April 19, 2016 by kitmoss
Pirate Code by Helen Hollick
Character interview with author Helen Hollick
HH : Hello! I believe you exist in Helen Hollick’s novel – what is the title of the book, and would you like to introduce yourself – who you are, what you do etc?
(Touches three-corner hat) Good day to you, Ma’am. Captain Jesamiah Acorne at your service (bows).
I was born on 4th December 1693, with my adventures, the Sea Witch Voyages starting in 1716. I am the Captain of the Sea Witch (a fine ship I might add – fast, bluff of bow…). There are some rascals who call me a pirate – well I guess they have the right of it as I was a pirate, but I signed Governor Woodes Rogers’ Book of Amnesty and swore an oath to steer a straight course from then on.
But you shouldn’t trust pirates to be honest about these things….
HH : Where and when are you? Are you a real historical person or did your author create you?
My Voyages take place in the early 1700’s – that glorious Golden Age of piracy. I’m only real in the world of fiction, but that’s real enough to them who read or write ain’t it?
Where would you expect to find a pirate – er, ex-pirate? A tavern or two maybe, or enjoyin’ m’self with a buxom wench (before I met m’wife o’course) But I guess the High Seas mostly, the Caribbean, the Colonial coast around Chesapeake Bay and Virginia – the Atlantic and England’s Devonshire (I had to ride a horse across Exmoor, resulting in a sore backside. You’d not think anything stuffed with hay and grass could be so hard to sit upon, would you?)
You’ll occasionally find me in Spain…but more than a few Dons keep threatening to hang me, so I try to avoid the place.
I guess I’ve seen the inside of a jail or two. A few near misses with the gallows…
HH. In a few brief sentences: what is the novel you feature in about?
Trouble follows me like a ship’s wake. Pirate Code is my second Voyage (the series starts with Sea Witch). I am in trouble. Big Trouble. All I want is to marry my girl, Tiola Oldstagh, and live contented aboard my ship. (Don’t tell anyone; Tiola is really a white witch) But unless I agree to retrieve some barrels of indigo and smuggle them out of the Spanish-held Caribbean island of Hispaniola, her sod of a butterball Dutch husband refuses to grant her a divorce .
The Governor of Nassau wants me to go there too, to help incite a rebellion, and Captain Henry Jennings wants me to find a lost spy. To cap it all, Commodore Vernon of the Royal Navy wants to expand his fleet and craves my ship for himself… thieving bugger (and they call me a pirate!)
As my hope for a quiet life tumbles about my boots, the onset of war with Spain scuppers everyone’s plans. Hispaniola is governed by a tyrant who has promised to hang, draw and quarter me if ever I set foot there again, (and believe me, he means it!) while the lovely widow, Senora Francesca Escudero, would prefer to seduce me… well, she is very attractive… ahem…
Like I said, trouble follows me like a ship’s wake, and I seem to have a problem keeping m’breeches buttoned…
HH : what gave your author the idea to write about you
We met on a beach in Dorset, England. She wanted to write a novel about pirates for adults – she’d met that Sparrer’ Feller in some old movie or other and wanted to read something similar, but could only find books for young adults. Treasure Island is a good read but there ain’t much adult stuff in it – if ye get m’meaning. So she decided to write her own adventure. While walking on the beach thinking up a plot she looked up and saw me. Took ‘er long enough to bloody notice me though!
“Hello Jesamiah Acorne,” she said.
We’ve been best mates ever since.
HH : Tell me about one or two of the other characters who feature with you – husband, wife, family? Who are some of the nice characters and who is the nastiest one?
Well my dearest Tiola must come first. (You say it Teo-lah, short and sweet, not Tee-oh-lah). She’s a healer and a midwife, but she’s also a white witch (don’t tell anyone, I’m not supposed to even be telling you!) She saved my life when I was shot and injured by pirate hunters in Cape Town. I guess she’s saved me several times since then. The nastiest? I’m tempted to mention my half-brother (who turned out not to be my half-brother, but that’s a different story) he was a b*stard and a bully. Made my childhood a misery – and tried to kill me. Mind you, I did try to kill him, and (laughs) I did steal his ship and swive his wife in his own house… that ain’t no excuse to murder me, though, is it? So, the nastiest is Edward Teach I reckon, Blackbeard ‘imself. Now he really is a nasty piece of work! I got blackmailed into dealing with him in Bring It Close...
HH : What is your favourite scene in the book?
Where I barge into Woodes Rogers’ house in Nassau and interrupt a dinner party. Tiola’s (ex) husband is there. I come that close to killing him.
HH : What is your least favourite? Maybe a frightening or sad moment that your author wrote.
The b*stard ex-hisband uses the law of the day to punish Tiola for her adultery with me. He ordered her stripped and flogged. Only I intervened and took the punishment for her. Not sure I should have done that… it bloody hurt!
HH : What are you most proud of about your author?
That she’s kept going despite storms and high seas that could have easily scuppered everything. Her ex-agent insisted she wrote Sea Witch for children – Helen stuck to her guns and refused, and the agent then dumped her. Helen, however, knew there was a niche market to fill – nautical adventures with a touch of fantasy that were not about the Napoleonic wars, and that would be popular pirate-based adventures for adults (with adult content) to enjoy.
I’m proud because she writes damn good yarns, gets her sailing details right – and because the Sea Witch Voyages are now being translated into Italian (and there might be some more ood news for other languages soon!) All we want now is the TV series – Sharpe and Poldark mixed with Indiana Jones, Hornblower and James Bond – but all authors dream of that.
In truth, all Helen really wants is for others to get to know me and share in my adventures. There ain’t no point in writing books that no one’s goin’ t’read, says she. An’ everyone should be given the opportunity to fall in love with me, says I!
HH : Has your author written other books about you? If not, about other characters?
How do you feel about your author going off with someone else!
Yes the Voyages are:
Bring It Close
Ripples In The Sand
and On the Account is to be published June 2016
She’s also written some other historical stuff – her novel The Forever Queen was a USA Today bestseller. You’ll find all her books on her website. She’s scribblin’ away at a non-fiction book about pirates at the moment, been commissioned by Amberley Press to do it. Of course I’m havin’ to give ‘er a lot o’the information she needs to put in it.
And me, jealous of those other fellers? Nah, I’m the best of them an’ the love of her life, savvy?
HH : As a character if you could travel to a time and place different to your own fictional setting where and when would you go?
I guess the Viking Age might appeal… all that raping and pillaging? Just right for a pirate! (laugh) It could be interestin’ to sail with that Horatio Nelson chap – now there was an’ old salt who knew the ropes!
Thank you that was really interesting!
Thank you ma’am (tips hat) an’ thank you to all the readers out there. Now stop the ditherin’ and row across to that Amazon Harbour – I’m eager to meet you all in more detail. I guess you’ll be feelin’ the same about me, eh? If not, well us pirates ‘ave ways of makin’ you interested…
You look somewhat familiar – have you bought a book before?
NO? Well, buy one NOW on an Amazon near you, Savvy?
Where can readers of this A-Z Blog Challenge find out more about you and your author?