People who know me, know I love to read historical romance. It’s my go-to read for pure escapist fun. And there’s nothing more intriguing than a proper pirate hero. Wait. Maybe I should rephrase that, because we all know there’s nothing proper about a pirate. But this is what I like. I have a huge soft spot for rebels and outlaws (so much so that I practically married a pirate!), and so when I heard that Michelle Beattie had a new pirate romance out, I was quick to get it.
Michelle’s new release, Her Pirate to Love features strong, passionate characters. Cale and Grace are stubborn and have trust issues but together, they are simply perfect.
I invited Michelle to stop by for a quick Q&A with us about Her Pirate to Love and am sure you’ll enjoy hearing from this delightful author as much as I did. Please join me in welcoming this talented Canadian to the Jane Blog.
Michelle, please tell us a little bit about yourself that is not commonly known.
I’m fluent in French. I have mild scoliosis in my back. My nose is crooked because I broke it when I was a baby. I’m hate moths and can’t sleep if I know there’s one in my room. My favourite ice cream is tiger.
What do you love most about being a writer?
Working from home and not having to scrape ice off my windshield every morning in the winter.
When you first started writing, what ambitions did you have for your writing career? What are your ambitions for your career today?
At first it was just to see if I could finish a book. Then once I did that, could I sell it? My goal was to see my name on the cover of a book, which is why I don’t write under a pseudonym. My goals today? Well I’d love to make the New York Times List and win the Romance Writers of America’s Rita Award but ultimately it’s just to have a long-term career where people see my name on a book and buy it because, as a writer, I’ve never disappointed them.
How many books have you got under your belt now? What’s the journey been like since you became published? Does the thrill ever fade?
Her Pirate to Love is my 7th to be available for purchase but all together 10. The journey has been one of great joy, much learning and times of utter frustration. Like most things the first time will always be a little sweeter, but each time I see a cover with my name on it, I’m very proud.
Why did you choose to write about pirates?
Johnny Depp. Seriously. Pirates of the Caribbean did it for me, especially the first.
What keeps the attraction alive for the romance genre for you?
The happily ever after. Life is hard. Not everybody gets what they deserve but I like that in romance novels despite the struggles and pain, happiness is found at the end.
Please tell us about the premise of your new release.
The book picks up four years after Cale Hunter was asked to be the notorious captain Sam Steele in his brother’s stead. Driven by grief from having lost a wife and son many years ago, Cale plunders as Steele while doing his utmost best to forget the man he used to be. But when he takes Roche Santiago’s ship and finds a pregnant woman aboard, a woman needing his help, he finds the past impossible to keep buried.
Grace also has a bloodied past and doesn’t trust men. All she wants is freedom. But the more time she spends with Steele, the more she comes to question if that is, in fact, what she wants most.
But Cale and Grace haven’t heard the last of Santiago and while he wants to see Steele dead, he wants even more than that from Grace.
What sparked the idea for this novel? Do you draw inspiration from real life for your stories?
Cale came as a surprise to me. He hadn’t even entered my head until I was nearing the end of the 3rd book, A Pirate’s Possession, and realized I needed to kill off a major character. Then, as Aidan was yet too young to be a hero in his own book and I’d just killed off the next heir to the Sam Steele throne, I knew I needed another character to fill the gap and the idea for Cale was born. Do I draw inspiration from real life? Sure, to a point. I’ve lost family as well. Both my parents and a brother all before I was 31 so I used those emotions to hopefully make Cale’s grief feel a little more real.
What message would you like readers to take away with them once they read this story?
Sometimes life isn’t only about forgiving others. Sometimes to find happiness and peace, you also have to learn to forgive yourself.
Will there be more books connected to this one?
Yes, the series concludes with Aidan’s story, In The Arms of a Pirate, in April.
What’s your writing process? Do you have a set routine? Do you work every day?
Once my daughter is off to school, I do the social media thing and then I sit down to write. I struggle to write with noise or distractions so I typically only write until 3:30. I’ve tried to treat it like a business and I work Mon-Fri during regular business hours unless I have deadlines. I like to balance my work with my family so I’m not at my computer 24/7.
Does your main character have any characteristics (personality quirks) that are similar to your own?
Yes, we’ve both carried guilt for things we can’t change though I’m happy to say we’ve both learned to forgive ourselves.
Do you flesh out all your secondary characters before you start the writing process or do they sort of take life as you write?
Because this is a series a lot of these characters I’d written in other books but I always have a vague idea who they are before I start though they do surprise me now and then along the way.
What was the best or most fun part about writing this story? The not-so-great part?
The best part when I realized the ending (that came to me half way through the novel, it was never planned). I was so excited! I thought it was perfect. The not-so-great part? Grace’s Irish history. To try to write in just enough of Ireland’s past so the reader gets why she’s the way she is without turning it into a political saga.
What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t writing?
Playing golf, reading. Watching my favourite TV shows: Black Sails, Murdoch Mysteries, Castle, Heartland, The Voice, Survivor.
How big an impact would you say a book cover plays in the process of a reader’s buying process?
It’s huge. If I don’t like the cover I won’t bother reading the blurb. And sometimes I’ll buy a book, despite it not being my usual genre, if the cover speaks to me.
What’s the riskiest decision you’ve ever made as a writer?
Firing my agent and continuing with a series the original publisher didn’t want anything more to do with.
Are there any authors who had a significant influence on you during your journey to becoming published?
Sandra Brown and Nora Roberts.
For your personal reading preference, do you prefer ebooks or print books? What are you reading for pleasure right now?
Print wins for me every time. Right now I’m reading Kristan Higgins’ new book.
What does success mean to you?
Being happy and surrounded by family and friends. I’ve always been about making a life and not just a living. I’m not someone who is driven by money.
What advice would you give aspiring writers today?
Write what you want, what speaks to you and know that it’s damn hard work but the most fulfilling too.
What can readers expect from you next?
Well, after Aidan’s book in April? I’m going back to finish a historical western trilogy.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Just thanks. Thanks for taking the time to read this, to hopefully check out the book. I’m on social media so maybe I’ll see you there!
Michelle, thanks so much for sharing with us today! Readers, if historicals and pirates appeal to your reading tastes, I hope you’ll get your copy of Her Pirate to Love soon! And before I go, I have a $15 Amazon gift card for one lucky reader! Leave a comment below and you’ll be entered. Tell me if you enjoy pirate stories and if you’re not a pirate fan, which is your favorite kind of hero? Contest ends Sunday, February 14th with the winner announced on Monday the 15th!