I’m so happy to have historical romance/adventure author Shana Galen here today talking about some of the fascinating research she’s done on pirates. She’s giving away two copies of her upcoming release, The Rogue Pirate’s Bride. I’ve read and LOVED it, so make sure you leave a comment by Tuesday January 31st!
Take it away, Shana!
Hello! I’m thrilled to be on Reader, I Created Him today. This is the first stop on my tour for The Rogue Pirate’s Bride. What a great way to begin! I want to thank Kat for inviting me. I met her in New York over the summer, and if you don’t know her, be assured she is really as nice and smart and talented as this blog would indicate.
This is my second paragraph, and I already have a confession. My book isn’t actually about Caribbean pirates. The Rogue Pirate’s Bride is set in 1802, which is a little past the heyday of the Carribean pirate. But there were still Barbary pirates operating in the Mediterranean, and they were based primarily in the ports of Tunis, Tripoli, and Algier (aka the Barbary Coast). But that wouldn’t have worked as a title, and the Barbary Corsairs had a lot in common with their Caribbean counterparts.
My pirate hero, actually he prefers to be called a privateer, is Sebastien Harcourt. He’s captain of a ship named Shadow and frequently takes on the British Navy. His men are loyal and tough. They have to be. Pirates slept in the smelly lower deck, all packed together in hammocks along with the extra supplies. Bastien, of course, has his own cabin, but his ship is small (and subsequently fast), and he’s the only one with the luxury of privacy.
I read quite a few books about pirates when I was researching for this book, and I learned some interesting facts. Bastien’s enemy, Jourdain, has a shaved head. Pirates often shaved their heads to keep their hair free of lice and bugs. Jourdain also wears gold earrings as does Ridley, Bastien’s bosun, shorthand for boatswain. A bosun is sort of like the deck supervisor. But the interesting thing about Ridley and the other pirates who wear gold earrings is that they wore the earrings so that if they were thrown from a ship during a battle or storm, and their bodies washed up on shore, the earrings would be valuable enough to provide them with a burial. Some pirates wore earrings to symbolize survival from a shipwreck. If I were a hiring captain, I might be wary of hiring any pirate with more than one earring. He could be bad luck, and pirates are very superstitious.
The life of a pirate was one of equality. For a lowborn man, it might be the only way he’d ever get to vote. Pirates divided their captured booty equally and operated on democratic principles. The crew voted on their captain and quartermaster. There are also records that indicate pirates often put aside a share of their booty to compensate men injured in battles. This “disability insurance” was truly revolutionary.
The Barbary Corsairs differ from the Caribbean pirates in several crucial ways. First of all, they were far less democratic. Secondly, their primary aim was not to plunder treasure but to capture Christian slaves to sell in the slave markets in North Africa. Some men were also enslaved on the galleys, where they spent the remainder of their lives shackled to a bench. One historian estimated that between 1530 and 1780 1-1.25 million Europeans were captured and enslaved by these pirates. So when Bastien and his men fight Jourdain in The Rogue Pirate’s Bride, it’s a fight to the death. Surrender is not an option. No one wants to live the rest of their life as a slave.
Oh, and there’s the small matter of Raeven Russell, the heroine. I imagine women had quite a different and horrifying experience in slavery. Since Bastien falls half in love with Raeven upon first meeting her, when she challenges him to a duel by her, he’s not about to lose her.
The Rogue Pirate’s Bride will be available February 7, and I’m offering two copies to followers of Reader, I Created Him. The giveaway is open internationally, but be patient as I don’t have my author copies yet. I’ll send the prizes as soon as I receive them.
What do you have to do to win? Tell me what comes to your mind when you hear the word pirate. Johnny Depp? A ship? Gold dubloons? I’ll check back later to read your comments.
Shana Galen is the author of numerous fast-paced adventurous Regency historical romances, including the Rita-nominated Blackthorne’s Bride. Her books have been sold worldwide, including Japan, Brazil, Russia, Spain, Turkey, and the Netherlands, and have been featured in the Rhapsody and Doubleday Book Clubs.
A former English teacher in Houston’s inner city, Shana now writes full time. She’s a wife, a mother, and an expert multi-tasker. She loves to hear from readers: visit her website at www.shanagalen.com or see what she’s up to daily on Facebook and twitter.