Sabrina Ramnanan set her debut novel, Nothing Like Love, in Trinidad. Asked if she thought about how a book about exotic people, set in an exotic place and in an exotic language might be received, Ramnanan says she did, but wasn’t going to change it.
“I grew up in Toronto, but I wanted to write about the place my family comes from, where I spent so many happy vacations,” she says. “There’s something very compelling about back-home stories. The simple beauty, the charm, I love it. Once I had visualized the setting, all I had to do was create characters to run around there! My writing is very character-driven. Once I began writing, the colourful characters started popping up, they wanted to drive the plot forward with their intertwined stories.”
The language adds richness and taking it out would change the flavour, says Ramnanan, who knew she wanted to be a writer when she was five.
“That flavour was very important for me. I was also writing for myself, for the pleasure of writing, not to please a set audience. You can never satisfy everybody anyway.”
Her book garnered praise from readers and critics alike.
“Nothing is worth doing unless you are true to yourself,” she tells newcomers and aspiring authors. “Don’t let others influence or change your path.”