Langley’s Choice

Kate Dolan's adventure Langley's ChoiceFinding her life on a tobacco plantation in colonial Maryland unbearably dull, Caroline sneaks down to the local inn to see a display of treasures brought by sailors from far off lands. Before she knows it, she’s on their ship headed for those far off lands herself.

From her unadorned, isolated plantation in an obscure corner of the American colonies, Caroline Carter dreams of seeing the world.  But in her fantasies, she travels as a lady of fashion and high society, not as a pauper in boys’ clothing forced to slave away as a deckhand on a privateer vessel.

Recently arrived from England, Josiah Throckmorton, is not exactly thrilled to hear the news that his intended bride is on a ship full of men bound for unknown waters. But he’s also not thrilled with the prospect of joining Caroline’s brother on a rescue mission that will be dangerous, expensive, and terribly inconvenient. He came to Maryland to make his fortune, and instead he’s just made a mess.

But the adventure of a lifetime–and its disastrous aftermath–may be just what Caroline and Josiah need to show them the world is a much bigger place than their own worries would have them believe. And maybe they’re not as helpless as they think…

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The Story Behind the Story

The inspiration for my first completed book came from a bus tour of Savannah, Georgia. As we drove by The Pirates’ House restaurant near the river, our tour guide explained that it was one of the oldest buildings in the state of Georgia and a noted hangout for bloodthirsty pirates. “What do you call it,” she asked, “when you go out for a night of drinking and wake up to find yourself on a ship miles away? Shanghai!”

Kate Dolan found inspiration for her first book at The Pirates' HouseI thought that would be one awful morning. And then I thought it would be a great place to start a story.  So I started researching pirates. And I learned pretty quickly that everything the tour guide said was inaccurate. The heyday of piracy in the waters off the coast of the U.S. was over by about 1720, and the buildings that housed the restaurant weren’t built until about 1755. So they might have played host to some rough characters of the years, but they didn’t see the likes of Blackbeard or any of his infamous cronies. And according to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term “shanghai” comes from the practice of tricking men into service on ships on the west coast bound for China and it wasn’t used until the 1870s. So I wasn’t going to have a hero shanghaied out of the Pirates’ house to face a showdown with Captain Kidd.

But that’s okay, because I wasn’t planning to. I decided pretty quickly that the character who was going to have that awful morning would be female, because I didn’t think I could write realistically from a male point of view. And I also decided the story would be set near where I lived in Maryland because that would make it easier to research.

I was wrong. But those choices set the course for the adventure into writing my first book. I had started other books and plays before, but after a short time I got stuck on some inane detail, decided I hated my characters, and gave up. This time I was ready. I read everything I could find about pirates and soon realized that they wouldn’t fit the plot that was starting to take shape in my head. So I made my captain a privateer, but a desperate one, because with the end of “Queen Anne’s War,” in 1713, he had nothing to hunt legitimately. And remember how I didn’t want to write from a male point of view? I ended up writing from the point of view of the privateer and from the point of view of my heroine’s fiance, Josiah. My goal was to take an unlikeable guy and make him likeable by the end of the story. Probably not the best way to hook readers, but no one has ever accused me of being overly market saavy. Anyway, I liked him the best by the time I finished the book, so it’s only fitting that the title is about him and his choice. What is that choice? You’ll have the read the book to find out!

Reviews

“Kate’s ability to allow us a snapshot of what colonial life was like is a tribute to her research and writing abilities. . . . Langley’s Choice is full of subtle humour and subtle romance as we watch within our mind how Josiah and Caroline evolve into much better people.  Though not filled with lashings of romance and sexual angst as some of the more popular romance novels offer, this contribution from Zumaya Publications is a wonderful book.  It gives you a sense that everything will work out for the better if you trust in yourself and in God.”
–Tanya Blake, Romance at Heart

“Set in 1713, this book tells the story of Caroline Carter, and her search for adventure.  It tells us all  she loses in the process, and all she eventually gains… I really enjoyed the book, finding the characters and plot engaging and interesting.  The story felt genuine, as did the setting. The dialogue was superbly written to the time period.  I especially enjoyed the way the younger sister so routinely made up her own words to sound more “worldly” and sophisticated.  The story succeeded so brilliantly in pointing out the often ridiculous rules and mores society places on individuals.”
–Ramona, Lighthouse Literary Reviews

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Historical Information and Fun Stuff

How the Founding Fathers Got Drunk Part III: Apples

A Toothless Weapon Changed our Teeth

What Does Your Spoon Say About You?

Consider the Fork

 

Here’s the website from the place that started my writing adventure. See if you think the story about the policeman is true…http://www.thepirateshouse.com/history.html