A Conversation with Jamaican Young Adult Author, Gwyneth Harold Davidson

Gwyneth Harold is a Jamaican novelist and short story writer, and is an experienced public relations practitioner. She currently specializes in YA realistic literature. Her manuscript Island of the Lost Boys is listed in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s (JCDC) 50th Anniversary Speech Anthology. Her novel Bad Girls in School (2007) Harcourt Education, Caribbean Writers Series is widely read in Jamaica.

Gwyneth Harold Latest book
Young Heroes of the Caribean – Life on the beach with his mother Lily was comfortable, Ramiro thought, until his ambitious father Sawdust decided that the racetrack was a better scene for his ten-year-old son. Ramiro must deal with the tension between his parents, and within himself, as he struggles with finding himself and his place in the world. Gail is fifteen years old and without the support of family is already learning to fend for herself in the community on the beach. With Ramiro gone from the beach, she thinks that maybe she could adopt his mother, who faces losing her home as well as her son. The mythical strength of seven young heroes from back in time prepare the family for their common destiny and the challenges that are to come. A novel of realistic fiction that includes historical figures in make-believe circumstances.

How long have you been writing?
I have been writing fiction for fifteen years.

What inspires you to write?
Absolutely everything that I experience that evokes even a drop of emotion from me: the curious glance of a stranger, the loving smile of a friend, the shocking news, a shared conversation, feeling the passion others have for their own creativity, a ray of morning light on a blossom, an incident that I witnessed,  a memory still fresh.
Which do you enjoy most — writing for fiction or non-fiction?
I enjoy both, but at different times.

Tell us about your last book?
Young Heroes of the Caribbean is a family story at a moment in time where a boy Ramiro, who lives with his mother Lily who is a small business person, is taken by his father Sawdust, a racehorse trainer, into a completely different lifestyle. It is written for Young Adults but gently told. A part of the magic of this book is that it invokes short stories about well-known historical figures.

What comments do you hear most often from your readers?
They can identify with the young persons and the scenes in the book. One of my books was scripted for the stage as a school play, so I believe that there must be some truth in it.

What are your 2 favorite books of all time?
I will limit my answer to Jamaican authors and the books at the forefront of my mind right now.
The Painted Canoe by Anthony Winkler because it showcased the power and dignity of the human spirit. The other is the autobiography of Michael Holding, Whispering Death. I learned a lot about the sport of cricket told through the voice of someone who loved playing the sport and who lived through geopolitical and economic matters that changed how the game is played.

Who are your favorite authors?
I will limit this to Jamaican authors who have created memorable young characters. Garfield Ellis for his boys in For Nothing At All, Wake Rasta and also Such As I Have. Kei Miller who has been innovating narratives to stories that we thought that we knew very well.

Do you have any advice for new writers?
Nothing that any other writer will not say. Write regularly, and use ways to get good criticism through competitions and workshops.

Seven day, six night, all expense paid, my vacation destination is…
For 2015, Negril, Jamaica

My favorite guilty pleasure is
Blue Mountain latte with a something simple that has been freshly baked.

Learn More About Gwyneth Harold Davidson on her website: www.GwynethHarold.com