pretty extensively and actually spent time sailing on some old wooden ships so I could get the details of the Riptide perfect. I went to pirate museums from here to Nassau. I even learned how to play (horribly) the hurdy gurdy. I research in batches...I find that I discover new research topics as I write. It makes writing adventurous, and it's part of the reason I write historical fantasy. I just bought a bunch of books on old Southern folk legends in the South for my next project!
What did you edit out of this book?
Honestly, mostly the romance. There is importance in Tom and Merrin's relationship--it parallels her parents' romance and Evangeline and Winters'--but it wasn't the focus of the story. I was much more interested in seeing Merrin evolve from a hesitant orphan to a literal captain in her own right more than I was seeing her fall in love, and I think that was the priority for her, too. I also edited out some of Winters' scenes, as he's such a magnetic character that I was worried he might get too much spotlight in Merrin's story. But don't worry, I have a lot more to say about Winters and Tom and the rest of the crew, so they'll all get their turn.
What was your hardest scene to write?
The historic scenes were the easiest, because they were so research-based that I couldn't wait to get my notes onto paper. The most challenging scenes, ironically, were those between Merrin and her mother, Melusine, and also Evangeline. These are three incredibly strong, resilient, and enduring women--and all so distinctly different. There's a hint of a Triple Goddess structure here, and all of these women approach their feminism very differently, so it was a challenge to keep them all true to themselves, but I think I did it.