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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Update on THE PIRATE QUEEN

The Pirate Queen is my first crack at historical romance. The idea for the book came to me as I considered the name of a flower my friend had picked for me, and I thought, "What kind of character would have this name?" And then it hit me: "A pirate queen. Obviously. Who is also a [spoiler removed]. Obviously. In the Caribbean. Yessss." Thus, Captain Quin was born.

And then the hero, Captain Eduard Sharpe, appeared, and it just so happened that one of his parents was Spanish. (Which explains the unusual spelling of his name. It was Eduardo until his mother abandoned him and his father when Eduard was 11 or 12, at which point he tried to swear off his Spanish ancestry.)

Do you know very much about the historical events that led to piracy in the Caribbean? I didn't before I watched this History Channel documentary.




It turns out that it all started because the Spanish had convinced the Pope to declare that all the territory in the Americas (excepting the easternmost tip of South America) belonged to Spain. So the Spanish set to raping and pillaging and sending all the Incan, Mayan and Aztec gold and silver back to Europe by the boatload (literally), and England and Holland were like, "Hey! That's not fair! We want some of that." And they hired thieves and cast-offs and men in search of adventure to go out to the Caribbean and attack Spanish ships and keep most of the loot. They needed a special license, of course, called a privateering license, but sometimes crews attacked Spanish ships without the license and the English magistrates looked the other way.

But then in 1701 there was an all-out war between the French and Spanish on one side and the English and Dutch on the other, which ended in 1713 with a treaty, and suddenly England and Holland had trading rights in the Americas, too, and privateering was no longer the fashion.

So here you had thousands of men - seasoned, ruthless killers whose whole (admittedly short) adult lives had been spent capturing ships or invading forts, murdering Spaniards and taking their treasure - who were suddenly out of work. Not only that, but the very thing they were really good at and had hitherto been rewarded for was now outlawed. So what the hell do you *think* is going to happen? It's going to become a free-for-all, that's what. And that's exactly what happened.

Which brings me back to Captain Quin, who is English, and Captain Eduard Sharpe, who is half-Spanish (and looks it). It was a fortunate accident on my part to put them on opposite sides of the English-Dutch vs. Spanish-French war. And although The Pirate Queen takes place in 1717, four years after the treaty was signed, there's likely still enough prejudice between the nationalities to fuel some fiery conflict. Oh boy! :D

I've been doing more planning and research on this WIP so far, so I don't have much written, but I can offer you this very short excerpt:
“Why not stop pirating? Become a legitimate captain of a legitimate ship?” 
Quin was stunned. Not be a pirate? It had honestly never occurred to her before. She felt herself blushing and put a scowl on her face to hide her embarrassment. 
“I might as well suggest that you stop being a man or stop being a Spaniard,” she countered. “A pirate is what I am, Mister Sharpe. There is no other way for me.” 
“What have you got against Spaniards?”

“What have you got against pirates?!”
Oh, yes. This is a fun one to write, indeed. :)

Words written: 1,163 (goal = 80,000)

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