When I finally decided to write that novel, it took me about a year to develop a plot in which a local girl, Abigail Maduro, the scion of an old Sephardic merchant family, returns to St. Thomas after her parents are killed in a railway along the Panama Canal to live with her aunt, a bitter spinster and her household of eccentric servants. One day, while out running an errand, she stumbles into a mysterious stranger who turns out to be a deserter from a German U-boat. In Erich Seibold, Abby finds the friendship and love she has been craving. She hides him in the basement of her aunt's house, but unbeknownst to them, the island's German Consul, Lothar Langsdorff, also discovers Erich's true identity as a deserter, and uses this information to blackmail him into committing sabotage and murder on the eve of the islands' transfer to the United States, in order to scare away the Americans.
Along the way, many wonderful people helped me develop my story, including the Grandson of the man who was the real Director of the Hamburg-America Line office who was accused of the Americans of spying for Germany and arrested by the US Marines in 1917 right after the Transfer ceremony and after the US declared war on Germany. I also acquired a new lifelong friend in the Croatian military historian who helped me conjure up Erich's back story and his life-altering journey from the Azores to the West Indies on a Spanish tramp steamer. But most important, in the end, I succeeded in bringing to life the last days of a floundering Danish sugar colony in the West Indies with all its charm, nuance, and color. My wish was finally fulfilled and my own journey had come to an end. So treat yourself to Spy Island for a Caribbean journey unlike any other you'll ever have, a journey right into history.