Sparkle Richards’ Trini Erotica - MOKA
“I wanted to create something more relatable to the Caribbean diaspora . . . I felt like the world needed a quintessential Caribbean love story.”
Sparkle Richards has everything to beam about. She recently received the news that her book has been sold out at Nigel R. Khan Book Stores in Trinidad, the sole distributor of ‘Moka’, toppling world-renowned (and one of her favourite authors) Stephen King’s ‘End of Watch’. She is living a writer’s dream. Furthermore, ‘Moka’ has received positive feedback from its readers who expressed their fervent love for its protagonists, Sonia Kirk and Thaicion Ortega. “My expectations have gone past my expectations,” she quipped.
And rightly so! The twotime author who took a writing hiatus after her first novel, ‘D Next Bacchanal’, was once again in a quandary when she had to hit the brakes on progress while attempting to get to the juncture of publishing. Though this time she envisioned a literary agent who would represent her written work, knocking on every publisher’s door and generating sales on her beloved, she found herself, once more, an indie-publisher. Seeing her own book through from raw material to final product was to be managed. A challenging task, yet one that brought her newfound inspiration. “I wouldn’t want to lose control of ‘Moka’,” she said. “The percentage in royalties might have been great but it would never be good enough a replacement for my creativity. My work will not be mine and I couldn’t live with that.”
Today Sparkle Richards is enjoying not only all the successes but all the PR duties that come with the creation of a novel. Travelling by air from her home in Queens, New York where she moved at the age of 16, to her hometown in Trinidad where her family resides, ttending several radio shows and hosting various launches at Nigel R. Khan bookstores is now the order of the day.
Her Inspiration? In 2011, with the advent of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ written by English author, E.L James, the erotica genre was about to take the world by storm. In 2012 it did. E.L James later released ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ and ‘Fifty Shades Freed’ and has single-handedly captured the coveted role of best-seller-of- all-time in her own hometown. She subsequently saw the adaptation of her novels into films in 2015 and 2017.
“I think she’s a fantastic author and one day I hope to be as prolific as she is,” the 33-year-old writer professed. But as prolific as E.L. James has been, the English author failed to compel the local writer to walk a mile in her shadows. “It was hard for me to understand (protagonists) Christian (Grey) and Ana’s (Anastasia Steele) dynamic. There were too many gaps in their connection that I couldn’t understand.”
Sparkle, instead, opted to create something more relatable to the Caribbean diaspora, choosing Trini dialect as her writing style. “I felt like the world needed a quintessential Caribbean love story,” she says, “one that’s personal, that goes deep, that gets gritty, that represents the microcosm Caribbean heritage that we are; for people who are blue collar like us and inject some colour instead of shades of grey.”
And as clearly as the author saw her vision, she admits that she was daunted by what her readers might think of her latest installment. “My fear was that people would view the book as purely sexual and dismiss the factor of an artistic license that went into drawing from the experiences, the culture and our beautiful island, Trinidad and Tobago,” she said.
On the subject of intimate scenes, it speaks on the very artistic license to which Richards refers as its representations come from the bowels of her own creative enterprise. “The more the relationships of my characters blossomed, the more I was inspired to depict their sexual encounters in the purest form from my own imagination.”
‘Moka’ is your quintessential new-millennial erotica that does not borrow from the same formulaic plot as other novels of its kind. It’s daring and it tells of a forbidden relationship between a married woman and a single man. It appeals to the needs of those who know what it is like to be cheated on, duped and have sought revenge. It is tailored for the working class with its big dreams and endless potential. The novel takes readers through the ongoing battles of forgiveness versus revenge.
The Caribbean author, who was pleased to put her signature on something patriotic, believes, despite the obstacles, her small nation is capable of supporting its own in a grand way. “We do it each year for Carnival; I believe we can support our literary work as well,” she said.
Richards harnessed a fascination of books at an early age and has been inspired by the works of Caribbean authors Earl Lovelace and VS Naipaul.
She revealed that writing is not her only passion but part of a family of passions which encompasses her love of fashion (she holds a degree from Fashion Institute of Technology). It also embraces her love of art which is displayed on her Facebook fan page Sparx Richie, and her fantastic makeup tutorials that she performs almost every day on herself, as well as her clients.
The success of ‘Moka’ has impelled the writer to produce a second edition which will be launched soon. Her new novel, ‘Red’, is of the same genre and will be debuted almost simultaneously with it.
“I want to put Trinidad on the map in a unique way by allowing our foreign counterparts some insight into what Caribbean love is like and what Caribbean sex is like and what our genres of writing can bring about,” she shared.
‘Moka’ can be found at Nigel R. Khan bookstores, or online: www.trinirotica.com.
Trinidadian author Sparkle Richards.