I hope you are all well!
It is my absolute honour today to be on the blog tour for Tourmaline and the Island of Elsewhere – a brilliant new book that my kids are just ADORING.
I am incredibly lucky today to have Ruth on my blog to talk about something incredibly fun: PIRATES!
I’ve been reading stories about pirates ever since I was very little – there was a series called Captain Pugwash that little me avidly worked her way through. The Captain himself was often quite nervous, but with the help of his crew and cabin boy he sailed the high seas in the Black Pig. The books had everything a young pirate lover could want – treasure, cutlasses, pirate ships and parrots. At the time, I never even thought about the fact that what it didn’t have was girls.
Fast forward a few years, and I read Treasure Island, the quintessential pirate adventure. Treasure maps, buried gold, deserted tropical islands – all wonderful! And originally titled, The Sea Cook: A Story for Boys – less wonderful. Peter Pan – so much fun and fantasy! (as long as we don’t talk about Tinkerbell’s jealousy of Wendy and Wendy’s largely maternal role in the story).
Of course there are – thankfully – many more options for girls looking for pirates in books, films and video games these days. And rightfully so, not least because there were plenty of real female pirates roaming the high seas in search of their own fortunes and freedom (and maybe some good old revenge on occasion). The truth is, women pirates are as much a part of the story of piracy as men are. But that truth is harder to find, and much harder to verify since there’s such a dearth of primary source material.
One thing is clear, though. The seas represented freedom and opportunity for women – the kind that they wouldn’t have been able to find on land (if you’ve never heard of Cheng I Sao, look her up. Hers is an incredible story!)
In Tourmaline and the Island of Elsewhere, Captain Violet and her crew, Dexta Decker, Miracle Jones and Quintalle Nix, are rogue hunters (essentially a band of female pirates). Captain Violet is unabashedly opportunistic – a grey-haired, gold-toothed, middle-aged woman who leads her crew aboard their ship, The Hunter. But, like many real pirates, she has her own rules for conduct and her own form of morality. The crew are fiercely loyal to her and to each other, and although they often act in a moral grey area and love nothing more than a good plunder, they control their own fate and they ask no one’s permission.
Tourmaline might not always agree with their methods, but she shares their thirst for adventure and for pursuing her hearts desires, and I hope when readers pick up Tourmaline and the Island of Elsewhere, they will too.
This book is going down an absolute storm in my classroom and my kids are fighting over it (so much so I’m going to have to get a second copy!)
A massive thanks to Ruth for writing this piece for me! Check out the rest of the blog tour because it’s also filled with gorgeous posts!