Good morning everyone. Thank you so much for hosting me today! I wanted to do a little fact versus reality comparison for you all today, in relation to my debut historical romance, Bound by Decency.
The Reality of Pirates in 1717 – Not Quite Pirates of the
Disney has done a great deal to influence our perception of a pirate and tell us what a pirate should, or should not be. We all love Jack Sparrow – who wouldn’t with Johnny Depp behind the name? But the truth is, the reality of pirates aren’t quite what the production companies would like us to believe. Let’s break a few myths, shall we?
1. The Dialect – They really speak like this, yes?
We have a national Talk Like A Pirate Day, how could it be otherwise? Truth is… no. The exaggerated rrs and the catch-phrases we all associate with pirates originate not from history annals, but from Long John Silver, 1954. Did pirates have a brogue? Probably. In fact, most likely. And it was also most likely a similar variation of the Cockney accent. The poor, uneducated British man’s speech. If not, they’d possess the natural English brogue we associate with the land. In short—if they were educated, they’d speak like our ladies and lords we love of Regency romance. If they were uneducated and (typically) poor, it would resemble more Eliza Doolittle.
2. All Pirates Were Drunks – Um… well… yes and no.
To examine this, water has to be considered. Finding potable water on board a ship was really hard. They might leave port with several barrels, but bacteria would set in, or they’d flat run out. Which left them with cleaner, healthier rum, wine, whiskey, and alcohol in general. So yes, indeed, they drank a lot of spirits.
But here’s the crux: Every agreement that crews drew up reference severe penalties for failure to adhere to duties or abandon posts, and some reference penalties for being drunk at the time of engagement. Given that it’s rather obvious if a person is truly drunk, it stands to reason attention to duties often suffers, the drawback to being drunk isn’t often worth the indulgement. Who really wants to die for drinking past 8 bells? So it stands to reason that while alcohol infused their daily lives, drinking was done in moderation aboard ship, with attention to sobriety. (Five glasses consumed over a day, as opposed to five in an hour). The real partying came when the ship was at port.
3. Pirates Wanted Gold, And They Buried it Too!
Ahh… the romance of fiction. Did pirates want gold? Well—do you? Of course they wanted gold, and they certainly wouldn’t leave it behind on a ship they raided. But the vast majority of pirating didn’t involve riches. It involved the simple things needed for survival on a ship. Recall that spoiled water? Yup, they’d raid because they needed fresh. This goes hand-in-hand with rotten food, tobacco, medicines, guns, ammunition, and things like canvas for battered sails.
Then there’s the whole burying these treasures part. Ignoring the fact that most of what they stole were consumables, we can thank
for this common misconception. Fact is,
no legitimate treasure map has ever been found.
Nothing exists to suggest they buried riches, and for men who partied
hard in port—they spent what they acquired as fast as they could. Buried treasure doesn’t really fit the
bill. Unless you’re speaking of the rare incident when excessive coin was discovered. In such cases, a pirate captain who naturally
would’t trust his crew to watch over the take, might hide his riches. But he would do so in a place he could
readily get to. Which nixes the idea of
complex pirate maps.
So, there you have it. A peek at the reality of pirates in the early 1700s. Disney has given us great memories, but before you claim Sparrow as the epitome of pirate life, consider some of these more unromantic facts!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR...
Claire Ashgrove has been writing since her early teens and maintained the hobby for twenty years before deciding to leap into the professional world. Her first contemporary novel, Seduction's Stakes, sold to The Wild Rose Press in 2008, where she continues to write steamy, sexy stories for the
and Black Rose lines. Adding to these critically acclaimed romances, Claire’s
paranormal romance series, The
Curse of the Templars debuted with Tor in January 2012. For those who prefer the more erotic
side of romance, she also writes for Berkley Heat as the National Bestselling
Author Tori St. Claire. Champagne
She is an active member of Romance Writers of America, and her local RWA chapters, Heartland Romance Authors, Midwest Romance Writers, North Texas Romance Writers of America, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.
Claire lives inTo learn more about Claire, visit her on the web at www.claireashgrove.com, or www.toristclaire.com.
with her two toddler sons, and too-many horses, cats, and dogs. In her “free”
time, she enjoys cooking, winning at Rummy, studying Ancient Civilizations, and
spending quiet moments with her family, including the critters. She credits her
success to her family's constant support and endless patience.
ABOUT THE BOOK...
Bound by Decency -- Book One: The Flying Gang Series
After inheriting a portion of
Spain’s Royal Inheritance, Cain
left The Flying Gang for a chance at honest wealth. With the secrets of his
piracy tucked away, he achieved his lofty aspirations. But when his partner and
best friend betrays him to the Royal Navy, Cain’s dreams are ripped to shreds.
He’s left with his ship, the tattered remnants of a stolen future, and a piece
of Spanish mystery. Wanted by three nations and destined for the gallows, he
returns to the legendary band of buccaneers for one purpose -- vengeance.
Kidnapped by the formidable
discovers he intends to kill the man she’s to marry. Cain’s story reveals
betrayal. Treachery that extends to her as well. Although she holds the key to
refuses to become another man’s pawn. Freedom lies before her, the liberty to
shrug off propriety, make her own decisions, and claim her destiny. But when
she uncovers goodness in Cain’s soul and he awakens passion in her heart, she
must combat the chains of convention once more.
Only this time
fighting society. She’s battling a pirate bent on keeping her decency intact.
For a moment, he could do nothing more than stare. Richard had said his intended was lovely, but somehow, Cain had never pictured her as a beauty. Yet now, as she stood before him, her chest heaving with indignation and her hair a sopping mess, he realized Richard had once again played him false. India Prescott wasn’t merely lovely. She was breathtaking.
“What in the name of Mary do you think you’re doing?” she snapped. “My father will see you hang for this.”
Her sharp tongue yanked Cain out of his stupor. He collected himself quickly, and for the first time since his arrest, gave into a broad grin. “Indeed, he will have to get in line.”
India’s eyes widened a fraction, but anger drew delicate brows downward, and those sky-blue eyes narrowed. “I see no amusement in this. Do you have any idea who I am?”
As a rumble of laughter broke through the men within earshot, Cain’s humor subsided. His smile faded, and he reached out to twine a thick lock of her hair around his finger. Turning his wrist, he wrapped the silken length around his hand, slowly bringing her closer. So close that the wet fabric straining across her breasts dampened his shirt. The heat of her skin grazed his. “I know well who you are, Miss Prescott.” He ran the back of his free hand across her dainty collar bone, over the slope of her shoulder, then lifted it to draw his thumb across her parted lips. The audible catch of her breath ricocheted through him. So she was not unaffected by him. Good. He could use it to his advantage.
His gaze held hers. A flicker of fear passed behind her eyes, but to her credit, she didn’t shrink away. She stood straight and proud, even as she shivered in the stirring breeze. Courage Cain didn’t often encounter from the gentle born. God’s teeth, men far stronger and larger than she didn’t hesitate to grovel at his feet. Yet she, no bigger than a lark, defied him with stubborn silence.
To drive her subservient position as his captive home, he tightened his hold on her hair until she winced. Leaning forward, he lowered his mouth to her ear. “You are the daughter of a powerful man and presently my prisoner, to do with as I will.” Stepping back, he untwined his hand and smirked.
India’s palm cracked across his cheek. “Rot in hell!”