I took part in a Piratical Blog Hop
which was in the form of Q & A
- this is what I answered:
What made you want to write about pirates in the first place? What is it about them that intrigued you as a writer?
I loved the movie Pirates of the Caribbean – Curse of the Black Pearl because it was fun, had a fine blend of adventure, romance, action, humour and fantasy. None of it was meant to be taken seriously, it was entertainment only, a movie to sit back and enjoy. As an avid reader I searched for adult novels that had a similar content, and while I found many superb “straight” nautical fiction there was nothing with that tongue-in-cheek sailor’s yarn element. So I wrote my own.
I researched the historical side of piracy and immediately found several interesting actual events that would fit well into an exciting nautical adventure that had a touch of fantasy included. To be able to weave an imaginative story into factual truth is great fun to write - and read, I hope!
Tell us a little about your book, Sea Witch, that you’re giving away for this event.
Sea Witch is the first of several Voyages – there are four at the moment with the fifth being written and a sixth to follow. There will probably be more.
The Time : The Golden Age of Piracy - 1716.
The Place : The Pirate Round - from the South African Coast to the sun drenched Islands of the Caribbean.
Escaping the bullying of his elder half-brother, from the age of fifteen Jesamiah Acorne has been a pirate with only two loves - his ship and his freedom. But his life is to change when he and his crewmates unsuccessfully attack a merchant ship off the coast of South Africa.
He is to meet Tiola Oldstagh an insignificant girl, or so he assumes - until she rescues him from a vicious attack, and almost certain death, by pirate hunters. And then he discovers what she really is; a healer, a midwife - and a white witch. Her name, an anagram of "all that is good." Tiola and Jesamiah become lovers, but the wealthy Stefan van Overstratten, a Cape Town Dutchman, also wants Tiola as his wife and Jesamiah's jealous brother, Phillipe Mereno, is determined to seek revenge for resentments of the past, a stolen ship and the insult of being cuckolded in his own home.
When the call of the sea and an opportunity to commandeer a beautiful ship - the Sea Witch - is put in Jesamiah's path he must make a choice between his life as a pirate or his love for Tiola. He wants both, but Mereno and van Overstratten want him dead.
In trouble, imprisoned in the darkness and stench that is the lowest part of his brother's ship, can Tiola with her gift of Craft, and the aid of his loyal crew, save him?
Using all her skills Tiola must conjure up a wind to rescue her lover, but first she must brave the darkness of the ocean depths and confront the supernatural being, Tethys, the Spirit of the Sea, an elemental who will stop at nothing to claim Jesamiah Acorne's soul and bones as a trophy.
In reality, pirates were awful people that most of us wouldn’t want to run across if we were sailing a ship, but in our culture they’ve been romanticized so often that it’s almost expected by some folk. Do you have trouble balancing reality with the romanticized aura of the pirate, or do you not worry too much about that when crafting your tales?
I wanted to blend the humour, romance and fantasy of the Pirates of the Caribbean and Indiana Jones movies with the action of James Bond and Hornblower, while adding the factual authenticity of Patrick O‘Brian’s Jack Aubrey novels. But above all I wanted to write something that was a fun read, albeit with the darker side of life in the early 1700’s included. Pirates were not alone in being “not nice” people: this was when African slavery was on the rise, when a child could be hanged for stealing a loaf of bread or poaching a rabbit; when a woman could be whipped, semi naked in public for committing adultery. When men preferred to join the army or navy in preference to facing the squalid conditions of being jailed. Death in its many various guises was harsh, life was even harsher. So no, my direction when writing was not intended to portray the reality, but the excitement of adventure, and the relationship between a man who would give his life for the woman he loves, and she could be hanged as a witch if ever she became careless. Having said that, my Captain Jesamiah Acorne is no pushover – he is quick to laugh but formidable when angry. He has his priorities and killing someone before they kill him is one of them. My novels have adult content, violence, sex and a little bad language. In that sense, they reflect reality.
How often do you turn to real-life pirates for inspiration in creating your characters or plot?
The reality behind the romantic view is essential for research. What I enjoy is taking the facts of an event and using it to create a plausible imaginative storyline. My nautical references are as accurate as I can get them, (thanks to James L Nelson who edits for me), but I also have scenes that are fantasy. My female protagonist is, after all, a White Witch, but I prefer to use a more believable aspect to her Craft - more The Force in Star Wars rather than the magic wand of Harry Potter.
What I especially enjoy is adding a twist in the tale concerning the historical facts: for instance, in the third Voyage, Bring It Close, Jesamiah is instrumental in planning the well-recorded factual demise of Blackbeard. But Jesamiah firmly states that he will not have his name written down in any official book – which is why you will not find him documented anywhere.
What makes your series different from other piratical adventures out there? What’s your main goal with your pirate stories?
The Sea Witch Voyages are not meant to be taken seriously – they are adult sailor’s yarn-type novels. I believe they are different from other nautical adventures because I include a fantasy element as well as accurate sailing detail and historical events. Mine are pure escapism, designed to take the reader into that imaginative world of a cracking good read.
My main goal? Well, every author dreams of heading a best seller list or achieving a movie or TV drama deal – of course I would love those, but my main aim is much simpler, although as an Indie Writer not necessarily easy to achieve. I want readers to enjoy Captain Jesamiah Acorne’s adventures and maybe fall in love with his charismatic charm as much as I have.
Bonus Question: If you had to design a pirate flag for yourself, what would it look like?
Oh that’s easy! Royal blue with two cutlasses in white, with an acorn and oak leaf in the centre where they cross.
Why the acorn and oak leaf? Well, because of Jesamiah’s name. The cutlasses because he is an (ex) pirate and the Royal Blue colour? That is because Jesamiah wears blue ribbons laced into his hair. He uses them in a variety of ways – for giving as a token after a night of pleasure in a brothel (before he met Tiola, I might add), for urgent repairs when cordage or rope is not available, or for the real reason – they make a handy, quickly accessible garrote…
You can read more about the books Here on my WEBSITE
or purchase Sea Witch
Amazon.co,uk KINDLE £2.99
Amazon.co.uk PAPERBACK £10.99
Amazon.com KINDLE $4.86
Amazon.com PAPERBACK $17.15
and now for a treat: a short excerpt from the Work In Progress:
ON THE ACCOUNT (unedited)
BRISTOL , ENGLAND
The Llandoger Trow was several minutes’ walk away, on King Street to the far side of Queen’s Square. Jesamiah was tempted to turn right around and march ‘Cesca in the opposite direction but the nearer the docks, the poorer Bristol became and anyway, the pressing crowd made the idea impossible; they were wedged into the crush, Jesamiah’s back and shoulders beginning to ache with all the patting and thumping.
“I ain’t a bloody horse!” he growled at one man over-enthusiastically slapping him. Scowled as a women planted her mouth firmly on his for a kiss. She smelt of gin, urine and baby milk. He pushed her away when her hand groped at his crotch. Sheltering ‘Cesca from the worst of the scrum, he finally managed to steer her towards an alley and hastily ducked down it.
“Not the most pleasant of places,” ‘Cesca said, wrinkling her nose at the stench. “Bristol is not exactly comely where aroma is concerned is it?”
“Few ports are, especially when they are as big as this one.”
They passed a warehouse with doors locked firmly and a man sitting on a stool cradling an old musket that had seen better days. He stood as they approached, half pointed the weapon.
“What you want ‘ere?”
“Nothing, nothing!” Jesamiah responded, smiling with charm and making it clear they were merely passing through. He indicated his hip showing he had no sword. “I carry no weapons, we are taking a short-cut that is all.”
“To where? This ope don’t go nowhere worth goin’ to.”
The man lowered the musket, sat down again. “Then ye’ll be ‘eadin’ in tha contrary direction. Ye want north, not west.” He pointed to another alley to the right. “Take that’n then the next ope starboard an’ you’ll find yerself at Queen’s Square. Straight over an’ you’ll not miss it.”
Jesamiah nodded his thanks, felt in his pockets for a shilling and was dismayed to recall that not only did he have no weaponry, he had no money either.
‘Cesca noticed his dilemma, felt with her hand through the narrow pocket opening in her gown for the cloth bag hanging beneath. She found some coins, handed them to the man with a smile. “Thank you Sir. Most kind.”
He propped the musket against the wall, and leering, got to his feet again. “You can keep yer money mi’ssus if’n I can ‘ave a squeeze o’them plump titties o’yorn.” He had moved closer, his hands outstretched ready to grasp at ‘Cesca. Jesamiah was quicker.
He had noticed the dagger poked into the man’s belt the moment he had first stood up, within seconds it was in Jesamiah’s hand and at the man’s throat.
“Now then mate, you have got the rare opportunity to make a life-changing decision. You can apologise to the lady and sit your arse down on that stool of yours, or you can take a journey to meet your maker. Now, what is it t’be?”
The man glowered, weighing whether this fellow meant what he said or not, decided, when the blade pricked into his skin and blood trickled beneath his grimy neckband, that he did.
“’Scuse me mi’ssus, I meant no ‘arm” he muttered.
It would do. Jesamiah grunted and slipping the knife into his own belt offered ‘Cesca his arm and walked off without a backward glance. A few yards up the alley he uncurled ‘Cesca’s hand and removing the coins put them into his coat pocket. “I feel somewhat poor without a single penny to my name,” he said.
“I would lend you more, my dear, but alas, those were the only coins I have. I am now the penniless one.”
“Well, then Maid Marion, I guess I will just have to play the part of Robin Hood and relieve old Henry Jennings or Ailie Doone of their silver won’t I?”
You will find a sneak preview of the first chapter HERE on my website
And On The Account will be ready soon... promise!