A warm welcome to fellow Romance Writers of Australia author Elizabeth Ellen Carter. Elizabeth has written a guest post about her upcoming release – Revenge of the Corsairs (Heart of the Corsairs Book 2), and about why this series has opened new ground for her.
I never thought I’d find myself writing a series.
As a reader, I liked the idea of the hero and heroine achieving their happily ever after, their lives perfectly preserved in aspic, untainted by the realities of the world.
It might go back to the first series I ever read, Nancy Drew – the girl detective with her own car, of independent means and solving mysteries – she was everything a lonely nine-year-old girl could want but as I devoured every book I could get my hands on, I started noticing something.
Summer adventures would come and go and Nancy never had a birthday – she was forever eighteen-years-old and ultimately the suspension of disbelief was broken.
Later, writing stories of my own, I was quite content to write one-off tales.
Then I discovered something important. It’s not the author who decides to pen a series, it’s the character.
In my case, the character was Captain Christopher ‘Kit’ Hardacre, hero of the first book, Captive of the Corsairs, in the Heart of the Corsairs series. He was great fun to work with. There is a little bit of a Peter Pan in him, a man who had his childhood torn from him in a devastating and brutal way. His compass directed by his desire to right injustice and perhaps to give purpose of his own suffering by rescuing those captured by the Barbary Coast pirates.
Such a character draws other people to him and it was out of those, that the heroes of book two and three emerged.
And those two men are such different personalities to Kit and yet they work so well together.
Hero of book two, Revenge of the Corsairs (Heart of the Corsairs Book 2) is Elias Nash, a man who shouldn’t be there at all. He’s a Scotsman who found himself stranded after a missionary trip to Africa goes devastatingly wrong. He’s a moral man who shares Kit’s thirst for justice and can reign in the most extreme of Kit’s impulses. Elias is not without his flaws. He is not naive, but he is unworldly. Elias also has a habit of being too ready to take on the burdens of others at his own expense.
And then there is Jonathan Afua, hero of book three, Shadow of the Corsairs, which I’m currently writing. He is the most mature of the lot. He provides the gravitas for the group, a counter to Elias’ inexperience and someone Kit can trust. Jonathan is making the journey to create a new life and a new future following the deaths of his wife and daughters.
Of course three complex heroes need heroines who are their equals and provide the missing parts of their souls so together they are more than they could be as individuals.
Now I’ve understood the ‘code’ to writing a series, I can’t wait to do more. In fact, I’ll be starting a new series later on this year.
But as to why red-headed girl detectives never age, I have no idea. Perhaps it’s a mystery that Nancy Drew herself might investigate one day.
Blurb for Revenge of the Corsairs (Heart of the Corsairs Book 2)
Rescued after two years as a concubine in an Ottoman harem, former debutante Laura Cappleman faces a difficult journey back to normal life. As she travels to Palermo aboard Kit Hardacre’s ship, the Calliope, she is deeply traumatized – and pregnant by her kidnapper. Laura rejects the emotional support of her long-time admirer, Calliope First Officer Elias Nash, and her cousin, Sophia, Kit’s wife. She withdraws into herself and her art. Finally, after giving birth, she decides to return to London, hoping to erase tormented memories.
Emir Selim Omar died on the day of Laura’s rescue, but his wickedness lives on in his third wife, Rabia, in whose household Laura was held. The ruthless widow may yet hold on to the power she wielded as mother to the Emir’s only male heir. However, as opportunists pick his empire apart, her child dies.
When Rabia learns Laura has given birth to a boy, the solution is obvious – the concubine is stolen property and so is the child sired by her late husband. She will take the boy and kill anyone in the way. As Rabia’s assassins close in, Elias – both embraced and rejected by the damaged woman he loves, uncertain she will ever return, and alone in Palermo with the child he has given his name – must take the battle to the enemy. Otherwise, there may be nothing for Laura to come home to.
She basked in the thought of their passionate coupling and gave him a seductive smile as she stretched languorously in the doorway. She’d grown uncertain of Elias’ feelings over the past few weeks, but now she was on firmer ground. She approached and placed a hand on his shoulder. Feeling bolder, she cupped his cheek.
“Hmmm? What about last night?”
She stroked his stubbled cheek, reveling in the feel of the rough bristles against her palm. His lips were just there, and she stared at them. Perhaps she should kiss them.
“Are you listening to me, Laura? It can’t happen again.”
The words doused her as cold water.
“I beg your pardon?” She blinked rapidly, trying to make sense of a conversation twisting out of control.
Elias gave a long, drawn out sigh.
“Unless last night represented a change of heart, you’ve already made your feelings clear about how you feel about marriage to me,” Elias said quietly, “and I won’t do it again without vows being said before God and man.”
The blood which had fallen from her face returned with scalding heat. How dare he? How dare he take a night of pleasure then cast her in the role of a Jezebel?
“You were very enthusiastic at the time,” she said. Her voice was low, as his had been, but her tone was bitter – oh, so bitter. “You’re a big, strong man, you could have stopped me.”
He acknowledged the rebuke with a small nod. “And it’s to my eternal shame I didn’t. I curse my weakness when it comes to you, Laura. You came to me like a vision from one of my dreams. A beautiful, sensuous woman who loved me as much as I loved her, who accepted my pledge of devotion, and returned it equally.”
Laura’s fury erupted into a full blown gale. “You men are contemptuous. I should hate all of you. It is all well for you men to take pleasure as and where you will, oh, but God forbid that a woman seek the same comfort for the sheer sensual pleasure of the act.”
She watched anger begin to grow in Elias – the redness of his face, an uncharacteristically bitter turn of his upper lip. She relished it, savored it, and stoked the heat of her own anger with it.
“Do you say such pretty words to the other women you’ve dallied with – the tavern wenches, the prostitutes?” she taunted.
Elias stood. The bench scraped loudly on the stone floor. His fists clenched.
“How many women have there been, Elias? How many poor girls have there been who have waited to hear such pretty speech from you?”
Elias slammed both clenched fists on the table. His arms were locked rigid with rage.
“None!” he roared. “There have been none before last night!”
Revenge of the Corsairs (Heart of the Corsairs Book 2) is available on Amazon
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