Today I’ve got a great interview with Kerry Lynne. Kerry is the author of The Pirate Captain and subsequent books in the series. She’s working on Book 3 now, but took some time to talk with us about her writing, her main character, Nathanael Blackthorne, and how she feels about being compared to Diana Gabaldon. Grab a cuppa and join us as we get to know Kerry!
Hi Kerry! Thanks so much for taking time to talk with us today. I always like to start these interviews with a question that helps my readers get to know an author better. Can you tell us how you got started as an author? Was there a turning point at which you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Umm… I started writing (in the creative sense) in high school. I majored in History in college, which means writing a LOT of papers. After that, life kind of got in the way and I got away from writing. It was several decades before I got back to writing, and even then, I can’t really say how I came to it. Like most writers, the stories were always milling about in my head; it was just a matter of finally finding the courage to put them down on paper.
The decision to actually write a book came several years after that. If it hadn’t been for some very sincere and insistent friends, I’m not sure I would have ever found the courage.
The Pirate Captain: Chronicles of a Legend, is described as pirate historical fiction. There is romantic tension between pirate captain, Nathanael Blackthorne, and his captive, Cate Mackenzie – but there is also a lot of pirate and sailing detail in the story. Can you share with us how you do your research for your stories?
As I mentioned, I was a History major. I’d always had an interest in history and my greatest love was the research. I learned the basics of sailing from my husband. Sailing the Great Lakes, however, is a far cry from the square-riggers. About the time I made the decision to write a book, a friend of mine (and a dear, dear one she is) gave me the entire collection of Patrick O’Brian in audio books. In listening to those, I learned about sailing and started to “hear” the 18th Century turn-of-the-tongue.
The research is a never-ending challenge. I’m always on the hunt for those great finds. The internet is okay, but there is no substitute for a good book. That’s where the real detail is found.
The candle we created is inspired by Nathanael Blackthorne. Who or what was your inspiration for Nathan? What makes him different from the “well known” pirates we see in the movies and on TV?
I was never interested in pirates until “Pirates of the Caribbean” came along. Who could resist Jack Sparrow? For reasons I’ll never be able to explain, the stories which were always reeling about in my head started spinning around him. I wrote fanfiction for a while, but then the day came when I realized I wasn’t working with Jack anymore. Someone else was taking over…. And Captain Nathanael Blackthorne was born.
That being said, Nathan is based on Jack, but the similarities are few. Nathan is neither the clown, nor the manipulator. His approach is much more straightforward: do what has to be done. If that means killing, then so be it. I’m so up close with him all the time, it’s difficult to stand back and see what makes him different. So, I consulted with the readers on this one. The consensus was: his sense of humor, his sense of protection and his sense of honor. He’s deeply scarred, both physically and mentally, which has left him the Master of Masks. As his First Mate says “It’s not a matter of what Nathan says, but what he doesn’t say…”
I’m never sure what Nathan is going to do or say. I’m really nothing more than the stenographer, just trying to keep up with him.
You have been recently working on another novel. Is this a continuation of the this series? How has the story developed?
Yes, this is a continuation. The readers would hang me by my thumbs (or worse) if I didn’t. Not to be too spoilerish, but, of course, Cate and Nathan will be back. I started out writing a trilogy, but in truth, I have plans for them all the way up into their silver years. I just have to learn how to write a little faster. (I’m insufferably slow.)
They say “the more you love your characters, the more you torture them.” I obviously love mine, because I’ve really beaten them up, and there is more to come. The third book revolves around Nathan discovering (again) that he can’t outrun his past. If he (or anyone else in his life) is to have any peace, he’s going to have to tidy up several loose ends.
Like always, I know where the story begins, and I know where and how it’s going to end, and I have a fair notion of how I’m going to get from one to the other, but the exact details of what is going to happen is still up in the air. As I mentioned, I always have to be prepared for Nathan to drop another bomb (like he did at the end of “Nor Gold.”)
I have a lot of Outlander fans in my readership and Diana Gabaldon is truly their favorite author. I saw in some Amazon reviews your books being compared to Diana’s writing style. That’s a big complement and also huge shoes to fill, so to speak. Where do you see the similarities in your writing? How do these comparison’s make you feel?
Diana is my favorite author, as well. Her books were the first time I said “I wanna write like this!” As she is with everyone, Diana was really helpful in my development. She was the first to give me permission to write the way my instincts were telling me, instead of how many were telling me how I should be working. Like her, I don’t start with Chapter 1, page 1. I just write whatever inspiration which strikes. Sometimes, it’s a whole scene; sometimes it’s a bit of dialogue. Little by little, those bits start to fit together. Of course, I have a general idea of where things begin and where it’s going to end, and with a few stepping stones in between, but the exact path is a daily discovery.
The comparisons with her are both flattering and humbling. As you suggest, those are HUGE shoes to fill. I suspect the similarities are in the love of detail, character development and storytelling. I think we have a similar rhythm to the words, as well.
Before we go, I always like to get author reading recommendations. Do you have favorite authors or books you’d like to share with us?
Well, again, Diana Gabaldon is both my favorite and my inspiration. Patrick O’Brian is another who taught me how to weave historical detail in without it becoming a history lecture.
Thank you so much for talking with us today, Kerry!
Thank you so much for this opportunity! If there are any questions, I’m always hanging about at our Facebook. Stop in and give us a hail.