Sometime last year I met an author who enjoys writing stories interwoven with the African diaspora experience. Don’t worry I didn’t know what the African diaspora was either. The meaning of diaspora is to scatter about and stems from the Greek word sporo (to seed). Essentially, it is the dispersion of people from the African continent[i].
In March 2015 Christine released her debut novel The Truth About Awiti set during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade with its forced migration from Africa. A scattering of the seed so to speak. Christine’s novel is Awiti’s story whose life was forever changed when slave raiders arrived at her village. Awiti makes a life-altering decision which she hopes will reunite her with her family. For centuries, Awiti’s sadness rages within wind and rain resulting in tropical storms that devastate the Southern States of the US. This is a historical fantasy novel which explores the impact of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade on the spiritual and physical realms.
I have always enjoyed storytelling, especially narratives told through the voices of the African diaspora. Their influences are so diverse, so vast. I love incorporating elements of fiction and fantasy into their realities.
I was impressed (and still am) by Christine’s attitude. She has boundless energy, enthusiasm and passion. She holds a law degree, was a Policy Advisor for the US Department of Energy but it is her love of storytelling where she now channels her energies. Sidenote, Christine also has a BA and MA in African and African-American Studies.
This Spring (for the Northern Hemisphere), The Truth About Awiti is on the reading list for classes at the University of South Florida and Clark University. The novel was also featured on Huffington Post’s “25 Books By Black Authors From 2015 You Need To Read.”
African American history is Christine’s biggest inspiration.
I love research and writing about history, particularly involving people of the African diaspora. It’s an opportunity for me to educate myself and readers. When researching The Truth About Awiti, I came across so many stories that have never been told. I have a little notebook filled with historical footnotes that I will (hopefully!) write about one day. Also, African American history is so vast. It includes Africa, of course, but also the Caribbean and the Americas. That’s why I like to use the term African diaspora.
Christine views herself as a hybrid author. She sees benefits in both traditional and indie publishing and also hopes to dabble in indie films. Christine was recently approached by a screenwriter/producer about developing The Truth About Awiti into a short film.
Christine has kindly words of advice for writers especially emerging writers (like moi):
Oh gosh. There’s so much I want to say! Keep writing. Don’t give up, even when you get discouraged. Believe in your writing. Fall in love with your characters and your story—if you hate it, readers will know. Embrace your crazy (if you write fiction, you talk to imaginary characters so… yeah). Don’t be afraid to ask for help or guidance—the writing community is so welcoming! So definitely make friends on social media. Take care of yourself—it’s really easy to neglect your health as a writer. We sit a lot, intake a lot of caffeine, miss a lot of meals. It can definitely take a toll on your health. (I sound like a mother! Lol) I think that’s enough.
Christine’s debut novel, The Truth About About Awiti, was published through her indie press, Field Order Press, in March 2015 and is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indie Bound, Books-A-Million, and at independent booksellers. She recently acquired representation by Emily Sylvan Kim of Prospect Agency. Christine lives in Washington DC with her husband and daughter aka Brown Bunny.
Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @authorcppatrick.
(Photo credit Norman E Jones Photography)
[i] I found this brilliant website http://www.experience-africa.de/index.php?en_the-african-diaspora which will give you a real insight into this phenomenon if you’re interested in learning more.