I had been playing around with the Redstone character for a quarter of a century, never thinking I might actually use the concept for something publishable.
Then, thanks to Shelagh, I found myself looking for a travel story, and hit upon the plot and characters for "From Belfast to St. Joe."
I've written about this here before, so forgive me for writing it again. I've spent a lot of time on sailboats, from small daysailers to 12 meters, but never anything the size of a tall ship (except for touring the docked Cutty Sark in Greenwich, England). I was having trouble getting the feel of being on such a large vessel, under sail, and decided to find a video of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
. It was a huge help, and soon, the story was telling itself.
But something else happened. I came across a fictional persona that quickly led me back to Redstone. After a bit more investigation, I had my Redstone persona, and my new muse.
Here is the exact moment it happened:
It is 1805. The HMS Surprise
has been almost defeated by a French Man-of-War, the Acheron
, a technologically superior ship, twice the size of the Surprise
In the captain's quarters, Capt. "Lucky Jack" Aubrey is conferring with his officers. Stephen Maturin, the ship's doctor, and Aubrey's closest frined, makes the comment:
"By comparison, the Surprise
is a somewhat aged man-of-war, am I not correct?" There is a shocked silence from the rest of the officers before Aubrey replies:
"Would you call me
an aged man of war, Doctor? The Surprise
is not old. No one would call her old. She has a bluff bow, lovely lines - She's a fine seabird - weatherly, stiff, and fast - very fast, if she's well handled. No, she's not old. She's in her prime."
All of a sudden, I felt that I was a fine seabird, too, not old, but in my prime.
So, the Redstone Saga began anew, and I'm still writing.
What are your inspiration stories and sources?
PS and BTW, For newcomers, mostly. there is no good emoticon for the practice of writing with one's tongue lodged in one's cheek, and I often do that, even when asking serious questions.