JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Allyson B. Campbell, author of In Good Company
(One of the first ten people to comment on Allyson B. Campbellâ€™s author interview will win a FREE copy of In Good Company.)
Natasha Choonidaas didnâ€™t expect Victor Chambers to touch her heart and surely didnâ€™t expect him to stay. In turn, Victor didnâ€™t expect to fall in love with the once full-figured maid of his familyâ€™s friends.
The attraction certainly wasnâ€™t there the first time around, but a year later…it was unstoppable. In Good Company, tells a story of two people living on two different islands in the Caribbean when a deep tragedy brings them both together.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write In Good Company?
Allyson B. Campbell: I love making my characters fall in love, which is the gravy in every story that I write about. I also wanted to write a story based in my home country since I had just visited the island and fell in love with its culture and history. Writing about the Indian culture was a challenge that I welcomed. I am not Indian, but I am intrigued by their culture.
I am very open-minded to learning new things. Alzheimer is seldom spoken of, and in In Good Company, I tell the story of the caregiverâ€™s feeling about this illness.
JP: Many people tend to lump people from “the islands” together. Even worse, the stereotype is that they are all “Jamaicans”. What does In Good Company show the readers about the differences in cultures?
ABC: Love has no borders. Every islandâ€™s background started off in a similar fashion: immigration. People came from Africa, India and certain parts of Europe. They all blended over the centuries on each island. The food is similar, but may be cooked differently and each island has their own name for certain produces.
Even though a chennette is called by that name in Trinidad, in Guyana and Jamaica it’s called guinep. It is the same small fruit consisting of a thin, crisp shell covering a round seed, coated with a fleshy substance that you eat and each country loves it as the same.
Iâ€™ve had a Jamaican tell me that he didnâ€™t like me because I was from Trinidad. Why? I did nothing wrong to him. Jamaica is the other side of my family, and I get along with my husbandâ€™s family very well. In high school, majority of my friends were from Jamaica, and yet I am a proud Trinidadian.
In In Good Company, a Jamaican falls in love with a Trinidadian, overlooking that heâ€™s Black and sheâ€™s half Indian. Overlooking that he eats doubles and she eats ackee. Overlooking the prejudice that still exists with each island even to this day.
JP: What did you learn from the experience of writing Chained and Bound that makes In Good Company a better novel?
ABC: I donâ€™t consider In Good Company better than Chained and Bound because I love all my work. I love that I am able to write about love but tell a different story altogether. My works are based on real issues that people go through in every day life.
When I write, I bring my readers into that world of whatever issue the character is encountering. People need to know what it feels like for a woman to leave an abusive relationship where there are still strings attached (Chained and Bound). People need to read about how caregivers feel for taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer (In Good Company).
When a reader picks up any one of my books, they can enjoy knowing that any of the other ones will be just as marvelous as what they first read. The experience I gain from that interaction teaches me that I must continue writing.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take for you to start and finish In Good Company?
ABC: I have started seven novels so far, and that was almost 10 years ago. My process now is finishing each story and building from what I wrote. I travel a lot, and I am always picking up creative ideas from everything that I do. I started In Good Company so long ago, but it took me 10 months to complete.
Usually, I pray before and after I write because it took a long time to realize the gift I have within myself. I would hate to lose it now. I still pace myself. When I think Iâ€™ve written enough, I take a break. My prayer now is to finish everything that I started. It is funny because when I first prayed about my writing, I asked God a serious question: “How am I going to be writing, and I donâ€™t have any ideas?”.
Can you believe that he answered me with these seven stories? Now I pray, “Now that I have these stories, please help me finish them.” As of today, November 1st, Iâ€™ve brainstormed how to finish my third novel and have set a time limit for November 1st, 2010 for its completion.
JP: What’s next for Allyson B. Campbell?
ABC: Once published, my main focus is to reach to Caribbean market, who In Good Company was written for. I would LOVE to see this particular book in a movie. Whereâ€™s Tyler Perry? Oprah?
Indians and Africans, namely Nigerians, alike are coming out with movies based in their country. There is Hollywood, Bollywood and Nollywood, so the Caribbean needs to come out with movies like these.
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