Spy Island is a spy thriller set on a Caribbean island during WWI. If you can imagine “Summer of My German Soldier” on a tropical island replete with German spies, Old World Danish characters, colorful West Indian characters, blazing luger pistols, a mad Voodoo Queen, and a brave and resourceful heroine, then you get the picture.
In 1916, Abigail Maduro is a down-on-her-luck orphan who plunges into the dangerous world of German spies when she rescues Erich Seibold, a deserter from a German U-boat who has washed ashore on her remote Caribbean island. Abigail hides Erich in the basement of her house and an unconventional love blossoms between the unlikely pair. When the island’s German Consul, Lothar Langsdorff, also discovers Erich’s presence, he forces Erich back into the conflict. Langsdorff blackmails Erich into committing sabotage and murder, throwing Abigail and Erich’s lives and the whole island into turmoil. When Erich is arrested and thrown into prison, Abigail must free him or risk losing him forever. But with Langsdorff still on the loose, Abby learns to rely on her wits, courage and a little island magic to rid her tranquil island of a nest of German spies.
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How is Writing In Your Genre Different from Others?
Writing Historical Fiction requires months of months of dedicated research time. Discovering and acquiring old, out-of-print books becomes an obsession that borders on mania. Thankfully, google books has made acquiring old books as easy as a digital download. But sometimes you just have to get your hands on a very rare book or manuscript that requires traveling great distances. Another challenge of writing historical fiction is filling in the missing blanks of history. We know about certain important figures in history, but we don’t know everything: their motivations, their desires, their fears. That’s where writers come in. We weave together everything that’s known and add a touch of the unknown to create a believable and enjoyable story.
What Advice Would You Give Aspiring Writers?
Read alot. But don’t force yourself to read a book that you don’t naturally love. If you find yourself gravitating toward a certain author, style, or genre, stick with it. That’s your subconscious telling you something about yourself. Don’t be afraid to put words to paper and don’t censor your thoughts. Learn to trust that inner voice.
Sophie Schiller was born in Paterson, NJ and raised in the West Indies amidst aging pirates and retired German spies. She was educated at American University and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. Spy Island is her first novel and she’s currently working on a sequel as well as a historical thriller set in Tibet.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
While growing up in St. Thomas, I was always obsessed with a single, nagging question: Why aren’t there more books detailing the rich, vibrant history of the Danish West Indies? Since there was nothing available to read, I resorted to roaming the alleyways and side-streets of Charlotte Amalie, drinking in the history, imagining what life was like back then, back during Danish times. The beautiful Danish colonial architecture, the Danish street names, and the red-roofed houses all stirred my imagination. Somewhere along the way, I decided that I would write my own novel about this beautiful and unforgettable place.
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