Monday, 2 February 2015
Meet Sheila Dalton, who is talking about her new historical novel, Stolen.
I was inspired to write Stolen by trips to both Morocco and Devon, England. I was born in England, and Devon is one of my favourite areas. I love the moors, the wild ponies, the whole atmosphere. I now live in Canada, but went back to Devon recently to visit a friend. While there, she took me on a tour of the pirate caves and coves. I also visited the wonderful old library in Newton Abbot, and buried my nose in many of the publications in their local history collection.
When in Morocco, I saw the underground dungeons where the Christian slaves were kept in the 17th century. When I asked our guide who it was they imprisoned there, he looked at me pointedly and said, “You.” He meant, of course, ‘white people like you’. This was very intriguing.
When I got home to Canada, I began researching white slavery and was excited to discover a connection between the Barbary Corsairs and the coast of England I had so recently visited. I began to think about what it might have been like to have your friends or relatives abducted and sold into slavery.
Stolen is about more than white slavery, though. The seventeenth century saw the rise of black slavery in the New World, and was also considered The Golden Age of Piracy. The era was extremely complex and interesting. Researching it was a pleasure.
I absolutely love reading historical fiction, and was nervous about trying my hand at it. Stolen isn’t my first book, but is my first historical novel. I eventually plunged in, because I couldn’t resist. Lizbet Warren, my main character, became more and more real to me, and her story unfolded in my imagination without much prompting.
Lizbet is nineteen when her parents are captured by Barbary Corsairs and carried off to the slave markets in Morocco. Desperate to help them, she sets out for London with the only other survivor of the raid, the red-haired orphan, Elinor, from the Workhouse for Abandoned and Unwanted Children. The unlikely pair are soon separated, and Lizbet is arrested for vagrancy. Rescued from a public whipping by a mysterious French privateer, Jean Vallée, she is taken to his Manor House in Dorchester, where he keeps her under lock and key. Later, Lizbet is captured at sea by the pirate Gentleman Jake, and forced to join his crew. She forms complex bonds with both her captors, but never forgets her parents and uses all her skills to enlist the aid of these men to find them. Her quest leads her to the fabled courts and harems of Morocco and the tropical paradise of Barbados.
Stolen is the story of a brave but endearingly human young woman who perseveres in the face of incredible odds to establish her place in a new world. It is also the story of friendship, the mother-daughter bond, the complexities of consent and love -- and a daring rescue.
Available from Amazon Kindle
You can purchase your copy here if you are in the UK
For more information about Sheila and her books visit her webpage: http://www.sheila-anne-dalton.com