I stayed in Tobago. It is at Grafton Bay near Black Rock
which is in Chapter 11.
There were pleasant and enjoyable times of course. I wouldn't have missed it for anything. I visited eight islands for either work or relaxation including, Trinidad (obviously), Barbados (numerous times), St. Lucia, St. Vincent (numerous times), Grenada, Tobago, Marguerite and Curacao.
Carlene - posing yet again.
Carlene (Karla Shah). We were on a vacation in October 2008 at Coco Reef Resort in Tobago (in the background).
The hotel bar and restaurant are mentioned in Chapter 11 also.
I have travelled around the world (fully) four times on business and visited the USA (NY, Miami, LA etc), the Far East (Hong Kong, China - Beijing, Shanghai, Canton, Hefei etc) and I can tell you the Caribbean is still my favorite place. The light, the all-round warm/hot climate, the people (by enlarge the friendliest people you will meet), the food, the relaxed atmosphere and the music, can't forget the music.
My dream/aim is to buy a house by the coast in Barbados to continue to write my 'Stone & McLeish' stories which will be based in the Caribbean, the States, the UK and one day there will be one based in China and Hong Kong.
The two main male characters are 'loosely' based on myself and my best mate from the UK, Steve Shields (Ewen 'Mac" Mcleish) who also worked in Trinidad, and also worked for 1 year in Hong Kong. Several chapters in 'The Seventh Island' are almost written verbatim. I kid you not, how the book tells it is how it happened. Not sure whether i should tell you which chapters. Maybe it could be the subject of a competition after I eventually get published.
The character 'Karla Shah', is based upon my girlfriend, who was with me during the latter stages of the year and also experienced malicious texts and emails.
The main female character, 'the stalker' is still at large and maybe the story isn't over yet !!!
Book 2 - 'Unfinished Business' will be almost wholly set in the States, possibly a bit in the UK and possibly Holland (where I also lived for one year), not sure yet.
Book 3 - already on the drawing board, will start in Washington (hmm....a Senator or two may be involved) and head to the UK.
Can't wait to write it, I have the plot outline already.
I love the blank page !
25th June 2011