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Charmaine Wilkerson Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Black Cake (2022)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Anthologies

How To Make A Window Snake(2018)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Charmaine Wilkerson
Charmaine Wilkerson is from New York and is an American author that has lived in the Caribbean and is based in Italy where she does much of her writing from. She is an ex-journalist and a recovered marathon runner whose award winning short fiction can be found in various US and UK magazines and anthologies.
That pull to be a writer was always there for her. Charmaine was one of those kids that loved books and just always wanted to pen stories of her own. However she grew up to write all kinds of other stuff, instead, as a communications and news professional. It was much later that she even gave herself the permission to spend more time on writing fiction.

Before writing the novel “Black Cake”, she spent several years working most notably in flash fiction. The crafting of the novel first started when she wrote this short scene about two teen girls that started swimming in Caribbean waters during the 1960s. They were both driven by this connection with nature and a visceral ambition and their strong determination to swim, despite the fact that they were also afraid. Next, she wrote these seemingly unrelated scenes set during contemporary times. After a while she realized that they were all the same tale. And that is when Charmaine knew that she had a novel, that she was not just all over the place, she was actually circling an idea.

Wilkerson has always dabbled, read, and written. However the actual act of writing regularly and making sure that she does not lose that thread when she’s got all these voices is something that takes some consistent work. It took her a long time to come to such consistency.

Charmaine is always scribbling down something even though she doesn’t really submit all that much. She tends to write in these short bursts and then file some things away. She likes waiting to see if what she’s jotted down is really a piece of flash fiction or if it’ll evolve into something else entirely, such as a scene from a longer story. After awhile she began spending quite a lot of her time just exploreing the fictional worlds that are linked to her book and other, longer tales that she is developing further.

Her mom had mailed her a copy of her black cake recipe, that was filled with comments and instructions. Later on, after her mom had died, one of her younger relatives asked to get a copy. She doesn’t believe that she’d look for it by that point for several years, however she knew just where to find it. She’s moved quite a few times during her life. She’s not the neatest person out there, however she has always kept that recipe stored in a place where she keeps her most precious of things.

While it was her mom that gifted her with her most prized recipe, it was her dad’s work as a textile artist that helped her zero in on her writerly goal. She recalls loving the smell of all the dyes in his studio, and Charmaine admires how he was able to take his art and turn it into a discipline. After he died in the year 2013, she took a flannel shirts, one that she wears on a regular basis and at last started writing fiction. She realized that she had to quit thinking that she was being frivolous and recognize that it was still work. So she went and made some changes in her life.

When she was just a child, she would watch her dad swim in the sea toward the horizon until he vanished, and some similar imagery figures prominently in “Black Cake”. As Byron is a prominent oceanographer whose mom taught him how to surf, and who encourages young folks to “catch that wave and ride with it”.
“Black Cake” is a #ReadWithJenna book club selection and a New York Times Bestseller.

“Black Cake” is the first stand alone novel that was released in the year 2022. In this moving debut book, two estranged siblings deal with their mom’s death as well as her hidden past. It is a journey which takes them both from the Caribbean to California to London and it ends with her very famous black cake.
We cannot pick what we inherit, however can we decide who it is that we become?

California in the present tense. Eleanor Bennett’s death leaves behind a puzzling inheritance for Benny and Byron, her two kids: it’s a traditional Caribbean black cake that is made from a family recipe that comes with a long history, and this one voice recording. Eleanor, in her message, shares this tumultuous tale about this headstrong young swimmer that escapes from her island home under suspicion of murder. This heartbreaking story of Eleanor’s plays out, with the secrets she’s still holding back, and the mystery of one long-lost child, and it challenges everything that the siblings believed they knew about their lineage, along with themselves.

Can Benny and Byron reclaim their formerly close relationship, piece together Eleanor’s real history, and fulfill her last request in “sharing the black cake when the time’s right”? or will their mom’s revelations bring each of them back together or leave them feeling more lost than they ever were?

Charmaine’s debut book is a tale about how the inheritance of secrets, betrayals, memories, and even names, can possibly shape history and relationships.
“Black Cake” is a winner that is at turns delightfully juicy as well as being shockingly wise. This is an expansive and exquisite read that takes ahold of the reader from the very first page and did not let go for a moment. It is a novel about the formation and reformation of a family, along with the many places, people, and events which can shape our inheritances without our even knowing about it. Charmaine delivers a gripping and poignant debut and proves herself to be a new and important voice. This is a very beautifully written read that readers struggle to even believe that it’s a debut.

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