Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 16th 2015 Contents B4
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, July 16, 2015
Late Speaker of the House of Representatives Hec-
tor McClean and his wife Rosemarie were avid read-
ers. They passed down a love for reading and literature
to their children, Bernard and Danielle.
"I m standing in our study here at home, and I m
looking at the variety of literature here," said Danielle
McClean during a phone interview. "They read to us,"
she said of her parents. "They exposed us to different
works, different genres, things from different cultures."
McClean, who resides in Tennessee, was in Trinidad
recently to launch her first book, a children s adventure
based in the Caribbean called The Protector s Pledge.
She fought back tears as she recalled her father s influ-
ence on her life and the book.
"He believed that I could do anything, whether I
believed it or not," said McClean. "The way he
approached things was very methodical and thorough.
I think that those qualities that he had are things that
he instilled in me and my brother."
McClean, a freelance interpreter with tertiary qual-
ifications in Spanish, French and law, thinks her dad
would have supported her writing a children s book
wholeheartedly. He loved children and was a benefactor
of St Mary s Children s Home orphanage. It was one
of many facts people might not know about the late
Speaker, who held that position between 1995 and
2001. An attorney, he served as a judge in the Industrial
Court in the early 80s. Before that he had been an MP
and Cabinet minister. He died a decade ago at age 64.
"A lot of people know him as Speaker of the House,
and they would see one side of him, but obviously as
family we knew that he loved music, he loved singing,
he loved the arts as well," said McClean.
She wanted to do the book as a way of keeping
T&T s folklore alive for children who lived away from
the islands---like her five-year-old daughter and two-
year-old son---and those who live here but may not
be exposed to it. The book includes a glossary with
words and expressions such as "catch a vapse" and
"When I was young I loved stories about folklore
characters," said McClean. "I just had this urge that
I needed to write something that can get these children
passionate about Papa Bois and Mama Dlo." T&T s
folklore characters, said McClean, "are just as intriguing
and just as deep and rich and colourful---even more
so---as zombies and werewolves."
The Protector s Pledge is about JV, a 12-year-old
boy who lives with his grandmother in a small village
called Alcavere. McClean published it herself through
Amazon.com s CreateSpace service, which allows
authors to print and sell on demand. The writing in
The Protector s Pledge is vivid and crisp as it explores
Daughter of former Speaker
launches her first book
EXCERPT FROM PROTECTOR'S PLEDGE
The Protector's Pledge is available at Charran's
bookstores in Trincity Mall and San Juan, and
Amazon.com, which offers an e-book version.
So given his long history with the forest, how was
it that he'd never gone exploring on his own? Granny
B wouldn't have minded, and he wasn't afraid of the
ever-shifting shadows or intimidated by the way the
Caribbean sun never fully reached the forest floor.
And he certainly didn't believe all those stories about
the forest being a haven for the soucouyant---an old
crone who shed her skin at night, turned into a ball of
fire, and drank human blood---or that it was home to
the shape-shifting lagahoo who prowled during the
dark hours, always ready to sink his fangs into his
next victim. Nope! Those tall tales were for babies,
and JV was 12, after all. A 12-year-old who was
craving an adventure of his own. Yes, it was definitely
time to embark on a quest.
the young protagonist s internal world and fantastical
experiences. At the book s launch at the Port-of-
Spain library, respected children s author Merle Hodge
and storyteller Paul Keens-Douglas, two of McClean s
heroes, were in attendance. Hodge gave a speech in
which she critiqued McClean s work and offered
advice to the younger author. "I was over the moon,"
said McClean of Keens-Douglas s and Hodge s par-
ticipation. "I was like a child, honestly." McClean said
she intends for The Protector s Pledge to be the first
in a three-part series called The Secrets of Oscuros. Author Danielle YC McClean, left, autographs a copy of her book for Christiana
McKie, a student of St Theresa's Girls' RC School at the launch at Nalis.
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