This is the first in a three-part series featuring the research that went into my newest book, Taylor Davis and the Clash of Kingdoms.
Every time I write a new book, I enter the world in which my characters reside. Sometimes they bring me to places and events I’m not very familiar with. Sometimes I have a lot to learn! So part of my preparation always includes research. This time, it carried me to a slave fortress that still stands on the coast of Ghana, West Africa.
Elmina Castle was built in 1482…yeah, ten years before Columbus discovered the West Indies. At that time, the Portuguese wanted to protect their gold trade along the African coast. But within a century or two, colonies in the Americas had grown to include huge plantations with an endless need for laborers. As we humans have an amazing propensity for greed, selfishness, and exploitation, traders soon started buying and selling the West Africans themselves. The Atlantic slave trade was born.
Elmina transferred hands in the 1600’s, becoming the property of the Dutch and later the English. None of this features prominently in Clash of Kingdoms. It’s a humorous adventure that takes place in the present day. Taylor and his friends simply pass through the area, glean some information for their quest, and move on. But I find that solid historical facts can ground even a fantasy in real life. It makes the story richer, more believable, and provides opportunities for my characters to learn and transferred it gives me a chance to explore new places and share them with my readers.
Here’s a Wikipedia article and another great website if you’re interested in reading more about Elmina, Ghana. Or you could just wait for Taylor Davis and the Clash of Kingdoms. 🙂 It releases on January 1, 2014.
Next post: African Tricksters.