Now that the book is out and word has spread far and wide, I have received a number of invitations, from here in Australia and from Sri Lanka, to attend launches and functions to promote the book.

Visiting Sri Lanka in the past has been all about visiting relatives and friends, and introducing the wonders of the island to my son who was born in Australia, and to others who accompanied us. I consider myself very fortunate to have visited most parts of the island and every time I go back, I learn more about this amazing island and the wonderful people who live on it.

Writing the book has made me want to know even more about the land of my birth. Researching the story has opened my eyes to what this ancient country has to offer and I am anxious to go back, this time to visit places off the beaten track and collect material for my next book and the one after.

Sri Lanka is a country full of history, mysticism and natural beauty, mostly unknown to people living outside the island. Combining these three elements into my next narrative is a challenge I have set for myself.

The trip I am planning will be arduous and long. I will travel up the east coast to Mannar and the town of Talaimannar which is just 29 kms from the town of Dhanushkodi in India. During the time of the British Raj, the Indo-Lanka railway connected the two countries by use of a railway ferry from this small town.

A side trip to the Giants Tank (Yoda Wewa) and the town of Madhu, a major site of Roman Catholic pilgrimage, before driving to the tiny village of Pooneryn on the largely neglected A-32, a highway only by name.

Pooneryn is historically important because of its location on the southern shores of the Jaffna lagoon. The Portuguese constructed a fort late in their administration and the Dutch expanded it when they took over. Both the Portuguese and the Dutch together with their possessions in South India, elevated the region to one trading entity where considerable profit was generated by the sale of elephants, cotton goods, cinnamon, rice, arecanuts and salt.

Crossing the lagoon on the newly built Sangupiddy causeway, I will enter the Jaffna Peninsula and stay in Jaffna, visiting Keerimalai, Kayts and Point Pedro, places that I have only read about.

Back south through Elephant Pass, a narrow strip of land named for the elephants that crossed the lagoon to feast on the luscious fruits and vegetables found in the rich red soil of the peninsula. Elephant Pass was also a strategic military base since 1760, when the Portuguese built a fort, which was later rebuilt and garrisoned by the Dutch and later by the British. It is also the site of many battles during the civil war.

Into the  arid jungles of the Vanni which was the battleground of the separatist movement and east to the seaport of Trincomalee, located on one of the deepest natural harbours in the world. I will travel further down the east coast to the pristine beaches of Passekudah and Batticaloa, and visit Thoppigala and the Knuckles Range, where a series of isolated cloud forests harbour a variety of flora and fauna, some of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Into the central highlands to visit the mist covered hills of Haputale and Hatton where the sheer escarpment drops for almost a kilometre to the Sabaragamuwa province. Here I will visit a tea estate or two to sample some of the finest teas in the world. And finally, I will drive down into the lowlands to experience the myths and mysteries of the south which form an important part of Sinhalese folklore in Sri Lanka.

While I am here I will visit the town of Galle where my mother was born. It is the best example of a fortified city built by the Portuguese in South and Southeast Asia, showing the interaction between Portuguese architectural styles and native traditions. The city was extensively fortified by the Dutch from 1649 onwards. The Galle fort is a world heritage site and is the largest remaining fortress in Asia built by European occupiers.

I know I will come away with a reawakened purpose, with stories to narrate in the ongoing saga of Sacred Tears.