Thursday, 13 October 2016

Supporting Haiti.

Why 20% of all sales of Book 3 of 'The Meadowsweet Chronicles' between now and Dec 31st will be going to the OXFAM Haiti Emergency appeal.

Tomorrow sees the launch of Book 3 of 'The Meadowsweet Chronicles'. The series explores the folklore of witchcraft in many places in the world, from Heargton (A fictional English village) to Salem, to Mexico and in Book 3, Haiti.

The book has been a year in the writing, and when the Haitian Debois sisters were planned into that story, I could never have known the devastating effects that Hurricane Matthew would have on that beautiful island in the present.

I have never actually been to Haiti, but having spent months researching, goole earthing, studying, you-tubing and reading about this incredible place, rich with history, legends and culture, it has become a very special place to me -- one that I am determined to visit sooner rather than later.

I never approach the portrayal of places and their people lightly - when you're a storyteller, there is a great temptation to manipulate the whole world into your own fantasy; and of course, to a certain point, that is going to be inevitable in the world of literature, but we have a duty as writers to ensure that we adequately research, that we are gentle and playful with stereotypes, and that we challenge mistruths and bad politics. It's a dilemma; we want our works to be diverse, and we want to travel to far-flung places becoming both explorer and the means by which others can explore from their armchair, but we don't want to be part of that whole machine that perpetrates cultural constructs and misunderstandings.

When the Ravenheart sisters visit the Debois coven in Haiti they are greeted by three extraordinary women, with an even more extraordinary history - of course there are elements of the stereotype in the portrayal of these voodoo practicing witches - and at first, it seems that these stereotypes are an upholding of Eurocentric colonialist constructs, but what starts off as a classic portrayal of Haitian witches begins to take a different turn -- and I can't tell you how without pitching some massive spoilers - but the Debois sisters go on to take a very important role in the rest of this epic series of good over evil.

I am very fond of this coven - they are strong, and wise, and hold a knowledge that is beyond most of the other witches in the series.

So when I saw the devastating impact of Hurricane Matthew on Haiti - on the very real tragedy unfolding on our news screens, there was something inside me that felt unsettled. Here I was about to publish the third book of a series, with a story very dependent on Haiti as a setting and on the Debois sisters as characters, and yet the people of Haiti were suffering the most unimaginable paint and loss.

I wanted to mark my respect for the places I use in my stories. I wanted to put something back, and so I have made the decision that 20% of sales of Book 3 between now and Christmas will go to the Oxfam Haiti appeal.

I'm not a million book sales kind of author, and I don't make tens of thousands of pounds a book, but what I do make, I feel should be shared, and I wanted you to know that was what I am doing. I know it's not going to change the world for the people of Haiti, but I hope it might change the life of at least one person.


'Devilry' is out tomorrow and is available on pre-order at Amazon worldwide. 20% of all 'Devilry' sales between tomorrow and December 31st 2016 will go to the Oxfam Hurricane Matthew appeal.


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