"The book is a film that takes place in the mind of the reader." ~ Paulo Coelho

Thursday, September 23, 2021

2021 Tolkien Blog Party: 9 Fellowship Members Tag

Hello, all you Tolkien fans!

"A very merry unbirthday" to both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins! Yesterday was "Hobbit Day" as it was both of their birthdays. What nicely lines up with that is that Hamlette is well into the swing of her 9th Tolkien Blog Party! Check out all of the goodies of the giveaway HERE and all of the precious party entries HERE.

Nine years, folks. That is unbelievable. And I love that I can claim to have been a part of five of them, as this is my sixth year! Each year I have so many plans on how to participate fully...and every year I end up just answering the tag. Which is very cool and very different every year.

Any guesses of what I'm doing this year?

You got it, solely the tag answers. I had another fantastic post idea, but I highly doubt I will get it out before the week ends, so you'll have to wait for another whole year. Maybe not. Who knows? I guess as I had so much fun last year reviewing the movie Tolkien (2019) that this is a good break.

(If you're curious, here are what I said in all the other tags: 2016201720182019, & 2020.)

As this is Hamlette's 9th year doing this, the tag questions are around the Nine members of the Fellowship. (I totally made up the title "9 Fellowship Members Tag" for the title of this post but I thought it was cute)  Nine is a big number in the Lord of the Rings

"Nine rings for the elven kings..."

For those of you who are not familiar with Tolkien (don't worry, I was like that for many years), you don't have to worry about spoilers from this post of mine. It's your decision if you want to read this anyway if you have no idea what I'm talking about.

I'm answering these question through the lens of having read:
The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King)
And having seen:
The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies (2014), The Lord of the Rings (The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002), The Return of the King (2003)), and Tolkien (2019).

1. Aragorn: Favorite Tolkien hero/heroine

Hands down, Bilbo Baggins. He is what kept The Hobbit as my fifth favorite book of all time for so long (I recently bumped it down to number 10 just because it has been a really long time since I read it. Once I read it again, though, it will probably go higher). He is so relatable in his fear of leaving his home and security, but having that desire kindled within him to go somewhere new. I really have felt that so much this last year. And am still feeling it.

Or Faramir. Faramir deserves all the love.


2. Boromir: Favorite Tolkien character arc

I have to say Boromir, because he arguably has the best arc. I hated it in the books but absolutely loved it in the movies. I have no idea why. Frodo also has a great character arc, one that is well worth following, but there is so much pain. And I don't really want to go through that.

Maybe Pippin? He makes me want to pull my hair out and lock him in a dark room in the beginning, but by the end he has mellowed out.

3. Frodo: Favorite song or poem by Tolkien

"Far over the misty mountains cold,
To dungeons deep and caverns old,
We must away, ere break of day,
To find our long-forgotten gold.” 

I have to go back to my Dwarven roots. I think of that almost every single time that someone mentions Tolkien. It's easy to memorize, which is another reason I have it here. Some things that Sam says are hauntingly gorgeous in their simplicity, but I don't have a good (i. e. Accurate) example to think of at the moment.

4. Gandalf: Favorite wise Tolkien quotation

I feel it is cliche to answer this question with the one I'm going to use, but well, I'm going to use it. It has helped me a lot in the last few years.

'“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. 
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”'
-The Fellowship of the Ring

It has been a long time since I read the books, but I don't think it is exactly the same phrasing? Or is it not the same phrasing in the movie? If I had my book copies I would check, but we're stuck with not knowing for now. Can anyone help me out here?

5. Gimli: A Middle-earth location you'd like to visit

Right now I'm not in the mood for any specific place. If I were to visit a Middle-earth location I would want to wander everywhere. In the forests of Mirkwood (trying to stay away from spiders), in the glades of Lothlorien, in Hobbiton, and even on the Barrow downs. I'd be fine with anywhere in the fresh air, so just not the mines of Moria. I don't usually consider Gondor or Rohan as I think of them as windy plains that seem too flat and dry, but they could be nice. Anywhere I can see the stars.


6. Legolas: Favorite Middle-earth Weapon

This is often a question, and it is another thing that I never ponder. There are only two answers to this question: Legolas's bow and arrows or Sting. I guess The Ring could be considered a weapon, so if it is my favorite as in the one I am most impressed about its destructive abilities but wouldn't it used or to be anywhere near it, then that one. It is darker and deeper than terrifying.

Sorry, that's very confusing and I don't even know what I'm talking about at this time.

Yes. And you should be, too.

7. Merry: Favorite way to celebrate Tolkien's stories

With friends! To be completely honest, I don't usually think about Tolkien when I'm on my own. What I love is how there is so much fellowship surrounding these works. They are well known and well loved for so many around the world. I've had so many great conversations started because of The Lord of the Rings and I'm so grateful for that. That's why I love this party!

8. Pippin: Favorite funny Tolkien quotation

"Bilbo Baggins, a bur--a hobbit," said poor Bilbo, shaking all over, and wondering how to make owl-noises before they throttled him.
   "A burrahobbit?" said they a bit startled. Trolls are slow in the uptake, and mighty suspicious about anything new to them.
   "What's a burrahobbit got to do in my pocket anyway?" said William.
-The Hobbit
(I say it every year and never get tired of it.)

-The Two Towers (2002)

9. Samwise: A Middle-earth food you'd like to try

I know people are always talking about the food, but I actually didn't notice them from reading the books at all. I'll say the only things I remember at the moment, which is Ent Draught and Lembas bread.

There you have it! Of the nine listed there, my favorite is definitely Sam, followed by Legolas. If you ask me about Frodo I'll pretend I'm not looking into a mirror.

A ginormous thank you to Hamlette for keeping this up for NINE WHOLE YEARS! It was one of the first blog parties I participated in, so I always look forward to it, especially when I have read more of Tolkien's works each year. Make sure to check out what everyone else says about Tolkien, HERE!

Thanks to all of you for reading, friends! How would you answer these questions? Does anyone else have a hard time paying attention to the food and weapons used? Can you rank these nine characters for your favorites?

Chloe the MovieCritic

Friday, September 17, 2021

Describing My Academic Studies Through Movies

Hey, guys!

As I said in my last post, it has been a hot second. It has been such a long time since I’ve blogged consistently and I’ve missed it so much! Writing this post I already feel so much stress melt away (along with my time to do homework, but we’re ignoring that). Blogging has been such a big part of my life for the last five years, and this was a wonderful way to celebrate by almost losing it all, eh? Let’s try to fix that.

Though I am very spontaneous and never have a plan in real life, when it comes to writing I have to plot or else nothing will happen. Maybe I should adopt this strategy when it comes to blogging? I’ve been doing it with some semblance of planning for the last two years, but as my life gets busier than ever I might have to switch over to doing that. I’ll keep you guys posted!

But, what's going on, MC? How is everything?

This scene perfectly shows my life any time I am asked this question.

I am a master of being vague, I know. For years I haven't made any (or limited) references to my age, but I want to let all of my faithful readers know what is going on. In August I started my freshman year of college! This is a really big step for me and I'm really enjoying it. When I started blogging it seemed like all of the bloggers were starting college and I seemed so young, so that's a reason why I didn't say anything about my age. I'm not sure if that's still the same now. 

Basically, having infinite time for blogging spoiled me and now that I actually have to do things, any systems I had are being replaced by higher priorities. It's going to take me awhile, but I'll get used to it, and I'll get back to talking non-stop about books and movies. And commenting on all of what you guys are putting out into the world! And replying to the wonderful comments you have made on my posts! Thank you so much for being part of this journey with me! I hope you enjoy what I have coming up.

I'm constantly quoting this show in my head, so it's nothing personal.

In the meantime, I have something very special for today.

You guys left such nice comments on the post where I talked about working with my dad through movies (HERE, if you missed it), so I'm here to do that with my college experience so far! Sure, I haven't even been here a month, but there have been a lot of feelings so far. If this is enjoyed then I might do a part two later on. Dispersed through out will be some hilarious things that have happened to me. Maybe these are common things, but I've been homeschooled my whole life so all of this is really new for me. Most of them are things that were said in my history class, because my professor is absolutely hilarious. I'm really enjoying that class because there hasn't been a day where she hasn't made me laugh.

Starting off, I'll address the big thing. It has been so strange being out in the world after so many months of being isolated. There are all kinds of precautions being taken, but this is still me to myself, every single day:

Other than that, I'm really loving college. Not to say I'm on the Dark Side, but this is me everyday, too:

Because I am so eager and perky I tend to wave to everyone I see. And say "hey" obsessively.

TA: '"No bueno."
Professor: "What?"
TA: "I said, 'no bueno'."
Professor: "Why'd you say that?"
TA: "I heard someone just say it."
Professor: "Why?"
Student: "I said it because I was talking about aches and pains."
TA: "Relatable."
Professor: "That is no bueno."'

It hasn't all been sparkles so far. 

Actually footage of me before I realized the answer to that question was "nothing" when it should've been "fill out the worksheet".

I missed two of my first assignments one after another because I was oblivious and just forgot that they existed. And I forgot the check the work that was due online. 

Online sources have been saving me even though I keep forgetting about them.

That was great. But, both professors were super nice about it!

I get kind of maniacal while completing things late at night or early in the morning. I have revelations that I think are genius but I probably just sound crazy.

Yes, Captain Jack Sparrow level of crazy.

Professor: "Smite and sucking up are the words of the day. I'm going to have to incorporate those in my other two classes."

Me, whenever the professor asks if anyone has a question:

There is something magic about the words "Questions?" that erases the memory of any dire questions I had. 

Me, immediately after that when I realize I have a million questions.

That, of course, is on the inside. I'm much more sophisticated when talking out loud. 

Or I would be, if I did. Usually I just sit confused and finally catch on.

Student: *asks a question*
Professor: "They did! Wait, are you doing the quiz right now?"
Student: "Yes."
*everyone laughs*
Professor: "Don't do the quiz right now, people! But, kudos to you for your honesty."
*everyone applauds*
Other student: "You said to use any resources we had for the quiz."
Professor: "I did say that, didn't I?"

Me, realizing I submitted something in the wrong format or style:

The only upside is that I look really cool in my blue light glasses. Though I think I might have to get real glasses sometime soon...

In Biology my professor has us talk to the people around us several times each class to explain what we're learning about to each other to make sure we are understanding. This is me, but not just me. Most people do this, too.

Don't worry, by the next question we've figured out what the previous one meant.

Me, either surprised that I got something wrong (which I shouldn't be, because I hate Greek myths and avoid them at all costs yet was still offended there was one I didn't know about) or when I'm trying to boost my confidence.

Professor, answering a question: "I can't draw a straight line, but you can't draw a straight line in history."

Sometimes this is what it feels like history has been:

Which of course makes my reply:

But mostly it's really fascinating.

Talking about the Illiad: 
Professor: "'Cuz Zeus is really smart. And Paris is very good looking but not that smart."

If the professor could actually talk to Paris, this is probably what she'd say.

Before that, we'd been talking about the Minoans and other myths. ("That's the word of the day: 'Slay the Minotaur'.")
Professor: "She falls in love with him, like, immediately, which is what happens in every great Greek mythology." 
Later: "It's so Greek. Greeks loved a great tragedy. Romans liked more comedies."

Me, doing math in my head:

One day when I was trying to do homework I was getting really frustrated, but I thought I was hiding it well. Apparently not, because my roommate came over and asked me, "Are you ready to murder someone?"
She is a brilliant teacher because she helped me out and made things make so much sense. In what is supposed to be my major. I might be having regrets. But not too many.

Me, almost everyday, explaining my messes to my roommate.

You can all bet that I'm fun to live with. I don't think I'm as eccentric as Sherlock, but then again, neither does Sherlock.

Me, getting way too invested into the weirdest and most unimportant things:

Professor:"It's called progress!"
Class: *silence* 
Professor: "Okay, you all are clearly not as excited about that as I am."

I know my favorite incident so far. *heavy sarcasm* I brought up a topic from a reading and while there was one way it couldn't been interpreted, I was talking about something completely different. But, of course, it lead the whole course of the discussion in the opposite way for awhile, and it was long enough that I hoped everyone had forgotten it had stemmed for me. That is, until the professor brought it back to me with my name, saying: "So thank you for waking everybody up."

Me, after reading a ton of things and answering a million questions before realizing I have to work on homework for more than one class.

Student: "Nobody wants to do manual labor."
Me, in my head:

Guys, I can't tell you how long I've been wanting to use this GIF because I love this movie. My sisters and I say this to each other all the time.

You guys saw my last post with a ton of gifs talking about working with my dad. I'm weird and prefer heavy labor instead of things that take a lot of precision.

I am so obsessed with fiction I have already made a million references (which are good practice for citing things) just in answering discussion questions. These include:

Or is history all just one melodrama?

You guys have now seen quite the look into my college experience. But enough about me. 

Tell me about what you have all been up to! If you are a blogger, then tell me which of your posts you enjoyed writing the most so I can be sure to check it out! Any questions about what any of these gifs are from? I'd love to talk about your favorites.

Until next time, my friends! Which won't be too long, as Hamlette is hosting her Tolkien Blog Party next week! You'll be sure to see something out of that for me then...

Have a great day!

Chloe the MovieCritic

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Author Interview with Sarah Rodecker and Helena George for The Pirate Hunter Chronicles!

Hey, guys!

I know it has been a long time, and I have a lot of explaining to do about my absence, but I have a treat for you all first. The last time I posted was about a cover reveal, and today you can hold that very book in your hands! The third book in The Pirate Hunter Chronicles: Rumors, Reunions, and Revenge - by Sarah Rodecker and Helena George came out! I am part of the blog tour to celebrate!

Make sure to check out the other blogs that are part of the tour!

I have loved reading these books, as you can tell from my review of the first book Ships, Secrets, and Survivors. They are brilliantly adventurous and witty, with epic fights and characters deeper than the seas they sail. Let's talk about what it's about!

The Official Blurb: 

'A wealthy duke from a mysterious island.
Rumors of the dead walking.
And siren songs of immortality.

A year has passed, and another Scaera Dumeda is about to begin. Captain Adi and the rest of the pirate hunter crew are escorting the Belfarren nobles when they come across a fleet claiming to belong to the Pirate Nation, led by the last person she ever expected to see again. Perhaps it’s not as easy to leave her past behind as she thought.

As Ravin settles into his new life he begins to consider the del Mankayl clan and others in his family who might want to run away as he did. But when an opportunity comes to rescue a relative, is he truly making a difference or is he only putting his loved ones in danger by bringing a violent assassin on board?'

It is fantastic and if you think so, too, then you should check out. 
Find it on Goodreads HERE.
Find it on Storygraph HERE.
Buy it from Amazon HERE.
Buy it from their website, The Order of the Pen, HERE.

What I get to do today is settle down with the lovely authors, Helena George and Sarah Rodecker, to talk about what has gone into the book and the whole series, as well as all kinds of good writerly things.

I will be in blue. Helena will be black and bold. Sarah will be black and italic.

Thank you for joining me on my blog, Sarah and Helena! My first question for you is this:
When did you start writing stories and when did you know that you wanted to be an author?

Helena: According to legend, I used to write scribbles in a notebook (before I could even actually write) and claim it was a “story”. Once I learned how to write and draw, I was always making little horse stories (usually while keeping Dad company when he worked late at work). So I’ve always written stories, basically, lol.

I honestly never considered being an author until the past year or so, when I had a moment of “wait, if I have published books, that makes me an author, and not just a writer” so that’s been kinda weird. 

Sarah: I started writing stories when I was eight-ish, when I also started writing little horse stories in notebooks. I think I’ve wanted to be an author ever since I started writing stories. Something inside of me said that was what I was meant to do: being an author, along with caring for my family, was what the Lord called me to do and I’ve never really questioned it. Most of the decisions I’ve made in my life were made with that belief  in mind, from the jobs I’ve picked up to the college path I’ve chosen.

How long have you two known each other and when did you find out that the other liked to write?

Helena: It all began in ‘07 or something. I was at church, and my dad pointed at a random girl sitting by herself. “Go say hello to that little girl over there,” he said.

Yeah, the rest is history.

Not really sure when we started writing though? I know we made a little Bible verse memorization group, and then it somehow evolved into making up horse farms? And then writing stories about the horse farms...then into regular stories? I dunno. Sarah, you know?

Sarah: I’d forgotten about the Bible verse group until you mentioned it! That was a great time. 

I think discovering that we both liked to write was a rather organic process. We both had an interest in stories and horses, so we both began writing stories about horses. Then we both developed a love of fantasy, which led us to start writing fantasy stories. I think that was around when we were about twelve. So I guess we wrote horse stories for 2-4 years, maybe?

When did you decide to join efforts and write something together?

Helena: Heh. 2018 or 2019? Brooke said something along the lines of “y’all should write a book together!” and we plotted out a vague story line, and basically wrote a couple chapters, RPG style. Then it just went on from there.

Sarah: Well, we did a few co-authoring things prior to that. We had our joint horse world where we wrote stories together, then we did RPGs on the website Howrse. But yeah, once Brooke said in 2017 that we should try our hands at co-authoring a book together again, our brains started whirring and we cranked out the book that is now Ships, Secrets, and Survivors!

What does co-authoring look like? Are there characters that you are both allowed to write?

Helena: We’ve talked a lot about our co-writing process on our blogs, but it basically gets down to: lots of communication. We talk over the phone, and work out a plot, then an outline, then a chapter-by-chapter outline. When it gets down to the actual writing, I write Ravin’s chapters, and Sarah writes Adi’s chapters. Then we go over editing together.

Character wise, we have our “own” characters, kind of. I write Ravin’s POV, and so sometimes I have to write what Sarah’s characters (like Adi) do. If I get something wrong, she’ll correct me, and vice versa when she writes her chapters.

Though I kinda feel like after a couple books, we kinda know all the characters like they’re our own. :) But again, lots of communication.

Sarah: Ditto what Helena said. 

What do you think is your favorite thing about writing, and what do you think is the other’s strong suit?

Helena: My favorite thing about writing is when it all comes together. :) Threads you hinted at in the first book suddenly can be pulled into broad daylight. Something that started in one book gets wrapped up nicely. Surprises are pulled out of hats. I love it!

I think Sarah’s strong suit is keeping track of everything. She is the one who makes sure every plot gets wrapped up, every character with any kind of story arc gets handled, and (very important) keeps track of where the characters are on the map. I’m easily distracted and next thing I know, she’s pulling me back to what we need to focus on. 

She also has a thing for writing passionate, moving speeches. She’s the Captain America of writing. Like, does she just make it all up spare of the moment??

Sarah: *Doesn’t quite know what to do with being likened to Captain America*

I also love when everything starts coming together. It’s so thrilling to start building the plots for the later books and realizing that everything that you’ve spent months working on is now coming together in a seamless thread. 

I think that Helena’s strong suit is actually her distractedness. By that, she’s able to come up with such fun plot ideas that I never would come up with and it makes the story so much more exciting!!! When we’re plotting, she’ll be like “WAIT! What if we do this?!” and I’m usually like “THAT’S PERFECT! LET’S DO IT!” It’s the best. I love it! 

What has been the easiest part of co-authoring a book and what is the hardest?

Sarah: I think one of the easiest parts for me was coming up with ideas. We tend to bounce ideas off each other a lot anyway, so blending our idea generation styles was second nature to us. The hardest, I think, was trying to meet deadlines when both of us are fairly busy in our non-writing lives. We manage, but it’s still hard.

Helena: The easiest part is the fact that having a co-author (and co-business-owner) is that if I’m really busy (like the fact that I worked a couple 50-60 hour work weeks last month), I can trust Sarah to step up and kinda handle things that I might have to drop. And vice versa. If Sarah’s going through a really busy time, she can step aside from Pirate Hunters and handle what she needs to at home, and I’ll just spend some extra time doing edits or whatever. (If we’re both busy, well...we’re just screwed, lol.)

Hardest part, I think, is when we do kinda have disagreements. How do we want a certain plot arc to end? What should a certain sea creature be like? Would a character say or do something? It’s important to fully explain your thoughts and why you feel a thing should be that way, and then politely listen to and respect the other’s opinion as well. And look for a solution that leaves everyone happy with the plot/character/creature.

What are the best and worst parts of being published?

Sarah: The best part is having people tell me just how excited they are about the stories. That makes my day!

The worst part of being published, though I don’t know if I would necessarily call it “bad”, is the fact that once you’re published, the work never seems to stop. You now have hard deadlines. There’s no more piddling about; you have to get work done. When you have other responsibilities in life other than writing, it can be tough at times to keep up. 

Helena: Best part, hands down, is having my book on my shelf. Like, it’s cool seeing it on Bookstagram posts and stuff, but my dream was to have them on my shelf. I could be happy with just that, y’know? I love re-reading these books and just thinking of the memories in them...how Sarah and I came up with a scene, where we got the idea for that twist, what Mars said in the dissertation…

Worst part is...it’s OVER. I mean, when a book is in drafts or edits, you can still play around with it. Maybe add a new scene, create a new plot thread, delete a boring paragraph. But now that a work is published, it pretty much doesn’t get touched. I can’t add anything else. And it’s relieving, but also sad (especially when you are talking about an entire series, not just a single book).

What's your favorite thing that you've written together and what’s your favorite thing that you’ve written on your own?

Sarah: I think book 4 of the Pirate Hunter Chronicles is my favorite thing that we’ve written together. As far as things that I’ve written on my own, I think Simon Says is my favorite. 

Helena: I agree with Sarah. The last Pirate Hunter book has just been...utterly amazing. Some of my favorite scenes, favorite characters, favorite speeches...yeah. It’s all in there. It’s like the culmination of the past couple years.

Honestly, the Red War Annals is my favorite work (of my own). I started it in 2015, and the story has just grown in leaps and bounds, and I am beyond excited to begin the release of the first two books in 2022!!

Oh my goodness, that's so exciting, Helena!

Next question: what is your favorite genre to write in, and what is your favorite to read?

Sarah: My favorite genre to write in is either fantasy or dystopian. I love the ways I can worldbuild in both of those genres! My favorite to read is either fantasy or historical fiction.

Helena: Fantasy all the way!!! I can tolerate almost any genre as long as it’s written well and I enjoy the characters, but fantasy will always be my comfort genre. I love the adventure, the new worlds, the languages, the different cultures, the variety of characters...all those things that come with fantasy!

What are some of your favorite books and movies that have inspired you to write?

Sarah: There are a lot of books and movies that have inspired me, but I think one of the ones that has inspired me most recently is Coral by Sara Ella. It was the first book written for the Christian market that dove so deeply into mental illness. Reading it was like being given permission to write that part of my life story into my books. Before then, I shied away from opening up that part of myself but now I’m slowly allowing myself to incorporate my experience with mental illness into my writing.

Helena: The Blades of Acktar really inspired me, as a Christian author wanting to independently publish. Here was someone who indie published, had clean fantasy, with a Christian message, and was still well received. I read them and thought “this is what I want my books to be like!”

I should read both of those, as the sounds amazing!

Name an author who inspires you.

Sarah: Stephanie Morrill. She doesn’t shy away from hard topics and I find that inspirational. 

Helena: Brandon Sanderson. Like, WOW. What do I have to do to write like him???

Wow, I haven't read anything by either of them, so I should get cracking!

I love to ask this next question. What is your favorite quote or saying about writing?

Sarah: “I don’t wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work.” ~Pearl S. Buck. Being an author isn’t about aesthetics and mood boards and getting your muses all in a line. It’s about sitting your butt in the chair and getting to work, no matter what. 

Helena: “If it’s important to you, you’ll make time for it.” ~my dad, Jeff George. He was actually talking about making sure one has private worship in the mornings, but I try to apply this to other things in life as well, and especially writing. If it’s important to you, you’ll make changes to your schedule, look for time wasted that could be better used, and purposefully ignore distractions, just to make time.

See, it makes me happy to ask that question because I get such great advice! Speaking of, what advice would you give to fellow writers?

Sarah: Be very clear with yourself about what your goals are. This is important when you start feeling that wave of envy over what other writers are doing crashes into you. Once you remind yourself of what you want out of your writing, you can cheer them on for their accomplishments without losing confidence in what you’re doing.

Helena: Just write the book. Just do it. Aesthetics, Pinterest boards, fanart, playlists...those are all fun, but just go write the book. Just sit down and write, and don’t get distracted with other things. You can make aesthetics once the book is released.

I believe I know the story, but can you guys tell my readers why you decided to write a story involving pirates?

Sarah: Uhh, I think it was just because Helena had a story lying around about pirates and that’s the one we decided to write?

Helena: Yeah, pretty much. I watched Pirates of the Caribbean in 2010, wanted to write a pirate story, never finished writing it, and then we revived Jay Hill and the Red Wind for a wild attempt at writing something together.

If you were part of the Pirate Hunter Crew, what would your role be? Or even, which character do you think is the most like you?

Sarah: I think I would be a combo of Heather and Adi? With some Hawthorn mixed in? I would probably have a role similar to Heather’s, as her’s is what I do in real life. 

Helena: Probably Sandaline. Like, kinda ended up there by accident, and somehow knows more about sailing than half the crew put together. 

This might break hearts, but can you tell me your favorite character from The Pirate Hunter Chronicles?

Sarah: My favorite character is the High Dragon. She’s spunky, hilarious, and has a no-nonsense attitude that I love to write. 

Helena: Justin. I share his love for tea, for being rather chill during most situations, and casual ignorance for many things. He is so fun to write, like one of those characters that you never know quite what they’re going to do.

I echo Helena, because Justin is totally my favorite character. From the first time I met him on Helena's blog I knew he would be, and he has never disappointed.

In your books you have magical creatures, rolicking good times on the wild waves, dangerous missions and thrilling adventures while breathing in the fresh sea air. I want to know, what is your favorite part of worldbuilding?

Sarah: My favorite is coming up with sea creatures and things like that. We base most of our creatures off of the mythology in our world, but change it up to make it fit the fantasy world. Coming up with those fresh ideas are some of my favorite brainstorming sessions! They’re usually filled with squealing and googling and all the fun stuff!

Helena: Creating the assassin clans, their histories, and their “vibes” has been really fun! We get an idea of this in the first book, where a del Mankayl assassin and an Aladale assassin sometimes butt heads and sometimes are strangely loyal to each other. And then in the second book, we really revealed a lot of the darkness that goes on in these clans (especially for the del Mankayls). And in this third book, we get to meet someone from a new assassin clan!

Without spoilers, what has been your favorite type of adventure that the Pirate Hunters have gone on?

Sarah: *Grins* My favorites are the ones the characters go on in book 4. I won’t give anything away, but they cover places that we haven’t explored in the series yet and it’s really awesome to open up those doors.

Helena: I’m with Sarah...really excited for book four. But, honestly, Ravin’s emotional journey in the second book is probably my ultimate favorite. I cry every time I read chapter 10 (I actually wrote it before we’d even started book two, and we barely even edited it after the first draft), and chapter 30...phew, that one was really moving to write as well!

To wrap up, how does it feel to only have one book left in The Pirate Hunter Chronicles?

Sarah: *goes and finds a corner to sob in* But seriously, it’s a bittersweet moment for me. I’m sad that we’re closing this chapter in our writing lives, but I’m also so excited about everything that’s going to happen in book 4. I can’t wait for y’all to get to read it!

Helena: In one sense, I’m excited, because now I can place all four books on my shelf and move forward with The Red War Annals. I can’t wait to share Marywyn and Duren and the Bards and all the epicness that is those books.

But again...I love Ravin and Adi and Justin and Gerrard and all the other Pirate Hunter characters. I will miss them. And it feels strange, honestly, to not be brainstorming what their next adventure is. After 2ish years of thinking about ships and sails and sea creatures...it will be really odd to no longer be writing about their journeys. And I will miss them a lot.

This is MC again. I don't know about you guys, but I am now really eager for book 4! In the meantime, go check out Rumors, Reunions, and Revenge, and the rest of The Pirate Hunter Chronicles if you haven't read them already.

You guys are in luck, too, because there is a giveaway! It is going right now and will end on Saturday, September 11. It includes,

-Signed copies of The Pirate Hunter Chronicles books 1-3 and all coordinating swag packs
-A bag of looseleaf tea
-A kraken mug
-A kraken teaball

People can enter by signing up to receive the Order of the Pen Press newsletter (anyone who is already signed up is automatically entered). Additionally, anyone who enters the reel competition on Instagram will get an extra entry. Everyone who helps out during the blog tour gets an additional entry.

HERE is where to join the Order of the Pen Press newsletter to be a part of that!

How epic is that??

I'm going to get out of here so you guys can bask in the glow of this book. I'll be back soon for full explanations, but in the meantime, safe sailing!

Chloe the MovieCritic
"If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, where you stop your story." -Orson Welles