Friday, September 28, 2018

Eric Jay Dolin

Eric Jay Dolin is the best-selling author of Leviathan and Brilliant Beacons. His new book is Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America's Most Notorious Pirates. Dolin and his family live in Marblehead, Massachusetts, from which the pirate John Quelch departed in 1703, and returned to in 1704, only to be hanged in Boston.

From Dolin's Q&A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: Why did you choose pirates as the subject of your new book, and what do you think accounts for the ongoing fascination with them?

A: This book’s origin story begins with my kids. After I finished Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse, I began searching for a new book topic. I asked Lily and Harry, who were then in their teens, what I should write about.

When I raised the possibility of pirates, their eyes lit up, both of them saying, “That’s it, you have to write about pirates.” Lily even threw out two possible titles for the book: “Swords, Sails, and Swashbucklers;” and “Argh”—or, perhaps more emphatically, “Arrrgh”—which, I had to tell Lily, much to her chagrin, is a word that probably was never uttered by a Golden Age pirate, and is more likely a creation of movies in which pirates dispense arghs with relish.

My children’s strong support is, of course, not the only reason I wrote this book. But the fact that they were early adopters of the pirate idea, was encouraging. Great credit is also due to my editor and the sales director at Liveright (part of W. W. Norton), who loved the idea, and picked it from a list of eight book ideas I had generated.

The many fictional representations of pirates, both in print, in plays, and on the silver screen has probably had the greatest impact in getting the general public interested in pirates, even though...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Eric Jay Dolin's website.

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Writers Read: Eric Jay Dolin.

The Page 99 Test: Black Flags, Blue Waters.

--Marshal Zeringue