Author Spotlight, Guest Post and Book Review for Blood Tide by Holly Elizabeth Stacey
Holly Stacey started life as an archaeologist and folklorist but always had a love of writing. Since moving to Essex, UK, her writing has been included in anthologies by Pill Hill Press, Bridge House, Rebel Books, Knowonder! and her own small publishing house, Wyvern Publications.
She has a Master’s Degree in Early Medieval Archaeology from the University of York and a Bachelor’s Degree in Cultural Anthropology and Archaeology from UCSB. She has excavated in three nations on Roman, Native American, Victorian, Anglo-Saxon, Viking, and Pictish digs, all of which inspire her writing.
Holly infuses her work with history and folklore, having a special love of dark tales with pirates, magic, and a bit of gold. Her award-winning teen novel, The Faerie Conspiracies is available to buy from Amazon and her historical fiction, Blood Tide: A Promise of Freedom is now on kindle.
Now a staff writer for the online literacy website for children, www.knowonder.com she is also working on a non-fiction book for the new press Springbok Publications. When not writing Holly spends most of her free time reading traditional fairy tales, creating jewellery for Seadrake Creations (www.seadrakecreations.co.uk) and spending time with her family. You can read more about Holly on her blog page: http://inkydoom.blogspot.com/
When I started writing Blood Tide, I was inspired by two things – the need for a warm climate and the portrait of an unknown beauty in a head wrap that still hangs in my late grandmother’s house. The portrait is so striking – the charcoal sketch of what seems to be a Caribbean woman. There is not much to look out outside of her head and wrap, but it’s so intoxicating, I could always envision her walking to an outdoor market on a blisteringly hot day to buy spices and fruit. It was the seeds of Amber and her story of slavery and piracy.
In the book, Amber’s passage to the New World was not at all like an average slave’s crossing, but it was very common for the women and children to be separated from the adult men. Many female slaves were allowed to work the ship as servants and ‘maids’ until they reached their destination. Being the only woman, Amber shares a cabin with the cabin boy because he’s deemed still a child and women and children were often clumped together.
Slaves that came to plantation were often from different parts of Africa, with different language, religion and customs. Although it’s not stated here, Amber’s mother and E (the strong slave who inspires the others to freedom) were both originally from the same tribe. Also, religion on plantation often became a mishmash of different religions, with heavy practice of Voodoo, such as found in Haiti. Much of Precious’s (Amber’s mother) practice is taken from Metraux’s study of the Voodoo religion in Haiti, where Voodoo and Christianity are practiced hand in hand. The fire dance and the magic initiation for Amber are both fiction, but I feel represent the nature of the island’s religion.
In record, there is only one successful slave mutiny aboard a crossing, and that was the Amistat. Recorded as losses in stock, not much is said about what happened to the slaves after the revolt. I found in my research that most of the history we know is written with the slaves’ account in the Caribbean only by an ancestor of the slave and therefore, slightly romanticised. Similarly, history written by those working the slave trade keep their histories frustratingly narrow-minded: slaves were not seen as people but as cattle, and therefore their lifestyle and experiences were overlooked.
Born into slavery on a plantation in the Caribbean, Amber is both gifted and beautiful. The young master wants her as his own, but when the arrival of a new ship brings a contender for love, Amber’s world is turned upside down.
Shipped away to the Americas after the murder of her mother, Amber must win her freedom and learn to balance love and life. But when the ship’s company mutiny, can she keep the freedom she so desperately seeks?
Set in 1733, Blood Tide tells a tale of love, betrayal, magic and the immense task of finding one’s place in an impossible world.
This is a really good adventure story set to the backdrop of the slave trade. It includes a huge cast of character’s who all have unique personalities. The relationships and interactions between the character’s are depicted extremely well. The positive and negative emotions are expressed clearly and you will be sure to find somebody to specifically relate to.
The atmosphere is palpable as you read from life on the plantation to being in the hold of a slave ship to mutiny, piracy and uninhabited islands. The pace is fast and flowing and will keep you reading from page to page. The author has obviously undertaken extensive research to make this work of fiction as authentic as possible, I loved this story and many of the character’s. In particular, I liked the way the character’s grew and changed as the story progressed.
A lot of the dialogue is written in a manner which expresses the character’s accent/dialect, this is a very difficult aspect of writing to pull off successfully but Holly achieved this with great overall effect to increase the impact of the novel on the reader.
I have no hesitation in giving this book a full 5-star rating.
Links for Holly if you would like to explore further:
http://www.wyvernpublications.com – publishers of teen and children’s fiction
http://www.seadrakecreations.co.uk - unique hand made items inspired by folklore and history
http://holly-stacey.suite101.com/ - non-fiction articles
http://www.knowonder.com/holly-stacey/ - children’s on-line ‘read along’ fiction
FB page -http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Holly-Stacey/338509066242606
~ by adelesymonds on April 3, 2013.
Posted in Author Spotlight, Book Reviews, guest posts
Tags: 5-star rated book, Amber, Anglo Saxon, Bachelors Degree, Blood Tide, Book, book review, book reviews, books, Caribbean, Cultural Anthropology, fiction, guest post, Holly Elizabeth Stacey, Masters Degree, New World, University of York