Who would have thought that a Jamaican woman would have been the author of a gay novel?
The self-published book Related Affairs was written by Tilsa A. Wright. Wright, who now resides in Brooklyn, New York, spent her early life growing up in Harbour View, Kingston 17. She migrated to the United States just after graduating from Camperdown High School.
In an interview with THE WEEKEND STAR recently, she disclosed that she had no plans to be a writer. She explained that the idea to author the novel came to mind while she was having a conversation with a business partner about three years ago. "I came up with the plot, characters and title within three days," she said.
Wright was quick to point out that the title of the book was "a given based on the fact that all the plots are related."
Related Affairs is a classic case of jealousy and betrayal. It deals with complex relationship issues and the views of some Jamaicans towards homosexuality.
The story which takes place in New York City sees the character named Anna meeting the attractive and talented Paul. Anna is initially drawn to Paul by a sexual attraction, but later learns how valuable he is as a friend and business partner. Paul is a homosexual and carries some deep, dark secrets including one about Anna's new-found love. However, Anna's parents disapprove of her relationship with Paul, which sets off tempers and begins irreparable scandals.
most homophobic places
At a time when Jamaica is considered to be one of the most homophobic places in the world, the Jamaican-born writer admitted that she decided to write the book because, "I'm just brave like that." Wright revealed that, "I was getting tired of the fights that homosexuals have been getting." Further adding, "It's becoming overbearing ... It's their choice, their sexual preference. We need to address character rather than sexual preference."
She noted that although she touched on the homophobic situation in Jamaica, she tried not to dwell on it in a negative sense. She believes that her time spent abroad has allowed her to be more tolerant and acceptant of homosexuals. She is also of the view that, people in general and Jamaicans in particular should learn to "embrace and love the rainbow".
While it's not a true story, the writer intends to intrigue readers with a tale that teaches them that "we are all as colourful as the rainbow and related through human connections".
For Wright, the book will find favour in Jamaica. Its popularity will increase "If people have an open mind ... if persons who read and embrace the book give it a voice," she remarked.
Added to the good feedback that she has been receiving about the novel, she says she has the complete support of her family members and friends. "People here (New York) are waiting on part 2," she said.
She informed THE WEEKEND STAR that plans are also being put in place to develop the book into film. "I am confident that things will take off in a year," she said.
While happy with the outcome of her work, she divulged that it was very challenging for her being a first-time writer. She is encouraging young writers to "stay focused and align themselves with a good support system".
In the meantime, Wright, who has hopes to launch the book in Jamaica, says she will do so "as soon as the human climate permits it." But for now, she says that persons who are interested can purchase the book online at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.
Wright says that she is aware that not everyone will agree with what she is doing and not everyone will like her work. "If it's not for you, then it's not for you," she said.