Message From The Author
Kresley Cole Hits the High Seas with THE CAPTAIN OF ALL PLEASURES
By Lauren Spielberg
Debut author Kresley Cole is off to a rollicking start with the July release of THE CAPTAIN OF ALL PLEASURES, a sexy, hip, historical romance from Pocket Books that boasts snappy dialogue and lightning-quick pacing. The heroine, Nicole Lassiter, is calculating and clever—an
intrepid beauty with a big heart and a crafty intellect.
Modeled after real-life ship navigators Eleanor Creesy and Mary Ann Patten, Nicole was raised on her father's clipper ship and wants more than anything to
sail with him in the high-stakes Great Circle Race—a race that starts in England and ends in Australia. However, when her father is sent to prison by his nemesis, Captain Derek Sutherland, Nicole's dreams are shattered. Soon she finds herself a prisoner aboard Sutherland's ship.
At heart, this story is about two powerful people learning to compromise and temper the very strength that got them what they most wanted—each other.
Q: When did you begin writing?
I got my master's in English, so I wrote a lot of nonfiction (research papers, articles, book reviews). In fact, it seems like my whole life has been a pattern of paper, interim between papers, paper. But fiction came late to me. Over the years, a lot of people told me
I should be a writer, and I would just smile and nod, while thinking to myself, I will never write for a living. To me, writing was an ordeal, and I only did it when I had to for school. I loved reading and research, but as far as the writing went hyper-editing (not even
getting a paragraph down before going back and editing) and the desire to get it perfect in one sitting produced this awful pressure
and made writing a chore.
Then a very wise lady—my mom—told me to free-write about anything that came to mind without going back to edit—just get black on white and write until I couldn't write any longer. Only then could I go back and read and revise. It was an epiphany. My whole outlook changed to "Writing! Love it!"
Q: When did you sell THE CAPTAIN OF ALL PLEASURES? How long did it take to complete the story, from start to finish? Do you belong to any writers' groups?
I sold THE CAPTAIN in April '02. It took me about a year to complete. I was motivated to keep writing because I felt "full" with this story. It was almost as if the characters in my head were asking for freedom—and once you meet these characters you'll understand when
I say they were asking nicely for the last time.
I'm a member of RWA, Central Florida Romance Writers, Spacecoast Authors of Romance and Gulf Coast Romance Writers.
I also belong to a critique group in Orlando. It's so important to join romance writer/reader groups because once the romance bug bites, it's all you want to talk about. And if someone doesn't like or doesn't understand the romance genre, their attention span becomes gnat-like when you start talking. There are only so many times you can watch a person's eyes glaze over when you say, "But, wait, I haven't even gotten to the black moment yet," before you seek out other romance lovers.
Q: For your first novel, was it hard to keep motivated?
At times, because as a new writer you're dealing with so many uncertainties. I wondered daily if I was a strong enough writer or if writing was just a waste of time. But I was sending out numerous contest entries and getting back a stream of really positive feedback. And then there's my husband. At the outset, he asked me how badly I wanted to be published, and I answered that it was all I wanted in the world. He told me, "Then let's go get it." After that, whenever I was slacking or I had reached a milestone in my writing, he'd draw these funny pictures of animals typing away at the computer and hang them all over the house.
I still have a folder full of animals saying "21,514 words!" or "You broke 50,000 words!" There were even messages written on the bathroom mirror in dry erase marker—a kangaroo when I sold to Pocket, a huge "No. 1" when I won my first contest. They are over
a year old and I fiercely guard them from being erased.
>Q: What sparked this story?
While researching papers for a class on the adventure genre, I was continually struck by how well the research I was doing could translate into a historical romance. I'd tossed around the idea of writing
a romance (post-epiphany, when I discovered writing was enjoyable), and seeing all that information and background available, I decided to make my master's focus 19th-century adventure novels, with the ultimate goal of writing a romance set in that era. Then all I had to do was convince my department that the adventure genre was continuously (and curiously) overlooked and demanded further investigation and scholarly research. By me.
Luckily, one of my thesis directors taught classes on adventure and helped me maneuver my course work around the genre. I studied writers like Ouida (Under Two Flags), Conrad, Captain Marryat and especially those authors writing the "Robinsonades"—island adventure tales or survival tales written in the spirit of Robinson Crusoe. Clipper ships figured heavily in many Victorian adventure tales, their lore informing a large part of the genre. I fell in love with the drama and majesty associated with these "greyhounds of the sea" and knew I wanted them to be the backdrop of my romance novel.
Q: What was the process of working with an editor like?
It wasn't what I expected. I thought it would be more formal, which I dreaded, because the novel is steamy. I was petrified of having to say something like, "In this scene, I really wanted the heroine to have all her clothes off before tying the hero down and straddling him" or "You want me to call his 'what' what?" When I realized my editor, Lauren McKenna, is so easy to talk to, not to mention work with, I felt a well of relief. Now, I can pass anything by her without blushing.
Q: How did you go about researching your book? Is the Great Circle Race an actual race?
The Great Circle Race from London to Sydney is fictional but based on fact. In the mid-1800s, tea was transported from China to London via clipper ships, a class of sailing vessel built for speed with knife-like bows and masts up to 18 stories high. The captains raced madly from China with the new crop each year because the first to arrive in London commanded the highest prices and set the tea market. I wanted a captain hero who could master one of these sleek, formidable vessels. And I wanted a heroine who could understand their allure because she felt it too. So while brainstorming the plot, I thought, what if there was a race—not for tea, but just numerous countries competing, creating a competition on a global scale? And what if an American and a Brit—the fiercest rivals in the real tea races—were competitors? After that, the book flew by—it was as if I was just watching these two determined, unyielding people battle it out on the high seas. A woman captaining a ship in those days was unlikely (though absolutely not unheard of!), so I made my heroine a master navigator based on real-life heroines: Eleanor Creesy, who in 1851 navigated the clipper Flying Cloud to a headline-grabbing world record (a record not broken until 1989), and Mary Ann Patten, who navigated around Cape Horn—where some of the worst weather on earth manifests itself—while 19 and pregnant.
Q: Go ahead and "sell" your story to someone thinking of trying out
a new writer.
I think that if readers like adventure
and scorching love scenes, they'll like
this book. I'd also like readers to know that even if they aren't sailing buffs, they'll still enjoy THE CAPTAIN OF ALL PLEASURES. I researched and researched and had all this material to put in the story, but in the end,
I was surprised to see that the shipwrecks, gales and even the race became secondary, almost minor compared to the driving force of the characters and the romance itself. G
Visit www.kresleycole.com for details on her Summer Beach Read contest as well as a blurb on her follow-up release, THE PRICE OF PLEASURE (Jul. '04), which tells the story of Derek's handsome brother, Grant.
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