I wrote HOOKED over a period of 20 years or so. It was an ever-present background project while I was busy making a living as a freelance writer. Every time I thought of a cool scene or character name or whatever, I'd jot it down, and every few months I'd gather my notes together into more coherent development documents. The fact is, I had to wait years to write HOOKED because my talents weren't up to the job during the 1990s. The story was simply more than I could handle, and I knew it. So I just kept thinking up ideas, working on my craft and waiting. I started to seriously tackle the manuscript somewhere in the late 1990s and finished in 2005. Talk about a long haul...
MY HOOKED REFERENCE LIBRARY
Writing a novel as big and complex as HOOKED meant that I had to do research, lots and lots of research! I first thought of the idea in 1990, back when the internet wasn't the great research tool that it is now. I had to actually go out and find BOOKS!
Below is my HOOKED reference library. By 2000 I was also using the web, but I still preferred books. A lot of "facts" on the web were then and still are incorrect. To this day I still double-check and even triple-check "facts" I find online, especially on Wiki — it's a great tool but not always reliable.
First, of course, THE reference book of all reference books — the novel PETER PAN by J.M. Barrie! I also researched Barrie's life and how he created Peter Pan.
Then came the scarier aspect of HOOKED — tall ships. I had to get a solid feel for sailing and sailors, particularly during the days of what I like to call "Hollywood pirates." (FYI: When I started, I knew nothing about sailing. I'd been on a boat maybe 3 times in my life.)
Of course, I needed to learn about fencing, too. A pirate can't very well buckle his swash without a sword! Plus I needed information about other weapons that "Hollywood pirates" might have used.
This book is a real treasure. It allowed me to add details of ship life that I found nowhere else.
Then I had to delve into the history of pirates themselves. I think I had more books on the subject than just these three, but I can't recall. It's all a big blur now...
And lastly, I read novels and watched movies! I chose novels and movies in which the nautical language was sure to be authentic (well, as authentic as possible) and which had lots of action so that I could read/hear how period sailors spoke and how commands were phrased, and I could get a feel for how the ship populations interacted. I also wanted to see a tall ship for real, so I drove to San Diego to take a tour aboard the Surprise, the ship that was built for the movie Master and Commander. That was très cool!
I'LL BE POSTING MORE STUFF IN THE FUTURE, Y'KNOW, A LITTLE HERE, A LITTLE THERE. CHECK BACK EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE!