Attorney-at-law, writer, entrepreneur and overall go-getter, Dionne Peart is the complete package when it comes to balancing the scales of life. The beautiful and innovative Peart was born in England prior to her parents, of Jamaican heritage, migrated to the land of Royalty. While she is a well-known attorney-at-law, starting her career as a litigator, she enjoyed creative writing from a tender age, which seemingly stuck with her throughout her years transitioning from childhood to adulthood.
“I wrote many briefs and motions and I felt satisfied when I turned in a good finished product, but in my heart, I wanted to do something different. That’s when I began to think about writing fiction.” – Dionne Peart, in an exclusive interview with The Caribbean Current.
After her sixth year in the firm, she re-visited her first love, writing. She balances her time by describing her day “attorney by day and writer by early, early day”. Challenging herself to write her first novel and after two and a half years, in December of 2012 Somerset Grove was born. Her inspiration blossomed from the many stories of West Indians that she grew up with in Winnipeg.
“I knew I wanted to write a multigenerational novel. Growing up as a first generation Canadian, I knew many families of different ethnic heritage with similar stories of separation and conflict, so it was easy to weave those themes into a book. “The thought crossed her mind to run,” is the first line in the novel and the story naturally flowed from there. Somerset Grove is set in Jamaica and is the name of the fictional town where most of the characters grew up. I wanted a name that sounded British to reflect the island’s colonial history, and a name that also reflected the richness of the landscape, so I came up with Somerset Grove.” – Dionne Peart, in an exclusive interview with The Caribbean Current.
Unfortunately, her inspiration and motivation to complete Somerset Grove didn’t come easy, as after the first twenty thousand words she found herself at a standstill; the famous writer’s block. She found that while her legal training instilled in her to write what was ‘right’ that fear of not living up to that ‘expectation’ seemingly hindered her progress. It was not until attending a conference for writers that she was encouraged by instructors and fellow writers to persevere and tell her story – it was then that she realized that it wasn’t going to be ‘wrong’.
With that mindset she launched her novel and never looked back. Since it was adult fiction, Dionne appealed to a more mature audience and with the positive reviews and feedback her book has been received well by her audience on an international level.
“People from all different ethnic backgrounds have told me they can relate to the challenges and conflicts the characters face. Ultimately, it’s a story about family and a search for happiness. Most people connect with that.” – Dionne Peart, in an exclusive interview with The Caribbean Current.
Butterfly was released in April 2015 on Amazon and was Peart’s second novel which came on the heels of Somerset Grove.
Butterfly is a story about Sydney Lincoln’s future which was mapped out for her even before she left the womb. Swept along by the ambitions of her traditional Caribbean parents, Sydney ends up with a legal career she never planned to have. The thought of one more deathbed deposition spurs her to make a change from her small Washington, D.C. law firm to a position with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Her next novel to be launched will be Blackheart Man, which she reveals, is a story based on a Jamaican folklore where a string of tragedies on the island sparks the hunt for a young man with a questionable past.
“I write fiction based in the Caribbean or featuring Caribbean characters. I am in love with Jamaican music, culture and people, so it’s easy to incorporate into my writing.” – Dionne Peart.
If that wasn’t enough, in her spare time Dionne also contributes her time as the Ambassador for the Read Across Jamaica Foundation. Her endearing personality reflects joy, peace and kindness so it was no surprise that she would be giving back to such an extraordinary organization. Working with Read Across Jamaica Foundation allows her to be a part of an initiative that opens up new worlds for young people, which in itself is very rewarding. Reading undoubtedly preserves culture and aids in learning, encourages dreaming she explains, and she finds joy in seeing a young person getting lost in a book, since she is also an avid reader.
Living in the words of a quote of Marianne Williamson, Dionne does not allow herself to make excuses that hamper the the pursuits of her passions or doing things she wants to do in life. She believes in self empowerment and she found that writing fiction forced her to step out of her comfort zone of being a lawyer.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson
If you haven’t read any of Dionne’s books, they are available on Amazon.com.
By Alexandra Daley