Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Guest Post with Suzie Grant - A wrong Kind of Paradise

The City that Sank

I’d like to take just a moment and thank Danielle for giving me this opportunity to share some of my research on my latest release Wrong Kind of Paradise. I hope this inspires your curiosity for the city as much as for the book because it has a fascinating history. 
Once known as the 'Wickedest City on Earth,' Port Royal, Jamaica was one of the largest towns in the English colonies during the late 17th century.
If you know anything about me or have read any of my blogs before you’ll know how much I adore adventure and the sea. My dream is to one day retire on a sail boat and sail around the world to see all the places I’ve dreamed of for years.
My love of the sea started when I was young and I must confess it was probably handed down to me through my father as my mother cannot swim, despite our yearly trips to the coast. I can’t explain the pull of the ocean but it’s in my blood. And once you acquire the taste nothing less will satisfy.
So for this blog I thought I would share my love of a bygone era: The Golden Age of Piracy, such a beautiful era, full of mystery, adventure, and romance.
My new release Wrong Kind of Paradise is a story set in 1692 Port Royal, Jamaica, the last year of its glory before it was swept into mother—natures grasp by an earth quake.

Liquefaction occurs when earthquakes strike ground that is loose, sandy, and water-saturated, increasing the water pressure and causing the particles to separate from one another and form a sludge resembling quicksand. Eyewitness accounts attested to buildings sliding into the water, but it is more likely that they simply sank straight down into the now unstable layer.
The horror for anyone caught in this soupy mix was
that it solidified rapidly. The Reverend Heath graphically described the consequences: Some were swallowed up to the Neck, and then the Earth shut upon them; and squeezed them to death; and in that manner several are left buried with their Heads above ground.


In 1981, the Nautical Archaeology Program of Texas A&M University, in cooperation with the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) and the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), began underwater archaeological investigations of the submerged portion of the 17th-century town of Port Royal, Jamaica. Present evidence indicates that while the areas of Port Royal that lay along the edge of the harbor slid and jumbled as they sank, destroying most of the archaeological context, the area investigated by TAMU / INA, located some distance from the harbor sank vertically, with minimal horizontal disturbance.

In contrast to many archaeological sites, the investigation of Port Royal yielded much more than simply trash and discarded items.  An unusually large amount of perishable, organic artifacts were recovered, preserved in the oxygen-depleted underwater environment.

Together with the vast treasury of complimentary historical documents, the underwater excavations of Port Royal have allowed for a detailed reconstruction of everyday life in an English colonial port city of the late 17th century. 
The Port Royal Project concentrated for 10 years on the submerged 17th-century remains on Lime Street, near its intersection with Queen and High Streets in the commercial center of the town. At present, eight buildings have been investigated. 
Most of the finds are varied and completely fascinating anything from pewter plates to tobacco pipes. But I ran across a story there that captured my heart and my imagination. Excavated building 4/5 has a haunting story to tell. It is a large and rambling complex consisting of at least six rooms and three back yards.  The complex is approximately 65 ft. wide and over 40 ft. long and represents at least two, possibly three, houses or combination houses/shops.

The remains of a 70-ft. long ship was washed up from the harbor in the tidal wave that followed and plowed through building 4's front wall, heeled over on to its port side, and came to rest in the middle of the rooms. The remains of a young child was uncovered from under the bricks of the fallen front wall just outside of the two adjacent front doorways.  The remains of two more children were found in Rooms 3 and 4. 
As a mother of three boys my heart ached when I read that but as a writer my imagination took flight. What were the children doing there? It’s my understanding this was the shadier part of town. A prostitute’s daughter perhaps? Maybe a set of young boys playing peeping tom? The possibilities are endless and I couldn’t help but try to fit this information in my work in progress.
As one walks along the narrow streets of the poor fishing village of Port Royal today, it is hard to imagine that it once was the largest and most economically important English settlement in the Americas. Port Royal is the site of the only historical earthquake which can be dated closely by not only date, but time. This is documented by recovery from the sea floor in the 1960s of a pocket watch stopped at 11:43 a.m. recording the time of the devastating earthquake on June 7, 1692. Here time literally stands still. 

Shortly after the quake a man was quoted as saying: It’s haunting to see the spires of masts within the harbour from the many sunken ships.
There are discussions of one day being able to dive down to the wreckage as a tourist attraction. And you can bet your shiny gold doubloon I will be right there when they do.
To read more about this fascinating excavation please visit the site http://nautarch.tamu.edu/portroyal/index.htm
The sea truly is one of the last unexplored frontiers. I realize not everyone loves the ocean as I do, so tell me what are you passionate about? Have you run across something in a book you’ve read or your own research that completely drew you in to another world?
Wrong Kind of Paradise
Even the Hell’s Angel needs a guardian to adventure into the Wrong Kind of Paradise.

Blac must choose between revenge against the British Lieutenant who’d ruined his family or keeping his word to the pirate who’d saved his life. Escorting the pirate’s daughter to her grandfather’s care becomes impossible when the little wanton steals his ship. Ordered by the lieutenant to retrieve the woman they call the Hell’s Angel, Blac is determined to honor his word to his friend and use the wayward wanton as bait. But will his plan cost him the only woman to ever steal his heart?

When Angel De’haviland’s father is imprisoned with charges of piracy, the pirate’s daughter commandeers a British privateer’s ship and plans to kidnap a high ranking official to ransom for her father’s release. But her attempted abduction is foiled by the very captain whose ship she’d stolen, and she becomes a captive herself. Now she must trust her handsome captor to free her father as he leads her right into the Wrong Kind of Paradise.

Adventure into Romance with Suzie Grant. She writes with a hint of history and plenty of thrills on every page. Still believing in happily-ever-afters Suzie writes steamy love scenes with a pace that will leave you breathless. She lives happily ever after with her new beau, three boys and one little Shitzhu named Peppy Le’Pew in Charlotte, NC. One day she plans to retire and sail along the east coast — an adventurer to the end.

Follow her on Twitter: twitter.com/suzie_Grant
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Suzie-Grant/219763604703730
website: www.suziegrantauthor.com
Links for B&N:

No comments:

Post a Comment