Pirate novelist avoids romance, magic and monsters

Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:27am EDT
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By Martin Roberts

GIJON, Spain (Reuters Life!) - Mark Keating could never find pirate novels he liked to read so he decided to write his own.

Most of the fiction he consumed had fantasy or supernatural elements, or was about people who became pirates out of need and then went straight as soon as they could.

"That's not what I felt about pirates. I thought, I'll write one about pirates who want to be pirates, who enjoy the freedom," Keating said on the sidelines of the Semana Negra book fair in northern Spain which attracts a million visitors a year.

The British author does not write about romantic swashbucklers like those portrayed by Errol Flynn, but tough men living in tough times at the beginning of the 18th century.

"They're dirtier, grittier, harder, with quite easy morals. They're violent because they lived in violent times. There's also a lot drink involved, because there was a lot of drink around," Keating said.

Keating, who jokes that he took up writing to persuade his wife to buy a computer, also wanted to steer clear of the dancing skeletons and vampire goddesses which feature in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films.

"All kudos to the films for putting pirates center-stage. They're very popular characters, but that filters it down too much," he said. "I always say, there's no romance, no monsters and no romantic monsters."

FREEDOM   Continued...