I recently encountered Seven Jane
on Twitter and learned she is releasing her debut novel on October 9th. Her novel, The Isle of Gold
is historical fiction set in 1716 on a pirate ship. Check out the full description here
The Isle of Gold sounds really exciting and the summary on your website piques my interest. How did you come to this idea and the premise of the story?
“I have always loved pirate stories and being out on the sea. The idea for this story came in a dream, and the characters largely determined the rest themselves.”
What was your favorite part of writing The Isle of Gold?
“Writing this story required a lot of research, which was absolutely amazing! I love sailing, but of course have never sailed a wooden ship nor eaten pirate fare, so learning about these elements was fascinating. I was even able to tour some recreation wooden sailing vessels, which was an incredible experience—to put to sea with creaking boards underneath like a sailor might in the 17th century.”
What was the hardest part of the writing process for you?
“Mixing fantasy with fact is always hard, as well as staying true to original folklore without repeating the same old story. I tried to do this the best I could, while weaving an entirely new tale.”
Was there any aspect of writing a novel that you hadn’t expected or heard about from other authors? If so, what was it?
“I think the biggest surprise in writing a historical fiction piece was how many details would come up requiring research. It’s not the same in fiction (although it certainly can be). Along the way I had to research everything from how to caulk a ship to trim a cigar, and finding answers to some of my more unusual questions certainly took more time than I expected, though it was all certainly worth it in the end!”
Last week I used my day off to take a trip to Millstadt, IL. If you didn’t know, I’m writing for the Millstadt News magazine once a month. This month I was researching the old drug store. The problem: I couldn’t find the information I needed online. So I drove about forty minutes one way to go to the Millstadt Library and interview two of the pharmacy’s former owner’s children.
I learned a few things:
- Know ahead of time if a certain library has the necessary resources available by calling them or looking it up online. I wasted a good deal of my day sitting in the Millstadt Library, unable to get any further in my research. A different library had the old newspapers I wanted to look at, but I didn’t have time to go there.
- Plan for an interview by having questions you think you want to ask. Some of these may not need asking during the interview, depending on what you learn and what you already know about who you’re interviewing or the topic you’re trying to learn about. Going into my interview, I had questions based on misinformation because my research didn’t give me a clear picture of things. This is okay. Ask new questions that you think of based on what you learn.
- Be sure to ask if you can record the interview so you can double check details and will not miss anything. I forgot to ask about recording my interview. I know I lost some interesting details that were shared because I was in the middle of writing down the previous thought.
It was a good trip, worthwhile overall. For the amount of time I spent, though, I would have liked it to be a bit more productive. If I take writing-related trips in the future, to Millstadt or elsewhere, I will be better prepared as best I can. As this was my first, I went in rather blind.