I’m Donna Mae, Deemay to friends. I’m a spoken word artist, singer, writer, cookie mistress… all-round artistic busy body, or so I’ve been told. I’ve been writing for a few years – blogging mostly, but published with Amorous Ink, At Last, The Man in the Shadows, and a poetic anthology – Whispers Within.
From writing a blog, short story to a book
My novels are romance novels. My first book was actually a doodle that blossomed into a novel. At the time, I thought I was writing a blog… then I thought it was a short story… and then it dawned that it was actually a book being born. Initially, I panicked, but the challenge was too sweet to leave it alone so, write on I did. My choice of genre was influenced by the romantic that lives within me.
My second novel was born out of a dream that I had, honestly, where the majority of the story played out. It was about putting it down on paper, and I had ignored it for a while, until the dream came back and I eventually began writing it. My poetry is borne out of life experiences – mine and those of friends.
Since publication, At Last has gotten pretty decent reviews from people who have read it. It was reviewed by the Trinidad Guardian Newspaper, and was said to be a good read, although it was thought that there wasn’t enough tension, but I firmly believe that we all need a feel good read every now and then.
At Last is written in Standard English, but there is a lot of Trini Slanguage involved. There were so many Trinidad references, be them food or phrases, that I actually included a glossary at the back of the book for ease of reference. The Man in the Shadows is also in Standard, but there are many references to our Creole speak, particularly in a portion of the novel that refers to Tobago.
Fence between Standard English and Trini Creole
My characters actually speak the way that I speak and the way the people around me speak. My characters are constructed out of the essences of many people, so that there really isn’t anyone who speaks in a purely Standard or Creole way.
The challenge was trying to find a way to straddle that fence between the Standard English and the Trini Creole in all cases, as well as the challenge in At Last to add the Latino inference to the male lead Tre, who was Boricua in heritage.
I had to call up my secondary school Spanish, as well as chat with a couple of my online friends who shared that heritage. The Trini Creole wasn’t that hard, as blessedly, my secondary school English Language and English Literature teachers frequently gave us exercises in writing the vernacular. Talk about harking back in time to call up lessons taught!
My advice to others would be to write and speak your truth – whatever that may be. Do so in such a way that makes you easy to understand… easy to be bonded with… easy to tell your story without compromising it. There’s no right or wrong way to speak your truth. It just has to be YOUR truth… your story. Once a reader is able to get into a story to the point of restarting it in the hope that somehow, there would be extra pages available when they yet again come to the end, then you have accomplished what you have set out to do.
October 2013 – Issue 6 www.sweettntmagazine.com
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