I was born in Jamaica and immigrated to Canada in 1990 when I was fourteen years old. In high school, I knew I wanted to be a writer. Now I consider myself a storytelling-communicator. I take an academic approach to English as a way to gain the technical know-how to write literary fiction, develop my manuscripts, and perform different types of editing. This approach and skills involve specializing in linguistic studies of grammar and syntax.
I started out in administration in the fields of healthcare, project management, and database development. For over three and a half years now, I have taken a disciplined linguistic approach to all English language communication. Fictional narrative is my passion, which all boils down to communication. How I like to put it is that in my world storytelling is analogous to communication. My goal and purpose are to write fictional narrative with strong, authentic characters that are defined by strong writing and themes and to reinforce the power of communication through writing and the academic study of English.
In December 2014, I had an experience that has since turned out to be the secret of my not only having found but also living my life’s purpose. I call that experience the power of sisu. According to Wikipedia, "Sisu is a grim, gritty, white-knuckle form of courage that is presented typically in situations where success is against the odds. It expresses itself in taking action against the odds and displaying courage and resoluteness in the face of adversity, in other words, deciding on a course of action and then sticking to that decision, even despite repeated failures. It is in some ways similar to equanimity, with the addition of a grim kind of stress management." In the Author's Note of What's In A Name, I describe how I found out about sisu through a fortuitous exchange with a co-worker back in 2014.
What’s In A Name begins with a silence and gradually unsilence each of the women throughout its pages. As everyone has something that he or she carries with himself or herself, the theme of “every woman knows her own sorrows” is threaded throughout this narrative. From Toronto 1802, when pots and kettles hanging from pegs array the fireplace, to tree-lined avenues in present-day downtown Toronto, to the blue water, the brilliant sky, and the green mountains in Jamaica, these milieus provide the innocuous backdrop for the novel’s compelling subject matter.
Read my blog titled "The New Version of What's In A Name," which features a new book cover and a preface, at gariemcintosh.org.
What's In A Name
After being renamed by her dying mother, Christine accepts her new name—Lena. But that name holds a painful, terrible secret. Her acceptance of this name comes with guilt and the reminder of her shame and violation. For twenty-two years, Christine has remained silent about the events that precipitated her renaming and the real meaning of “Lean-a.” Now thirty-four years old, she is compelled to confront her past because her marriage of eight years is threatened by her and her husband’s mutual silence.
But Christine’s silence is as deep as the meaning of her name. The women around her have also been silent, so she travels to Jamaica to address the cause of her silence head-on. By the end of this endeavour, Christine embodies the question that the narrative contemplates also by its end: what might a woman’s compromise be if she should face the perpetrator of the crimes against her that Christine herself experienced?