Thursday, February 6, 2014

Morgan Blades: Coming to a neighbourhood near you?

Nailah Folami Imoja is a British-Barbadian writer who has made significant contributions to the Barbadian Litscape. A teacher by day, Nailah has been published in numerous anthologies and is the author of several novellas, including titles from her independently published romance series, Caribbean Passion. One of her most recent releases is the detective thriller To Protect & Serve. Nailah’s a colleague and, by now, family; I had a hand in editing the book. All that confessed, To Protect & Serve is a good read that offers a look into the seamier side of law enforcement in a tropical island, a re-imagined comics character, and some fine erotic writing along the way.

Robert: Who is Morgan Blades?

Nailah: Morgan Blades is a thirtysomething former lawyer of mixed race. Frustrated by the corruption of the legal system on her island home, she abandons her law practice to employ her other (not-so-legal) skills in ensuring justice is served.

Robert: How did you develop her?

Nailah: I didn’t develop her…. Society did. She is the product of a time, place and culture which forces her to use questionable techniques in the pursuit of righteousness.

Robert: So what does she stand for?

Nailah: She stands for truth, liberty, justice, as any right-minded “folk” heroine does [laughs], and will fight (figuratively and literally) for those not strong enough to fight for themselves. I like to think of her as a woman of integrity…but I’m not na├»ve enough to believe that entirely.

Robert: I suppose you could say, despite similarities to British comic-strip heroine Modesty Blaise, she’s a product of her Caribbean environment, and that her vigilantism is the result of global cynicism about local/regional justice systems. Is this why her view of sex, though erotic and with long-time lover and partner crime-fighter Ras Bill, seems linked to violence and pain?

Nailah: [smiles] That’s an astute assessment. All will be revealed in the fullness of time. Morgan’s early experiences have, naturally, influenced her perspectives on love and sex.

Robert: Does her experience of sex make her more of a modern heroine?

Nailah: I would like to think not. I don’t like to think that Morgan’s sexuality and her expression of such in any way defines her as a heroine. Her sexual preferences are not intended to be socio-political statements. However, I leave readers, university professors, critics, and, of course, feminists to draw their own conclusions.

Robert: But why should any reader care about Morgan Blades, Ras Bill and their cause?

Nailah: Because they could be coming to a neighbourhood near you! Whether we approve of their tactics, whether we support their methods, there’s no faulting their intent. They are two people willing to sacrifice in order to change the world…or at least their small, fictional part of it…for the better.

Robert: Can you tell us about the next adventure in the series? What’s it called, what’s it about, who returns from the first novel?

Nailah: I have it on good authority that Morgan and Ras Bill will be needed for some covert op in the rainforests of Guyana. However, nothing has been confirmed. We will see a return of Captain Bourne, Officer David Blackett, Simba. Before that story’s told, however, we may backtrack and tell the story of how Morgan and Ras Bill used their resources to rescue their son, Simba, from a kidnapper. The story is mentioned a couple of times in To Protect & Serve.

Robert: And the novel is available where, again?

Nailah: At and at all of the major ebookstores to which Smashwords distributes, including: Apple, Sony, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Diesel, Flipkart, Oyster, Page Foundry, Blio and Scribd.

Robert: Anything else you’d like to add?

Nailah: First, I’d like to thank you for this opportunity, and to commend you for all of your work in highlighting writing and the arts locally, regionally, and internationally. In regard to the novel…. When I first wrote To Protect & Serve, I was venting; I was seeking to entertain my readers; I was writing the story I wanted to read. Since its publication, and after pondering some of the feedback, I’m left with the sense that I’ve done something significant on a literary level—as you have done with And Sometimes They Fly. As Karen Lord has done with Redemption in Indigo and Glenville Lovell with his Blades Overstreet novels. And I say this not to engage in shameless self-promotion but because I’m aware that these types of stories are only now being told—almost fifty years after our nation’s independence…. We’ve moved away from producing colonial literature and adding to the post-colonial canon and are now imagining a different world—different worlds—for our people to inhabit. That’s exciting! And whether or not To Protect & Serve achieves critical acclaim it’s part of that New Caribbean Litscape.

Nee: Charmaine Annette Gill
Place of Birth: Battle Hospital, Reading, Berkshire, England, United Kingdom
Date of birth: November 26, 1965
Occupation (what she calls herself): Chief Cook & Bottle Washer at My Life Inc.
Nationality: British-Barbadian

As Ebooks
Someone to Watch Over Me (Romance)
Second Time Around (Romance)
Cruising to Love (Romance)
To Star, With Love (Romance)
Fantasy Fulfilled (Romance)
Colourblind (Young Adult)
To Protect & Serve (Thriller)

As Printed Books
First Impressions (Poetry)
Someone to Watch Over Me (Romance)
Second Time Around (Romance)
To Star, With Love (Romance)
Pick of the Crop (Young Adult)

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