How I approached one of the flagship scenes of my new novel Road to Rebellion:

Road to Rebellion is a historical novel that had been living in my head for many years, more than fifteen at least. I was due to start writing it in September 2013, but became distracted by another story which I wrote but have not yet published.

Road to Rebellion is the story of a slave and her mistress who each raise a son for the master of a Jamaican plantation and struggle for supremacy on the Morley Estate. This brings them, and eventually their sons, to a confrontation as destructive as the Maroon rebellion which erupts in the mountains around them.

Because the novel had been living inside me for so long, every now and then I would daydream about a character (not whilst handling dangerous machinery), a line of dialogue, a plot point, and a scene, and over the years I jotted down the most compelling ideas. One of those scenes was the night on which the two women gave birth.

I was almost halfway through the first draft of the novel when I was approaching that particular flagship scene. I found myself grinning with anticipation for several days before. I knew many of the moments that were going to occur in the scene, but I did not know the precise words that were going to be spoken or the exact actions that would be taken by all of the characters. But I knew enough to tell me that this would be one of the most significant turning point scenes in the novel. So I was looking forward to seeing it written down. For me, it was like having planned an adventure holiday for many years, and now the day had approached when I departed.

The scene is one which intensifies the conflict between the two main characters, the slave Catalina and her mistress, Dianna, and pushes the novel into another direction. The boys who they then raise, Horatio, son of the slave Catalina, and Edward, son of Mistress Dianna, become significant characters, taking on the main roles two-thirds of the way into the novel, although the women continue to remain important. I was confident about this approach because it had worked in John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, where in the first half of the book the adults are the main characters, but in the second half the main characters’ two young sons take on the lead. But it is also partly the way in which family sagas work, where a younger generation take on the story at some point.

You now have the opportunity to read Road to Rebellion, and I hope you enjoy the many twists and surprises within it as much as I did when they first revealed themselves to me.

Road to Rebellion is now available at Amazon

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About georgehamilton

George Hamilton likes to know what’s going on around the world, to delve into the customs and practices of different cultures, and this is often a feature of his novels. His tales are based on people's intense personal or family dramas, with major social or political events strongly impacting their story. In addition to World Literature, he also writes multi-genre novels which include: Historical, Suspense/Thriller, and Contemporary. He currently lives in London, England.
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