Author Steffanie Edward is giving voice to older Caribbean people in her debut novel, This Other Island.
Tell me about your latest book.
This Other Island is my debut novel with themes of identity, racism, secrets and lies.
It’s mainly about Yvette, who was conceived on a ship bringing migrants to the UK as part of the Windrush generation. Her father’s dying wish for her to trace a man he encountered on the journey sends her on an emotionally charged quest of self-discovery.
What inspired you to write it?
I wanted to write a story which would give voice to older Caribbean people. They were mainly featured as secondary characters in novels I’d read. I had already identified two of my main characters, but after listening to my mother talking about her journey on the ship coming to England, my story started to take a different shape.
When did you fall in love with the written word?
I had fallen in love with stories as a young child in St Lucia. These were mainly oral and told to us children at night, sitting under the moonlight or lying in bed. My love for the written word started when my mother bought me a huge book of fairy stories, which were all Euro-centric, with no characters I could really identify with in them. Secondary school changed that, especially toward the end, when I was studying for my CSEs and some of the stories had black and working-class characters in them.
What’s the best part of being an author?
I can do what I love—writing—and know that there are people out there who want to read my stories. That in itself, and earning some kind of income from it, is gratifying and rewarding.
What’s the hardest part of being an author?
Managing the business side of being an author. Also, because mathematics isn’t one of my strengths, I have to fiddle a lot with getting my dates and timelines right.
What books have you read lately and loved?
Black Rain Falling by Jacob Ross
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo
Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
What book(s) are you most excited to read next?
I do a lot of reading, not just for pleasure, but also for studying the craft.
Who would you cast in a movie to play your main characters?
Tamara Lawrence for Yvette. Norman Beaton (though he has sadly passed away) for Joe and Carman Munroe for Doli.
What’s next for you?
My second novel (working title, Not My Mother) is due out toward the end of this year, and I am currently working on that.
Do you have anything you would like to add?
I am thrilled that This Other Island will be out there and available to readers from May 21, 2021. I hope readers enjoy it. The writing journey is full of challenges and I am grateful to those who have taken the time to help me along the way.
Use the Black Fiction Addiction link to purchase your copy of Steffanie Edward’s This Other Island.
To learn more about Steffanie Edward, visit her website or connect with her on social media.