Arrrr: Why We Love Pirates
When I started my Sentinels of New Orleans series several years ago, I wanted to bring some famous New Orleanians into my urban fantasy tale. And no one is more famous in New Orleans than the early 19th-century French-born pirate named Jean Lafitte.
Originally, Lafitte was going to be kind of a morally shady character who’d be in one scene. Then he came back for a second scene…and a third…and a fourth. Now, as the standalone novella and story collection PIRATESHIP DOWN comes out, it might as well be his series. Fact is, the more I researched the real Jean Lafitte, the more fascinating he became.
Luckily for me, readers also fell in love with the wily (and oh-so-sexy) scoundrel, which made me think about another famous pirate—the fictional Captain Jack Sparrow—and why women find pirates sexy.
Because we do. Right? Tell me it isn’t just me!
So here are my 5 Reasons We Love Pirates:
1) They’re alpha bad boys. This cannot be stressed enough: Women love Alpha Bad Boys. Less so in real life, where they often end up being abusers or jail material, but a sexy bad boy with an air of danger that we can tame? Oh yeah. (Of course we don’t want to tame him TOO much.) I mean, my undead Jean Lafitte might profess his desire for heroine DJ, a wizard, but she knows as well as he does that he never leaves home without a few hidden daggers and a mean-looking pistol. And the cutlass. And sometimes a sword.
2) They are exotic. I mean, they live for months at sea. They mete out their own kind of justice. Oh sure, they’re thieves, but they’re thieves in the middle of the bounding main and all that stuff. No office jobs or farm work for these guys. The exotic nature of their work and lifestyle adds to their wildness, their bad boyness. See No. 1. Jean might brush elbows with the social elite of the preternatural world, but at the end of the day he goes home to his mansion on the beach furnished with lavish furnishings stolen from Spanish galleons. Not to mention the cannons in all the second-floor windows. You know, in case the gendarmes show up.
3) They dress like, well, pirates. They wear tight pants and tall boots, and those open, flowing tunics always show tantalizing glimpses of six-pack abs. I mean you have to be strong to engage in swordplay and hoist sails in the same day, right? Well, okay, I don’t know that Jean Lafitte actually wore this outfit, but my undead Lafitte does, and he looks damn fine in it.
4) They’re morally ambiguous. In real life, no sane woman wants a morally ambiguous man, but in our book boyfriends, well, they’re incredibly unpredictable. When Jean drags DJ and their merman friend Rene into his scheme to steal a sunken ship in the novella PIRATESHIP DOWN, we know he’s going to get in trouble. He’s probably going to get arrested. Will he go along quietly in handcuffs or will he kill someone to go free? And if he does allow himself to be arrested, it simply means he’s plotting more mayhem for later. Is he a good guy or a bad guy? Yes and yes. Such moral ambiguity makes for an exciting relationship. As long as it stays in the land of fiction, anyway.
5) They’re socially unattached. Rules don’t apply to them. They are vagabonds of the sea. They’re free in a way many of us wish we had the guts to be, able to follow the whims of the wind, visiting foreign ports. They do everything at a hundred percent—from drinking to fighting to women. We love pirates for the same reason we love cowboys. Well, okay, larcenous and sometimes murderous cowboys. Well, okay, let’s forget the cowboy analogy.
So there you have it—the reason that I, at least, love pirates. Or at least one particular French pirate who captured my heart and imagination and doesn’t seem to be in danger of releasing them.
Pirateship Down: Stories from the
World of the Sentinels of New Orleans
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Suzanne Johnson
Date of Publication: November 2, 2015
Number of pages: 278
Word Count: 55,000
Cover Artist: Robin Ludwig Designs
French pirate Jean Lafitte is tall, cobalt-eyed, broad-shouldered, and immortal. What’s not to love? But New Orleans’ most esteemed member of the historical undead is headed for trouble. He’s determined to reclaim Le Diligent, his gold-laden schooner lost at sea in 1814 and recently found at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico near Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana.
The U.S. Coast Guard and the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office might beg to differ.
New Orleans wizard sentinel DJ Jaco and her merman friend Rene Delachaise can either lock up their friend Lafitte or join him on a road trip to Cajun country in order to save him from himself. Terrebonne Parish—not to mention its jail—might never be the same after the events of the all-new novella Pirateship Down, presented here along with a collection of urban fantasy stories and essays.
Wizards and Cajun merfolk, sexy shapeshifters and undead French pirates. Welcome to the world of the Sentinels of New Orleans in this collection, along with a little Louisiana lagniappe. No previous knowledge of the series required!
About five minutes passed before I heard Jean Lafitte in the hallway of the prison, having a spirited, if one-sided, argument about Spanish fruit. I definitely heard the words orange and Spaniard. And the pirate never had anything nice to say about Spaniards since he’d spent most of his human life plundering their ships.
The door opened, and he strode into the room, sending my empathic senses into overload with the force of his outrage. I closed my eyes and tried to squelch the urge to bray like a donkey, because the source of his anger was obvious.
They’d taken away the cord he used to tie back his shoulder-length, wavy black hair, but that wasn’t the problem. The problem was his fluorescent orange jumpsuit with Terrebonne Parish Prison stamped on the back. The suit was tight across his shoulders and baggy across his hips, obviously not tailored for the pirate’s athletic build, and the pants were three inches too short and flashing bare calf. He wore short white athletic socks someone had scrounged up for him. Obviously, his pirate boots had been confiscated. It wasn’t an outfit designed to please a man as arrogant and aware of his good looks as my undead pirate.
Jean shifted his commentary from his guard to me. “Drusilla, a grievance must be made against these ruffians and thieves. They have stolen my clothing and given me only this…this….” He ran out of words.
“Ugly-ass orange jumpsuit?” I offered, always ready to help Jean with his command of modern English.
“Oui, exactement. I demand that you obtain my release, tout de suite. And you must know, a woman who allows her husband to remain in such conditions for an entire evening must face reprimand.”
I leaned back in the chair and crossed my arms. “And you must know that, in this day and age, should a man reprimand his wife too much, said wife might leave her husband to enjoy a longer time in his prison cell wearing his ugly-ass orange jumpsuit.”
The guard who’d accompanied Jean into the room listened to this exchange with no expression. Now that Jean and I were both in silent mode, he leaned over to fasten the handcuffs to a ring on the center of the table, which forced the irate pirate to sit down.
“You got half an hour,” the guard said. “I’ll be right outside. If I hear or see anything through that door that I should not hear or see, visitation will be ended. That includes shouting, moving of furniture, excessive use of profanity, or sexual activity. Do you understand?”
I nodded. “Not a problem.” I had a confusion potion with Jean’s name on it in my shoe, and I wasn’t afraid to use it.
About the Author:
Suzanne Johnson is the author of the award-winning Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series for Tor Books, including the 2014 Gayle Wilson Award-winning Elysian Fields. Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is author of the Penton Legacy paranormal romance series, including the 2013 Holt Medallion winner for paranormal romance Absolution, as well as The Collectors romantic suspense series, including Lovely, Dark, and Deep, 2015 Holt Medallion winner and 2015 Booksellers Best Award winner for romantic suspense. A displaced New Orleanian, she currently lives in Auburn, Alabama, and loves SEC football, fried gator on a stick, uptown New Orleans, all things Cajun (including a certain Cajun merman named Rene), and redneck reality TV.
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