Kevin Peter of Moterwriter.com caught up with author P.S. Bartlett and got her to talk a little about her novel Demons and Pearls. This is what transpired in the tête-à-tête with the author.
Kevin Peter: What’s a typical day in the life of P.S. Bartlett like?
P.S. Bartlett: And it is oh so typical indeed. On weekdays, I wake at 6:50am to get ready for work and arrive at my day job as an office manager by 8:20am or so. I’m off at 5:00pm to my next job; wife, mom and grandmother. My daughter and her three small daughters moved in with us recently so it’s fair to say that I now have three full time jobs. I normally don’t sit down to write until after 9:00pm and if I find that fast lane, I can most likely count on not getting to bed until at least 1:30-2:00am.
KP: Tell us a little about your background?
PSB: Well that’s a broad subject. I’ve been everything from a supermarket pricing coordinator to a pediatric clinic manager. However if we’re speaking of my writing background, I’d have to say I always wanted to be a writer and have been writing since I could hold a pencil.
I’m also an artist. I used to make my own greeting cards and write my own poems for them as a child. I thought I would grow up to work for Hallmark someday and if memory serves me, I did submit several card ideas when I was a young teen. I never heard anything back from though.
In school, I loved writing essays and even wrote a few plays. However, as I grew up, life sort of took over and lost my focus. When my mother passed several years ago, I found myself with almost an empty nest and decided to get back into my art. From there, the writing began to flow again and now, here I am having written and published four novels in two years!
KP: How did you become a writer and have you always wanted to write?
PSB: I think I got a little carried away with the previous question and I already answered part of this. However, I became a writer by just writing. I began to take this more seriously two years ago when Fireflies showed up in my imagination. The story unfolded in my mind for a while and one evening, I just sat down with my son’s laptop and began to write. Countless hours of research and writing later (approximately 8 weeks) I had my first full manuscript in my hands and hadn’t the slightest idea what to do with it! I had so much to learn about publishing and did not waste any time researching that as well. I finished my Fireflies in the early fall of 2012 and began querying agents in October. I also queried small publishers and by New Years, one of them accepted my book and published it in April of 2013.
KP: Do you believe in the old adage ‘Write what you know.’ Or do you think this shouldn’t apply to fiction writers?
PSB: Oh absolutely not. I look at writing as a learning experience. I write historical fiction because I love research. I learn so much when researching a story that I often times get swept away and go far beyond what I’d originally set out to find. The part of the process that requires us to write what we know refers in my opinion to people and the emotions that drive them to do the things they do. People are people, regardless of which century they live in. I love people and I have a lot of experience with them.
KP: What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
PSB: To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Outlander – Diana Gabaldon
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
Anything by William Shakespeare
KP: What’s ‘Demons and Pearls’ all about?
PSB: Demons & Pearls is about a young woman (Ivory Shepard) who’s suffered great tragedies and wants a better life for herself and her cousins, whom she is charged with taking care of.
When they end up aboard a pirate ship under false pretenses, she is thrust into a battle for her life with the traitorous captain and is forced to kill him. She soon finds out the truth that she and her cousins are to be sold as slaves to another pirate Captain—a fate she isn’t about to accept lying down.
She’s bold, a remarkable fighter in both spirit and with a sword, thanks to her buccaneer uncle who raised her. By the time she realizes she’s not only headed towards a new life but an entirely new world filled with pirates, it’s too late to turn back. But she knows her own strengths and worth, even at only eighteen, even if she reluctantly has to accept her limitations. Once she makes allies of a few decent men who also happen to be pirates, those limitations turn to trust, power and unlikely love with one of them.
If you’re looking for a sappy pirate romance, this isn’t the book for you. But if you’re looking for an action packed thriller, love story, adventure pirate themed book (think Dirty Harry meets Pirates of the Caribbean and then some), this just might be your book. Realism is important to me when telling pirate tales. There aren’t any sea monsters or mermaids, sorry.
KP: Who or what was your inspiration behind ‘Demons and Pearls’ and its characters?
PSB: My friends and my relationships with them. I base almost all of my characters on people I know. I steal the best parts of their character and blow them up even bigger. Why pirates? I love them. I love the history of them. It isn’t pretty or clean but it is obsessively interesting to me.
KP: Tell us a little about Ivory Shepard, and what makes her tick?
PSB: Ivory has been through so much in short life. In her soul, she’s lived at least twice as long than her physical self. She’s a “firecracker” as one awesome reviewer described her and she has a heart of gold. She just doesn’t know what to do with it. She’s an expert with a sword or her fists and despite her stature; she is capable of taking down men twice her size due to her speed and fearlessness. She’s loyal and protective to her family and I believe deep down, she just wants to be loved as an equal and give the same in return.
KP: Since the book is set on a Jamaican island, how did you research about that place from a historical point of view?
PSB: I’ve actually been there and I’ve researched the history of Port Royal extensively. Books, old maps (which I LOVE), documentaries and anything else I could get my hands on painted almost perfect picture in my mind of what it was like to live in Port Royal in 1707.
KP: Do you have a destination in mind for Ivory? Do you know where she’s headed?
PSB: Ivory is going to be notorious. She has so much ahead of her that I can’t possibly see an end to her adventures! I only wish I had more time to write.
KP: Favorite scene from the book?
PSB: The hair cut scene. That’s all I’m going to say.
KP: Are you working on anything new right now and do you have a release date planned?
PSB: I’m currently working on the next book in the series entitled, Jaded Tides, which picks up where Demons & Pearls left off. I’m also co-writing a book about Rasmus, who is one of the main characters in D&P. I wanted to know more about his life prior to the night he met Ivory. I friend and fellow writer who also happens to be a male has done an excellent job of giving me Rasmus from a male perspective as his book will be in first person. Having never been a man, I thought this was a wise move.
KP: Read any books recently that you would recommend?
PSB: Oh my goodness I’ve been reading the Endless Horizon Pirate Series by Cristi Taijeron. She is such an inspiration for my writing. I also recently read Michael Crichton’s posthumous book, Pirate Latitudes. I really enjoyed it despite many who said it should have remained unpublished. :/
KP: And lastly, thank you for parting with your valuable time P.S. Bartlettand all the very best for your book.
PSB: Thank you so much for talking with me! I’m not much on talking about myself per say but I’ll go on for days about my imaginary friends! J
Connect with her at –http://psbartlett.me/