No April Fool's joke, Paradise for a Sinner is now out as an e-book with the soft-cover to follow shortly. Two posts ago, I promised (or threatened) to talk more about Samoa. The trouble with doing lots of reseach on a new subject is you simply cannot use all your learn. I did manage to work some of these subtly into the story but not all the tidbits that go with them.
For instance, my cover designer, Linda Houle, managed to find a genuine traditionally tattooed Samoan backside for my cover. The crack is modestly covered with palm fronds. My hero, Adam Malala, bears such tattoos, once a test of manhood since getting them involved a month long process where in ink is pounded under the skin by a mallet striking a comb-like device. In ancient times, the only anesthetic was the encouraging songs of the village maidens as they rubbed the man's brow. Ouch! The tattoos begin a couple of inches above the waist and continue to the knees and are so thickly done as to resemble cloth. And yes, everything in that area is tattooed. Double ouch! Those who have undergone the process say actually the navel area is the worst. Go figure.
While fairly fit and warlike before the missionaries arrived, the real undoing of Samoans has been fast food and such luxuries as the Spam and canned corned beef that arrived with the G.I. stationed there in WW II. Both keep well in the extremely hot and humid climate. It would not be unusual for a Samoan to order a side of Spam with his bacon and egg breakfast. The traditional diet tended toward the starchy side with coconut and taro being used heavily. Since largeness is highly respected, no wonder Samoa produces more football players per capita than most of the United States-also rugby players and wrestlers of various kind. They do still love highly physical sports. Samoans, large but agile, and good team players are most likely to be found in defensive positions.
Family is of utmost importance which I've stated before. Even Samoans living in the continental U.S. are expected to contribute financially to the vast feasts and festivities held for many special occasions, weddings, funerals. etc. At one time, brides were taken behind a curtain during the wedding ceremony by the groom to prove their virginity on top of a white cloth. This custom fortunately has died out, but before that a little chicken blood could come in handy.
Had enough Samoan lore? If not, read the book. My editor says it is the best of the Sinners series, and she does not give compliments lightly. I am not so sure and remain partial to Wish for a Sinner. Let me know what you think.