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Tuesday 19 April 2016

P is for ... Pirate Code

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Pirate Code

Throughout April I have invited 26 authors who had been selected as Editor's Choice by the Historical Novel Society Indie Reviews
 to help me out with the 2016 A-Z Blog Challenge...

Except to be a little different I interviewed 
their leading Character/s...

Today's Character is from :

(Exempt from award
as Helen is organiser)
HH : Hello! I believe you exist in Helen Hollick’s  novel – what is the title of the book, and would you like to introduce yourself - who you are, what you do etc
(Touches three-corner hat) Good day to you, Ma'am. Captain Jesamiah Acorne at your service (bows).

I was born on 4th December 1693, with my adventures, the Sea Witch Voyages starting in 1716. I am the Captain of the Sea Witch (a fine ship I might add - fast, bluff of bow...). There are some rascals who call me a pirate - well I guess they have the right of it as I was a pirate, but I signed Governor Woodes Rogers' Book of Amnesty and swore an oath to steer a straight course from then on. 
But you shouldn't trust pirates to be honest about these things.... 

HH : Where and when are you?  Are you a real historical person or did your author create you?
My Voyages take place in the early 1700's - that glorious Golden Age of piracy. I'm only real in the world of fiction, but that's real enough to them who read or write ain't it?
Where would you expect to find a pirate - er, ex-pirate? A tavern or two maybe, or enjoyin' m'self with a buxom wench (before I met m'wife o'course)  But I guess the High Seas mostly, the Caribbean, the Colonial coast around Chesapeake Bay and Virginia - the Atlantic and England's Devonshire (I had to ride a horse across Exmoor, resulting in a sore backside. You'd not think anything stuffed with hay and grass could be so hard to sit upon, would you?)
You'll occasionally find me in Spain...but more than a few Dons keep threatening to hang me, so I try to avoid the place.
I guess I've seen the inside of a jail or two. A few near misses with the gallows...

HH. In a few brief sentences: what is the novel you feature in about?
Trouble follows me like a ship's wake. Pirate Code is my second Voyage (the series starts with Sea Witch). I am in trouble. Big Trouble. All I want is to marry my girl, Tiola Oldstagh, and live contented aboard my ship. (Don't tell anyone; Tiola is really a white witch)  But unless I agree to retrieve some barrels of indigo and smuggle them out of the Spanish-held Caribbean island of Hispaniola, her sod of a butterball Dutch husband refuses to grant her a divorce .

The Governor of Nassau wants me to go there too, to help incite a rebellion, and Captain Henry Jennings wants me to find a lost spy. To cap it all, Commodore Vernon of the Royal Navy wants to expand his fleet and craves my ship for himself... thieving bugger (and they call me a pirate!)

As my hope for a quiet life tumbles about my boots, the onset of war with Spain scuppers everyone’s plans. Hispaniola is governed by a tyrant who has promised to hang, draw and quarter  me if ever I set foot there again, (and believe me, he means it!) while the lovely widow, Senora Francesca Escudero, would prefer to seduce me... well, she is very attractive... ahem...

Like I said, trouble follows me like a ship's wake, and I seem to have a problem keeping m'breeches buttoned...

HH :  what gave your author the idea to write about you
We met on a beach in Dorset, England. She wanted to write a novel about pirates for adults - she'd met that Sparrer' Feller in some old movie or other and wanted to read something similar, but could only find books for young adults. Treasure Island is a good read but there ain't much adult stuff in it - if ye get m'meaning. So she decided to write her own adventure. While walking on the beach thinking up a plot she looked up and saw me. Took 'er long enough to bloody notice me though!
"Hello Jesamiah Acorne," she said.
We've been best mates ever since.

HH : Tell me about one or two of the other characters who feature with you - husband, wife, family? Who are some of the nice characters and who is the nastiest one?
Well my dearest Tiola must come first. (You say it Teo-lah, short and sweet, not Tee-oh-lah). She's a healer and a midwife, but she's also a white witch (don't tell anyone, I'm not supposed to even be telling you!) She saved my life when I was shot and injured by pirate hunters in Cape Town.  I guess she's saved me several times since then. The nastiest? I'm tempted to mention my half-brother (who turned out not to be my half-brother, but that's a different story) he was a b*stard and a bully. Made my childhood a misery - and tried to kill me. Mind you, I did try to kill him, and (laughs)  I did steal his ship and swive his wife in his own house... that ain't no excuse to murder me, though, is it? So, the nastiest is Edward Teach I reckon, Blackbeard 'imself. Now he really is a nasty piece of work! I got blackmailed into dealing with him in Bring It Close...

HH : What is your favourite scene in the book?
Where I barge into Woodes Rogers' house in Nassau and interrupt a dinner party. Tiola's (ex) husband is there. I come that close to killing him.

HH : What is your least favourite? Maybe a frightening or sad moment that your author wrote.
The b*stard ex-hisband uses the law of the day to punish Tiola for her adultery with me. He ordered her stripped and flogged. Only I intervened and took the punishment for her. Not sure I should have done that... it bloody hurt!

Helen Talking to Black Pearl Pirate, Pintel
aka Lee Arenberg
HH : What are you most proud of about your author?
That she's kept going despite storms and high seas that could have easily scuppered everything. Her ex-agent insisted she wrote Sea Witch for children - Helen stuck to her guns and refused, and the agent then dumped her. Helen, however, knew there was a niche market to fill - nautical adventures with a touch of fantasy that were not about the Napoleonic wars, and that would be popular pirate-based adventures for adults (with adult content) to enjoy. 

I'm proud because she writes damn good yarns, gets her sailing details right - and because the  Sea Witch Voyages are now being translated into Italian (and there might be some more ood news for other languages soon!)  All we want now is the TV series - Sharpe and Poldark mixed with Indiana Jones, Hornblower and James Bond - but all authors dream of that.

In truth, all Helen really wants is for others to get to know me and share in my adventures. There ain't no point in writing books that no one's goin' t'read, says she. An' everyone should be given the opportunity to fall in love with me, says I!

Italian Catnip Edizioni
HH : Has your author written  other books about you? If not, about other characters?
How do you feel about your author going off with someone else!
Yes the Voyages are:
Sea Witch
Pirate Code
Bring It Close
Ripples In The Sand
and On the Account is to be published June 2016

She's also written some other historical stuff - her novel The Forever Queen was a USA Today bestseller. You'll find all her books on her website. She's scribblin' away at a non-fiction book about pirates at the moment, been commissioned by Amberley Press to do it. Of course I'm havin' to give 'er a lot o'the information she needs to put in it.

And me, jealous of those other fellers? Nah, I'm the best of them an' the love of her life, savvy?

HH : As a character if you could travel to a time and place different to your own fictional setting  where and when would you go?
I guess the Viking Age might appeal... all that raping and pillaging? Just right for a pirate! (laugh) It could be interestin' to sail with that Horatio Nelson chap - now there was an' old salt who knew the ropes!

Thank you that was really interesting!
Thank you ma'am (tips hat) an' thank you to all the readers out there. Now stop the ditherin' and row across to that Amazon Harbour - I'm eager to meet you all in more detail. I guess you'll be feelin' the same about me, eh? If not, well us pirates 'ave ways of makin' you interested...

You look somewhat familiar - have you bought a book before?
NO? Well, buy one NOW on an Amazon near youSavvy?

Where can readers of this A-Z Blog Challenge find out more about you and your author?

Catch a followin' wind an' sail across to these ports:
Sea Witch on Facebook - LIKE Here
Twitter - @HelenHollick
and sign up fer dispatches - Newsletter 

Here is the company we will be keeping on this 
A-Z Blog Challenge!
A 1st  Friday - Aurelia  - Alison Morton
B 2nd Saturday  - Bloodie Bones - Lucienne Boyce
C 4th Monday - Man in the Canary Waistcoat Susan Grossey
D 5th Tuesday - Dubh-Linn  - James Nelson
F 7th Thursday - Fortune’s Fool- David Blixt
H 9th Saturday - The Love Letter of John Henry Holliday - Mary Fancher
K 13th Wednesday - Khamsin- Inge Borg
L 14th Thursday - Luck Bringer   - Nick Brown
N 16th Saturday - A Newfound Land  - Anna Belfrage
O 18th Monday - Out Of Time  - Loretta Livingstone
P 19th Tuesday  - PirateCode  - Helen Hollick
Q 20th Wednesday - To Be A Queen – Annie Whitehead
R 21st Thursday  - The Spirit Room - Marschel Paul
U 25th Monday  - A Just And Upright Man - John Lynch
X 28th Thursday – The FlaX flower – AmandaMaclean

Call back tomorrow 
To meet the next exciting Character! 
(unless it is Sunday - in which case, I'll have something different 
but just as interesting !)


  1. Helen, I can only imagine how you felt when you met Jesemiah on the beach that day. Did you feel the need to rush home and start writing straight away, or was it enough that you had met him and you knew that the pieces had fallen into place?

    1. Jesamiah answers : Good mornin' ma'am. Helen tells me it was the last day of a family holiday when we met. She thought about the plot and ideas on the drive home and started writing the next day - this would have been the last week of October several years ago. She didn't stop writing until the end of January and missed only one day, and that was Christmas Day. Even then she was thinking about me (quite rightly) because she'd abandoned me in the middle of a storm at sea, with m'boat about to sink...
      I blame her for the dangers I often find myself in....

      [Helen: don't believe that last sentence Annie - he gets himself into trouble and leaves ME to get him out of it!]

  2. Oooh, Jesamiah, how lovely to meet you. And what a lovely ship you have. I did enjoy my little visit yesterday while you accompanied Helen.
    And, Helen, you look absolutely fab in that black gown. Very glamorous, but I imagine that comes with the territory of being such a famous pirate's woman - or other woman. I guess Tiola doesn't mind sharing a little bit of him since, without you, he would still only be striding the beach of imagination. It really is time the BBC made a film or series of your books. It would make a nice change from all these flipping programmes about cooking. Some proper drama, that's what I want. Your books would fit the bill very nicely.

    1. Jesamiah answers [frowns] would you, by chance, be the wench who spilt coffee over my compass, and blew a hole in m'deck with a cannon? [laughs] well, never mind that - but where's m'rum gone???

    2. Hiccup. Rum? Oh no, I never touch the stuff. I did find my coffee tasted a bit different though, very yummy. I think your crew were trying to be very nice to me. Lovely chaps.

    3. Jesamiah: If Finch, my steward, served you coffee its not surprising it tasted funny. The only time I can assume it is made with actual coffee is when we're in port somewhere. Otherwise, you don't want to ask what's in it...

    4. Jesamiah: *laughs*... which is why I always put a lot of rum in my coffee!

  3. These stories have everything - true love, danger on the high seas, plenty of baddies! Can't wait to read another one.

    1. Jesamiah answers : and me. They have me most of all! *laugh*. Of course, you do understand that I am, basically, a modest sort of fellow.

      [Helen: he's also a pirate and very good at fibbing...]

  4. In the arms of a handsome pirate - what a welcome change from the pasty-faced desk jockeys of today that would be...all in my dreams, of course. Still, Cap'n, you would indeed give Jack Sparrow a run for his money. (BBC, are you listening?)

    If I, Nefret, had had you along on my arduous journey up the Nile, that dastardly Stinger of a Scorpion might not have befallen our little convoy of temple boats on which I languished, disguised as a temple chantress.
    It may not be proper for me to admire a pirate, but then, I am a bit of a rebel myself.
    Hence, admiringly yours, Nefret, Royal Daughter of Egypt.

    1. Jesamiah answers (ears pricked, eyes gleaming) mmm, I like the sound of a temple chantress... Helen m'dear, any chance I could change my time travel option?

  5. Hello Jesemiah do you happen to know what sort of a sailor Helen is? Has she roamed across the oceans? I ask as one who is violently sick on the flattest of flat Channel crossings. And could you expound on the research done to bring to life your dear white witch wife Tiola? Expecting to see you on a channel of a different non-watery sort very soon!

    1. Jesamiah: Helen's never sailed in anything bigger than a small dinghy, although she has been on a couple of modern cruise ships (and the ferry across to the Isle of Wight) oh and she can row pretty well (plenty of practice in the Lake District). She was on a ferry from Italy to Greece once - in a thunderstorm. Her & her Dad were the only passengers on deck watching the storm - the crew were pretty impressed!
      Apart from the Victory and Cutty Sark (no fear of seasickness there) she's never even been on a tall ship. She reckons she must have been a sailor in a past life, though, because she seems to instinctively know lots of things. (Actually its me telling her....)

  6. What fun! Good for you for sticking to your guns and making this an adult series, after all we need adventure, romance, and dreams just as much as, if not more than, young people. I can totally see how Jesamiah could steal a lady's (and author's) heart at first sight, and on a Dorset beach no less! Who wouldn't want to spend her days with a handsome, roguish, daring, and humorous pirate traveling the high seas exploring distant shores? (Suddenly feeling flushed Arabella opens her fan with a snap.) Goodness, I think a visit to that Amazon Harbour Jesamiah mentioned is in order as soon as safe passage may be arranged!

    1. Jesamiah : (bows) my lady, I'll be only too pleased to escort you safely aboard my ship to that Amazon harbour...

  7. Of course you're the love of her life, Jesamiah Acorne! And if she won't have you - or admit to it - come right over and visit with me. Like right now. Or maybe not, becuase Matthew is scowling and saying something about no pirates close to his wife, while Adam has drawn his broadsword. Their ladies, however, both eagerly nod and grin. Prepared to take a risk or two, Mr Pirate Extraordinaire?)

    1. Jesamiah: I'm pretty experienced at sneaking into (and out of) places where I need to sneak into and out of...tell the ladies to leave a large bottle (or two) of brandy out for their menfolk - and leave the window open tonight...

      Helen: I'll pretend I heard not a word of that, Jesamiah my lad! lOL

  8. What a colorful character this fellow is!!! I love the name and I love the personality. When I was little kid my father had me convinced that we were descended from Jean Lafitte and I don't suppose I ever got over that. Tomorrow on my blog you'll get the story of a contemporary of Jesamiah--a Capt. Gruchy, a privateer who stole four angels that are still on display in the Old North Church in Boston.

    Meet My Imaginary Friends

    1. Jesamiah: Acorne was a name I adopted when I had to high-tail it out of Virginia because I'd almost beaten my B*std of a half-brother to death. (I should have killed him, there and then). I needed a new name - I had a gold acorn-shaped earring. I added the 'e' on the end for extra colour!
      I'll make sure Helen rows across to your harbour tomorrow!

  9. Been out all day, but just tweeted and facebooked this

  10. Great interview, Helen. I can smell the tar oozing out of the caulk in the sunshine, mingled with the whiffs of rum and Virginia baccy all the way up here in Sheffield - and that makes me about as much of a landlubber as it is possible to be on this island.

    1. Jesamiah : [sniffs the air] whiffs of rum....? where? Show me where!

  11. *extends a hand at the Captain* I've enjoyed reading about your adventures for years now, Captain. I am sure glad that Helen found you on that beach! Now when may I have an audience with you so that I might take your portrait for future book covers?

    1. Jesamiah : m'lady, it's been my pleasure to know you an' all darlin'. I'll happily show m'face when the right actor to portray me comes along!

  12. Your author is right there sure is the market for adult pirate books - I mean just look at the fuss made over Johnny Depps visit to Australia this week mind you the dog smuggling apology video didn't help, you see what troubles a modern pirate has? Best stick to the glorious olden days, which you clearly do so well! I really enjoyed this post, indeed all in the series :)

    1. Jesamiah says : I find the only problem with having dogs aboard is that they leave their 'calling cards' on my nice clean deck! I can't figure out what the ex-agent meant by adults not liking pirate novels - as you say, look at that Sparrer' Feller! (but look at me as well!)

      Helen says : The first POC movie - Black Pearl - was intended for children but Disney completely miscalculated the market, and Johnny Depp. Jack Sparrow took over and re-ignited adult interest, which has always been there but had been somewhat buried (look at Errol Flynn - and I bet more adults watch / read Treasure Island than children do!) There are dozens of pirate festivals in the UK and US (and elsewhere?) if given a choice for fancy dress the favourite is to dress up as a pirate. I do think publishers (and agents, it seems) exist in a different world to us readers!

  13. Lovely to meet you, Sir!
    Love that line about trouble following you like a ship's wake -- sorry! Not that I wish trouble for you, but calm seas and smooth sailing.

    1. (bows) Thank you ma'am. I wish trouble would b*gger off and trouble someone else... on the other hand, life in the world of imaginative fiction would be a bit dull without it!


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