About Cecly Ann Mitchell:
Most days I wear several hats.
Author, Wordsmith, Writing Coach, Editor, Public Sector Communications Consultant, and Workshop Facilitator.
I enjoy all aspects of the writing craft, but especially creating characters that resonate and connect with readers around the world.
In my dual-timeline world of 20th-Century Caribbean historical fiction, readers meet long-forgotten island people. Characters who lived through events that are remembered in the whispered recollections of living historians and between the pages of tomes in dusty archives and long-abandoned places.
I use history to re-create the lives of the sons and daughters of Caribbean sugar, cocoa, and coffee barons, inheritors of British colonial legacy and privilege, that even now flows through the veins of their descendants, and permeates our unique island lifestyle. Along the journey, World War 11 veterans, American and local, real and imagined, who came to the Caribbean to serve and who went elsewhere to die in service, are brought back to life to tell their stories. These and other stories unravel in the pages of my novels.
I am an ordinary Caribbean woman who believes the history of my island is untold and I need to tell our stories.
The other important thing you need to know about me, I'm not human until I've had my first cup of homegrown coffee.
What inspires you to write?
I've found that a lot of the history of my island is skewed and I want to be able to write the stories that are buried in archives throughout the region.
I have always found, historical fiction to be beneficial to me as a student.
I believe that historical events can be placed at the centre of a story and create characters to further the reader's interest in that event.
I just aim to write my island's stories.
Tell us about your writing process.
I am a plotter, after all, I teach plotting.
I normally plot my novels using a method I first learned from Mary Buckham, (The Plot Whisperer) and then merged two other processes to the original plot table in what I call the SPB plot sheet.
It makes it easier for the author to see their entire story even though as a creator of characters and settings and conflict, you may not know who is going to turn up on your page.
I normally am an early riser and write in pre-dawn hours and I aim for 8,000-10,000 words each day.
I would normally edit after the entire story is on the page and by edit I mean take scissors, chop up the manuscript and shift it around until it flows and all the plot points are where they are supposed to be.
How do you develop your characters?
My characters have been floating around in my head for decades, so by the time I put them on paper I know who they are and what happened to them (through the historical events).
Sometimes, a character just turns up and steals the limelight, like Papa Roche in the Legacy.
He just flipped off the pages of Kings of the Caribbean and landed himself a major character role in the Scotland Bay the Return series.
What authors inspire you?
I'm a Trinidadian and Samuel Selvon is my inspiration.
I have ready everything Selvon has written. His 'Lonely Londoners' is one of the must-haves on my desk when I'm writing. It's an insight into the British immigrant lifestyle in the Windrush years.
I also love Dame Rosamunde Pilcher, and her novels Coming Home, The Shell Seekers and Winter Solstice are the three 'I must have close to me when I am writing.'
How do you keep going in the midst of distractions?
I hand write my scenes in a notebook with a carpenter's pencil when I am distracted.
I have about 40- purple notebooks bought exactly for this purpose. When distractions come, as they often do, I drag out one, get out of my home office and I either sit in the library or would you believe, I hop on the inter-island ferry for a three-hour ride to neighbouring Tobago. I use those three hours to write on the ferry and at a local coffee shop in Tobago while I wait for the return journey home to Trinidad.
What are your hobbies when you need a break from writing?
I read a lot of military romance.
I travel a lot, island hopping up and down the Caribbean.
Road tripping in the USA from Key West to the Pacific North West.
One of my favourite places in the US is Port Townsend, Washington.
I love visiting museums, especially military museums and World War 11 sites.
What romance genres do you write?: Dual-timeline 20th-century historical fiction
Do you write in genres that are not romance related?
No, because I feel there is a bit of romance in every story I write.
I use tropes to distinguish the type of romance I am writing.
The novels in the Scotland Bay and Scotland Bay the Return series all include some elements of a romance trope, whether it's friends to lovers or second chances or damsel in distress, there are underlying romance elements in each of my novels. Even, the very heavy cricket-themed novel, Kings of the Caribbean.
What formats are your books in?: eBook
Where to find out more about the author
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.