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Beyond The Page: “Island Pursuits” by Heather Rodney-Diaz

Dec 17
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Island Pursuits coverIt’s my great pleasure to welcome fellow ‘Trini’ Heather Rodney-Diaz to Caribbean Accent Book Reviews to talk about her debut novel “Island Pursuits.”

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CABR: What inspired the story in “Island Pursuits“?

HRD: First of all, thank you Sasha for having me on CABR. I’m extremely happy to be here today because I also have a Caribbean accent, lol! The story for “Island Pursuits” evolved from a newspaper article I read in one of the local dailies in my Caribbean twin-island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

It was such a tragic and disturbing event that really touched me. So I started asking myself “what if” there was a happy ending from all this tragedy? Hence, it developed in the form of a love story because this is the main reason why I love reading romance novels. The happy ending. So I started writing my own story because I felt like I just had to tell the world about Adrian and Cory’s remarkable love story.

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Heather R-D picCABR: What was your favourite scene in “Island Pursuits”? Is it similar to what readers said they liked most about the book?

HRD: Hmmmm, good question but my favourite scene would have to be my hero Adrian’s and heroine Cory’s first intimate scene with each other. From the moment these two met, sparks were flying everywhere. Their passion for each other was intense and they had a sizzling chemistry. They were both struggling internally to resist it but surely couldn’t.

They had such a fun time discovering each other in Adrian’s military office. Though they didn’t take it all the way, they both realized that once just wasn’t enough. Oh yes, a lot of readers definitely told me that they loved that scene too even though all the love scenes were pretty HOT!

TT flagCABR: Well now! ;D  “Island Pursuits” is set in your home country of Trinidad and Tobago, the most southerly islands in the Caribbean.

What was it like writing about T&T in a romance novel?

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HRD: OMG, it was just so wonderful to write about T&T, in my own words for an international audience. I was born, raised and still live here, so it really was a very special moment. I felt so proud, like a tourism ambassador.

I wanted to share this beautiful twin-island state with the world, the good and the bad, our culture and food and lifestyle, the weather, our world famous Carnival and our everyday life, along with the many places of interest so that readers would really want to come here and experience all of that after reading my book.

Caribbean mapYou see, although we may live on a Caribbean island, we still have the stresses of our daily jobs, the traffic during our work commute to contend with, the effects of crime and our love lives to deal with.

I honestly felt that these real-life aspects and issues of Caribbean life were missing from a lot of romance novels I had read that were set in the region. The Caribbean was mainly portrayed as a fantastical setting, as a get-away. So I think we really need more romance novels set here that reflect our lifestyle and what we can relate to and identify with.

CABR: This is your debut novel but was it your first to write? Tell us about your journey to becoming a published author? Congrats! 😀

Island Pursuits coverHRD: Thank you, Sasha. Yes, this was my very first novel I ever wrote also. I wrote it in 2009 in about two months time. Then I edited, and tweaked and changed and revised and submitted it, got a couple of rejection letters and did everything all over again. Then one day in March this year, I got an email from Writer’s Digest about submitting to Crimson Romance, a new imprint from Adams Media.

It sounded really simple. So I emailed my query and then I was asked to submit my manuscript and then a few days later I received an email from my editor Jennifer Lawler saying that they wanted to use “Island Pursuits” for Crimson’s Spicy line. And I was like spicy?????? But hell yeah!!!!!! And just like that, that was the day my life changed. Island Pursuits was released on June 4th, 2012 along with 24 other fabulous Crimson romance titles!

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CABR: What a cool story about pursuing your dreams. What’s next for you Heather?

HRDHRD: Well, I write part-time because I work full-time but I’m currently editing my second romance novel, as well as writing my third. They’re both set in Trinidad and Tobago also.

I’m hoping for my second to be published by mid 2013. So the plan is to keep writing, writing, writing and sharing my love stories from the Caribbean perspective.


CABR: If you could be someone else for a day, from any time in history, who would you be and why?

HRD: This is a hard one because I’m such a history buff. There are a couple of people I admire greatly. The likes of Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, John F. Kennedy, Fidel Castro but I’ll have to go with the most recent of them all, President Barrack Obama.

His first inauguration as U.S. President on January 20, 2009 in Washington D.C. This was such an historic occasion in itself, not only for America but for the world. So yeah, I would have definitely loved to be him for that entire day, taking the presidential oath in front of millions of people!

Island Pursuits coverCABR: Who wouldn’t want to be in President Obama’s shoes that day?! 🙂

Thanks for sharing your story Heather and I look forward to having you back on Caribbean Accent Book Reviews when your new books are released.

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