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Hendrickson to publish novel set in SVG

Hendrickson to publish novel set in SVG

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A US based author, whose parents hail from Layou, is preparing to release his first novel, which is partly set in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Jomo Hendrickson, an advertising executive who resides in Los Angeles, California, is in the final stages of editing his fictional novel ‘The American Way,’ which follows the life of Japeth Walker, as he endeavours to become a soccer superstar, following the murder of his best friend.{{more}}

Describing his main character as “extremely driven and ultra-ambitious,” Hendrickson said that he is excited about this venture, and is looking forward to the book’s release in late May/early June.

“The inspiration behind the character obviously comes from some of my life, some of my experiences growing up,” he revealed.

However, while acknowledging that there are some similarities between him and his protagonist, Hendrickson was mindful to point out that he and Japeth are quite different and have more out of common than in common.

“People who know me get that rather quickly in the book. There are certain things that he does that are just outside of my character – things I would never do.”

Hendrickson added: “He’s always kind of alone in a way, in the way he is throughout the story. He has friends, but there is always something that sets them apart… He’s very proud of his [Vincentian] heritage… He has a lot of different trials that he has to deal with.”

The 35-year old said that although his own educational background is in business, he has dabbled in creative writing throughout his life, having tried his hand at writing rap lyrics, short stories and poetry.

Delving a bit deeper into his impetus to pen ‘The American Way’, he explained that the world of soccer in the USA is quite different from that in Europe and other parts of the world.

Hendrickson said that to become recognized in the sport in the US, players would have to foot the cost of their own travel, kit and other related costs, which could “add up to thousands”.

“That automatically excludes certain groups here. That excludes a large portion of blacks and whites from that; also Hispanics… Not to say that there haven’t been players who came from backgrounds where they struggled a bit… but still, you will find a good portion of the group comes from backgrounds of middle class… I feel like our sports culture surrounding soccer is missing the other side. So, that inspired my story…

“If someone were to embark on that journey, if they had the desire to, what would it take for that to happen? So, I just played that story out with this character.”

Father to two young daughters, Hendrickson said that he has chosen to self-publish rather than go with an already-established publishing company, because he wants to retain most of his ownership on the book.

“I didn’t want anybody coming in and piling a lot of their own objectives on it,” he insisted.

And with almost 13 years of brainstorming and writing put into ‘The American Way’, it’s easy to see why he would feel that way.

He added: “I restarted this story four or five times before I went really hard at it. I’d written it, then got up to a certain part and just dropped the book…”

Hendrickson pointed out that this final draft that he is working on took him roughly five years to flesh out and develop.

Although he is not working on anything concrete at the moment, other than ‘The American Way’, Hendrickson said that he has ideas for other books that he intends to develop plots and characters for in future.

“Right now, I’m really kind of focused in on getting this book completed and getting it out to the world.”

Moreover, he has a few words of advice for budding writers who have a passion for the craft, but may be intimidated to have their work published.

“It can be a scary thing for sure, but you always have to realize that if that’s pushing you to write, it’s there for a reason and you have to own that… You just have to be brave enough. It’s not everybody that’s going to like what you put out… but it will probably connect with someone.”

He added: “My advice would be to keep writing, keep honing your craft!” (JSV)

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