Mary Montague SIKES writes the Passenger to Paradise series. Simple-minded dolt that I am, I knew her for weeks before I realized that, just because she wrote about passengers, that didn’t mean her name was Skies. It isn’t Skies, it’s Sikes. Mary Montague Sikes. The “i” comes first, and then the “k”. Well, the “s” comes first. Capital “s”, in fact…. Capital “s”, small “i”, small “k”, small “e” small “s”. Sikes.
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From her first visit to the Caribbean in 1980, award-winning author Mary Montague Sikes has been enchanted with the islands. Her love of the tropics inspired her to set her first novel, Hearts Across Forever, in Jamaica. Her latest novel, Night Watch, is set in Trinidad.
A Fredericksburg, Virginia native, Sikes is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology. Following her love of art, she studied painting and sculpture at the College of William and Mary. In 1980, she received a MFA in painting from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her art is now on view at Petersburg Regional Art Center in Petersburg, at Prince George Art and Frame in Williamsburg, at Tides Inn in Irvington, and at Glen Allen Cultural Art Center in Glen Allen.
A freelance writer and photographer as well as a book author, Sikes presents programs for art, writing, and civic organizations. For the past 11 years, she has taught art at West Point Elementary School. For more information on Sikes, her books, and her art, please visit her Web site: www.marymontaguesikes.com.
A resort in Trinidad is an ocean away from the English Channel, but at first Lily doesn’t comprehend the ties the locations have with gun-running and stolen artwork. Trying to become a photojournalist, Lily doesn’t have time to understand her own connection to the past as she deals with fear and danger in caves, a nature preserve, a car chase, and kidnapping in a speed boat heading to the Grenadines. Does she recognize the dragonfly necklace because of its symbolic meaning or because she is a “walk-in” who relates to reincarnation?
Night Watch, set in Trinidad, developed from some of the adventures author Mary Montague Sikes and her husband experienced when they traveled to the big island located off the coast of Venezuela. They expected a vacation but instead found themselves caught up in a variety of exciting escapades. As always in her writing journey, Sikes used her imagination and asked the question, “what if?” She also thought about the old movie, “Casablanca” featuring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman that became a classic. She imagined that Trinidad might be like Casablanca, and she found that in some ways it was.
A network of dark caves with stalactites and stalagmites, located on that island, created lots of “what ifs” for Sikes, especially when she learned of the island’s colonial history and found the caves were once frequented by pirates who hid their treasures there. Crossing the gulf and passing ocean-going vessels made her wonder, what if Lily, her heroine, journeyed by small boat over these waters late at night with her life in danger? What if she looked like a woman murdered in the waters of the English Channel and mistaken identity put her in danger? What if she were caught up in a gunrunning mystery and later kidnapped? What if, to add to the intrigue, a series of art thefts might also be part of the mystery?
Because of Sikes’ fascination with exotic destinations, her publisher, Oak Tree Books, created “The Passenger to Paradise” series for her books. “Be swept away to distant lands, exotic locales,” is the slogan designed for the books along with a special logo. All will feature unusual and sometimes dangerous adventures she actually experienced on trips to these islands.
Other books in the series are: Hearts Across Forever, set in Jamaica and featuring the white witch of Rose Hall, past lives, and present day voodoo; Eagle Rising, with Sedona’s powerful vortexes and burnished landscapes; Secrets by the Sea, with a sprawling mansion overlooking the shores of Antigua. In that book, the reader gets to tour every room—exquisite ones, charming ones, and the secret ones. Future books will be set in Guadeloupe, St. Martin’s, the Bahamas and other beautiful and mysterious locations.
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Thanks for visiting, Monti! I’m reading NIGHT WATCH and can’t wait to find out how it comes out!
WRITING PROMPT: What’s the most exotic place you’ve visited? Write three paragraphs about the place. Who was there, not just with you but around you? Make them characters. Imagine a possible plot line.
p.s. It’s Tuesday, so I’m also posting at Fatal Foodies today.