Legends are immortal dreams made flesh… Kaya Abaniah believes he’s an ordinary fourteen-year-old high school student. He lives with his mother on the Caribbean island of Trinidad; he’s passionate about wildlife conservation and has a crush on the prettiest girl in his class.
However, one fateful day, Kaya’s life is changed forever when he encounters Papa Bois. Follow Kaya’s struggles with love, rivalry, and academic life, as he confronts the terrifying creatures of Trinidad and Tobago’s folklore, and unlocks the shocking mystery of Papa Bois, the father of the forest.
What will Kaya uncover in his journey? Wayne Gerard Trotman, the author who has brought the folklore of Trinidad and Tobago to life in ‘Kaya Abaniah and the Father of the Forest’, will help us uncover a little more about Kaya by chatting with me today. Wayne, to start us off, can you situate us in this story by sharing the characters the readers will meet. How did they develop?
The characters came quite easily to me. Although all the characters are fictitious, a few possess mannerisms and quirks inspired by some people I’ve known.
It sounds like many of the characters, at least, come from your own life. Would it be fair to say that some of the story events are also inspired by events in your own life?
Yes, Kaya Abaniah and the Father of the Forest is a labour of love in which I drew from many life experiences.
At times it can be hard to turn your own experiences into something meaningful for readers. As we talk about it today, what do you feel was the most important idea that you wanted to distil from your own thoughts to share with readers?
The folklore of Trinidad and Tobago is gradually being lost. Young Trinidadians no longer learn about Papa Bois, Mama Dlo, and other local characters of lore.
No doubt you took a deep dive into this folklore to make sure that this book was correct. What did you learn from digging into these topics and turning them into this book?
The novel took me five years to write and most of that time was spent in historical, scientific, and conservation research. I learnt a lot about the historical, cultural and ecological diversity of Trinidad and Tobago, which was pleasantly surprising.
Wow, five years is a solid amount of time! Was the project overwhelming because of its scale?
Writing energizes me. However, I sometimes write for over 8 hours at a time. And, I have been known to fall asleep, at my desk, out of sheer exhaustion.
Even including the breaks for sheer exhaustion and desk naps, I’m sure that you’ve seen a measurable improvement in your writing over the course of this book. Did you feel that this was the case?
It was a great joy to return to the Trinidadian Creole I spoke for the first 20 years of my life. Writing Kaya Abaniah was easier than my first novel, Veteran of the Psychic Wars, partly because much of the world-building had already advanced to an extensive level and I had greater confidence.
Oh, I always love a little bit of world building! Tell us about some of the characters that you’ve built in some of your worlds. Actually, better yet, tell us some of the monsters that you’ve met in your worlds.
I’ve created several monsters:
MAKRA-GAK: A mythical beast; which, according to Talisian legend, roams the forests of the planet Alpha Tameri.
SHON-GHL: Large, malevolent, highly intelligent serpents from the Beli-Al System, which possess hypnotic abilities — deified by members of the Asing cult and the primitive inhabitants of the planet Koraskou.
TEROSERIAK: Ferocious, dinosaur-like predators, up to two metres tall and six metres long at full maturity, armed with curved eight-centimetre-long septic teeth, and very powerful jaws. Indigenous of the planet Miru.
WINGED SERPENT: Main deity of the Cult of the Asing, considered by Asing adherents to be the Supreme Being. In other religions and folklore, the Winged Serpent is considered a powerful entity of immense supernatural ability and the personification of evil; and is commonly associated with enemies of humanity.
Wow, they all sound awesome! Maybe a tad too ferocious to meet in person, but perhaps behind some very sturdy walls. And with such richly described monsters, you’ve got me wondering, what’s next? What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on two projects: the adaptation of my first novel, Veterans of the Psychic Wars into three screenplays; and writing its sequel Architects of the Psychic Wars.
Wow, you’re going to be so busy getting all of that done, so I’ll have to let you get back to writing, but not before you share a little taste of Kaya Abaniah and the Father of the Forest, to whet our appetites. What line will get our minds focussed on picking up a copy of this book?
“People who repeatedly attack your confidence and self-esteem are quite aware of your potential, even if you are not.”
That’s so true, and why you need to know your potential. And from the sneak peek of your writing today, we can all see that your potential is impressive! Wayne, thanks for sharing your writing with us today, and I can’t wait to see more of it in the future.
Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘Kaya Abaniah and the Father of the Forest ( ASIN: B00T1DFTL2 )‘.
Want to find out more about Wayne Gerard Trotman? Connect here!