A Pirate's Life

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Award-winning author Chris A. Jackson talks about writing his latest Pathfinder Tales novel, Pirate's Promise, and how living full-time aboard a 45-foot sailboat in the Caribbean inspires his tales of love, espionage, and high-seas adventure:

A night as black as a devil's soul. No moon, no stars, only a light breeze in the sails and the roar of surf off the bow. We can't see it, but we can hear it, each successive crash of the sea against razor sharp coral a death knell that grabs your gut and gives a little twist. Our chart is crap, no radar, no GPS, only a compass and a depth sounder, and the soundings keep getting shallower. Did I mention the engine had quit? All we wanted was shelter from the seas for the night, but we didn't arrive until after dark; now we're committed. When it feels right, you turn into the wind, furl the sail, and drop anchor. It holds. We're safe. Deep sigh of relief, and where's the rum?

This is how I researched "approaching a shore in the dark" for Pirate's Promise. I don't recommend it. I researched "heavy weather" off the Oregon coast in 60 knot winds and 35 foot breaking seas. When one of those waves hits the boat, every item in the cabin becomes airborne and slams against the wall, including you. Your face is pressed against a window as the boat lies on its side, a thin layer of Lexan between you and a mile deep ocean, ready to take you... greedy, hungry. I don't recommend that either.

Okay, so this wasn't exactly research, but I use these experiences when I write nautical fiction. There have also been plenty of beautiful nights with skies so full of stars you can't see the constellations, and whales, and dolphins, and palm trees... and rum for the times both good and bad.

Looks like I've found my niche, or at least part of it. The other part seems to be making romance part of the plot, but better... because it's Pathfinder! Yes, she's a snake! So what? Beauty isn't just scale deep, you know!

How did I do my research on the romance? Well... I do recommend falling in love, and not just for literary research interests. Yeah, I can hear that one: "So, you wanna research a novel with me?" Still, there's nothing like experiencing that exquisite stupidity of being in love to add some realism to your romance writing.

I'm not telling how I researched Vreva Jhafae...

But if there's something else you want to know about Pirate's Honor or Pirate's Promise, let's discuss it. I'd like to hear what everyone thinks, likes, or wants. With a lifetime's worth of sea stories, there must be something you want to know.

To quote 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: "It's a whale of a tale, and it's all true. I swear by my tattoo!"

Chris A. Jackson
Pathfinder Tales Author

Be sure to catch Chris A. Jackson on tonight's Know Direction podcast at 5:30 PM Pacific time and look out for Pirate's Prophecy, the next volume in the series, in February 2016!

Jenny Bendel
Marketing Director

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Tags: Chris A. Jackson Pathfinder Tales

I have not really made it a secret of how much I loved Pirate's Promise and find my self just wanting to re read both Pirate's book. It is mostly the relationships in the novels I enjoy the most. Torius and Celste, Vreva and Zarina...but not just romantic ones...Vreva and Saffron, Celeste and Vreva, Torius and Celeste with the various crews members of the Stargrazer. That is I think the core of the novels that are so appealing to me.

One of the things I enjoyed a lot was the relationship between Vreva and her familiar Saffron. It is probably the best depiction of spell caster and her familiar that I ever read or seen at the gaming table.

:
I knew it was great when it hit me hard when I cried when Saffron got killed...though in my defense my cat was sleeping next to me in bed when I did read it.

So I want to know is how did you come up with Saffron?

Contributor

I got Saffron from a friend of mine, who has an all-white short hair cat named Saffron, who incidentally hates me... He's got bright yellow eyes, and stares at me constantly. He'll brush my leg, then hiss and swat when I try to pet him. Since I love cats, I was deeply hurt by this, and threatened to make him a character if he didn't lighten up.

He didn't lighten up...

BING! The perfect familiar character, attitude and all.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Chris A Jackson wrote:

I got Saffron from a friend of mine, who has an all-white short hair cat named Saffron, who incidentally hates me... He's got bright yellow eyes, and stares at me constantly. He'll brush my leg, then hiss and swat when I try to pet him. Since I love cats, I was deeply hurt by this, and threatened to make him a character if he didn't lighten up.

He didn't lighten up...

BING! The perfect familiar character, attitude and all.

Spoiler:
Maybe he could foresee what you had in store for his fictional self?
Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Ha, that is awesome about Saffron.

I've heard of people doing that to disliked acquaintances, but that's the first I've ever heard of someone characterifying a cat.


I saw the release date for the next book is Feb of next year...I have not waited for a release of a book like this in a long time.

Anyway will we see Vreva and Celeste form friendship with less hate involved? Not that I want to see the back and forth go away...love those exchanges. But considering everything will actually friendship grow between the two?

Will we see Astrus again?

Also a question not related to the books...

Got in weird or strange sailing stories to share...like ghost ships or sea monsters?


Have you ever seen St. Elmo's Fire? Ever since I heard of it, I've wanted to see it.

Also: February 2016? Awesome!

Contributor

John Kretzer wrote:

I saw the release date for the next book is Feb of next year...I have not waited for a release of a book like this in a long time.

Anyway will we see Vreva and Celeste form friendship with less hate involved? Not that I want to see the back and forth go away...love those exchanges. But considering everything will actually friendship grow between the two?

Will we see Astrus again?

Also a question not related to the books...

Got in weird or strange sailing stories to share...like ghost ships or sea monsters?

I can't give any details out on the story or plot...Sorry John I will say there is no Astrus in the next book

Lots of strange sightings...long tentacle like things floating past in the dark, whales and dolphins under the boat at night glowing like ghosts with phosphorescence, tiny birds landing to rest on the boat far at sea, ships I could hear, even smell, but never see at night... yes, all that.

Contributor

Itchy wrote:

Have you ever seen St. Elmo's Fire? Ever since I heard of it, I've wanted to see it.

Also: February 2016? Awesome!

I've seen static flashes in the rigging at night...not truly St. Elmo's fire, which is, as I understand it, "ball lightning" that forms on the forestays and travels around the rigging and shoots from the tips of spars...

I've also felt the static shock through the metal wheel while steering during thunder storms... Lightning scares the crap out of me.

Waterspouts, too... Seen more of those than I want to ever see again...


Ah just trying to be sneaky.

Is there going to be any web fiction setting up Pirate's Prophecy?

Contributor

No web fic setting up the third book... Sorry, John. I may talk to Sutter about doing one for some other project though. Web Fic is a lot more for showcasing new writers for the fans, I think.


Other project?

I am guessing you can't revealed anything about it yet.

Here is another question that you probably can't answer yet....

:
Did Vreva ever get revenge directly on those who owned her sister?

Well I can not wait till Feb. Hopefully the months would pass by quickly.


Chris A Jackson wrote:
Lots of strange sightings...long tentacle like things floating past in the dark, whales and dolphins under the boat at night glowing like ghosts with phosphorescence, tiny birds landing to rest on the boat far at sea, ships I could hear, even smell, but never see at night... yes, all that.

*shivers*

Wow. That's cool! My son LOVES animals of all types, but sea creatures and birds have topped the list for the last 2 years. I'll bet he (and I) would love to see any of that stuff! When we were out at Cape Cod 2 years ago, we went on a "seal watch" walk down one of the beaches. At the time, there was a Great White Shark hanging out near the Cape. I was PRAYING that the shark would launch itself out of the water attacking one of those seals. It never happened.

Alas, I am blessed to be paying off a house with a job that feeds and takes care of my family. Maybe someday I'll sell it all, buy a boat and sail the Seven Seas!

One of my dreams is to someday dive with Great White Sharks (in a cage of course). Maybe someday.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Boat. Pictures. Post. 'Nuf said. :-)

Contributor

John Kretzer wrote:

Other project?

I am guessing you can't revealed anything about it yet.

Here is another question that you probably can't answer yet....

** spoiler omitted **

Well I can not wait till Feb. Hopefully the months would pass by quickly.

The answer is no....and boy is she itching for it. Hmmm...there you go getting me thinking again...

Contributor

Itchy wrote:

When we were out at Cape Cod 2 years ago, we went on a "seal watch" walk down one of the beaches. At the time, there was a Great White Shark hanging out near the Cape. I was PRAYING that the shark would launch itself out of the water attacking one of those seals. It never happened.

Alas, I am blessed to be paying off a house with a job that feeds and takes care of my family. Maybe someday I'll sell it all, buy a boat and sail the Seven Seas!

One of my dreams is to someday dive with Great White Sharks (in a cage of course). Maybe someday.

We were sailing across Cape Cod Bay, or rather motoring, because there was no wind, and Anne and I were looking for whales when we saw a very large fish jump straight up out of the water about a quarter mile away. I will not say that it was a Great White, but it sure looked like one to me, and that is how they feed. It was large, maybe twelve feet, and cleared the water entirely. A holy s*** moment, for sure.

Yes! Pay everything off and go! There is no reason not to.

Oh, and we have swam with sharks in the Bahamas (snorkeling) but only once felt threatened. I will never, however, get into an anti-shark cage. I've seen Jaws too many times...

Contributor

Ed Reppert wrote:
Boat. Pictures. Post. 'Nuf said. :-)

Thanks for prompting, Ed! You can check out our sailing adventures here: Mr.Mac Sailing Blog

You should look for older posts than that link, just scroll to the bottom and click "older posts" for more sailing. Lots of Caribbean pics in there. Enjoy!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Chris A Jackson wrote:
John Kretzer wrote:

Other project?

I am guessing you can't revealed anything about it yet.

Here is another question that you probably can't answer yet....

** spoiler omitted **

Well I can not wait till Feb. Hopefully the months would pass by quickly.

The answer is no....and boy is she itching for it. Hmmm...there you go getting me thinking again...

Think harder pretty please!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Chris A Jackson wrote:
John Kretzer wrote:

Other project?

I am guessing you can't revealed anything about it yet.

Here is another question that you probably can't answer yet....

** spoiler omitted **

Well I can not wait till Feb. Hopefully the months would pass by quickly.

The answer is no....and boy is she itching for it. Hmmm...there you go getting me thinking again...

That is is my gift I have hundreds of ideas and characters running around my head but lack the technical writing to actually write about them. So when I read I try to guess what happens next or I how would handle it...maybe one day I'll be able to get enough time to practice to write my own stories. Till than I have RPGs and novels.

I have another question...

:
Why did you choose to keep Grogul alive? Not that I am complaining I like the character.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Chris A Jackson wrote:
Ed Reppert wrote:
Boat. Pictures. Post. 'Nuf said. :-)

Thanks for prompting, Ed! You can check out our sailing adventures here: Mr.Mac Sailing Blog

You should look for older posts than that link, just scroll to the bottom and click "older posts" for more sailing. Lots of Caribbean pics in there. Enjoy!

Nice pics!


Have just reread both Pirate's Honor and Pirate's Promise as though just occurred to me....

:
At the end of Pirate's Honor it seems that Celeste gave Snick Ekhan's Ring of Invisibility but in Pirate's Promise Snick seemed to need others to cast invisibility on her. So how to explain it...my guess is that Snick gave the ring to Twilp.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
John Kretzer wrote:

Have just reread both Pirate's Honor and Pirate's Promise as though just occurred to me....

** spoiler omitted **

Pirate's Honor spoiler:
The halfling thief kept the ring of invisibility as his payment.

leo1925 wrote:
John Kretzer wrote:

Have just reread both Pirate's Honor and Pirate's Promise as though just occurred to me....

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **

You are right...I don't know how I missed that...maybe I need to re read the books again...

Contributor

Quote:

I have another question...

** spoiler omitted **

After long discussion with the editorial staff *cough Sutter cough* it was deemed best to do so...

I rather like the way it worked out. ;-)


So...I was also wondering if we will see the crew deal with other pirates?

:
Perhaps Torius's father...wondering id he or even his mother will ever show up...
Which leads to a other question...Vreva Twilight Talon tattoo I am guessing the word she whispered was her sister's name?.

But dealing with other pirates either has allies or adversaries would be interesting I think.

Contributor

John Kretzer wrote:

So...I was also wondering if we will see the crew deal with other pirates?

** spoiler omitted **

But dealing with other pirates either has allies or adversaries would be interesting I think.

There may be pirates in their future...not near future, but future. Maybe a duel between TV and Besmara? Nah...

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Chris A Jackson wrote:
John Kretzer wrote:

So...I was also wondering if we will see the crew deal with other pirates?

** spoiler omitted **

But dealing with other pirates either has allies or adversaries would be interesting I think.

There may be pirates in their future...not near future, but future. Maybe a duel between TV and Besmara? Nah...

I had the image of a TV set fighting the Goddess of pirates for a moment before Torius Vinn "clicked" :3


Chris A Jackson wrote:
John Kretzer wrote:

So...I was also wondering if we will see the crew deal with other pirates?

** spoiler omitted **

But dealing with other pirates either has allies or adversaries would be interesting I think.

There may be pirates in their future...not near future, but future. Maybe a duel between TV and Besmara? Nah...

That sparks another question...

Why does Torius Vinn worships Gozreh and not Besmara? I am fine with it...I was just wondering why when creating the character you went that way.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
John Kretzer wrote:
Chris A Jackson wrote:
John Kretzer wrote:

So...I was also wondering if we will see the crew deal with other pirates?

** spoiler omitted **

But dealing with other pirates either has allies or adversaries would be interesting I think.

There may be pirates in their future...not near future, but future. Maybe a duel between TV and Besmara? Nah...

That sparks another question...

Why does Torius Vinn worships Gozreh and not Besmara? I am fine with it...I was just wondering why when creating the character you went that way.

My guess would be because he likes the ocean more than piracy.

Contributor

Rysky wrote:
John Kretzer wrote:
Chris A Jackson wrote:
John Kretzer wrote:

So...I was also wondering if we will see the crew deal with other pirates?

** spoiler omitted **

But dealing with other pirates either has allies or adversaries would be interesting I think.

There may be pirates in their future...not near future, but future. Maybe a duel between TV and Besmara? Nah...

That sparks another question...

Why does Torius Vinn worships Gozreh and not Besmara? I am fine with it...I was just wondering why when creating the character you went that way.

My guess would be because he likes the ocean more than piracy.

Exactly that, Rysky. For Torius the sea represents freedom, which is one of his driving desires. Piracy is just a job. Now Grogul... yeah, he loves his work.


Ah...makes sense.

Now for more questions...

What does the A stand for in your name? I can't seem to find that anywhere.

Is Torius and the Stargrazer crew at all inspired by Firefly?

As a sidenote I just finished Deathmask...a true horrifying, depression, awesome, and well written book. My one comment is Poor Tolya...

:
I thought she might have been saved...though I guess what her fate ended up being was probably the best that could have happened at that point. :(

Contributor

John Kretzer wrote:

Ah...makes sense.

Now for more questions...

What does the A stand for in your name? I can't seem to find that anywhere.

Adam

John Kretzer wrote:
Is Torius and the Stargrazer crew at all inspired by Firefly?

Perhaps subconsciously, as I didn't realize the similarity in crew roles until a fan pointed it out.

John Kretzer wrote:
As a sidenote I just finished Deathmask...a true horrifying, depression, awesome, and well written book. My one comment is Poor Tolya...** spoiler omitted **

My darkest novel...yes, I agree, Poor Tolya. I really think Peter Jackson could make that book an awesome movie, though...


Yes Peter Jackson would make a great movie out if it ( also with the work he did of the LotR he could make a great movies out of the Cornerstone trilogy.)

Back to Toyla for a second...I am curious why you as a author decided to...

:
Have her be cured but have her retain all of the memories of what she did as a wraith so that she would beg for death?

Thinking about as the aspiring writer and storyteller I would have left her alive for a couple of reasons.

1) It would have had...been a slight victory for the good guys. I mean really the good guys did not win...they survived.
2) It would really drive the guilt into Gilthain more in that he did have the power to stop it if he just stood for what was good.
3) I think Nicos at the point would not have done it just because he was tired of death...and here was somebody who could be saved...
4) If you eve decide to write a book about a driven hunter of the undead...you all ready have her.

Now I can think of counters to all the above...so I don't want to sound like I am criticizing you...just I am curious about the decisions that goes into storytelling.

Also is there any thing you can reveal about Pirate's Prophecy or other projectsa for Pazio? Or is that still secret?

Contributor

John Kretzer wrote:

Yes Peter Jackson would make a great movie out if it ( also with the work he did of the LotR he could make a great movies out of the Cornerstone trilogy.)

Back to Toyla for a second...I am curious why you as a author decided to...

** spoiler omitted **

Also is there any thing you can reveal about Pirate's Prophecy or other projectsa for Pazio? Or is that still secret?

If I had ever planned to write a sequel to Deathmask, John, you are spot on...all of those things could have happened with only minor rewrites.

At the time I wrote this, however, I simply couldn't imagine it ending any other way. Here are some reasons.

Tolya:
First, I just couldn't imagine wanting to live having experienced what she had. Second, I think the guilt was worse for everyone having to kill her at her own request. Nikos was the only person who could have done it, I think. The dude by that time was inured to death, as many soldiers do become, and really knew there were things a lot worse than death. One thing, however...he is going to have some serious PTSD, and there is your "undead hunter"...

Contributor

Oh, and sorry, but I can't reveal anything on Prophecy yet...other than it's a nail biter. New venue (hinted at in the end of Pirate's Promise) and same three POV characters as Promise.

Future projects, yes. That's all I can say... ;-)

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