In 2003 and 2004 I spent several weeks on Grand Cayman. Those trips planted the seed for my first novel, Cayman Cowboys.
I still remember the germ that began to grow with that first book. Steve Barnett was showing me the blowholes on the east end of the island. As we walked across the iron shore–craggy coral exposed to the air and rain–I first imagined what would happen if I fell. Bleeding was sure to commence. Second, my imagination ran to “how scared would someone have to be to run across this stuff”. And from that, a novel was born.
Much of that first book revolves around Sunset House and My Bar. Mainly because that was where I stayed on those first two trips and because it’s a cool, laid-back place with lots of character. This morning, for the first time since Cayman Cowboys was released, I’m back on Grand Cayman. It’s sunny and gorgeous, warm with only the slightest of breezes. I’m staring at the 82-degree flat-calm water in front of me and am about to go make a dive. Just the way I remember it.
I’m working on my next novel and it’s coming along nicely. A lot of the action takes place on an island not far from here, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise. After some major changes in my life, I lost the motivation to write fiction for a while. Major case of writer’s block. But I’ve crossed that hurdle and the words are flowing again.
With each story, I think I get better at writing and creating characters and scenes. But I owe a lot to this place for getting me started writing about diving. That first book wasn’t a work of high literature, but it’s a fun story. A friend who lived and still works around the island, visiting regularly, told me “it is so Cayman”. I’ll take that.
Will there be a Cayman sequel? Never say never I guess. Who knows what will happen next? I sure don’t.