Sunday, June 12, 2011

Jack Finally Gets His Own Book Thanks To A.C. Crispin

Today we welcome Science Fiction/Fantasy writer A.C. Crispin to the ship. (Insert awesome, complimentary intro here.) Ms. Crispin has created a stew of jealousy among the crew with her latest project. Not only is it about pirates, it’s about THE pirate, Captain Jack. But not exactly the Jack we know today.

Ms. Crispin, could you tell us about your latest release, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE PRICE OF FREEDOM?

The Price of Freedom is the prequel to the Pirates of the Caribbean films.  It’s Jack Sparrow’s “backstory” of how Jack first became a pirate captain, and how many of the events we saw in “Curse of the Black Pearl” and the other films were set in motion.  In my novel, Jack is 25, with flashbacks to when he’s 24 years old.  As the story opens, he’s an honest merchant sailor, serving as First Mate on a ship called Fair Wind, and his boss is none other than Cutler Beckett.

Maybe with a younger Jack around, our rum supplies will last longer. How did you get involved with this project? And did you find it intimidating to take on such a well-known character?

Oh, Jack was drinking rum when he was in his 20’s, no doubt about it.  He swills down quite a bit of it in my book.

Chance, hide the rum!

I was chosen to write Capt. Jack’s “backstory” because I had done several books exploring the backstory of some famous media characters.  I did The Han Solo Trilogy for Bantam, where I covered the ten years in Han’s life prior to meeting Obi Wan and Luke in the Mos Eisley Cantina.  When the Disney editor got permission to commission a novel about Captain Jack’s backstory, she told me she began reading all of the Star Wars novels that focused on Han Solo.  She thought that I captured the character best, so Disney offered the project to me.  Naturally, I was thrilled at the prospect.

I found Jack Sparrow to be the biggest challenge yet in writing backstory, because he’s really idiosyncratic.  No other character talks like Jack, acts like Jack, or even walks like Jack!  Disney also instructed me to write the book so it was historically and nautically accurate, where it didn’t conflict with POTC film continuity. That meant I had to do a tremendous amount of research to get that period authenticity.

Bo’sun: *jaw drops* I can’t believe you wrote about Han. I LOVED Han Solo. *clears throat* Sorry, back to the topic at hand. How much freedom did you have in writing the story as you saw it?

Once Disney decided on the time period in Jack’s life for my story, I had a lot of freedom to develop a plot and new characters.  Disney told me where the book had to end, so the story I developed had to flesh out HOW and WHY those events in the POTC canon occurred.

I see on your website this book took three years to write. Was that due to your schedule or was Jack just that uncooperative?

I spent the first six months of that time just researching pirates and Pirates of the Caribbean.  Then, after I signed the contract, it took another year for Disney studios to approve the time period for my story, and the outline that I’d submitted based on that time period.  The actual writing time for the book was about 16 months of steady writing.

Bo’sun: Those Disney folks sure took their time. I understand young Jack has a love interest. We’re always interested in the Romance around here. How did you create a heroine for Jack Sparrow?

Jack’s true love is his ship…and the sea.  But I had a good time creating a couple of feisty female protagonists for him to encounter.  One is a pirate.  Esmeralda is the Pirate Lord of the Caribbean.  The other is a runaway princess who has been sold into slavery.  She’s the magic worker in the story.  She’s a mistress of illusion. 

Both women are strong and resourceful, but they are drawn to Jack, as many women are.  There’s a funny scene in the story where Esmeralda and Ayisha meet and spend time together, while Jack is left alone for the evening, picturing them duking it out over him.  Instead the ladies get tipsy together, and have a great time talking about Jack.  When he realizes they’ve become friends and confidants, he’s not sure how to react.  It’s pretty funny.

Bo’sun: Ha! Two women against one Jack. Talk about karma. I also see on your website that you write full time, but some projects are delayed due to your workload. How do you handle time management and decide what projects get your attention?

When I am deep into a project, I write a lot, every day.  In the early stages of a writing project, it can be like pulling teeth to write my requisite number of words. But if you want to pay the mortgage and eat, you have to work, so I do.  I turned my attention away from my fantasy trilogy (that I still hope to complete, especially now that it’s reverted to me) in order to take on the Disney project because it seemed so promising. 

Can you tell us what’s next for you? Will there be more POTC books in your future? Or Jack’s past?

I’ve recently started a new book, and I’m in the very early stages with it.  It’s science fiction, a YA novel.  I was glad to return to s.f.  It’s been a while.  I have no idea whether there will be more POTC books in my future.  That’s a decision Disney will make, and they probably want to see how this book does.

Thank you so much for being with us today. We’re quite proud of our extensive drink menu aboard The Revenge and like to add a lovely concoction in honor of our guests. For you we add the Sippin’ Crispin. It must be sipped lest ye set your arse aflame.

LOL!  Thankee, mate!

So tell us, Pirates and Pirate Pals, what character’s past would you like to read about? Is there a character’s story you’d like to write? Ms. Crispin has some obligations today, but she will be in and out so feel free to shoot some questions her way.


Hellion said...

Well, clearly Jack is my first choice. :)

But once you hear all his stories, I'm willing to branch out a little. I have a list.

1.) Severus Snape. Oh, we got some delicious tidbits in the last book, but I'd really like a little series about Snape, so we can see more what the good guys seem like from the other side. *LOL*

2.) Sleepy Hollow. If I remember right, that story is written in an omniscient sort of way. But I really loved the Johnny Depp version of the story. I would love to read a story either in all of Icabod Crane's POV--that geeky scientist; or perhaps the Christina Ricci's character's POV. (Preferably Ricci's character, I think.)

2nd Chance said...

Well, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. My fav was the creation a' Shipwreck Cove. That were a masterful bit a' imagination at play. Cap'n Hellion, we really should turn the ship that way. Jus' need ta look fer a hollow volcano that don't appear much more than a lump on the sea...

Hmmmm. Might be harder than I thought!

I did speak ta Hector 'bout this fixation Ms. Crispin claims 'e has fer small primates and 'e denied it. Said it were a bit a' sun that had 'im worried 'bout the Polly in question. I asked if'n he were romancin' me jus' ta get next ta the Undead Monkey and fire lit in 'is eyes... Then he reached fer 'is pistol...

I think we needs ta make sure he and Ms. Crispin don't meet...


What character would I likes ta see backstory tol'? Jack from The Mummy... All that hints a' his being raised in Egypt and havin' that tattoo... Yeah, that be a good one!

Marnee said...

I have no idea what backstory I'd want. There are some superheroes, though that sounds silly. For example, I'm excited about the new X-Men movie and I loved what they did with Iron Man, Spiderman, etc. I haven't seen Thor yet but I'm looking forward to the Green Lantern (even without the Ryan Reynolds bonus, though that's not hurting anything either).

Ann Crispin said...

Thanks for hosting me today! If anyone has any questions about The Price of Freedom or writing Captain Jack's backstory, just let me know, and I'll be back this afternoon to reply to them.

Smooth Sailing, Mates!

-Ann C. Crispin

Donna said...

Welcome, Ms. Crispin. This sounds like it was an intriguing project. And since writers are always being told to keep backstory to a minimum, it must have been FUN to be able to focus on just exactly that. :)

I hope you have plenty more Captain Jack books in your future.

Bosun said...

Good morning! I'm currently hanging on my couch waiting to see if my child will feel well enough to go to school at some point today. *sigh*

I'm liking the Snape answer. The misadventures of a young Snape might be interesting.

I thought I'd have lots of answers to this when I wrote the question, but I can't think of one. LOL! I'm blaming a lack of sleep and my day being derailed already.

Sin said...

Ms. Crispin! Welcome aboard!

I would love to have the back story on none other than R. Carlos Manoso (Ranger) of Janet Evanovich's Plum series fame. I'd love to write it, but I can't write Ranger's POV to save my life.

Sin said...

I don't even read HP but I will agree. After Hells filled me with Snape and Lily Potter thoughts, I'd love to know the detailed story behind all that. But still have no love for the HP.

Hellion said...

Sin, you're a hater. *LOL*

Bosun said...

Okay, I've finally made it to work. Huzzah! (It's Monday. I'm trying to fake enthusiasm.)

Sin - Technically, JE doesn't write in Ranger's POV either so you might as well take on the task. You know you wanna.

If HP were in Manga, she'd be all over it.

Sin said...

Only if it didn't focus on HP. And had throwing stars.

Lisa would be PERFECT to write in Ranger's POV. The wenchie has the right voice.

Bosun said...

I can't believe I still can't come up with a character. This is what I get for not getting into movies. Let me try TV shows. Hmmm....OH, I'd like to know more about a young Rick Castle. That would be fun.

Quantum said...

Hello Ms Crispin.

May I call you Anne? The Ms title makes me feel like a miscreant entering the headmistresses den! In return you can call me Q if you like. :D

I'm not really a SciFi fan, finding real science much more intriguing and exciting, but I do like fantasy, especially if it has a romantic theme.

It's often claimed that SciFi sometimes anticipates future science evolution. Asimov's novels on robots could be seen in that way. I wonder whether you have made any predictions of this nature and would care to discuss them?

As a back story, I think that I might like to see R2D2 in star wars traced back through the various development stages and proto-types if it hasn't been done already.

From romance I would like to see Jack from Virgin River by Robyn Carr (NOT to be confused with CJS!). The series starts with Jack running the bar in Virgin River and I would love to learn more of his early development before that!

2nd Chance said...

Wow, Ranger's backstory might be interesting...Castle would be fun and even though I bailed on the HP books, I'd like to see Snape fleshed out. Ms. Crispin did nice job with Cutter Beckett...though I'd like to have seen him even more rotten. I like my villains with absolutly no redeeming factors... ;-)

I locked Hector in the new cellar and took away his weapons. He has a keg of rum so it's safe fer Ms. Crispin to come aboard...

Bosun said...

Good questions, Q. I haven't read the Virgin River books, but I remember reading the interview "Jack" did on Donna's blog. He does sound like a guy I want to know more about.


Maria Zannini said...

I've never read a media tie-in book, but I'll have to make an exception for Jack.

I adore early life stories about well-known characters-- fictional and real.

Bosun said...

Maria - Jack is hard to pass up at any age. Almost makes you want to look up reruns of 21 Jump Street.


Hellion said...

My favorite media tie-in book was Braveheart (Randall Wallace). It had some rather poetic parts. A warrior poet. *sighs*

2nd Chance said...

Gods, I read all the Quantum Leap tie-ins. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer ones...a good chunk of the Star Trek, several of the Star Wars, most of the Dark Shadows...the CSI ones... Yes, I read them ALLLLLLL!!!!

Give me actors that make a character interesting and a good author who holds true to that and I'll follow them. ;-)

Bosun said...

It's official. Chance IS the Shamwow of the crew. She absorbs everything.

Sin said...

Too bad there isn't a "like" button for your comment Ter. Awesome.

2nd Chance said...

Ah... I think that was a compliment...but I'm not sure...

Think FB has a trademark on the whole 'like' thing? We could develop an ARRRRR button...though my FB page is in pirate english so it already shows up that way.

Bosun said...

We don't need anymore toys on this blog. LOL! (Though I bet Carrie could make it happen.)

2nd Chance said...

Well, it depends on what sort of toys they are...

aaaannnddd there we go, right into the gutter! ;-)

Yer welcome!

P. Kirby said...

I'm jonesin' for anything to do with Serenity/Firefly. I'd love to know how Wash and Zoe hooked up.

A Ranger backstory could be cool, although part of his allure is the man of mystery thing.

HP's Sirius Black. There are a whole bunch of artists over at DA that draw a young Sirius Black along with the rest of the Marauders. (Also plenty of Lilly and Snape art, too.) I'd love a Marauders story.

Actually, I'd also like to know more about why/how Howl of Howl's Moving Castle ended up in that world; etc. It's covered a little in the follow up to Howl's moving castle, but not enough to satisfy me.

And for a totally obscure character ... I'm fascinated with Puck from The Iron Dragon's Daughter by Michael Swanwick.

Ann Crispin said...

Hi, Quantum:

I'm afraid none of the prognostications I've ever made in any of my s.f. novels have ever come least yet. But my StarBridge universe is set at least 300 years in the future, so that's probably most of the reason.

I've never written any "near future" fiction in either s.f. or fantasy.

The most amazing bit of prognostication I ever saw was in a book by Lester del Rey titled "Rocket Jockey." The story is about a spaceship race starting on earth, then touching on all the planets (or in the case of Jupiter, Jupiter's biggest moon) clear out to the orbit of Jupiter, then racing back to Earth. The race is called "The Armstrong Classic" and was named for the first man to set foot on Earth's Moon.

The book was published in 1958.

Interesting, eh?

I'll be back in a couple of hours to check and see whether anyone has any questions for me about The Price of Freedom or Captain Jack Sparrow's backstory.

Till then...

-Ann C. Crispin

Ann Crispin said...

Oh, and please me Ann. That's just fine. :-)

-Ann C. Crispin

Ann Crispin said...

Thanks for the chance to post on the blog, mates. If anyone wants to sample The Price of Freedom, there are excepts on my website.

I'll check back one more time, to make sure there aren't any other questions or comments for me.

Smooth Sailing!

-Ann C. Crispin

Bosun said...

Sorry, Ann, I didn't sleep well last night and conked out right after dinner. Which means it's nearly 11pm and now I'm awake! *sigh*

Thanks again for being here. I cannot believe I didn't put in a link to your site. I had it open the entire time I was loading this blog. Doh!

I'll add it for anyone who stops by tomorrow. Dang, I never forget that part.

Bosun said...

Okay, link to website added and a quick click on the book cover takes you straight to Amazon.

Ann Crispin said...

Thanks so much, Bosun!

I hope at least some of the "Revengers" willl want to check out my book.


-Ann C. Crispin