The Unexpected Novel
One of the things on my literary bucket list was to write a historical fiction novel. History is my first love, and all of my early reading until college was mainly history and current events. It's always extra special when I can incorporate history into my science fiction and fantasy work. But the ultimate goal for me is to write historical fiction novels. The reason I hadn't was because I was intimidated. The thought of the research required to create that sense of time and place necessary for historical fiction was daunting, so I kept putting it off. Until Amber Denise shook things up.
I've been a fan of Amber's art for quite some time, and I decided that I would commission her at some point for cover art. And then she dropped this . . .
Now this image struck me for a number of reasons. One, because it's great. Two, because it reminded me of the love that many Black readers and watchers have for Japanese culture, both old and new. Three, because of the recent interest in Yasuke, an enslaved African who became a samurai and was the subject of a recent anime movie.
The story that came to my mind went on a tangent. If I were to write a story that included Japanese culture, it would have to be African centered. I believe that the world has benefited greatly from knowledge and culture from the African continent, and it's something I try to express in my books. I also wanted to answer the questions I saw in this image; who is this woman, where is she from, and what is she doing in Japan, and why is she important? In my quest to answer these questions, Black Rose was born.
For the background, I returned to a time that was familiar to me, the 15th century. I did a lot of research on this time period and the connections between East Africa and the Middle East and Asia. I also centered my main character, Kesi a.k.a. Black Rose in the merchant guild to give her the mobility to carry the story where I wanted it to go. All similarities to Changa's adventures end at that point. Black Rose is historical fiction, which means no wizards and monsters. And the fact that my main characters are women creates situations that cause conflicts during the time in which they lived.
And that's all I'm telling you. To find out more, read Black Rose. For me it was a less intimidating way to get my feet wet with historical fiction, and I think it's a story you'll enjoy. It's available as an ebook from MVmedia and anywhere ebooks are sold, and the paperback is available from MVmedia and will soon be available everywhere. As always, thank you for your patience and your support. Enjoy!