Tropical adventures are one of my passions. They have been for a long time. That's why I love to vacation in the Caribbean, and that's why I set many of my books there.
Our first tropical escape took us to the island of Jamaica. I was entranced by the exotic beauty of this lush Caribbean destination and have returned there many times since then.
On an early trip to Jamaica, we visited Negril and stayed at Sandals before so many resorts filled the glorious seven-mile beach. We strolled barefoot in the almost deserted silver sand and watched goats climb the trees as Grand Lido (recently rebranded as Breezes Grand Negril) was under construction there.
We climbed Dunn's River Falls before so many vendors clamored for attention along the way. Of course, I fell in love with the scenery and took dozens of 35mm slides that I later developed into large (several were four by six feet canvases) paintings. They were part of my "Tropical Fantasies" painting series.
Rose Hall Great House was another tourist location I visited during our first trip to Jamaica. The story of Annie Palmer, the white witch, beguiled me. I learned about her ties to Obeah from several of the Jamaicans I met. When I returned home I researched Rose Hall, Obeah, and Obeah in Haiti. They later became the background for my first novel, Hearts Across Forever.
People have scolded me for going to Jamaica. "What about the poverty?" some of them ask.
Much poverty did and does exist, but there is such richness in the location. Even the poor have the beauty of the island surrounding them. The Jamaican people rely on the tourist industry for jobs, so they welcome their visitors even as many of them strive to leave the rich island of their birth.
The beauty of Jamaica still haunts me as do the memories. In the future, I will write of that destination again. And, of course, I look forward to other tropical adventures and future escapes.