What are your favorite books and authors to read? If I’m going to read a book, it has to have romance or adventure. I love Jane Austen and have read all of her books. My favorite author though would be Patrick O’Brian. He wrote MASTER AND COMMANDER and turned it into an addictive series. I don’t see how anyone could get enough of Jack Aubrey (O’Brian’s hero). As far as just picking up a paperback to hit the beach, I love Clive Cussler.
Can you tell me little about what got you started in writing? I had a lot of encouragement in my childhood. After winning an Honorable Mention in a national poetry contest with Scholastic, I felt like I really had a talent I could strive to cultivate. I didn’t always pursue publication because it wasn’t the right time, but I have always made writing a part of my life. It’s the portal through which I express myself.
Do you have a routine when you write? I write during school hours when I have the most quiet. Raising four sons, three of whom are teenagers, makes for a lot of distraction (but in a good way). Sometimes it’s almost too quiet and I have to run a fan for white noise! I also stay up and write through the night when I’m into a project. I have to balance writing with other responsibilities life, so that takes some juggling. The important thing for me is to schedule and commit to writing times so I make progress. It’s too easy to come up with excuses for why you can’t.
Do you have any tips for a writer starting out? Besides “Just Do It,” I think I’d have to advise getting some good books. There are a lot of books out there that explain the fundamentals, and they really can help open your eyes to the technical process if you’re new at it. One book I came across that helped me tremendously was HOOKED, by Les Edgerton. I was having a hard time with my first few chapters and he helped me see what I needed and what I didn’t.
You just released a new e-book called The Privateer. Could you tell us a little about it? THE PRIVATEER is my take on what kind of men actually lived and endured piracy during the Golden Age. My hero, Julius Bertrand, secretly privateers for the British. He has a pardon for past piracy and uses his experience to seek fame and fortune. Unfortunately old enemies want him out of the way when a secret shipment of diamonds sails through the Caribbean. Their attempts to get rid of him puts people he cares about in harm’s way.
What made pirates appealing? Are they better than ninjas? (laughs) Where TREASURE ISLAND made pirates intriguing, I think Disney’s take on pirates with the 2003 film has given them a whole new image of charm and appeal. Everyone loves a rebel, and pirates glam up the whole rebellion thing with ships, sword fighting, and buried treasure. It’s a pity that the truth is they were cold-hearted thieves and murderers; we all want to believe there had to be one good guy in the bunch to redeem them as a species. As far a ninjas, pirates were a lot less honorable. They were out for themselves and I don’t think they got quite the same kind of training. If you put Bruce Lee and Jack Sparrow in a room, much as I love old Jack, I’d have to put my money on Bruce every time.
How does The Privateer's setting and characters compare to what readers may be used to seeing about pirates in pop culture (like in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies)? That’s a good question and I’m glad you asked it. THE PRIVATEER is not a tribute to the Pirates of the Caribbean series. It certainly did inspire me to ask questions like, Could there really have been good pirates? Could a British officer and a pirate ever form a friendship? And what kind of smart, plucky female might actually fall for a plunderer? THE PRIVATEER is set around the same era, 1729, about a decade after Blackbeard’s demise. I took artistic license and created my own island, San Madrid, but I set it in the Leeward Islands between Antigua and St. Kitts so that I could use their history and political figures to put a story together. My hero Julius Bertrand would probably have tolerated Jack Sparrow but only to a degree. I think Jack would make Bertrand grudgingly laugh. Bertrand has a pirating past and will do what he must to get ahead, but there is a noble streak running through him. He works with the British Navy and this gives him a sense of self-worth. Though his seeking social status colors him somewhat shallow in the beginning, this is what opens him up to love and putting up a fight when his past comes back to haunt him. Maybe if Jack Sparrow would have had that taste of acknowledgment, the movies would have ended differently.
Do you have a favorite part in the book? Once the true action begins to unravel, as one reviewer has said, it’s a runaway train. I love the chase sequences aboard ships in the final chapters. My battle scenes are all figments of my imagination and long hours of research melded together. Of course, I have never lived aboard a wooden ship of the line and engaged in combat, so I hope I did the scenes justice. It is an amazing feat to wage war by floating vessel with all that fire power. Those passages were my favorite to write and are still my favorite to read. I do have one special scene that is dear to my heart. My favorite emotional turning point would be when Bertrand realizes he has nothing left but a girl who loves him. In that moment, he understands nothing else he had, has, or will have, will ever matter as much as being cherished. He goes so far as to contemplate piracy--that past he has let go of--in order to get her back.
Would you fall for a pirate? If I were a literary character, absolutely. Despite that the Golden Age was a terrible time, in many respects I do believe there were some good men out there, even some good pirates, who meant no harm. The courage it takes to live a life at sea--who wouldn’t want a man with guts like that? As far as in reality, those pirates are some nasty villains. I wouldn’t want to rub shoulders with one in real life. It’s much easier to take risks from behind the pen.
Author’s Website: www.daniellethorne.jimdo.com
Publisher’s Website: www.awe-struck.net