Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Get Lost On The High Seas

Think you know pirates? Think again. Bestselling author Regan Walker joins us today as a guest blogger. She'll share her latest historical romance, To Tame The Wind, and give us some fascinating facts about Privateers, a very special kind of pirate.
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“A sea adventure like no other, a riveting romance!”

Paris 1782 -- AN INNOCENT IS TAKEN
All Claire Donet knew was the world inside the convent walls in Saint-Denis. She had no idea her beloved papa was a pirate. But when he seized Simon Powell's schooner, the English privateer decided to take the one thing his enemy held most dear... her.

A BATTLE IS JOINED
The waters between France and England roil with the clashes of Claire's father and her captor as the last year of the American Revolution rages on the sea, spies lurk in Paris and Claire’s passion for the English captain rises.


The Role of Privateers in the American Revolutionary War
by Regan Walker

There is something about the idea of privateers that stirs my blood. It has all the excitement and danger of piracy on the high seas, but with a significant difference: the privateers, armed merchant ships, operated with government sanction, or “Letters of Marque,” that allowed the private vessel to act under color of law.

Privateers were a large part of the total military force at sea during the 17th and 18th centuries. During the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), privateers acting for their respective governments—American, British and French, among others—seized thousands of ships, sometimes the same ship more than once!


Pictured above is the American privateer brig, the General Montgomery, engaged in action with the British merchant vessel, the Millern, which it captured off Ireland in July 1777. The prize was sent to America but later re-captured by the British.

At the time the Colonies declared their independence, the Continental Navy had only 31 ships (that number later increased to 64). But the sea fighting ability of the young country vastly increased as Congress issued Letters of Marque to nearly 1,700 American privateers.

The first privateer in the war might have been the American brig Reprisal, which on November 29, 1776, sailed into the port of Lorient in Brittany with Benjamin Franklin on board and two British prize ships in tow. The British protested, of course, and the owners of the seized vessels sought compensation. Lord Stormont, the British ambassador in Paris called Benjamin Franklin “a dangerous Engine” and voiced his suspicions the American statesman was on some “secret Commission from Congress.” He was.

The French response in allowing the American captain to sell his prizes in France was a tacit recognition of the young country’s independence. Franklin must have been delighted for he was there to solicit French aid. Responding to the sale of the two prize ships, the Public Advertiser, a London newspaper said,

Is not this acknowledging the American Privateer’s Commission? And is not that an Acknowledgement of the Independency of America?

Indeed it was, and it would not be the last such acknowledgement. The privateers were crucial to gaining recognition of the legitimacy of America’s war against Britain.

In my newest novel, To Tame the Wind, the hero, Captain Simon Powell, is a British privateer who captures the daughter of a French pirate turned privateer in order to regain his seized ship and his crew. Ben Franklin is a character who issued the French captain his Letter of Marque.

In fact, during the war, Franklin issued Letters of Marque to three ships: the Black Prince, the Black Princess, and the Fear Not. During a 15-month period in 1779-1780, these three ships captured 114 prizes. One of the reasons Ben Franklin sought these prizes was to use the captured British crews to ransom American seamen languishing in British prisons.

American privateers captured over 10,000 British seamen, keeping them out of the British Navy. In 1777, George Washington's armies totaled about 11,000 men. At the same time there were 11,000 privateers at sea intercepting British shipping in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and even between Ireland and England. Together, the Continental Navy and privateers captured 16,000 British prisoners, a substantial contribution in comparison with the 15,000 prisoners taken by the entire Continental Army before the surrender at Yorktown.

Meet Regan

Bestselling author Regan Walker loved to write stories as a child, particularly those about adventure-loving girls, but by the time she got to college more serious pursuits were encouraged. One of her professors suggested a career in law, and she took that path. Years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government gave her a love of international travel and a feel for the demands of the “Crown.” Hence her romance novels often involve a demanding sovereign who taps his subjects for “special assignments.” Each of her novels features real history and real historic figures. And, of course, adventure and love. 

Regan lives in San Diego with her golden retriever, Link, who she says inspires her every day to relax and smell the roses.

Regan’s Website
Twitter: @RegansReview 
Goodreads

Today Regan is giving away a copy of her first book in the series, Racing With The Wind, to one lucky commenter. 

What most fascinates you about pirates, or life on the high seas?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

27 comments:

  1. It's the devil-may-care attitude that pirates have that is appealing. So much fun in fiction.

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    1. Hi, Mary. I think you'd like the French pirate Jean Donet in To Tame the Wind... the son of a comte, he is a complex man.

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    1. Yes, Tammy, I love the adventure and hopefully all my books have that aspect.

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    1. This one, like Wind Raven, has a pirate and privateers aplenty!

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  4. Love getting lost in your stories!!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Dee, for stopping by to comment. I am thrilled you like my stories.

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  5. Thanks, E.E. for having me as your guest on Get Lost in a Story. I love the group.

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    1. Delighted you returned to share your "pirate" story. The post about privateers is fascinating. I recall learning about that in American history, and using it as the basis for a romance novel is brilliant!

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  6. There's some thing special about a pirate. They always seem to be large than life and more devil they care, at the same time there's an honourable steak. I love reading about them, because they take me to places I didn't know I wanted to go

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    1. At least the fictional ones are, Julie. The real ones were mostly scary. But in the world of romance, they can--and do--have a romantic, noble side!

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  7. The sense of adventure, just man and nature.

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    1. I love that, too, Linda. And the smell of the sea, the ship slicing through the waves... ah, yes.

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  8. For any who wonder, To Tame the Wind is the prequel to the Agents of the Crown series of which Racing with the Wind (the giveaway) is book 1.

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  9. Love those adventurous souls... battling others and Nature itself!
    greenshamrock at cox dot net

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    1. Me, too, Colleen! And to find love in the midst of such battles is all the more exciting. Thanks for commenting.

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  10. everything

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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    1. Oh, bn100, I do agree. I hope you read To Tame the Wind. And you might also like Wind Raven...both have pirates, privateers and sailing ships!

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  11. I love the promise of adventure fromf the privateers and the high seas. So many stories and so much excitement to please a reader like me.

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    1. Katy, I hope you find much adventure in my two seafaring romances...Wind Raven and now the prequel to the series, To Tame the Wind (they can be read as stand alones). Thanks for commenting!

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  12. Great post Leigh and Regan!
    For me it's the allure of the sea. The torrential rain, the waves the incredible isolation of the sea - man against the one of the most powerful forces on earth. All very romantic.

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    1. Very romantic, Kathleen, and fraught with danger, too! Love sea stories myself, especially ones with love stories.

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  13. It would be wonderful if you could add the name off the Reprisal's captain, Lambert Wickes. He was an important historical figure and my many X great Uncle.
    Thank you! Waverly Wickes Ford

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    1. Waverly, you mean to my book that is already published?

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  14. It would be wonderful if you could add the name off the Reprisal's captain, Lambert Wickes. He was an important historical figure and my many X great Uncle.
    Thank you! Waverly Wickes Ford

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