Pirates and Templars are not necessarily a natural combination–but Susannah Sandlin does her usual marvelous job making it work in today’s featured review book, Lovely, Dark and Deep.
This isn’t the first time that Susannah has “played Pirate”. Her absolutely fantastic Sentinels of New Orleans series (written as Suzanne Johnson) brings Jean LaFitte back to life in a New Orleans where the living, the dead, and the magical collide. (If you love urban fantasy, start with Royal Street. It is awesome and the series just keeps getting better!)
A French Pirate, a Sunken Treasure and the Knights Templar
by Susannah Sandlin
It’s funny where ideas for books or series originate—for me, it’s usually a progression of thoughts that gradually coalesce rather than a single bolt from the heavens. So when I begin thinking about how the idea behind Lovely, Dark, and Deep came to be, I was able to trace it back to early 18th-century pirate Jean Lafitte, who plied the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and ruled an empire of a thousand piratical types south of New Orleans in the early 1800s.
The oh-so-delicious Captain Lafitte is a major character in my urban fantasy series written as Suzanne Johnson, so when I heard last summer about the discovery of the remains of three early shipwrecks in the Gulf of Mexico, I started thinking about what might happen to my undead Jean Lafitte should one of his lost pirate ships be discovered today. (The short answer: he’d want it back, tout de suite.)
Next came research into shipwrecks found off the Americas and what might have been aboard them, which started off as a hunt for Lafitte’s lost ships.
That, in turn, introduced me to the “Death Coast” of the North Atlantic, and I set my pirate aside (sorry, Jean) and got immersed in the coast of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, where hundreds of ships since the fifteenth century have met their death and only a fraction have been discovered and salvaged. Pirate ships, Norse explorers, French settlers, British warships, World War II supply ships—all met their deaths on the rocky coastline, carrying everything from gold to household goods to—maybe, just maybe—some of the missing lost treasure of the Knights Templar.
Nothing stirs a writer’s imagination like Knights Templar and lost treasure, right?
Next, my journey took me to study the Templars, much of whose treasure has, indeed, never been found, and to study what was involved in diving off the coast of Capt Breton, specifically around Scatarie Island.
Finally, I began looking at other lost historical treasures, and the idea for The Collectors series, and the first book, Lovely, Dark, and Deep, was born.
The Collectors is a group of international billionaires, the C7—ruthless, amoral, powerful—who have a secret game: they compete to see who can be first to collect some of the world’s most valuable treasures. In Lovely, Dark, and Deep, a C7 member with ties to the White House stumbles upon a legend that makes him believe the long-lost Ruby Cross of the Knights Templar went down in a seventeenth-century shipwreck off the coast of Cape Breton. He puts the screws to the ancestor of the man who lost it and a washed up, on-the-skids deep-water diver, and gives them thirty days to find and procure it for him—or the people they love will die. For the C7 member it’s a game. For Gillian, a biologist, and Shane, the diver, it’s a break-neck race to save the people they love and find a way to turn the tables on their tormenters. And, yeah, there’s some love amid the danger—of course!
As for Captain Jean Lafitte and his own lost pirate ship? That story’s coming within the year, so stay tuned!
Susannah Sandlin writes paranormal romance and romantic thrillers from Auburn, Alabama, on top of a career in educational publishing that has thus far spanned five states and six universities—including both Alabama and Auburn, which makes her bilingual. She grew up in Winfield, Alabama, but was also a longtime resident of New Orleans, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football, cheap Mardi Gras trinkets, and fried gator on a stick.
She’s the author of the award-winning Penton Legacy paranormal romance series, a spinoff novel, Storm Force, a standalone novelette, Chenoire, and a new romantic thriller series, The Collectors, beginning this month with Lovely, Dark, and Deep. Writing as Suzanne Johnson, she also is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series. Her Penton novel, Omega, is currently nominated for a 2013 Reviewer’s Choice Award in Paranormal Romance from RT Book Reviews magazine.
Susannah is very generously giving away the following prizes to lucky commenters on this tour:
1 $50 Amazon gift card
2 $10 Amazon gift cards
2 Author swag packs (books, swag)