At the age of 13, she went to Europe for the first time and it changed her life. She loves learning about different people, languages and cultures and speaks fluent German. She knows enough Spanish to get herself into trouble and can still read the Cyrillic alphabet from when she studied Russian.
She received her B.A. from Brigham Young University and has lived in Germany, Austria and two different places called Georgia. One is located on the Black Sea. The other is the state of Georgia where she now lives with her handsome husband and two beautiful children who continue to amaze her.
Edward "Teach" Drummond, son of one of Bristol's richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There's just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.
Following her parents' deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she's stuck in England?
From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I had just parted ways with my first literary agent and my sweet husband suggested a family trip to Charleston, SC to cheer me up. I love history and did some research about the city of Charleston and discovered that at one point, the pirate Blackbeard held the entire city hostage. I then wanted to know more about Blackbeard and found out that only the last two years of Blackbeard's life are documented. Right there, the idea for BLACKHEARTS was born, a Blackbeard origin story. BLACKSOULS is a continuation of the story, because Blackbeard wasn't born a pirate. It's an evolution of his character.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Anne. Without a doubt, I love Anne. I needed a strong girl who could go toe-to-toe with the man who would one day become the most notorious pirate to sail the seas.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel. When I first queried my book and it went on submission to publishers, BLACKHEARTS was originally called THE LEGEND OF EDWARD TEACH. I still like the title, but I think BLACKHEARTS and BLACKSOULS are so much better!
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
I've learned to love the revision process. I LOVE REVISING. That's where the heart of the story and characters truly emerge. As important as it is to get something down on paper, it's so much more fun going through and adding nuances to the story.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I truly believe I won the cover lottery. These books are historical fiction, but they're so modern and minimalistic. I love my cover aesthetics.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2017?
I've already read the ARC, (and LOVED it) but I'm excited for the release of Nic Stone's DEAR MARTIN. I have my copy already pre-ordered and I think everyone else should pre-order it as well. Just like Angie Thomas's amazing THE HATE U GIVE, Nic's book deals with the issue of race. It's real and raw and so powerful.
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
There were a few scenes in BLACKSOULS that were emotional for me to write. As part of my research, I read the words of Frederick Douglass, a former slave who taught himself how to read and write and became an abolitionist, author and orator. I think his works should be required reading in high school.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
The villains in BLACKSOULS gave me the most trouble. I tried to find something redeeming about them, but in the end, I couldn't do it. There is nothing redeeming about their actions. Their motivation is greed, pure and simple.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
I enjoy both, but I've learned to appreciate the revision process so much more, especially working with a professional editor.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
My family has learned that I'm right 95% of the time. I don't know if you can call it a superpower and I don't think we're supposed to "keep score" during discussions. But I'm typically right. :)
By: Nicole Castroman
Publishing Date: April 11th, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse
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