Writing a Voodoo Ceremony – fictional, but still

Hate.Date_ErzuliWhenever writing about a religion that is not one’s own, the word “RESPECT” should be in your head during research, plotting and writing. I am not Salman Rushdie looking to make a point or piss people off or run an entire belief system into the dirt. I have no wish to be famous, infamous or otherwise. I wish to entertain and tell a good story and make the reader forget real life for awhile.

There is very little written about the real voodoo ceremonies that are held in Haiti in the Spring. Non-believers are seldom invited, almost never, in fact. In addition to the non-fiction reference type books I’ve found and read, cover-to-cover, these books make up the bulk of the “You are there, what’s it like” reading for this book.

The Comedians by Graham Greene (Irony, Despair)

Farewell, Fred Voodoo by Amy Wilentz (Jaded as hell, but honest)

The Serpent and the Rainbow By Wade Davis

MOUNTAINS BEYOND MOUNTAINS By Tracy Kidder.

And videos

Video’s like this one are absolute treasure. Gets real about seven minutes in, though. He glosses over the shanty towns after the earthquake

So if I get it wrong, it’s on me. It means I filtered the material too much or details whiffed past my head that were important, so forgive me in advance. This setting is not like Puerto Rico in the last book. I spent five years exploring that island, living it, getting to know the history and the culture and I can defend anything written in those pages from personal experience. I have never been to Haiti and out of respect I try not to interrogate my friends and co-workers who are from there about what it’s like. It’s a huge island with a diverse population. Hopefully I will get most of the look and feel of it correct.

But this voodoo ritual thing, which is a turning point for the main character? Tough, tough writing, even with all the research. Cross your fingers and toes that I do it justice, yeah? ;-)

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