Why I Wrote This Book

The Miramichi Reader regularly features Canadian authors in their “Why I Wrote This Book” column. Just after my last newsletter, I was privileged to contribute to their 19th issue.

Why I Wrote This Book

First posted on The Miramichi Reader on December 7, 2023.

My cozy historical fiction adventure, The Day the Pirates Went Mad, is set at the turn of the 18th century and is the first in a series for middle-grade readers. Young runaway Emma Sharpe stows away aboard the New Adventure, learns to sail the sea, bonds with her shipmates, and travels to faraway places. Then, at a deserted island in the West Indies, she and cabin boy Jack Randall must race against time to overcome a cursed pirate treasure. Will they be too late to save her newfound family? To save themselves?

I was first motivated to write to show my daughter that nowadays there are easily available platforms through which you can share your creative ideas with the world. That’s how we first released our three-act play, The King and Queen’s Banquet. Work on The Day the Pirates Went Mad soon followed but for an additional reason.

Telling stories is a great way to make learning fun. Humanity has passed on lessons this way for many, many generations. Today, pirates, dinosaurs, aliens, and monsters are topics children often find fascinating. Of all of these, the Golden Age pirates are the most real – they existed only 300-500 years ago and are part of our modern human history. This has always had great appeal to my daughter. The more real the story and the more real the people, the more she liked it. I also remember commenting to her on how Captain Hook was portrayed in “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” – his hook isn’t even sharp! That led to the question of whether real pirates had hooks or not. We started looking into actual pirates, their ships and equipment, the world they lived in, and the role they played in history versus how they’ve been popularized. Then, with a little inspiration from the greedy in-fighting and backstabbing represented in R. L. Stevenson’s “Treasure Island” and Y. E. Allison’s poem “Derelict”, Emma’s first adventurewas born – though without dwelling on some of the grittier realities of the time (that’s the ‘cozy’ part). Entertainingly educational!

So avast and heave to, me hearties! This book isn’t just a thrilling yarn – it’s an educational voyage back in time. Aimed at grades 5-7, it can also be enjoyed by younger buccaneers when accompanied by a trusty adult. And old salts have been known to sing its praises as well!

Read the review of this book by The Miramichi Reader and more on Emma’s website.

Read the original article.