But it gets worse …
Now, imagine ending up on one of those majestic tall ships sailing in the middle of the Caribbean with tiny cramped quarters, no privacy, constant swaying and rocking, no fresh water or decent food, and the potential for hurricane-force winds to rise at any moment.
But it gets worse ...
Imagine that the ship is a pirate ship, captained by a fearless pirate with a crew of less than savory men who haven't had shore leave in quite a while. Oh, my!
But it gets worse ...
Okay, you say. How could things possibly get any worse?
Imagine you suffer from anxiety, depression, and OCD, for which you need daily medicine, and you don't have any with you. Also imagine you were recently diagnosed with liver cancer and were scheduled to start chemo within a few days.
This is the premise of my latest release, The Reckoning. And yes, I love to torture my characters. I've always wanted to write a time-travel story, ever since I first fell in love with Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series years ago. Yet, time travel stories have been so overdone that most publishers won't even look at a proposal for one these days. My response to that is that everything has been overdone. “There is nothing new under the sun,” the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 1. The trick is taking an idea and putting your own spin on it. For me, that means unique characters and a crazy plot that keeps the reader guessing.
In order to create that special spin, I start with a basic idea of sending a woman back in time to a pirate ship and then ask a ton of “What if” questions. “What if the heroine is a drug addict?” “What if she’s a black widow?” “What if she’s pregnant?” “What if she’s from outer space?” etc… Some of these are ridiculous, most I toss out, but there’s always a nugget in there somewhere. “What if the character has cancer and will die without treatment?” Ah, that’s a good one! Of course I added the OCD and anxiety because, hey, I have those issues myself, and I thought it would be fun to put someone like me through the most harrowing circumstances possible! What would I do if I was this woman? How would I react?
But, here’s another spin. What if I believed the entire thing was a spoof put on by my father to get my mind off my cancer?
The most enjoyable part about the whole process was imagining myself in a situation with every modern convenience completely stripped away. Not only that, but having to wear layers of clothing: chemise, stockings, petticoats, stays, skirts, bodice, etc… in the hot Caribbean! Food aboard a ship consisted of hard biscuits often infected with bugs, dried beef, and fish stew. Water was so foul they had to add liquor to it to make it palatable. And people in those days rarely bathed! I decided that if I had to choose three things I would miss the most, they would be my soap, toothpaste, and indoor plumbing. (I guess I’m a clean freak)
So, what three things would you miss the most if you were transported back 300 years to a pirate ship? (Besides your sanity and safety!)
Giveaway: MaryLu is giving away one copy of her book, physical for US or ebook for international.