Welcome to Day 2 of #RomancingSeptember
Today our guest is Helen Hollick and her book Sea Witch
Where is your home town?
I live in England, in a pretty North Devon village called Chittlehamholt – the local pub dates back to the 15th Century and the farmhouse I live in was built circa 1769.
How long have you been writing romance?
I started off writing Historical Fiction then came up with an idea for an adult pirate-based nautical adventure series with a touch of fantasy – and while not technically a romance it has a romantic flavour of boy (well OK, pirate) meets girl (white witch). Their paths cross but they never quite ‘get together’ until…. Well, I’m not saying any more as it could constitute a spoiler!
What is your favourite sub-genre of romance?
Historical Fiction I suppose. I have always been intrigued not so much by the historical facts but by the way the facts affected people’s lives. Be they kings, queens or peasants they still laughed, cried… loved… the same as we do today.
Tell us where and when Sea Witch takes place
The ‘Golden Age’ of piracy – in other words the early eighteenth century. The series starts with Sea Witch in 1716, with the fifth Voyage in the series, On The Account (soon to be published) set in 1719. The sixth, Gallows Wake will be 1720 – the year Calico Jack Rackham and the two female pirates associated with him, Anne Bonny and Mary Read – became notorious.
Introduce us to the characters
Tiola Oldstagh (an anagram of all that is good) is a white witch, one of the Old Wise Ones. Her soul has regenerated through grandmother to granddaughter through many generations. She cannot perform magic spells as in ‘Harry Potter’ but can harness the energy of the world – as in The Force of Star Wars. She is also a healer and a midwife. Very loyal and very patient, especially where Jesamiah is concerned.
Jesamiah Acorne (that’s Captain Jesamiah Acorne!) is in his early twenties. Escaping a bully of an elder half-brother he ran away to sea – to a life or piracy, and danger but also one of freedom. He is quick to smile, but formidable when angry, you really do not want to cross him. He is also a favourite of the ladies for he is very ‘entertaining’ in the ‘bedroom’ department. He is about 5’ 10, has a jaw-line beard, wears a gold acorn in his ear and has various tattoos. Being half-Spanish his hair is black and curly, reaching down to his shoulders – and like many pirates of that time, he laces ribbons into his hair. His ribbons are a royal blue, and they have several uses (one of which I will not give away – spoiler) but another is that he gives them to the ‘ladies’ as a keepsake.
When do they first meet?
Tiola is about fourteen at the start of the series. She is on an East Indiaman ship sailing from England to Cape Town in South Africa. The pirate vessel, Mermaid attacks (but is soon seen-off). Jesamiah noticed a girl standing on the deck and something draws him to her – in turn, Tiola recognises him as the one who is to be her soul-mate, but the time is not yet right for them to be together. They next meet in Cape Town a few weeks later. Tiola is defending a lame horse, its owner hitting her with his riding crop. Jesamiah steps in… unaware that Tiola has assured he has no memory of that earlier meeting. Still their paths do not entwine: it will be a few more years before Jesamiah returns to Cape Town. He is attacked and wounded by pirate hunters. Seriously injured, Tiola finds him… will they be together at last? (Well of course not – those scenes are only the first half of the story!)
What changes when they meet for a second time?
Jesamiah’s memory is jogged and he realises the girl is the one on the ship they attacked. One word from her and he could hang! But there is something there, a spark that has ignited, an invisible cord that has bound them together…
What lurks under the sea and who is it after?
Any professional sailor will tell you that the sea has a life of its own. It can be beautiful, but it can be deadly. I imagined the sea as a living thing – an entity that had its own spirit (much as we often think of trees having a living spirit). Tethys is that spirit – the soul – of the oceans. She does not have any solidity… she IS the sea. She tolerates the ships and the sailors, for she cherishes collecting their bones and their souls, but there is one she especially wants to possess – the black haired man with the gold acorn in his ear, Jesh…a…miah… (…sounds like the waves you see!)
Tell us what you are working on at the moment.
The fifth Voyage, On The Account. Tiola and Jesamiah are now husband and wife – but life is still complicated, made even more so when Tiola meets up with an Old Friend – a Night-Walker. But how old a friend is he – and was he just a friend?
Where can readers find out more about you?
I am on Twitter @HelenHollick
and Facebook www.facebook.com/HelenHollickAuthor
And my main blog “Let us talk of many things….” www.ofhistoryandkings.blogspot.com has regular items of interest from myself and various guests.
I have a website www.helenhollick.net
(if you use the Contact form to send me a message you will automatically be entered for my monthly book giveaway contest)
buying links (US / UK),
links to author social media
Find out more from Helen in today’s second post coming from Georgia, USA in a few hours with http://stephanie-hurt.com/