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Shiver me timbers, there be Pirates in Elenchera!
The Pirates of the Caribbean films made pirates popular and cool once again but my love of these thieves and seadogs began way back in my childhood. I recall seeing pirates in some of the cartoons I loved in the eighties, there was even mention of the Dread Pirate Roberts in The Princess Bride (1987), but perhaps the most striking memory of them for me came with The Goonies (1985).
This classic adventure story had it all. Some of the elite young talent from Hollywood such as Corey Feldman; there was the Truffle Shuffle (cruel but funny!), the villainous Fratellis, the heroic Sloth (Hey you guys!) and the legend of a pirate named One-Eyed Willie, a name you wouldn’t get away in today’s world of innuendos and euphemisms.
I’ve seen The Goonies many times and it is one of those films that will endure, especially if you first watch it when you’re a kid. The excitement of finding a map leading to treasure, traversing underground caverns and dodging those many traps that One-Eyed Willie left just adds to the excitement and joy of the film. Then there are the climactic scenes when the Goonies locate the pirate ship before their battle with the Fratellis and the arrival of Sloth in a Superman T-shirt, you couldn’t write it any better.
From seeing that film I’ve always felt pirates are cool. Yes, they’re evil but that life of freedom out on the open seas is what is so appealing. I’ve often lamented our need for money to survive, sometimes wishing I could just wander the world without a care in the world. The journeys my characters take in Elenchera are the ones I am unable to do in real life. That said, given the hell I put my characters through I should be more content behind the safety of my laptop. I suspect I put them through such misery because I envy them. I never thought pirates would become cooler than watching The Goonies for the 400th time but then one day I met GuybrushThreepwood!
In 1990 LucasArts released The Secret of Monkey Island, a point and click adventure that spawned three sequels and recently the five-game series Tales of Monkey Island. The first game had GuybrushThreepwood reach Melee Island with the sole intention of becoming a pirate. He is given three tasks that all pirates must complete:- mastery of the sword, thievery and treasure hunting. Guybrush’s adventures eventually lead him to Monkey Island and an ill-fated meeting the fearsome ghost pirate LeChuck.
The Monkey Island games blended great storylines with puzzles and fabulous dialogue. GuybrushThreepwood was an early form of Jack Sparrow but nowhere near as resourceful or as well dressed as Johnny Depp’s creation. Guybrushstruggles his way physically and verbally through his adventures but in the end he always gets the job done. Before I discovered Final Fantasy VII – the game that would change my life and inspire me to be a writer – the Monkey Island games were my favourites. Playing the most recent games, it was a pleasure to be in the company of GuybrushThreepwood again but it is the first two instalments that have the most charm for me.
Pirates have been with me from a young age with those Goonies instilling in me the sense of adventure while the hapless GuybrushThreepwood, seemingly the most useless pirate in existence, augmented my love of these outlaws on the ocean. Including piracy in the world of Elenchera was not a decision I had to mull over for long. It seemed a logical choice. The result of my love of pirates has, of course, been A World Apart.
The second novel in the Elencheran Chronicles takes the reader into the heart of West Elenchera whose lands are in the midst of the stranglehold of colonialism but exploiting the struggle between the colonists and the slaves are pirates. While pirates in Elenchera are similar to the likes of Blackbeard or Jack Sparrow causing mayhem in the Caribbean, they are dominated by two enigmas at this time – the Black Iris and the Ivory Rose. A World Apart will reveal a lot more about these infamous pirate captains and I’ll leave you in the hands of Demetrius, Eleyna and Halcyon to share that particular story.
Hopefully the Black Iris and the Ivory Rose will one day be spoken of in the same breath as Blackbeard, Long John Silver, One-Eyed Willie, Jack Sparrow and GuybrushThreepwood. Whether that happens does not matter. The important thing is that pirates are undoubtedly cool and because of them I have a second novel I believe in.