The Pirate Captain by Kerry Lynne

Today I am posting an author interview that I did with Kerry Lynne, the author of The Pirate Captain. I hope you all fall in love with her and her book as much as I did!!

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How would you describe The Pirate Captain to someone who has yet to read it?

As a pirate novel, The Pirate Captain is unlike anything they might have read. It’s not a romance novel, although it does have a powerful romantic thread. (One woman on a ship with two hundred men; how could you not?) Neither is it a Treasure Island wannabe, although it does have a good deal of adventure and action. You might describe it as Pirates of the Caribbean meets Master and Commander and not an “argh!!” is uttered.

It’s the story of scarred and damaged people (both physically and mentally) and how they manage to get through life.

It’s the story of trust, or rather, the lack of, in both other people and that Providence will ever smile again.

The nautical aspect was my greatest worry. If you’re dealing with pirates, you have to have ships and sailing, but that can be overwhelming, and hence scary, to the landlubber. I wanted this book to be a stepping stone into that world, a little finger crooking, saying “Com’mon, it’s safe. You can do it.” In that spirit, I made a special effort to keep the “nauticalese” to a minimum and introduced it slowly, allowing the reader to learn as he/she reads along. Luckily Cate Mackenzie, the heroine through whose eyes most of this is seen, isn’t a very good sailor. There’s a glossary pdf available at our website www.piratecaptain.net (where there are several excerpts as well), which is included at the end of the e-book version. In the meantime, I know the purists would crucify me, because it’s not 100% accurate.

Which part of writing/researching The Pirate Captain was the most personally interesting to you?

The pirates themselves are a fascination. You might call them one of the first democracies, since their captains, and often their officers, were elected. They were also one of the first limited corporations, their only pay being a portion of the profits, the shares. Every ship had its “corporate charter”, a ship’s code that every man must sign. Many of those contained the first disability insurance, allowing special portions for injury, with an escalating scale for severity. They were business contracts, but the main point was to assure there would be none of the abuses common on Navy or merchant ships, where the captain was “the only under God.”

There are relatively few first hand records of pirates from anyone other than magistrates, enraged citizens or captives (none being what you could call impartial.) A vast number of pirates couldn’t write. Many of the ship’s logs (their daily diary, if you will) were destroyed when they were captured, lest they be incriminated by their own hand. Some people have referred to the pirates as an 18th Century version of Hell’s Angels, pillaging and terrifying towns. Others have compared them to rock stars, because in many places they were wildly popular (pockets full of money can make anyone popular). I tried to see them as all that, but also as people, with all the same needs and goals as anyone else.

The other fascination in research was learning how much of our modern daily language comes from the Golden Age of Sailing. Scuttlebutt, bitter end, toe the line, slush fund, three squares a day, worth his salt, between the Devil and the deep were all from back then. There are scads more. The language of those mariners is still with us.

A historical fiction writer’s greatest challenge is gleaning the modern sound from your prose and finding the period voice. My greatest treasure is a set of Patrick O’Brian audiobooks a friend of mine gave me for Christmas. It helped with the period, the British accent and the nauticalese. Reading and listening are far different things; each employs different parts of the brain. My advice to anyone writing historical fiction is to find something of this nature that relates to the period in which you are writing and listen, long and hard, perhaps daily as you drive. It will get your ear trained, and help you “hear” your descriptive and character voices.

What are you reading right now? Are there any authors (living or dead) that you would name as influences?

I was a thick book lover from the very first. I read Gone with the Wind and Michener’s Hawaii every summer from the time I was about twelve, until well after college (where I unfortunately developed the habit of reading like I was going to be tested). I was a big lover of the Westward Movement in US History, and so read such things as The Big Sky, Lonesome Dove and Centennial. You’ll notice the love of thick books didn’t change. If it’s thin, I won’t pick it up. Later, a friend introduced me to Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, and I had found a real home then. That was when I thought “I want to write like this!” She was also the one who gave me permission to start someplace other than “Chapter One, page one.”

What was the book that most influenced your life — and why?

Gone with the Wind was probably my coming of age book. It introduced me to historical fiction. Gabaldon’s Outlander came at just the right time, and led to a very long sequence of events.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

The theme to The Pirate Captain is a little different. In most books, the plot revolves around the hero or heroine striving to achieve something, their prize. In The Pirate Captain, Cate (and Nathan Blackthorne, the hero, for that matter) gain what their prize straightaway. The story hinges on what lengths a person is willing to go to in order to keep what they want.

My main goal was to create a world and characters into which the reader could escape.

My dream was to be told “I couldn’t put it down” or “I didn’t want to stop reading.” It’s happened a couple times, but I don’t think a writer could ever hear that too much.

What inspired you to write your first book? Like so many, being one with a vivid imagination, I did a lot of writing in high school, some of it what we would call fan-fiction today. My Creative Writing teacher had suggested I try to publish some short stories and novellas. In college, a couple history professors urged that I should try to publish some of my papers. Life got in my way after that.

Then came the day that every time I walked through the living room my husband was watching Pirates of the Caribbean on TV. One of the movie channels was running it seemingly day and night. He kept insisting that I should sit down and watch it, so being the dutiful wife, I did. I hooted and jeered, pointing out all the inaccuracies and unlikelihood’s, but my husband just kept saying “Don’t over-think it. Don’t over-think it.” So I did.

I’m not quite sure what happened, but the imagination was triggered once more. I got involved with some online writing groups. I discovered that there was a whole world of people like me, who had stories constantly buzzing around in their heads. I think fan-fiction is a great venue to practice and hone your skills, because you already have an eager audience with common interests, everyone learning to write together. Eventually, however, I found the canon characters were too limiting. I wanted to stretch out and explore, so enter Cate Mackenzie and Nathanael Blackthorne, two very flawed people.

It’s natural that Nathan, my pirate captain, will be compared to Pirates of the Caribbean’s Jack Sparrow. Who the heck else is there in nearly sixty years? They are both pirates, both captains, both loveable jerks, but I’d like to think Nathan sets himself apart in a number of ways. Hopefully, the reader will see the differences and agree.  

What genre do you consider your book(s)? Umm… definitely historical fiction. There is a romance, but it’s most definitely not that genre. There is action and adventure, which keeps the male reader engaged. The sailor’s life at that time was rife with superstition, so there is a certain amount of the mystical, as well. When a cannonball misses a person, is it because he’s charmed or just lucky? When a wave almost washes someone overboard, is it because a sea goddess was trying to take him or did another god intervene?

Do you ever experience writer’s block? Oh, dear. It’s like asking if I ever experienced sadness or hunger. Of course! It’s all part of the creative process.

I worked in the art field for over 30 years. During that, I learned you can train the brain. Sit in the same room, in the same chair, at the same time of day, with the same music playing… whatever, and you can condition the brain to engage and produce.

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t work from beginning to end. I patchwork my way through. It’s great, because whatever pops into my head that day I go with it, and then worry about where it will fit into the grand scheme of the story later. Often it’s a line of dialogue (Nathan constantly chatters away in my head) or a bit of description, and I go with it from there.

Do you write an outline before every book you write? Egads. Just the thought gives me writer’s block. I have a general idea of where I’m going and how I’m going to get there. In the process, however, the characters often take over, taking me on their own journey.

Writing a novel is often more a matter of providing the stepping stones of getting from Point A to Point Z. I often think in terms of “Well, if I want this to happen, then this has to happen first, if it’s to make any sense. But in order for that to happen, I need this, this and this.” I often build characters backwards from what I need them to, but then every layer you add to a character leads to more complexities.

While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of the characters? Not necessarily become one of the characters (a bit of self-insertion is inevitable), but I do strive to be in their world, feel, see, smell, hear and so on. I really feel a writer who struggles to come up with characterizations in a scene or dialogue isn’t really in connection with that character or the world they are in. The more real the characters are to the writer, the more real they are going to be for the reader… and isn’t that the whole point?

Cate Mackenzie and Nathan Blackthorne have been with me for over six years. They have become dear friends, but they still surprise me, especially Nathan. I never know what is going to fall out of his mouth. I can’t imagine leaving them, so I have plans for several sequels.

Give us three “Good to Know” facts about you. Be creative. Tell us about your first job, the inspiration for your writing, any fun details that would enliven your page.

I have a painted Christmas ornament in the Smithsonian.

President Clinton took three additional ornaments I had painted to the Middle East Peace Talks.

My first time ever sailing was in a 22-foot boat on Lake Superior, 50 miles across to Isle Royale.

What else do you want your readers to know? Consider here your likes and dislikes, your interests and hobbies, your favorite ways to unwind — whatever comes to mind.

Talking about myself is neither comfortable or interesting.

A little about Kerry:

I was a history major in college and went into teaching.

That didn’t work, so I had two office careers.

That didn’t work either.

Through a circuitous sequence of events, I wound up in the decorative painting world, where I travel taught and published for some 30 years.

And then my hand wouldn’t work.

So I went back to what I knew: writing, history and sailing.

It remains to be seen if that is working.

Kerry and her book can be found at her website: http://www.piratecaptain.net and/or on  Facebook under “Pirate Captain”.

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My Freelance Ride…

Hey Everyone,I have decided to fill you all in on what I have done / am doing for freelance work, and which ones has made me the most money.

About a year and a half ago I was new to all of this and pretty clueless. I started a personal blog http://mycrazyfamilylife.wordpress.com and just used it like a diary. I had no idea what I was doing…at all.

One of my followers introduced me to http://www.examiner.com . I applied and was accepted. My follower earned $50 bucks and I was on a path to earning some money.

I learned from Examiner about another writing site, Yahoo! Contributor Network, so I started writing for them as well. (no $50 referral bonuses there though)

Money was slow, so I was still looking and I found http://www.freelancer.com . Boy, I kind of hit the jackpot with that one. I was making pretty good money writing different types of things for different people.

I then found http://www.elance.com and that looked a lot like Freelancer so I just looked…never did any jobs.

Now that I was getting the hang of “ghost writing” I was taking on more and more jobs. One day I sat back and looked at how many hours a day I was working and what I was getting paid. It made me pretty sad. I started feeling that I was worth quite a bit more for the time I was putting in.

I then realized that all of my ghost writing was being sold as ebooks everywhere and were selling like hot cakes!! Are you serious? My actual name wasn’t on them anywhere, hence, “ghost writing”. That was a little depressing.

I decided that if I am writing them, then I could find a way to publish them too. I did research and more research and found great information on it, and just as I was about to start the whole process, I found http://www.booktango.com . That was the best site that I have found to date. I write stories (the only requirement is that they need to be at least 2500 words or more) , I pick a cover and BAM, it is all published on all of the big sites like Amazon.

I write the story once and have residual income. The checks just keep coming in. I absolutely love it. So, since it takes like three months to get a check, I did some more research and found http://www.fiverr.com . I set up a gig to write 500 to 800 words for a personal story and have made decent money doing that. It is still not real-time affective, but they are quick and easy stories and I just love doing them. The experience in itself is priceless.

So that is where I am at. I am now writing my first novel to have self-published and am hoping that it will take off as well as some of my other short story ebooks.

That is it, you now know where I have been for the past year and how I have earned money. If you have any questions at all, just ask. 🙂

Goal Setting…

Are you ready for another one? ha ha Ready or not, here I come! I am interested in your goals that you would like to accomplish in the next six months. This is a writing blog, but I want to hear any and all goals that will be affecting your life from now until July.

Some of my (real/realistic) goals is to finish my novel, finish writing my monologue for Mirrors, be finishing my blog tour “successfully” and hopefully be at least half way through the rough draft of my next novel.

My unrealistic, but goals just the same is to be on the Today Show (for my writing, not for a crazy criminal caught on tape or something), be one of the hottest sellers on Amazon, make as much money as the Fifty Shades lady and on and on and on. Like I said, realistic or not, they are still goals. 🙂

So now I would love for you to share yours with me, and the world, and I will make a point of contacting each of you six months from now to do a follow-up. How does that sound? Which would be quite an honor if I am suddenly famous, don’t ya think? 🙂 Just playing, but seriously, we will do a follow-up blog to see how close we all were or if we exceeded our own expectations!

Setting goals and having deadlines are actually some of the best tools to have and work with. The old saying that “the busier you are the more that you get done” is so very true on many levels. You have too much time on your hands and you will tend to procrastinate way more than you would if you only had a couple of hours of free time. Just something to think about.

So come on, I am waiting for all of your goals!!

 

Editing…

Tonight’s topic is editing. How do you all go about this? I am horrible and very rarely ever even re-read what I have written, never mind have it edited, and I know that I will need to for my upcoming novel. So, how do we go about this?

Have some friends do it for free? Pay someone? Look on-line for people? I seriously have no idea. But I have been checking out a site that will post my book for free, but it needs to be edited by an “acceptable” editor. Acceptable? I am guessing that means not to have my children edit it, but who would they consider acceptable?

As always, all input is welcome!!! Thank you. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turning an eBook into a Print Book…

Another question to share with you all. I only know how to self-publish into an eBook, but what if I wanted to turn one of them into a hard cover or paper back? Can I do that?

What got me onto this question is because we all know how huge Book reads is, right? Well, they have book giveaways all of the time, but eBooks are not allowed. You need to deliver a physical book. How do we do that?

I know that there are “print on demand” companies but can you do both? Would I need to order a PDF format to use for this? So once again, please share all of your worldly wisdom with the rest of us. Thank you!!

Marketing

Alright, so we have written our book, designed our cover, self-published or had it published and now all we need to do is sit back watch them sell like hot-cakes? Ya, no, I didn’t think so. There needs to be some marketing somewhere.

Personally, I have yet to pay for marketing because I am very cheap. But I know that I need to for my book that I am working on. Duh, if I am going to be in Oprah’s Book Club, then I need Oprah to actually see my book, right? But how? What is the most bang for your buck in the world of books?

I have friends that are marketing Queens, but me…I am not even a marketing pawn. The best that I have is this blog that automatically sends posts to my Facebook and Twitter. Yup, that is it. I know, I know, you are so very surprised that you have never heard of me. I know, me too. ha ha ha Kidding aside, I need some serious marketing advice.

I am willing to put out a little bit of money for my book, but I want to make it count. I know there isn’t a guarantee of sales or anything, but I would like to get it in front of people’s faces that would actually consider buying it. I have mentioned the virtual book tour previously and am thinking that will run me about $299.00. So if you guys think that I could do better somewhere else for that kind of money, then please share with me. And I am not very familiar with some of the marketing terms, so please keep that in mind and keep it simple for me! 😉

Thank you all very much!.

Book Covers

So from what I have heard, book covers are very important. Apparently, it can really make an impact on whether someone will read it or not. It makes sense, and honestly, I can admit that I have been a big failure with this up to this point.

I am what some would call graphic design challenged. Yup, completely clueless. I will either take one of my own basic photos or choose from some of the free ones that companies offer. Throw the title and my name on it and call it good. I realize now that this should be one of the seven deadly sins, but like I said, I was clueless.

So, to say the least, I am investing some of my hard-earned money to have someone design my cover for my novel in progress. I have done some research and I think I have found someone who can do the job, and do it well. And it will not break the bank.

But as always, I would love to hear from all of you about how you go about creating these beautiful book covers that we all see? Are so talented that you do them on your own? Or do you hire someone? Please share with us.