by Mimi Sebastian
I write urban fantasy/paranormal romance, but another side of me has clamored for attention or maybe its schizophrenia. Who knows? But I found myself writing a pirate historical because I have always loved pirates. A far cry from Urban Fantasy, but, oh yes, pirates. Errol Flynn had me at arrrrgh with his first swing on the rat line in Captain Blood. Or maybe Tyrone Powers in The Black Swan. Maybe it’s the black boots, the swagger, or the devil may care attitude, but pirate heroes are my ultimate bad boys. (And I did love Depp as Jack Sparrow in the first Pirates, but that series lost it’s footing. I actually looved Geoffrey Rush as Barbossa)
And I mean pirate heroes. Not a privateer or falsely accused sailor. Like vampires who actually drink blood, I like my pirates to plunder from the East India Company and give to the disenfranchised. Okay, I know they probably had bad teeth and smelled like bilge, but this is romance, dammit.
I read a very excellent book, The Republic of Pirates, by Colin Woodard. Woodard focused on three of the more successful Caribbean pirates: Charles Vane, Edward Teech a.k.a. Blackbeard, and Black Sam Bellamy, and the British patriot, Woodes Rogers, who eventually played a huge role in ending the Golden Age of Piracy (1715 – 1725). A great book worthy of a read. It inspired me to write, Devil’s Island, and inspired my hero, Captain Boone Wilder.
In Boone Wilder, I realized my vision of a sexy, uncompromising hero. Uncompromising until he meets his match in Sabine Tanner, my heroine, of course. I modeled Boone after Black Sam Bellamy. If you read his story (also check out the National Geographic webpage dedicated to his discovered shipwreck, The Whydah), he’s often called the Pirate Prince. He was the Robin Hood of pirates, uncompromising 🙂 and dedicated to evening out the playing field (the first 99%). What’s interesting about Bellamy and Blackbeard, according to Woodard, there’s no record, in nearly 300 attacks on shipping between the two of them, of either Blackbeard or Bellamy killing a captive. (They may have roughed them up a bit.)
But the fascinating story of Bellamy doesn’t end there. The legend goes, he loved a young woman, Maria Hallett, who he left behind in Maine to seek fortune and fame. He was on his way back to her, loaded with treasure, when they hit a terrible storm and wrecked off the coast of Cape Cod. Three of the crew survived only to be taken prisoner and tried for piracy. The Whydah Pirate Museum in Massachusetts contains a wonderful exhibit which I had the fortune of seeing when it traveled to the Arizona Science Museum…all of which led to Devil’s Island, me hearties, unfurling its sails Feb. 3. For more information, check out www.searoverspassion.com. Since Devil’s Island starts with a pirate hanging, I leave you with the song Gallows Pole by Led Zepplin.
Captain Boone Wilder leads a cadre of powerful and notorious pirates that rule the West Indies. He’s survived the cutthroat’s life, bearing the scars to prove it. Fearless, he seeks only the freedom of the seas and an enemy he’s hunted with a vengeance for years. When Boone waylays a fat merchant vessel bound for Port Royal, he discovers more than he bargained for in the luscious bounty of Miss Sabine Tanner. But Miss Tanner hides more than tempting curves in her skirts. When Boone finds her sneaking about the Port Royal taverns, meeting with dubious captains, he’s determined to learn what devious game she’s playing.
The daughter of a condemned pirate captain, Sabine Tanner took to the seas to clear her father’s name and locate his legendary treasure. When her ship bound for Port Royal is boarded, she’s captured by the sun-bronzed, muscular Captain Wilder. While the man is dangerously attractive, she knows from experience that Wilder is nothing but a scabrous bilge rat. Circumstances force her to sail with the scoundrel to find her father’s ship, lost on the phantom Devil’s Island. Driven by opposing agendas, will they survive the hidden truths, or does their greatest threat lie with each other?