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Nikki Smith and The Guests in the Maldives

  • Submitted: 19th May 2024

Come to the Maldives with Nikki Smith

Nikki Smith is offering you the chance to join her guests on the resort Asana Fushi – right in the heart of the Maldives. Fictional it might be, but you will still be in awe….and trapped in paradise….

Map of locations in The Guests

On the way to the island resort! (c) Nikki Smith

On the way to the island resort! (c) Nikki Smith

Map of locations in The Guests

The Guests is set on the fictional resort of Asana Fushi in the Maldives. I wanted my readers to travel to somewhere completely luxurious with the wealthy Hamilton family – Zach, Cara & their 16-year-old daughter Alexa. I wanted them to see this paradise with its turquoise ocean and powder white sand and for this beauty to act as a contrast to the darkness that lies within many of the characters themselves.

Maldives (c) Nikki Smith

Maldives (c) Nikki Smith

Map of locations in The Guests

I have been lucky enough to visit the Maldives several years ago – I couldn’t believe how stunning it was. How remote the islands feel once you travel away from the mainland of Malé! When you stand on the beach that runs around the circumference of each resort you can see straight out over the ocean all the way to the horizon. There’s not a single thing (apart from perhaps another island in the distance!) impeding your view . I don’t think there is anywhere else in the world like it.

Maldives (c) Nikki Smith

Maldives (c) Nikki Smith

Map of locations in The Guests

I had great fun researching different resorts for the book to get ideas. There are 164 resort islands in the Maldives. In total they stretch over an area of 90,000 square km, but only 298 square km of that is land; the rest is water.

I wanted the island where The Guests is set to be some way away from Malé,. So, I located it in the south of the country where some islands even have an hour time difference to the capital.

Map of locations in The Guests

I watched YouTube videos and insta reels and kept a mood board of photos of some of the most glamorous and opulent resorts I could find. There were many of them! Some of these resorts cost thousands of pounds to stay in per night and I have pored over luxury overwater bungalows. Some had slides that lead into the ocean. Others had underwater restaurants where you dine looking out at the incredible marine life through huge glass windows. Then there’s the house reefs that are packed with coral and hundreds and hundreds of tropical fish.

On the way to the island resort! (c) Nikki Smith

On the way to the island resort! (c) Nikki Smith

Map of locations in The Guests

The Maldives has a reputation for being paradise on earth. I chose the location not just because it is luxurious, but also because it is so remote.

To get to the mainland from the Asani Fushi resort (as with all Maldivian islands) guests have to either fly in a seaplane, or travel by boat. When things start to go wrong for the Hamilton family, they are completely cut off from civilisation and external help. They don’t have anyone to turn to apart from other guests and staff on the island who all have their own agendas! I think that sense of isolation and claustrophobia really heightens tensions in the book.

Maldives (c) Nikki Smith

Maldives (c) Nikki Smith

Map of locations in The Guests

The Guests is a fast-paced thriller primarily designed to entertain readers. However, I also wanted the book to address some important issues that are sadly affecting the Maldives. Climate change is affecting us all. Rising sea levels mean that by 2100 the Maldives could cease to exist as all the atolls will be submerged underwater. I wanted to show some of the environmental challenges facing the islands – for the local native Maldivians as well as tourists – and how tourists can be more thoughtful and aware of these when they visit.

Map of locations in The Guests

One of the things that shocked me was reading the statistic that in 2019, 280,000 plastic bottles were discarded in Male every single day, and there used to be few opportunities for recycling – most rubbish was simply burned. Fortunately, this situation will hopefully change as following the Bali summit in 2022 the Maldives have committed to banning single use plastics from March 2024, and more waste recycling facilities are now being built.

Maldives (c) Nikki Smith

Maldives (c) Nikki Smith

Map of locations in The Guests

The setting is an amalgamation of fact and fiction. Some locations, such as underwater restaurants, do exist, but I have added certain features and located them on a fictional island as I needed to have things in specific places for the plot to work! Without giving too much away, The Guests is structured so each chapter is part of a countdown and as one character was based in the U.K., it turned out to be quite a challenge to manage this across two different time zones.

Map of locations in The Guests

I hope you enjoy finding out how the Hamilton’s’ trip of a lifetime turns into the holiday from hell – thank you for reading!

 

Booktrail Boarding Pass:  The Guests

Twitter: @Mrssmithmunday

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