As I was sitting down to blog about my book, I was thinking what I wanted my few and precious readers to know and I thought it wasn't too bad that there wasn't some insightful interviewer to just ask me all the right questions. But then I decided that *I* could be that interviewer. (I swear, I do not have multiple personality disorder. I've been tested.) So here you go...an exclusive interview by yours truly!
Give us a brief synopsis of the book. It picks up not too long after Oceanswept ends, with Tessa and Nicholas heading to St. Kitts so Tessa can be reunited with her father. We know this is risky because Nicholas is/was a pirate and Tessa's father basically hunts pirates. As expected, when they get to St. Kitts, things don't go as planned. Tessa meets a man named Emilio De Luca who is romantically interested in her. We meet a young woman named Meg who has ties to piracy as well. And Skidmore makes a return. There is sailing and daring adventures. All you loved about Oceanswept and more.
The synopsis talks about a handsome baron. Tell me about him. Emilio De Luca is kind of a fun character. He's actually an Italian, so his title is irrelevant in the English colonies. He's a hard worker and kind of a visionary and has made a fortune in sugar cane. He has a lot of tenacity and a really, really good heart. Very thoughtful kind of guy. He falls for Tessa and befriends Nicholas. He shares a lot of qualities with both Tessa and Nicholas. Like Tessa, he's sick of societal expectations. Yet like Nicholas, he is very used to getting his way and in a way lacks empathy because of that.
So are we going to pulled into a love triangle? You could say that. Or maybe a love rectangle. :) We have Tessa and Nicholas who are in love with each other. Then we have Lord De Luca who falls for Tessa. And then we have Meg who is a former flame of Nicholas who wants him back.
There are a lot of romantic entanglements. I was furious at both Nicholas and Tessa several times. I wanted to portray their romance realistically. He's not had a lot of emotional development, considering his childhood. And Tessa's never truly been in a real relationship before. There's a breakdown of communication and a lot of issues with pride. These are two of the biggest plagues in any relationship in the history of the earth. They are these fun, adventurous fictional characters, but they make very real mistakes and react in very real ways. I remember writing some of their scenes and just being depressed. A friend even asked me why I seemed so down and I said, "My characters are fighting." So it gets to me too - I got furious at them as well. :)
You killed off a character! Yes. I am curious to hear reactions from my readers. My beta readers were all pretty shocked. I think the how of the death is just as shocking as the death itself.
I thought Captain Black would play a bigger role in Undertow. His time "onscreen" is small, but his influence is pretty big. I just had to remind readers that he was there because he is going to make a big splash in book 3.
All the characters are showing more depth. What did you learn about them when writing their story? Nicholas seems so sure of himself, so self-possessed. But we some some fissures in his swashbuckling character. He wasn't loved or nurtured as a child. They are emotions he doesn't really trust nor find himself worthy of. And his past acts of piracy haunt him. He recognizes some of his flaws. He can be self-aware. He knows he's rash and selfish. He tries to work on that.
Tessa. Well, Tessa is an interesting study. I believe in promoting strong female characters - but I also want to be realistic, considering the time period. We see a lot of weakness in Tessa. She is more wishy-washy than you'd think. She developed this devil may care attitude in Oceanswept but we get her to St. Kitts in a posh mansion with a handsome man courting her and her father expecting her to behave certain ways, and she just slips back into the mold she had broken out of. It's frustrating. But external events in Oceanswept kind of forced her to find her strength. In Undertow, she has to find it again, but it's her own decision and on her own terms.
Any teasers from book 3 that you can share? I am 90% sure I have a name, but I won't release that yet. We will really see Tessa step up and being a formidable force, totally taking charge of her future, and learning from past mistakes. At one point she even teams up with Captain Black to accomplish what she wants. There's a surprising dynamic with Captain Black and Tessa that develops. And we still have our romantic messes with Nicholas and Emilio. That's what makes a romance fun!
Thanks for your time. It's been great interviewing you. Oh, no problem. Anytime. Seriously. I am always here.