At a book signing in Ottawa, Canada, 2019
THE BACKGROUND STORY
I first started traveling to Aruba in early 2000. It was during those early trips that I had many conversations with both tourists and locals about Aruba. In those conversations several things were evident. The tourists really had no knowledge of the history or culture of the country. To them, Aruba was essentially an island with great beaches and fantastic weather. I found it disturbing that in discussions with locals that many had no appreciation for the history of Aruba or an understanding of some important roles the country had played internationally.
As I spent more and more time traveling around the island, I became aware of things that represented past events of significance…the German freighter scuttled at the outbreak of WWII…..the role of the oil refinery on Aruba and its importance to the Allies’ war efforts…..the heroic actions of an Aruban man who had studied in Holland and his efforts in the Dutch resistance……and then after the war, the establishment of the tourism industry and the infiltration of crime, including drugs, money laundering and other unsavory events…and many other facts.
It was one evening while dining with my wife at The Hyatt, that we became engaged in conversation with some of the younger wait staff who had recently graduated from the hospitality school in Aruba. I was personally dismayed when several told me that they couldn’t wait to leave the island for Europe or America and that Aruba had no history. I found their lack of knowledge startling. I was advised by them that history was not really taught in schools.
Later, a young lady came and introduced herself. She was the niece of a recognized Aruban historian and suggested I should speak with him and then phoned him. I spoke to him and we subsequently met. The result of those meetings led to my working on a project with a well-known screenwriter to develop a film script for a story based on certain events that were historic and factual. Fate intervened and the film, while written and ready, has not been made.
I pondered what I had heard which contradicted what I had seen and learned about the Island. It was then that I decided that the best way to tell some of the more recent histories was the write a fictional drama, romance, adventure story around them. This led to the novel ‘Journey of Betrayals’….the story of a young man who left a comfortable but strict religious life to seek out his ancestry in Europe, only to be trapped in the morass of war. He finally escapes and establishes a new life in Aruba. The story includes real events against the fiction e.g. when the oil refinery is strafed by a Nazi submarine during the war. Just one example.
I then wrote a sequel, ‘Journey to Unknown Consequences’. In 1960, after Fidel Castro kicked the mob out of Cuba, they made efforts to infiltrate other Caribbean islands. Aruba was one such island into which they made a significant investment and built a large resort that still exists today. It is an unfortunate period of Aruba’s history. There were rampant smuggling, corrupt banking practices and a dearth of other criminal activity. In the novel, I establish a crime, romance and drama story set in Aruba and other Caribbean countries to reflect a little of the happenings at that time.
Both of those books have been recognized by the Government of Aruba, for which I am grateful.
My other novels include ‘Claude de Passioné’. A story set in France about a wealthy old aristocratic family, who for decades have owned huge wineries and vineyards, and their bizarre lives. The mother, a dominant and deranged woman who tries to control Claude, her son’s life, but she herself lives a very strange existence. The father, a Marquis, is a philanderer with many women in his life.
The novel is the story of a rebellious Claude and the trials and tribulations of his life, and his many failed amorous relationships, brushes with crime and the efforts of those who wish to kill him. I wrote this book based upon my personal involvement and friendship with a family who owned and operated wineries and vineyards.
There are new novels in writing, including ‘Rosita’s Way’ in which a young girl (Rosita) from a poor South American rural barrio uses a romantic encounter with a military officer to leave the barrio for a life of glamor in the city. The country is under corrupt military rule and her lover is determined to oust the corrupt Generals and restore a democratic life in the country. Rosita, however, becomes a favorite with the masses. The ruling Generals attempt to assassinate her. It fails and triggers a number of disastrous events.
There are future books in development.
If you have any comments or wish to know more, please contact me here.