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Guest blogger: Regan Walker

27 April 2014

Regan WalkerWriting a pirate romance set on the high seas in 1817—a different kind of Regency!

A Regency romance that is also a pirate tale? Set on a schooner and in exotic ports of call? Oh yes, that’s just what Wind Raven is. A year in the making, it tells of an English ship captain who is ordered into the Caribbean by the Prince Regent to spy on a pirate whose been attacking British merchant ships. Captain Jean Nicholas Powell, named after his grandfather Jean Donet, a noble born French pirate, has been a privateer for England and is now sailing for Powell and Sons, the wealthy family shipping business. The last thing he needs is an assignment from Prinny to track down some pirate, especially when he is forced to take as a passenger an American hoyden who thinks she can crew with his men.

How does one go about writing such a tale? Well, wanting to make my story historically accurate, I first I had to get all the ship stuff right. Hundreds of hours of research went into the study of schooners, their sail configurations, how one moved about on them and what happened to them when huge waves crashed onto the deck or a battle had shot bringing the sails down around the crew. It was not enough that I read books, The Sailor’s Word Book, and studied diagrams until I was dreaming about them. Oh, no. I had to experience it for myself.

Californian schooner by William W Lowe (used with permission)

Californian schooner by William W Lowe (used with permission)

Lucky for me, the Californian, a reproduction of a topsail schooner, is berthed in San Diego where I live. Pictured above, as painted by artist William Lowe, it’s the type of schooner Captain Jean Nicholas Powell sails in Wind Raven. I took a half day sail on the ship to listen to the sails luffing, feel the wind on my face as the ship’s bow cut through the waves and get a sense of the moving deck beneath my feet. It was wonderful and helped me create the scenes you’ll read in my story.

Pirata_Cofresi_earringsThe story is set in the time following the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812, a time when piracy was on the rise in the Atlantic Ocean. While some of those pirates, like Jean Laffite, were American, the majority came from farther south and Latin America. It was one of those pirates Captain Powell was sent to find … Roberto Cofresi, a real historic figure, called El Pirata Cofresí, who sailed from Puerto Rico. You’ll have to read my story to learn about this complex man, who could be ruthless with captured crew members of the merchant ships on which he preyed, yet tender with women and children. And he wore silver and diamond earrings any woman would covet.

This tall, blond giant of a pirate, European in origin and well educated, attacked all merchant ships save those flying the flag of Royal Spain. There are many legends about why Cofresi turned to piracy. Some believe it was his desire for independence from the Spanish regime (he sometimes gave his prize ships to Simon Bolivar to help the cause of independence in Venezuela and Latin America). Some say Cofresi’s sister was raped by a group of sailors and others say he was slapped in the face by an English captain. Perhaps it was for all those reasons. My story includes those that made sense to me. With one encounter with Tara McConnell, the heroine in Wind Raven, Cofresi decides he wants the beautiful, head strong American girl for his own. Oh yes, he does. And few tangled with El Pirata Cofresí and lived to tell about it.

If you’ve ever wanted to sail aboard an historic ship with the sails luffing above you, and the salt spray on your face as the ship cuts through the waves traveling to places like St Thomas, Bermuda and Puerto Rico, then climb aboard the Wind Raven and experience the ride of a lifetime—and the passion between an arrogant English ship’s captain and an impudent American girl, who tried very hard not to like each other, and failed.

Wind RavenWind Raven

Ordered by the Prince Regent into the Caribbean, English sea captain and former privateer Jean Nicholas Powell has no time for women onboard the Wind Raven, especially not Tara McConnell. The impudent American forced herself aboard, and so she’ll get more than she bargained for: Instead of a direct sail to Baltimore, she’ll join their quest to investigate a rampaging pirate, the infamous Roberto Cofresi.

But the hoyden thinks she can crew with his men, and though he bans her from the rigging, Nick is captivated watching her lithe, luscious movements on deck. Facing high seas, storms, cutthroats and the endless unknown, he must protect his ship, his passenger, his crew. But on this voyage, with this woman, there is a greater danger: to his heart.

Available from: Amazon AU | Amazon US | Amazon UK

As a child Regan Walker loved to write stories, particularly about adventure-loving girls, but by the time she got to college more serious pursuits took priority. One of her professors encouraged her to pursue the profession of law, which she did. Years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government gave her a love of international travel and a feel for the demands of the “Crown” on its subjects. Hence her romance novels often involve a demanding Prince Regent who thinks of his subjects as his private talent pool. Regan lives in San Diego with her golden retriever, Link, whom she says inspires her every day to relax and smell the roses.

You can find Regan here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

8 Comments
  1. 27 April 2014 11:48 pm

    Great post, Regan.
    Always a sucker for those handsome and sexy pirates.

    • reganwalker permalink
      28 April 2014 1:11 am

      I know, doctorsatori! And this one was real. He was such a compelling figure in so many ways.

  2. 27 April 2014 7:41 pm

    Fascinating blog, Regan. Congratulations on what sounds a fabulous story and I look forward to reading it. Love your bio too
    warmest regards Fi

    • reganwalker permalink
      28 April 2014 1:10 am

      Hi, Fiona! Oh, I do hope you enjoy Wind Raven. I had such fun writing it and diving into all that was going on in Bermuda and the Caribbean in 1817.

  3. 27 April 2014 4:47 pm

    Lovely post, Regan. I’m always interested in how an author incorporates facts into a story – not easy!

    • reganwalker permalink
      28 April 2014 1:09 am

      Hi, Elsa. Just greeting the morning here in San Diego. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post!

  4. reganwalker permalink
    27 April 2014 1:25 pm

    Hello, Suzi and greetings to all you romance writers downunder! (I keep forgetting you are a day ahead of us. Glad I checked to see if the post was up–it was!) I have loved getting acquainted with some of your members this year. And, as you say, Suzi, we have known each other for some time being in the Regency realm.

  5. 27 April 2014 1:15 pm

    Waving to Regan from downunder. Regan Walker and I became online friends many years ago via The Beau Monde, the Regency romance chapter of The Beau Monde, so it’s wonderful to see her here spreading some Regency love.

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