A swashbuckler set in the West Indies of the early 19th Century, THE WITCH FROM THE SEA is a love story, a coming-of-age adventure and an eccentric comedy of manners about a woman who runs with the pirates to free herself from the conventional "rules" of gender, race and class.

Tory Lightfoot, an orphan of mixed white and Mohawk blood, flees the stifling gentility of 1823 Boston for the freedom of the open sea. But the merchant ship on which she stows away is boarded by pirates off the coast of Cuba, and Tory is forced to join the pirate crew to save her life. Making herself useful as both log-keeper and spy, she begins to earn a measure of the independence she craves. But fate, fever and the relentless U. S. Navy West Indian Squadron close in, and Tory must risk her hard-won freedom to save the man she loves.
"I highly recommend this book to any lover of historical fiction."
— The Historical Novel Society Review
"The Witch From The Sea is that rare creation, an historical romance with guts as well as glamour. Wild-spirited Tory is an irresistible character."
— Nautical historian Joan Druett (She-Captains; Hen Frigates)
"I am in love with this book. A+."
Reading Rocks / YA Fiction Review

Thursday, March 29, 2012

ART of the WITCH

Once upon a time, pirate stories were considered strictly kid stuff, or else the province of capital-R Romance novels with brawny, half-naked rogues fondling their flintlocks splashed across the covers.

I was going for something more radical, a grown-up historical adventure novel with pirates, told from a woman's perspective.

This was my original concept sketch for The Witch cover art. Pretty atmospheric, no? The full moon, the pirate vessel, a woman, um, evidently rising up out of the middle of the ocean like Esther Williams in one of those gigantic MGM aquatic musical numbers.

Well, think of it as metaphor, just as the pirates in my book function as a metaphor for the freedom Tory craves.

I'm a little superstitious about rendering my character's faces; I don't want to interfere with the reader's imagination. But when I published a chapter out of The Witch as a short story in the pirate fanzine No Quarter Given, I drew this illustration to go with it.

 (Hmmm... I wonder if it's too late to re-do The Witch as a graphic novel...) (Read more)

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