Jamaican river scenery, shallow blue pools of water and small waterfall.

I remember sitting on my great-uncle’s verandah as a kid, watching Star Trek through the living room’s glass-paned window. I remember the voice of Captain Jean Luc Picard speaking of exploring strange, new worlds, seeking out new civilizations, and boldly going where no one had gone before.

Hearing those words for the very first time, I remember, I was electrified.

I was somewhere between eight and ten years old, that day I first fell in love with science fiction.

I remember night-time stories of the rolling calfriver mummas, and duppies, especially the duppy of some woman named Shirley. I remember the lore and superstition that gave me curious thrills of fear and sent chills running down my spine.

I myself may have had a supernatural encounter or two. Like those times I would hear someone call my name when there was no one else there. Like that time I thought I was being chased by a rolling calf.

Hearing and sharing such tales gave rise to my love of horror-fiction.

I remember a land of twisted rivers, seething hills, lush valleys, and the gloriously salty sea air—the breathtaking island of Jamaica, where I was raised.

I was a lonely child, uncommonly quiet at times. I was treated unkindly for it. The adults in my family accused me of being devious and sneaky. The damning words “silent rivers run deep” were often thrown my way.

I found being treated this way baffling. I didn’t think that I was being quiet. After all, it was never quiet inside my head.

I remember reading Ray Bradbury for the very first time. The story was “All Summer in a Day” and I cried because I thought I was very much like Margot, treated like a weirdo and subjected to the casual cruelty of the other children and adults around her. Years later, I read “The Foghorn” and the story took my breath away. My god. Was it really possible to put all that into words? Such desperate and endless yearning.

I realized then, that I’d finally found–in writers like Bradbury, McCaffrey, Asimov, and Niven– kindred spirits of some kind. That there was actually some place in the world where someone like me, someone considered so strange by the people around her, could experience a certain sense of belonging.

It was then that I started dreaming of writing a story, a story that had not yet been told. A story that would let some other child realize that there was nothing under the sun or beyond, that couldn’t be put into words.

When I sleep, I dream in sci-fi and horror. I dream of monsters and invading aliens. I dream of chasing and being chased. The flotsam and jetsam of my childhood are always in interwoven within the fabric of my most fantastic nightmares.

In my dreams, I speed along the gnarly roads I once traveled in Jamaica. I smell the sultry cereus that bloomed at night in my uncle’s garden, the cool moss and dark greenery of Fern Gully. In my dreams, I grow drunk on the the deep, mysterious scent of the earth. I shiver hearing the sounds of that one winding river that always follows me in my dreams.

Somewhere along the line, my love for the written word collided with my fascination with science fiction, fantasy, and horror. When I write, bits and pieces of my dreams and the vaguely remembered lore from my childhood spill from my fingers onto the page. In the middle of the night, I wake up from terrible nightmares eagerly reaching for a pen.

I agree that I’m uncommonly quiet at times. I devote more effort and energy to thinking and imagining the fantastic than I do talking. I’ve accepted the fact that I’m regarded as strange by others. I even believe silent rivers do run deep.

But believe me, there’s nothing quiet about me.

After all, it’s never quiet inside my head.


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