My latest novel The Price of Freedom is set in Barbados between 1694 and 1696 and includes the connection between Barbados and Carolina (as it was called at the time). It is a romance between Richard Fairfax who sails from Carolina to visit Barbados and Deborah Edwards, a beautiful quadroon house slave who is owned by his aunt. The book goes beyond the romance, to reveal how our pre-conceived beliefs and lack of knowledge of the ones against whom we are prejudiced can influence our behavior. In one scene Sarah, the mother of the heroine says to the master that we’re all the same (human beings); it is only when we don’t know people, when we don’t mix with them (i.e. socialize) that we think they’re different.
As I spent months carrying out research to write The Price of Freedom I was eternally grateful for the writers of the past; the people who documented their observations and their daily life experiences, not even realizing that more than three hundred years later, someone would use that information in writing a book, which hopefully is not only entertaining and informative, but brings healing.
The book could not have been written authentically without the writings of people like Richard Ligon who visited Barbados in 1657 and recorded his observations in great detail, or Thomas Thistlewood of Jamaica, who kept a journal that documented even the most intimate details of his life, so that in 2013 it would amaze me to read the number of times he and his slave “wife” Phibbah had sex in one year! Too much information perhaps. That aside, he also documented the severe punishments that he meted out to his slaves which was in stark contrast to the love he appeared to have for Phibbah. That enabled me to get a better grasp of the dichotomy that often existed in the lives of such men and to incorporate it into the book.
Other writings that were a great source of information were saved letters of women who had lived in the West Indies and wrote to friends back in England and books such as The History of Mary Prince, dictated by the slave Mary Prince, detailing her experiences at the hands of mistresses and masters.
So I hope you will enjoy my first historical novel, The Price of Freedom, and that it will demonstrate the importance of writing and saving those writings, so that future generations can learn from our experiences and have more successful lives and relationships than we have today.
Donna Every lives in Barbados with her husband, two children and four dogs. The Price of Freedom is her third novel and first historical and will be available on Amazon.com at the end of November 2013.