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Latoya Lake debuts first novel

SAM_0099It's been said that every person has at least one novel inside of them. Considering the ease with which St. Maarten-born Latoya Lake produced her first book, it seems she has a whole library in her head, just waiting to come out.

It's like Déjà Vu with You is the story of a "pepper-tongued Caribbean woman" navigating romance, career and her own tendency to over-think things. "I modelled the characters after people I knew," Lake shared in a phone conversation with WEEKender. In an email, she explained more, "I started this journey after conversing with friends over the intricacy of love and dating. Paying attention to our situations, I noticed that although we were all young professionals, we were still having our fill of embarrassing and, dare I say, surreal moments. I then decided to make note of them, unaware that my peculiar method was creating characters. The characters in my novel are not based on specific persons in my life, but are a mixture of qualities found in friends, family and people I have met."

LAKE DESCRIBES the book as a romantic novel with a twist at the end. It promotes St. Maarten and the Caribbean region, but other islands have been given fictitious names. Both main characters are from St. Maarten, but the story starts in a different setting. Most of the story takes place here, but also ventures over to other islands in the Caribbean.

Lake writes from a personal perspective and with a clear purpose, profoundly female, "I remember making light of fairy-tale endings told to me in my youth with my friends, saying that we had been brainwashed about what really goes on when looking for love, ending with the fact that we were no longer naive to the truth, and now know we would probably have to censor the stories told to our children and grandchildren. Based on that, I decided to start the book from that state of mind and run with what reality made that innocence into. This novel helps you understand the evolution of each character and why they do as they do. I've done my best to make them interesting and relatable characters the reader can identify with."

The 32-year-old wife and mother wrote the novel, more than 80,000 words of it in just a few months. She related that she used a tablet computer and jotted down little sentences, phrases and random thoughts throughout the day. At night, she would write the next part of the story, tying in those bits of writing when possible. "I would be so tired, though, that I had to get up in the morning and go over what I had written the night before. Correct the mistakes and edit."

Lake presently works at the Friendly Island Pharmacy as a pharmacy assistant. Prior to that, she was the science lab technician for St. Dominic High School. The Milton Peters College graduate has degrees in science, which she feels adds to her writing style. "Science is not something women normally go into, but I like that aspect of it, so I incorporated it into the main character."

Lake is self-publishing her novel through Create Space and it will soon be available at Amazon.com as well as at local bookstores on the island. She is planning a follow-up piece which she describes as "less contained and more focused on what happens after you have success." She also has "dabbled in song writing and poetry."

HER PERSPECTIVE is a unique one in the literary scene, blending cultures, comedy, feminism and passions. "Being an islander with the opportunity to live in the Netherlands has exposed me to many comedic situations and personalities. Mixing that with my notes, I decided to try my hand at storytelling. My methods developed into a style I thought to be a bit unorthodox, yet somehow created a novel. I have tried to balance what might be acceptable since I am new to this. But I can assure you it doesn't take away from the feel of what I wanted to say. It is definitely a book that will keep you turning the page, laughing, guessing and just loving what's going on between the two. Not to mention the heated scenes will be something the ladies will enjoy."

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