Tag Archives: Barbary Coast

The real pirates of the Caribbean: Guest post & giveaway by Shana Galen

Shana GalenI’m so happy to have historical romance/adventure author Shana Galen here today talking about some of the fascinating research she’s done on pirates. She’s giving away two copies of her upcoming release, The Rogue Pirate’s Bride. I’ve read and LOVED it, so make sure you leave a comment by Tuesday January 31st!

Take it away, Shana!

Hello! I’m thrilled to be on Reader, I Created Him today. This is the first stop on my tour for The Rogue Pirate’s Bride. What a great way to begin! I want to thank Kat for inviting me. I met her in New York over the summer, and if you don’t know her, be assured she is really as nice and smart and talented as this blog would indicate.

English: Johnny Depp at the Pirates of the Car...

Image via Wikipedia

This is my second paragraph, and I already have a confession. My book isn’t actually about Caribbean pirates. The Rogue Pirate’s Bride is set in 1802, which is a little past the heyday of the Carribean pirate. But there were still Barbary pirates operating in the Mediterranean, and they were based primarily in the ports of Tunis, Tripoli, and Algier (aka the Barbary Coast). But that wouldn’t have worked as a title, and the Barbary Corsairs had a lot in common with their Caribbean counterparts.

My pirate hero, actually he prefers to be called a privateer, is Sebastien Harcourt. He’s captain of a ship named Shadow and frequently takes on the British Navy. His men are loyal and tough. They have to be. Pirates slept in the smelly lower deck, all packed together in hammocks along with the extra supplies. Bastien, of course, has his own cabin, but his ship is small (and subsequently fast), and he’s the only one with the luxury of privacy.

I read quite a few books about pirates when I was researching for this book, and I learned some interesting facts. Bastien’s enemy, Jourdain, has a shaved head. Pirates often shaved their heads to keep their hair free of lice and bugs. Jourdain also wears gold earrings as does Ridley, Bastien’s bosun, shorthand for boatswain. A bosun is sort of like the deck supervisor. But the interesting thing about Ridley and the other pirates who wear gold earrings is that they wore the earrings so that if they were thrown from a ship during a battle or storm, and their bodies washed up on shore, the earrings would be valuable enough to provide them with a burial. Some pirates wore earrings to symbolize survival from a shipwreck. If I were a hiring captain, I might be wary of hiring any pirate with more than one earring. He could be bad luck, and pirates are very superstitious.

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