Tropical dream turned scary informs memoir

Have you ever dreamed of packing up and moving to your dream vacation location in the sun?

One local couple did just that, but then a hurricane hit their paradise. Fagan O’Kane Baldwin decided to write about her and her husband’s experience when they moved to St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.

The nonfiction book is titled “Please Stop the Carnival” and chronicles the couple’s move, including a hurricane hitting the island five days after they arrived in 1995.

Describing it as a “true adventure” on St. Croix, Baldwin said her book is about “living the dream” on a Caribbean island with a “large dose of tropical reality” for eight years.

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This is Baldwin’s first published novel. She and her husband have lived in Brown County since 2003.

Q: What inspired you to write it?

A: Five days after our relocation to St. Croix, we lived through a direct hit by Hurricane Marilyn. The story of adventures as expatriates in paradise spans eight years of one unexpected turn after another. The perfect adventure for a memoir.

Q: Have you written any other books?

A: I have finished one novel, “Selling,” but it has not been published yet. I am writing a children’s book with Jonathon, who is 8, working on a biography for a local celebrity of world renown and beginning a novel titled “Claudia” along with researching and writing a book, “The Grocery Store.”

Q: What’s your day job?

A: I closed my consignment shop, Blue Moon, in Bloomington three years ago and left the conventional working world. Currently I am writing as much as I can, tutoring through the Brown County Literacy Coalition and working as a cashier at the Woodchuck IGA in Morgantown one day a week.

Q: What are your connections to Brown County?

A: My husband and I picked Brown County as our home in June 2003. The attractions were a non-traditional rural community accepting of individuality, the natural beauty and the welcoming, hospitable people.

Q: What’s your writing ritual? In what environment do you work best?.

A: As long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a writer. I thought that if I could find the perfect room/desk/chair/location I could write to my heart’s content. I was wrong. Finally I remembered a quote from one of the many books I had read on the subject of writing, “Just write,” by Stephen King. Writing, for me, is a state of mind although I need some quiet to get the words just right.

Q: What’s the last book you read? Do you have a favorite?

A: I just finished “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry” by Gabrielle Zevin. It was an excellent story. I am starting “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance and I hope to be enlightened. My favorite writers are Harper Lee, Pat Conroy, Fanny Flagg and Larry McMurtry.

Q: Where can people buy this book, and for how much?

A: The Woodchuck IGA is kind enough to offer my book for sale for $13.50. It is also available on for $10. The book is also available at the Brown County Library.

Q: Do you have any booksignings or related events planned?

A: I have no future planned events, but the good folks at the Woodchuck IGA hosted a book signing in December. Maybe we’ll do it again.

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