On the heels of Sword of the Guardian, I knew that my next project would be a pirate story. Not because the Pirates of the Caribbean movies had come out – in fact, I’d landed on the idea before the first one was released – but because I was still wanting that stack of grocery-story bodice-rippers, and no self-respecting romance aficionado’s collection would be complete without a good pirate yarn.
So, I started putting together a dashing pirate captain, a treasure hunt to end all treasure hunts, and of course a busty and ridiculously attractive captive (whose bodice, unfortunately, never actually gets ripped! I guess I got too wrapped up in the story itself to remember to wiggle that one in…) I did give her an appropriately cheesy name, however – Violet, to match her strikingly romantic purple eyes.
But lest you begin to think this book is entirely a farce, dear readers, I should point out that though Branded Ann started out as a gentle parody of pirate romance tropes, it turned out to be a much darker, more grown-up story than Sword of the Guardian. Both Ann and Violet are much more experienced and street-smart than Talon and Shasta, and it shows in their relationship. Their love story was often more a power exchange than a romance. Though somewhat unintentionally, I found the story walking a line between cheesy pirate adventure and deliberate exploration of two powerful, dark personalities.
So what I ended up with – what I hope that readers will find – is a swashbuckling adventure with a couple of characters who have enough depth to pull off an intense emotional connection. And once again, it’s a story intended primarily for lesbian audiences, though of course I think readers of all persuasions can probably enjoy it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there going to be a sequel to Branded Ann?
Though I’ve been asked for one often, the book stands so well on its own that I don’t have any plans to write a sequel.
What color is Ann’s hair?
In the book it’s described as “pale” and “silvery.” I think of it as a very, very pale blond, almost white – the color that blond hair gets when it’s been bleached by sun and salt.
Do the other pirates really not have a problem with Ann’s lesbian exploits?
If they do, they’re keeping it to themselves out of fear of losing their tongues or other valuable appendages. :P In all honesty, though, this book does require some willing suspension of disbelief. The two female pirates we know about from the history books, Ann Bonny and Mary Read, both survived by first dressing as men and then by taking up with the captains of their respective ships who protected them. The reality of pirate life was far from romantic. Most of the time it was dirty, hungry, backbreaking work… and incredibly dangerous.
What’s up with all the piratey lingo?
I used Francis Grose’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1811) to find all the saltiest terms used in the novel. Even so, I kept the dialogue much more modern. A truly historically accurate conversation is likely to be very difficult for the modern-day reader to comprehend. Track down the book I mentioned and you’ll see what I mean.
This book reads like a movie! Is it going to be made into one?
LOL, I wish! I’ve received no inquiries, though, so for the time being – nope. Someday I do think I’d like to make an animated trailer for the book, like the one for Sword of the Guardian. That project may be a ways off, though, if I hope to get this next manuscript finished anytime soon…
Will you sign my copy of the book?
You betcha. If you want to mail your copy to me with some pre-paid return postage, I’ll gladly sign it for you and send it back. I might also include the occasional extra giftie if I have it on hand. ;) Shoot me an email and let’s talk!