Well, here goes. This is the first real blog post I've ever actually written. Sure, people have been telling me to do it for a while, but frankly I am pretty terrible at blogging--and more than a little scared of it. So, here goes nothing.
With my debut novel, The Isle of Gold, releasing in a few short weeks (eek!), I thought the most interesting way to introduce myself to the blogosphere might be to tell you a little bit about the inspiration behind the book, and share of my favorite pieces of "pirate folklore" and the real research that was brought into the story.
First and foremost, I love all-things nautical and have always been enchanted my tales of the sea, particular things like sirens, krakens, and shipwrecks. One of the earliest creative fiction pieces I can remember writing was a story about a child aboard the Titanic who was rescued by a mermaid (I was also really into The Little Mermaid when I was a girl, both the Disney version and the original story). Since then, if it was a book, or a movie, or any other piece of media about pirates or life at sea, I've consumed it.
I am particularly obsessed with odd ocean phenomena, like flashes of green lights on the horizon at sunset (someone caught a gorgeous one here), frost flowers, and crazy things that might lurk in the deepest parts of the ocean (btw, if you've never seen the 80s class The Abyss, you should.)
A lot of research went into writing this story, and I tried to balance "real" history with fantasy. I spent time touring old wooden boats and asking way too many questions of anyone knowledgable who would answer. I went to Nassau to tour the pirate museum and sit on the beaches of the Caribbean. I drank a lot of rum. You get the picture.
In the folklore aspect, I wanted to bring in as many of the most quintessential legends I could--Davey Jones (a real sailor, a euphemism, you decide!), Charybdis, the kraken, the Caleuche, Melusine... all of these are very real, very old seafaring legends, and I wanted to be as true to their roots as possible, while integrating them in a new way. Of course, this is a story of connection--land and sea, love and loss, attraction and denial--and I wanted to weave those things throughout every aspect of the story. It is my hope that everyone who reads this book comes away with something a little bit different, and that the characters speak to them in a personal and profound way.
I'd always assumed I'd write a book, or maybe a series, about pirates at some point, but it was never something I thought I'd write first. In fact, I was working on a completely different project when the inspiration for IOG came, took hold, and usurped everything. The plot of the story was actually based on a dream I can now only barely remember, but the two things that stuck were the symbiotic and sometimes insidious love-hate relationship between the land and the sea, and the adventure of finding your own identity when the world seems to have decided it for you.
Well, that's it for the first blog of Writing in the Dark. Next time, maybe I'll tell you about some of my favorite books and the authors who have inspired me.