Monday, April 10, 2017

A Pirate's Life: An Interview with Nicole Castroman


An interview is pretty rare on Du Livre, I admit. But, after reading and falling in love with Blackhearts earlier this year, I knew I had to pick Nicole Castroman's brain.

Amber:  As a history buff, if you could meet anyone in history, who would it be and why?

Nicole: There are so many fascinating historical figures I’d like to meet. Blackbeard is obviously one. But honestly, I’d love to meet Mother Theresa. She made such a difference in the world and had so much love for people. To be able to sit with her and listen to her life experiences would be amazing.

Amber: Completely random, but I have coworkers who will debate Mother Theresa's goodwill. I wasn't aware she was such a hot topic! But I digress. What was the strangest thing you researched while researching both Blackhearts and Blacksouls?

Nicole: I would say that the most unusual research I found was for pirate discipline. They used some unbelievable techniques to keep people in line. One was keelhauling, where they tied the person to a rope and dragged them under the hull of the ship. Underwater. How dangerous is that?!? The barnacles on the bottom of the ship would cut the person and they often died from their injuries. Definitely not a pleasant way to go.

Amber: I actually just read that part in Blacksouls! I guess that's one way to keep your crew in life. Is there any inspiration behind the bold and feisty Anne? 

Nicole: I love Anne. She just came to me as is. I knew I needed someone who was strong enough to go toe-to-toe with the man who would one day become the most notorious pirate to sail the seas. Anne is that person. Because of her background and what she endured and would have to endure in her lifetime. As a white author, I truly hope I did her justice and adequately portrayed her strength and fierceness as well as her vulnerability. 

Amber: I personally loved Anne and could see how much love you poured into bringing her to life. Since these books are told in alternating perspectives, which character did you find harder to write: Anne or Teach? 

Nicole: Both Anne’s and Teach’s chapters had their own challenges to write. Anne’s, because I’m not a woman of color. I did my research, but you can never be sure if you’ve done enough. I’ve read some #ownvoices books and they’re powerful. And raw. And so very necessary.  I recognize that I come from a place of privilege and it was important for me to approach this story with sensitivity. I wrote BLACKHEARTS in 2012, before the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement started. I probably went into this na├»ve, but I wrote a character I love and fiercely believe in.  I would have to say Anne’s chapters were my favorite to write. Teach’s were challenging because he’s male and I’m a female, but I tried to be honest to both characters. Yes, I know I took some artistic liberty with some of the facts at the time. I just hope that people will fall in love with the characters as I have.

Amber: It sounds like you really did you research before even picking up pen and paper (er...opening up Microsoft Word?) when it comes to Anne. And I don't think I've ever given any thought to how hard it must be to write a male character.  As a white female author, you must have done tons of research to channel specific voices. You were able to take some liberties with Teach since Blackbeard's history is so unknown. Are there any other historical figures you would love to write about? 

Nicole: There are LOTS of historical figures whose stories I’d like to tell! Some of them are female pirates. Can you see a theme emerging? 

Amber: Hey, pirates are fun! Nothing but loose morals and hidden treasure. As an author, I'm sure you've had the opportunity to read a bunch of 2017 releases, what have been some of your favorites? 

Nicole: There are sooooo many amazing books coming out in 2017. I’ve already read and loved Angie Thomas’s THE HATE U GIVE. I’ve also read Nic Stone’s DEAR MARTIN, which is just as amazing as she is. Definitely PRE-ORDER that one. Another book I loved that isn’t a debut, but is new in 2017 is VALIANT by Lesley Livingston. Historical fiction (yay!) about female gladiators. What’s not to love?

Amber: Ooo those are some great recommendations! I'm making it my business to shove THUG into everyone's hands. Now what about you? What are you working on right now? 

Nicole: I can’t say what I’m working on at the moment. But hopefully I can announce that soon!!!

Amber: Oooo I wait with bated breath! Thank you again for stopping by the blog today Nicole, you're the absolute best and I can't wait until Blacksouls is out tomorrow!

Title: Blacksouls (Blackhearts #2)
Author: Nicole Castroman
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Amazon  | BN | GoodReads

Nicole Castroman brings the dangerous pirate ports of the Caribbean to life in this vibrant sequel to Blackhearts—the reimagined origin story of history’s most infamous pirate, Blackbeard.
Edward “Teach” Drummond is setting sail to the Caribbean as first mate on the most celebrated merchant ship in the British fleet—until he rebels against his captain. Mutiny is a capital offense and Teach knows it could cost him his life, but he believes it worth the risk in order to save his crew from the attacking Spanish ships.
Sailing on the same blue waters, Anne barely avoids the Spanish attack, making it safely to Nassau. But lawless criminals, corrupt politics, and dangerous intentions fill the crowded streets of this Caribbean port. Soon, Anne discovers that the man entrusted to keep the peace is quite possibly the most treacherous of them all—and he just happens to hold Teach’s fate in his terrifying hands.
Life and death hang in the balance when Teach and Anne are given a dangerous mission. It’s a mission that will test their love, loyalty and devotion, forcing them down a path neither one could have ever imagined.

Nicole was lucky enough to come with her very own best friend…she has a twin sister who can read her mind and finish her sentences for her.
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 the country 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. Learn more about Nicole, here.


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