Let’s go back to a time when Kindle was just hardware…
It was 2008, just as everyone questioned the old rules about what constitutes being published. There had been online fiction magazines and online serialized novels before that, at the fringes, before everyone became more comfortable with the idea that you could download and read a story on the go. But the early days required skills and tools that were not readily useable by people for whom writing fiction was their primary interest.
Come that year, and the tools were gained just as people were lost. I had someone I knew who like me talked about trying to keep their creative dream alive even as our lives and jobs came first. When this person died suddenly, their dream unfulfilled, I was filled with anger at fate and an unwillingness to just sit back and hope to get that break before my time.
The thing no one likes to talk about, is how much getting recognized in the arts is a matter of luck. You could be the absolute best at what you do, a true genius, but without the breaks you’d need to get that publisher, director, producer, or any other such person to promote you and let everyone know you exist, you don’t. Thus, with your tree rotted in the forest, no one would remember you for your talent or ability, which is why the novel was written: If nothing else, there would be some record that I was a writer out there.
And as this meant setting out to make a name for myself, shaking up the order of things as I placed myself out there, it made perfect sense that this be a novel about pirates. The original disruptors, the old school venture capitalists who experimented with much of what makes American capitalism what it is, the ones who lived the main beats of Horatio Alger’s work over a hundred years before Alger was born; who better to write about while doing this than them?
And taking it a step further, why not have our daring crew led by someone you wouldn’t first think of as a captain? Yes, there were plenty of historic examples found in the likes of Grace O’Malley, Anne Bonnie, Mary Read, and Zheng Yi Sao, but the number of stories with women as captains were pretty low then, and hasn’t gotten much larger since.
And thus, the sails were trimmed as the voyage began…