We’re so excited to include author, Robyn Lloyd in our Holiday questionnaire. He’s a journalist like me, and has spent years travelling the world covering REAL NEWS to bring home to viewers. His historic novels remind me of huge Turner paintings. The author, much like the painter creates his art with broad strokes, while readers absorb every word. In his first novel, ROUGH PASSAGE to LONDON readers withstand the terror of the War of 1812 – pirates, hurricane force storms and human trafficking are just some of the drama.
His new novel, HARBOR OF SPIES: A NOVEL OF HISTORIC HAVANA (LyonsPress) is set in 1863, during the American Civil War.
Protagonist, Everett Townsend is forced to work for a profiteering Spanish merchant who introduces him to a world of spies, blockade runners, and slave traders. As a foreigner and an outsider in Cuba, he struggles to maintain his own sense of identity. As he grapples with the uncertain moral terrain he finds in Havana, Townsend becomes ever more involved with the mystery surrounding the murder. Even at sea, where his ship-handling skills are put to the ultimate test against the Navy’s powerful gunships, he finds he is unable to avoid reminders about the unsolved murder of a top English diplomat.
From the bars, to the docks, to the dance halls, Townsend’s path moves from colonial Havana to the slave plantations in the interior. There amid the harsh cruelty he discovers in the Cuban countryside, he unexpectedly begins to unravel a family mystery. Together with the daughter of an American innkeeper in Havana he confronts the veiled, dangerous forces he finds on the island.
The novel is a richly drawn portrait of Spanish colonial Havana at a time when the city was flush with sugar wealth and filled with signs of the American Civil War. It is a realistic look at Cuba’s role in the war, and the importance of the scores of blockade running ships- both sail and steam- that ran the gauntlet of the Union blockade from Havana into the Gulf of Mexico.
I got to visit Havana three years ago, and as much changes, many things remain the same. I’m just thrilled with this novel.
Robyn Shared some holiday cheer with us.
- What is your favorite Holiday? My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. It’s all about family and friends. No great expectations other than good food and good company. And, of course, lots of turkey and cranberry sauce. I happen to love turkey.
- What do you love about the Holidays? I think the end of the year holidays help celebrate what the seasons tell us. The end of the old and the beginning of the new. The importance of renewal. The cycle of life. So I would say I like these markers of time that help pull us together.
- What is your fondest Holiday memory? I suppose one of the most memorable was New Years Eve, 1999. The dawn of the new millennium. A large group of friends all came together dressed as important figures in the last millennium. We all gave speeches until the arrival of the new millennium. I think my wife and I came as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda. My brother in law came as a full figured Teddy Roosevelt, complete with a monocle and some stories about bears.
(The Real) F. Scott Fitzgerald & Zelda – Photo Courtesy: NY POST
- What are your wishes for 2019? Naturally peace and harmony. No wars, please. I’ll take more congeniality in 2019. Perhaps more laughter and more sense of the value of coming together. Maybe a sprinkling of the spirit of Thanksgiving. That’s what I would wish for.
Robin Lloyd’s early years were spent on the island of St. Croix where his parents owned a dairy farm and milk plant. As a boy, he grew up sailing in the Caribbean. Lloyd was a foreign correspondent for NBC News for many years where he reported mostly from Latin America and Africa. He also covered the White House during the Reagan and Bush administrations. Lloyd has created and produced news programs with foreign networks as well as documentaries and segments for domestic stations, including Maryland Public Television. Among his prestigious awards are four Emmys from the National Capital Chesapeake Bay region and an Overseas Press Award. He is the author of two novels—Rough Passage to London and the recently released Harbor of Spies. He divides his time between Camden, Maine and Chevy Chase, Maryland.
We’re lucky to have one copy of his novel, HARBOR OF SPIES: A NOVEL of HISTORIC HAVANA to giveaway. Just tell us what comes to mind when you think of Cuba. I remember absolutely beautiful people, art and beaches! I hope to return.
We’ll announce a winner soon. Good luck.
GIVEAWAY: USA only please.