I”m about halfway through Bound by the Heart. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, it’s a bigger job than simply tweaking a few words here and there as I did for China Rose. BBTH was written back in the early ’80’s when heaving bosoms and ripped bodices were all the rage, kinda like ghouls, zombies, and vampires rule the waves today. I pay attention to reader comments and the big issue for BBTH was the rape scene, which, considering the period the book takes place (1811) and the fact that I’ve never heard of a pirate or privateer who, being gruff and rugged and, well, piratical, would find himself with a beautiful, half-naked girl on board his ship and think to himself: “I will win her with my charm” I’ve actually seen that line in a few books that take place on the sea, and scoffed each time I’ve seen it.
I’ve been accused more often than not of being too graphic, too violent, too “realistic” in my writing, but as Neil Young once said when someone criticized his nasally voice…. “Man, that’s my style.” So, looking back, the rape scene was not written for shock value so much as it was written to reflect the time. A young, blonde, beautiful captive on board a ship would be fodder for the captain and crew, more so if there was animosity between the captive and captor.
So part of my challenge in editing BBTH is to keep the flavour of the book and the story and time period true to the original concept, but to alter it just enough to take away aspects that may be disturbing to readers today. Times change and I like to think I can change with them. I still like the story. It was the first attempt at going on board a ship and having cannons blazing and Errol Flynn swinging from the rigging. It gave me the confidence to try a much larger seafaring adventure: The Wind and the Sea, which in turn lured me back some years later to write Across A Moonlit Sea, and The Iron Rose.
I can feel my muse getting restless as I retype these books. Whilst in haitus I started and stopped three books…the first was a spin off story for Damien, from The Iron Rose…the second was a medieval with knights charged with protecting a seer…the third was a regency period (not to be confused with Regency) murder mystery. If my muse becomes insistent, I may do the eenie meenie miney moe thing and pick one up where I left off.