Michelle Isenhoff

Taylor Davis: Elmina Slave Fortress

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.

Stig Nygaard flickr
Image courtesy of Stig Nygaard via flickr.

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.

Taylor Davis: Elmina Slave Fortress

14 thoughts on “Taylor Davis: Elmina Slave Fortress

  1. Nice article, Michelle! I know I enjoy reading stories where it’s clear that the author knows what they’re talking about – and I can definitely tell when they’ve done research as opposed to making it up or hoping that they’re right. Best wishes on your writing!

  2. I’m with you, that research is way more fun than the word makes it sound! In fact, I’d say it’s one of the best perks about being a writer. 🙂
    Love the sound of that wip!

  3. You really exel at research and make your settings and characters so believable. I think I’d enjoy researching too — used to as a journalist. There is always something new to learn.

  4. When you’re doing a time travel series you gotta know the facts to create the fiction, Michelle! Wonderful post on a part of our past I’m not too proud of. We’ve come a long way, but need to go farther! Cheers and best wishes for a bestseller with your upcoming Taylor Davis saga!

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