Local author offers a taste of the Caribbean | ParkRecord.com

Local author offers a taste of the Caribbean

Cheryl DuBois first came to Park City from the Caribbean. And while not many people leave the tropics for ski towns, her move went like many others. She first came to visit, but found herself making a bigger commitment to the area.

"I stopped there to ski and I didn’t go home," said DuBois.

She ended up buying a home and staying for five years. Now she splits her time between Park City and Los Angeles, working in the entertainment industry. Earlier this month, however, she released a story drawn from her six years in the Caribbean, and today she is scheduled to have a book signing at Dolly’s Bookstore from 4-6 p.m.

A licensed charter-boat captain, DuBois decided to bring her stories of sailing and the tropics to life.

"West of the Equator" is set in the West Indies and tells the story of Rob Mariner, a man from Chicago who buys a 75-foot catamaran on a whim while visiting the islands. In the story, Mariner cuts ties with his old life and sets out across the Caribbean in search of happiness, but finds a totally different set of problems along the way. At one pointed he’s thrown in jail; at another, he’s shipwrecked, and at yet another, he’s shot.

DuBois calls "West of the Equator" a satirical account of one man’s search for paradise.

Narrated by Mariner’s "sprit guide," the story is a collection of mishaps and revelations.

"It’s just a string of chaotic events," said DuBois.

But the collection of incidents does lead him to a final destination. The idea behind the work, she noted, was to show how one person finds happiness, which is, in this case, with the help of the "spirit guide."

DuBois noted that new-age spirituality has a strong presence in the book.

"I think it’s a big new-age story," she said.

That even extends to the book’s writing. DuBois said much of the book was "channeled" through her. So she just wrote as words flowed into her head from an unseen source.

But at the same time, she noted, the story contains a whole variety of other elements, aside from its new-age ones. "West of the Equator," she said, tells the story of life in the Caribbean and on a sailboat, with hurricanes, sailors and the sea.

The story is, all at the same time, a tale about sailing, a fictionalized guide to the West Indies and an illustration of how spirituality influences the main character’s life. But DuBois said she didn’t think the book forces the latter idea upon readers.

"If you don’t believe in it," she said, "you can look at it as part of the humor."

"I think it has an extremely broad market," she noted. "Everyone can understand it."

The story, DuBois noted, is based on her own experiences and a whole collection of island stories from friends and acquaintances.

"I’d say a good 80 percent of it is based on fact," she said.

She noted, the book also contains a good deal about the reality of life on the desert islands of the Caribbean, from the pace of day-to-day business to the availability of supplies.

DuBois said she’s working with a director and a producer to make the book into a film. Currently though, she’s working on publicizing her effort, and even though her book is about the Caribbean DuBois said she’ll be happy to take it home to Park City. With the book released just this month, she’ll kick off the holiday season and the retail run of "West of the Equator" in town this weekend, bringing a little slice of the tropics to a slightly snowier part of the Earth.

Cheryl DuBois is scheduled to appear at Dolly’s Bookstore today from 4-6 p.m. for a book signing. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 649-8062.

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