Pirates. A far cry from Urban Fantasy, but, oh yes, pirates. Errol Flynn had me at arrrrgh with his first swing on the rat line in Captain Blood. Or maybe Tyrone Powers in The Black Swan. Maybe it’s the black boots, the swagger, or the devil may care attitude, but pirate heroes are my ultimate bad boys. (And I did love Depp as Jack Sparrow in the first Pirates, but that series lost it’s footing. I actually looved Geoffrey Rush as Barbossa)
And I mean pirate heroes. Not a privateer or falsely accused sailor. Like vampires who actually drink blood, I like my pirates to plunder from the East India Company and give to the disenfranchised. Okay, I know they probably had bad teeth and smelled like bilge, but this is romance, dammit.
I read a very excellent book, The Republic of Pirates, by Colin Woodard (tv show based on the book coming soon, SQUEEEEE). Woodard focused on three of the more successful Caribbean pirates: Charles Vane, Edward Teech a.k.a. Blackbeard, and Black Sam Bellamy, and the British patriot, Woodes Rogers, who eventually played a huge role in ending the Golden Age of Piracy (1715 – 1725). A great book worthy of a read. It inspired me to finally write a pirate historical romance, Devil’s Island, and inspired my hero, Captain Boone Wilder.
In Boone Wilder, I realized my vision of a sexy, uncompromising hero. Uncompromising until he meets his match in Sabine Tanner, my heroine, of course. I modeled Boone after Black Sam Bellamy. If you read his story (also check out the National Geographic webpage dedicated to his discovered shipwreck, The Whydah), he’s often called the Pirate Prince. He was the Robin Hood of pirates, uncompromising 🙂 and dedicated to evening out the playing field (the first 99%). What’s interesting about Bellamy and Blackbeard, according to Woodard, there’s no record, in nearly 300 attacks on shipping between the two of them, of either Blackbeard or Bellamy killing a captive. (They may have roughed them up a bit.)
In the Republic of Pirates, Woodard includes a short speech made by Bellamy from the writings of a Captain Beer, captured then released by Bellamy. The following are the wonderful pirate words of Bellamy from the Republic of Pirates:
“Damn ye, you are a sneaking puppy, and so are all those who will submit to be governed by laws which rich men have made for their own security, for the cowardly whelps have not the courage otherwise to defend what they get by their knavery.”
But the fascinating story of Bellamy doesn’t end there. The legend goes, he loved a young woman, Maria Hallett, who he left behind in Maine to seek fortune and fame. He was on his way back to her, loaded with treasure, when they hit a terrible storm and wrecked off the coast of Cape Cod. Three of the crew survived only to be taken prisoner and tried for piracy. The Whydah Pirate Museum in Massachusetts contains a wonderful exhibit which I had the fortune of seeing when it traveled to the Arizona Science Museum.
I hope to self publish Devil’s Island later this year in the memory of Sam Bellamy and his love Maria. And avast, me hearties, don’t forget ‘Talk Like a Pirate Day’ coming on September 19, ye scurvy dogs!