AKILINA: The Island Behind The Story

I have always wanted to write a romance series set in the Caribbean, primarily because I was born here and I wanted to share my culture. But as I began to write the first draft of Seduced by Passion, set on my native island of Nevis, I had a “What If?” moment that arose after seeing Marvel's Black Panther.

I thought, What If, like the fictitious African country of Wakanda whose culture and lifestyle had never been touched nor influenced by Westerners, there was an island in the Caribbean that was never colonized by Europeans? What if the Taino, the Kalinago, the Arawak, and other indigenous peoples who lived on this island were left to practice their way of life and culture without outside influences and ideology?

And so the idea of Akilina, a 250-square-mile island in the South Caribbean, along with the indigenous Megiri (based on the Arawak, Kalinago, and Tainos) and the Guaitiari (a culture born from the blending of several African tribes) were invented.

In order to create this fictitious island and describe the Megiri and the Guaitiari and their culture and history as accurately as possible, I had to do a lot of research: the wars fought and raids conducted on the colonists by the indigenous nations in order to maintain their freedom and survival; life in 17th Century Africa and the tribal wars between emerging kingdoms; the Ottoman Empire occupation of Greece; the landscapes, climate, weather, and wildlife of the Caribbean islands; life in the colonies for both the enslaved, those who enslaved them, and the abolitionists and sympathizers who helped the slaves escape to freedom; the language of the Taino and Arawak peoples, from which I invented most of the vocabulary in this book, and much more. I especially studied the history and survival of the Kalinago of Dominica.

I have only included a minuscule amount of the information I discovered during my research, but I hope that what I have incorporated between the pages gives you a glimpse of what life could have been like if this island existed.

Not only does Seduced by Passion relate Raph and Xio’s steamy and enlightening journey to happily ever after, but it also sets the stage for Books 2 and 3 in the series that follow Raph’s brothers, Neo and Tele, as they try to find love and happiness, too. Oh, and for you who love the Billionaire Brides of Granite Falls series, one of the heroes makes a cameo appearance in this book!

Writing Raph and Xio’s story was an emotional roller-coaster ride. I laughed and cried with them as their story unfolded and the island of Akilina also developed a life of its own. Some of my readers are already fantasizing about visiting this beautiful tropical island and falling in love there.

I hope you enjoy reading Seduced by Passion as much as I enjoyed writing it and getting to know all the dynamic, funny, and charismatic characters on this pristine island. As always, your reviews, ratings, and comments are appreciated. I would love to hear from you!

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