Island on Fire
Publication date: April 10th 2018
Genres: Adult, Historical, Thriller
In the lush, tropical world of Martinique where slavery is a distant memory and voodoo holds sway, Emilie Dujon discovers that her fiancé, a rich sugar planter, has been unfaithful. Desperate to leave him, she elicits the aid of a voodoo witch doctor and is lured into a shadowy world of black magic and extortion. When the volcano known as Mount Pelée begins to rumble and spew ash, she joins a scientific committee sent to investigate the crater. During the journey she meets Lt. Denis Rémy, an army officer with a mysterious past.
At the summit, the explorers discover that a second crater has formed and the volcano appears to be on the verge of eruption. But when they try to warn the governor, he orders them to bury the evidence for fear of upsetting the upcoming election. As the pressure builds, a deadly mudslide inundates Emilie’s plantation and she disappears. With ash and cinders raining down, chaos ensues. Left with no choice, Lt. Rémy deserts his post and sets off on a desperate quest to rescue Emilie. But with all roads blocked, can they escape the doomed city of St. Pierre before it’s too late?
Sophie Schiller was born in Paterson, NJ and grew up in the West Indies. She loves stories that carry the reader back in time to exotic and far-flung locations. Kirkus Reviews called her “an accomplished thriller and historical adventure writer”. Her latest novel is Island on Fire, a thriller about the worst volcanic disaster of the 20th century. She was educated at American University, Washington, DC and lives in Brooklyn, NY
A Chat with Sophie
1. Do you have a special playlist you listen to while writing?
Generally I will listen to any music that relaxes me, such as Mozart, Chopin, Pachelbel, and scores of great movie scores like “Out of Africa”, “Last of the Mohicans,” and “Dances with Wolves.” If I am writing a tense scene, I will watch a video that depicts a similarly tense scene, such as the iceberg collision scene in Titanic. This gets the adrenaline flowing and prepares me to write a similarly tense scene.
2. Any authors that inspired you to write?
Leon Uris was a childhood favorite as was Ken Follett and Frederick Forsyth. Along the way I discovered writers like Lionel Davidson, Graham Greene, and Robert Harris. I like to think I incorporate a little of the techniques of each. Each in his own right is a writing master.
3. What was the first book that got you interested in reading/writing?
Undoubtedly that honor goes to “QBVII” by Leon Uris, which my father gave to me on a school holiday when I complained of boredom. That novel plunged me into a gripping court case involving WWII Nazis trying to evade justice. The book taught me that we can make history come alive through fiction. And all of us are, in a sense, living through history. The gripping events of our present day will someday be portrayed in a historical novel. It is essential that the story that is recorded is accurate.
4. What would you like your readers to know about you?
I aim for accuracy. I feel that is my mission as a writer, to immerse you inside a gripping, suspenseful story almost as if you are a participant and not just a reader. I go to great lengths to ensure accuracy in each novel.
5. Any specific message to be taken away from this book?
The message of Island on Fire is to take charge of your own destiny. Do not look to parents or government or leaders to save your skin, but to your own instincts. Do not allow yourself to be propagandized by what’s in the papers. Trust your intuition. If you feel a situation is dangerous, get out.