There’s always a story behind the story, and the story behind the particular story of Pirate’s Redemption is this.
It began with a lawn mower. That might seem like an odd way to start a blog post on the inspiration for a story, but there it is, in all of its entirely uninspiring glory. I was working for a lawn care company around Ohio in the summer of 2010, and our boss allowed us to use our phones to listen to music while we worked. Being a writer and a large nerd, I typically listened to film music rather than rock or pop or that kind of thing.
I had been thinking about doing a pirate novel for a few months, but didn’t have a story to go with it. All I knew is that it would involve pirates somehow. And it was late in the afternoon that day that John Debney’s soundtrack to Cutthroat Island happened to come on my iPod. For those who don’t know, Debney’s score is easily the best pirate soundtrack ever written (yes, this includes Hans Zimmer’s wonderful Pirates of the Carribbean music). As I mowed and listened to John Debney, the whole story started to appear before me in my mind, as if laid out piece by piece. I saw Bloodbeard and Billy Jack, and John and his mother.
It sat in my brain for a few months before I started writing. Often I find this to be a helpful approach, because it allows the story to ferment for a while before starting to work on it. I had just finished the second book in my fantasy series and needed something else to work on, and I decided to give the pirate novel a try. I decided, since I outlined my fantasy series heavily, to see if I could write the whole novel without outlining at all. And while I knew where I was going, not outlining was great fun.
If I had outlined, Isabella would never have become a part of the story. She was a last minute addition to the book, invented on the spot as I wrote the first scene she appears in. It was very much as if she shoved her way into the story and demanded to be paid attention to. And you know what? The story was so much better with her than it would have been without her. She gave John an ally in a time when he was very much alone, and you can’t have just one character in an almost internal monologue. That might work for short stories, but you need more than one character to sustain a whole novel. I feel quite certain that her strength of character was what enabled John to get through the harrowing journey. Without her, I feel sure John would have failed.
One more proof to check, and then Pirate’s Redemption will be available to purchase in paper!