I don’t like pirates, or naval, stories. Not really sure why, and maybe one day those are going to be all I read. Let’s say, for now, I don’t like pirates stories. I’m hosting a pirates story. Of course, I am. because this one felt different. Maybe because the pirate in question is a woman, or maybe because it’s based on a true story. It might be the excerpt, which is very good. Whatever the reason, I liked it and I’m happy to take it in front of you.
The story is The Butcher’s Daughter by Mark M. McMillin, a Historical Nautical Romantic Adventure.
In an age ruled by iron men, in a world of new discovery and Spanish gold, a young Irishwoman named Mary rises from the ashes of her broken childhood with ships and men-at-arms under her command. She and her loyal crew prowl the Caribbean and prosper in the New World for a time until the ugly past Mary has fled from in the old one finds her.
Across the great ocean to the east, war is coming. The King of Spain is assembling the most powerful armada the world has ever seen – an enormous beast – to invade England and depose the Protestant “heretic queen.” To have any chance against the wealth and might of Spain, England will need every warship, she will need every able captain. To this purpose, Queen Elizabeth spares Mary from the headman’s axe for past sins in exchange for her loyalty, her ships and men.
Based on true historical events, this is a tale about war, adventure, love and betrayal. This is a story about vengeance, this is a tale of heartbreak…
“… a pleasurable and action-packed read … a delicious spin to the otherwise tired clichés of male captains … the joy of the open seas – as well as the danger churning below – pulses throughout this rip-roaring, hearty tale of the high seas.” – Kirkus Reviews
Mark, the Author, came by for a quick chat.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Oh yes, I learned a great deal about the 1500’s. The 16th Century was a Golden Age in many ways.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Ah, now there’s a pleasant thought! Mary’s character is beautiful, smart and complex. She has a tender heart and an iron fist – and she’s Irish. An actress with the talent and depth of Kate Blanchett comes to mind.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I welcome any (constructive) criticisms or praise.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
A: I do some preliminary research about the era I intend to write about and then I just write. I fill-in the historical details later to add an element of authenticity. I know, I know, my process is backwards. For example, this book takes place in the late 1550’s. When I wrote some scene with Mary (who wears men’s clothing as most of her time is spent at sea) and a refined lady, I just write the scene and research the types and colors of dresses the lady might have worn later. I’ve tried hard to strike a balance between adding enough detail to create realism but not too much detail that can bog a story down.
What do you think about the current publishing market?
It’s hard, nearly impossible, for an unknown new writer to break into. I know that much.
I can say, with absolute certainty, that this day was the last day of my childhood. But it was also the day-of-days – for this was the first day of my liberation, of my awakening, as well.
I had forewarned her gentle majesty of course. I had told her that a highborn lady, especially a queen, should not hear of such things so foul and impure.
But she ignored my warning. She leaned close to me and squeezed my hand reassuringly. “It is, dear sister,” she told me flatly, “a pitiless and putrid world ruled by pitiless and putrid men, men who think of us as little more than chattel. We would know your story. From start to finish, we would know how it is you came to rule over such cruel and loathsome men in a man’s cruel and loathsome world.”
Yes, it is true. Sitting in a chair across from me in my drab lodgings in the Tower of London, a place of luxury compared to the dungeon I had only days before been released from, the great and mighty Queen of England addressed me, a lowly commoner and a thief, as her sister…
About the Author
Born in 1954 in Indiana, Mark McMillin has lived in a number of states throughout the U.S. as well as overseas. He attended Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, focusing his studies mostly on military history, and served as a cadet in Canisius’s nationally recognized ROTC program. After graduating in 1976, Mark was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army and was stationed in Bad Kissingen, Germany where he served with the elite 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment.
In 1986, Mark received his J.D. degree from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois and began his legal career with a law firm in White Plains, New York focusing his attention on general corporate law. In 1994, Mark moved to Virginia and ventured out into hazardous world of litigation where, in 1999, he won what was reported to be at the time one of the largest and longest federal criminal trials in Virginia’s history. Mark thereafter moved to Georgia where he resumed his general corporate practice and served as general counsel for several companies, including a $1B publicly-traded airline.
Mark has been a life-long student of military history. And he has always had a passion for reading and love for writing and wanted to someday write his own book. But write a book about what? Mark had no desire to write about some subject that 100 authors before him had already delved into. And then, almost by accident, this fascinating, little known story of Captain Luke Ryan fell into his lap. It was an opportunity was too good to pass on and so Mark began the long and tedious journey of researching, writing and rewriting. The twelve year project ended in 2011 with Gather the Shadowmen (The Lords of the Ocean), Prince of the Atlantic and Napoleon’s Gold.
Mark currently lives in the Southeastern part of the United States.
Follow the tour HEREfor exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!