Author Laura Nelson came by Krogfiction for a chat. Her story in A Tall Ship is titled Rosa and the Pirate. Of herself, she says: I live at home with my two cats Houdini and Aliti. When I'm not reading or writing about pirates, I enjoy cats, walking, Tai Chi, horse racing, reading history and true crime.
1) Why did you decide to write about pirates?
I became interested in pirates
after attending the Real Pirates Exhibit in Denver, Co, in 2011. After
attending the exhibit, I found that I had an obsession with obtaining any
information I could about them. I found
the stories of the real pirates fascinating. I wanted to understand more about
what drove them to piracy. I think the
stories of the real pirates are even more fascinating than the way Hollywood
When it came to writing a fictional story about them, I decided that it would be fun to try and retain as much realism as possible while interposing a little fantasy to hopefully bring in a “what-if” kind of quality to my story.
2) What, in your humble opinion, is the attraction of pirates in literature?
Pure adventure. Most of us when we read want to be taken away from everyday mundane and swept into a world that most of us will only dream of ever being a part of.
3) Do you have a favorite historical pirate, if so, who is it and why?
Peter Cornelius Hoof, who sailed on the Whydah Galley with Sam Bellamy, because he was one of the first pirates I became interested in after attending the Real Pirates Exhibit. His name would, for want of a better term, “leap out at me” whenever I read anything to do with the Whydah and its history. I have always felt a very psychic connection to him. He eventually became the subject of my first published article.
4) Without spoiling the plot, what inspired you to write your story for A Tall Ship, a Star, and Plunder?
I took up writing again in response to the dreams I started having after attending the Real Pirates Exhibit. I began to fill up notebooks with “vignettes” which were often sequential, playing out over a period of time. I am not entirely sure if the vignettes are real events or just elaborate dreams. When I saw the call for stories for this anthology, I realized that a fictional story was the perfect opportunity to use several of them as the basis of my story. I’ll leave it for the reader to figure out which scenes are the vignettes and which are the ones that came later to “fill in” the story!
5) So, pirates in general, are they lovable rouges, just misunderstood, adventurers, romantic rebels, or are they just bandits on the sea, thieves, and murderers?
In reality, yes, they are just bandits, thieves, and murderers. But we are willing to overlook the condition they left their victims in because their actions speak to a longing in many of us for the freedom to break away from our everyday mundane lives and go where we wish and do what we wish. I think we admire pirates for their willingness to thumb their noses at the establishment and get away with it even if it was only for a short time.
For us women, who even now still have more constraints on what we are allowed to achieve and participate in and how we must behave than men, the few female pirates that we know about broke out of that mold and showed the world they could do the same job as a man.
6) Who is your favorite author? Why?
OK, I can’t limit this to one, so I will try to keep the list short. Ann Rule, Tom Clancy, Mercedes Lackey, JK Rowling, Malcolm Gladwell, Erik Larson. Ann because while she is telling you a true story she includes a lot of facts but writes in an everyday manner that anyone can read and she gives thorough explanations of terminology and tactics as she goes. Tom because of the way he can combine real military tactics and gadgets and explanations while still telling a riveting story. Mercedes and JK because of their ability to draw you into the world they have created. You want their books to go on forever! Malcolm and Erik for basically the same reason as Ann: you are learning at the same time that you are being entertained.
7) What is your favorite book? Why?
The Harry Potter series, because Rowling has such a way of drawing you into her world. You never want to leave!
8) Is there an author that you emulate? Why?
All of my favorites listed earlier,
because they write for everybody. They use plain, everyday language and don’t try
to impress people with their superior vocabulary. It is almost as though they
are sitting in front of you talking to you rather than you reading words on a
9) How much do you read?
A lot! Seriously! I keep a short stack of books at my desk at work to read when I’m on break and I am always trolling Amazon for new books for my Kindle at home. I literally don’t know what to do with myself if I don’t have a book to read!
10) Where did you get your start in writing?
I wrote an article about Peter Cornelius Hoof, one of the pirates who sailed with Sam Bellamy on the Whydah Galley. It was published in the online newsletter “Pirates and Privateers” which appears on the Whistles and Pirates web site.
11) What is your most current project that is close to publication?
currently working on a book about the piratical career of Olivier Levassuer, but it is still a ways from
publication, I'm afraid.
For more about Laura Nelson, you may visit Blog: www.PeterCorneliusHoof.blogspot.com
Mrs. Nelson, thanks for stopping by.