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Judy C. Andrews

A Gullah Geechee World..   
and Me...

 The Harlem Writers Guild Press, an imprint of iUniverse, Inc., introduced readers to my debut novel, An Ocean of Jewels at readings and book signings throughout the New York City area in June 2006. Since then, I have had many pleasant opportunities beyond any dreams I could ever have conjured up in my lifetime, with the belief that there are more fascinating adventures for me on the way.



  It wasn't until I was an adult that I learned that my father spoke Gullah Geechee. I had spent my entire childhood in foster care, and I never understood the language my father spoke when I lived with him and my mother before I went into foster care



 When I entered college, I read a novel by brilliant author Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and it opened up a new world for me.  Many of the phrases in the novel were identical to things I grew up hearing my father say, such as "Tie yuh mout'," "Don't be actin' so siditty," and "Yep, Ah reckon' so!"  I wanted to bring that pidgin to creole language as well as culture back in a modern-day manner, and preserve it, just for myself.


 I write about Gullah Geechee infused experiences in standard, modern English.  I also focus on the themes of foster care, family, education, and history. During my research about my culture, I learned that Gullah is the pidgin to creole language African slaves spoke in America during slavery along the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.



  Just for the record, African culture didn't begin with the African American Slave Trade.  African history is a treasure of amazing natural resources, skill sets, and culture that has influenced the world we live in today for centuries.  Gullah language has done the same.  For example, "Dat's up tuh duh notch," is a Gullah phrase that means "That's delicious!" 



 Scholars and historians believe African countries were the original homes of the Gullah Geechee people. Geechee is the language the African slaves spoke whenever they were in the presence of people who did not understand the Gullah language. For example, someone unfamiliar with the Gullah language would still understand the Geechee meaning of this statement, "We haffuh hol on tuh we own land.




  I hope that I have done more than preserve the language of Gullah Geechee in the novels I write.  I also share with the reader, the culture and history of a Gullah Geechee community by introducing the reader to the fictional places of Jewel Park, New York and Eva Creek Island, places where the major characters' ancestors lived before they were forced to leave their beautiful country of Sierra Leone to horrifically be forced into enslavement. 



  The modern day characters I like to write about are rich, passionate, and inviting. The setting is descriptive, and many of the neighborhoods reflect the town's opulence.



  Other cultural additions in the novel refer to the Gullah Gecheee Island Prayers Houses, worship services, and of course, traditional beverages like teacola tea, and food such as sweet potato pone, spoonbread, frogmore stew, shrimp and grits, and grilled mullet.  So, join me as I sip some teacola and enjoy a taste of sweet potato pone, while I conjure....     



Tengy fuh de tenduh mannus fuh lub--Gullah/Geechee love

A Heritage of Treasures
Judy C. Andrews' debut novel, An Ocean of Jewels (Harlem Writers Guild Press; 2006), is also available on Kindle.  This historical and suspenseful novel depicts the African American Gullah/Geechee culture in forms of beauty, dignity, and pride.
     In America, there are more than one thousand Gullah/Geechee islands off the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.  Harlem Renaissance author Zora Neale Hurston brought these islands to the attention of the American people in her brilliant novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, but most Americans are familiar with such islands as Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach, Edisto, and Sapelo.
    The setting for the novel that Ms. Andrews has created is Jewel Park, New York, a fictional town in the suburbs of New York whose descendants are from a (fictional) Gullah/Geechee Island in Georgia named Eva Creek Island.  The ancestors who originally inhabited and structured this island were African and Native American.
      The main character in the novel, Imani Jewel Henderson, a former foster child, decides to seek the knowledge of her rich heritage when her father dies at Christmas on her 29th birthday.  A legacy of treasures is in her grasp.  Will she find it?  She embarks on a journey to discover her father's mysterious past and the root of her mother's pain.
   Readers will learn what Imani uncovers about her family, history, and herself. Join her, in the Gullah/Geechee, fictional towns of Jewel Park, New York and Eva Creek Island, with a glass of teacola, some warm sweet potato pone, and a dollop of suspenseful curiosity.
        Additional subjects explored in the novel are Colorism, Orphan Trains, The Jewish Holocaust, and Bedford-Stuyvesant's historic Weeksville community. 

Price (Paperback): $17.95
EBook:  $3.99
Format: 5x5x8.5
ISBN-13: 978-0-595-40030-0
Pages:  244

An Ocean of Jewels, by Judy C. Andrews, is also sold at your favorite bookstores!

Conjuring...Soon...Sharon's Gift, a novel of suspense, for thrill-seeking lovers of kindness, by Judy C. Andrews...