Two brothers dominate author Fabienne Josaphat’s first novel Dancing in the Baron’s Shadow. Having the word “dancing” in the book’s title, indicates a sort of celebration. There’s not much feasting for the main characters Raymond and Nicolas. The novel, which takes place in Haiti in the mid-60s, chronicles the lives of these brothers as they endure imprisonment and torture for their personal stances.
In Part I of the interview, we discussed her background. This time, we’ll discuss her writing process more in depth. CLICK HERE IF YOU MISSED PART ONE OF THE INTERVIEW WITH FABIENNE JOSAPHAT!
Kreyolicious: Did you have other titles for your book before you settled on that one?
I had a few. None of them worked. I liked this one because it fits the concept of the Baron Samedi persona of Papa Doc, and it captures the essence of what it is like to dance with death as a means of escape.
Kreyolicious: And when you were done with your first draft…what steps did you take to get it into its final form?
The first draft was just one layer. By the second and third drafts, I had to add flesh to the story. I needed to make the characters more complex, more dimensional, and I needed the plot to be as tight and precise as possible. That meant a lot of editing and rethinking which characters were necessary, which ones had to be cut, which details to change, etc.
Photo Credit: Gesi Schilling
Kreyolicious: If you were to make a list of your five most favorite fiction novels…what would you say they were?
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, General Sun, My Brother by Jacques Stephen Alexis, Masters of the Dew by Jacques Roumain, and Blindness by José Saramago.
Kreyolicious: Have you already begun work on your next novel?
Yes, I have. I can’t talk about it much, but I am very excited. It’s historical again.
Kreyolicious: Do you see Haiti always playing a role, and always having a place in your writing?
I used to think it would, and maybe it will for a long time, but I definitely see myself exploring characters who would be “global citizens,” or places that would ground readers regardless of their background. I hope to branch out.
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