September 27, 2017
The Duho is the ceremonial seat of the Cacique, but now, it is more than that; Duho is also the living abode of the written word that celebrates the vibrant culture, history and people of The Bahamas. Duho Books, a boutique press based in Washington D.C., is the brainchild of Bahamian author Wendy Coakley-Thompson. The press launched this month with the 15th anniversary edition of Coakley-Thompson's 'Back to Life' and two new titles now available on Amazon.
“Duho’s mission is the preservation of Bahamian culture and its dissemination to the world at large, through the written word,” said Coakley-Thompson, President of Duho Books.
Coakley-Thompson brings almost two decades in traditional and self-publishing to Duho. She began her career as a self-published author with Infinity Books in 2002. In 2004, she signed a two-book deal with mainstream publisher Kensington Books. Dissatisfied with the mass production nature of Big Publishing, she returned to self-publishing in 2008.
Forward to 2017, and Duho Books is born out of the belief that traditional publishing sells readers short by not introducing them to authors who do not fit neatly into industry boxes. Coakley-Thompson experienced this repeatedly, as exemplified by a rejection of her novel, ‘Triptych’ by a reviewer who claimed, “…So much of the action of the book happens in the Bahamas, and with commercial novels like this it can sometimes be tough to get readers to want to read outside their geographic location.” This prevailing view, coupled with a bruising legal fight with Kensington in 2014 over copyright infringement, led Coakley-Thompson to create Duho as a space for authors to create, thrive, and prosper.
“By only putting out twelve titles a year, Duho Books will give its authors the attention they need and will position their work for maximum exposure, thus furthering the Bahamian literary tradition while simultaneously building writing careers,” said Coakley-Thompson.
The 15th anniversary edition of ‘Back to Life’, which features an interracial love story between a black woman and an Italian-American man, is still very relevant today and offers a compelling message for readers.
“Through Lisa and Marc’s story, I would like to convey that true love will eventually surmount all obstacles. They meet in the most oppositional of circumstances—receiving news that a sixteen-year-old black kid was murdered on a Brooklyn street corner after being set upon by a mob of Italian-American young men. But love transcends all the differences. Love endures.”
‘My Name is Karma’, another Duho title debuting this month, is a first novel by Bahamian psychologist N. A. Cash. Cash is excited about her first book and her decision to publish with Duho Books.
“I connected with Wendy through a good friend of ours, Lia Head-Rigby. Wendy was incredibly nice and open and she seemed to love the story, so publishing with her at Duho Books was the perfect option,” said Cash.
Coakley-Thompson agrees it was a no-brainer for her to publish ‘My Name is Karma’.
“From the second I read the first word, I couldn’t put it down. It moved at a good clip, and the twists and turns kept me riveted, dying to see which obstacles were going to appear in Karma’s way and how she would surmount them,” said Coakley-Thompson.
‘My Name is Karma’ introduces readers to the character of Karma who struggles with the power and complexities of her supernatural gifts as she journeys on a voyage of self-discovery. Cash’s training as a psychologist powerfully informs her ability as a writer to expose the inner life of her characters.
“I want readers to understand the inner dialogue that I imagine persons who have special abilities would have. Whenever we watch a movie with a superhero or someone who is ‘abnormal’, we can only observe it from an external perspective, never really engaging in what their internal conflicts may be. I wrote Karma as a peak into what that world may entail - the internal dialogues, the feelings, the imaginings, the stresses and problems, guilt over having an ‘unfair’ advantage and mainly the struggles as to whether to use these gifts for good or solely for selfish reasons,” explains Cash.
The third book from Duho’s inaugural release, ‘The Lights of Home’ by Marin Frederique, is an enticing romance novel filtered through the prism of the beauty of the Bahamas that explores the many forms of love and its power to heal, restore, and transform the body, mind, and soul.
“I think people will be able to relate to the universal nature of our collective experiences. My characters go to work and school. They nurture relationships with friends and family. They experience love and loss. They just happen to experience their lives in an idyllic paradise,” said Frederique.
Coakley-Thompson likes the unique flavor that Marin’s writing brings to the Duho repertoire and is confident that people will love the story.
. “Marin Frederique provides an opportunity for non-Bahamian readers to experience the Bahamas very differently from what they see in the ads for Beaches and Sandals on television by introducing them to our Bahamian slang, music, customs and history,” said Coakley-Thompson.
This firmly embodies Duho’s mission of elevation and disseminating Bahamian culture.
This slate of books are now available on Amazon.com and will be offered by other e-book sellers later this year. Duho Books plans to release three books every quarter, with their next set of titles scheduled for December 2017. For more information about these books and details on how you can publish with Duho, visit them online at duhobooks.com.