I loved living in the Caribbean. The islands are beautiful. The people are uncomplicated and hospitable. I would have stayed for the rest of my life if I could, but I ran out of money and the islands can’t support an expatriate who needs a job.

My novels are both a celebration of my love for Caribbean people and an exploration of my own spiritual journey. We all deal with grief in our own way; mine is writing fiction using memories of the people I’ve loved in my stories.

I taught math and science in a secondary school for a year after the US intervention in Grenada. The Cubans and East Germans who were helping out had fled the country before the little war so the government was short of many positions including teachers. It was there that I met Morgan, the hero of my first novel, A Handful of Seawater. Morgan was an orphan who I really admired, so when my mother died in 2002, I started writing Morgan’s story about an orphan trying to replace the mother presence in his life with other relationships. I didn’t realize that the book was partly about my own grief until the book was finished.

In 2006 my dear friend, Beverly, died of cancer. Beverly is the lady in the photo above in the blue top. The lady on the left is my wife, Dr. Sandy Frazer.

There was something about the unfairness of Beverly’s death that morphed into the unfairness that underlies the plots in the Jacinta Joseph adventures. Life in the islands is hard. I once asked a sixteen-year-old boy what his goal was. He said he hoped one day to own a goat. That level of hopelessness permeates the poorer people on the islands. It was that hopelessness that I hoped to do something about in my novels, if only in fiction.

Explore the Caribbean with me