My Journey to Publication
by Nicole Castroman
I love to tell the story of how BLACKHEARTS sold. The journey for every author is different. I signed with my first literary agent in 2011. At that point, I’d written three (bad) manuscripts, but my fourth one did the trick. It didn’t sell, but I kept writing. Always be working on your next project. I cannot stress that enough. Not only does it improve your technique, but it keeps you from obsessing too much over the submissions process.
After about 18 months of working together, my agent and I decided to part ways. It happens. At the time, it was frustrating, but looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. I learned so much from her and really, in the end, things worked out for the best. I know several writers who have switched agents, for a number of reasons. It’s a part of the business and that’s exactly what this is. A business.
So, in August 2012, I was agentless. My husband suggested a family vacation to Charleston, SC to cheer me up. I love history and so I looked up everything there was to know about Charleston. I came across the fact that Blackbeard the pirate once held the entire city of Charleston hostage. That fascinated me, so I looked up more information and discovered that only the last two years of Blackbeard’s life are known.
It was believed he came from a wealthy family, because he could read and write. Some accounts have his last name listed as Drummond, although like most pirates, he changed his name to avoid dishonoring his family. Contrary to popular belief, there are no reports of him ever harming or killing anyone he took hostage. Instead, he used psychological intimidation to get what he wanted. He secured burning hemp ropes in his beard and beneath his hat, giving him the appearance of some large, smoking specter. He captured a French slave ship, freeing those on board and renaming it Queen Anne’s Revenge. Like I mentioned earlier, he held the entire city of Charleston, SC hostage. His only demand–medicine. Boom. Right there, BLACKHEARTS was born.
The words literally flew from my fingertips. I loved the characters and the story so much, it really was a joy to write. I’m not sure exactly how many queries I sent out, but I had several requests for partials and fulls. I signed with Adams Literary in January of 2013. It’s an honor to be part of their team.
But BLACKHEARTS didn’t sell immediately. It took a year before it sold to S&S. At the time, S&S only bought one book. Well, BLACKHEARTS hadn’t been out for a month and it went to a second printing. And S&S bought a sequel. Yay! BLACKSOULS comes out on April 11, 2017.
Can I please talk about both of my covers? I thought the cover to BLACKHEARTS was fabulous. But when I saw the cover for BLACKSOULS?!? It literally took my breath away! I couldn’t be happier.
Nicole was lucky enough to come with her very own best friend…she has a twin sister who can read her mind and finish her sentences for her.
At the age of 13, she went to Europe for the first time and it changed her life. She loves learning about different people, languages and cultures and speaks fluent German. She knows enough Spanish to get herself into trouble and can still read the Cyrillic alphabet from when she studied Russian.
She received her B.A. from Brigham Young University and has lived in Germany, Austria and two different places called Georgia. One is the country located on the Black Sea. The other is the state of Georgia where she now lives with her handsome husband and two beautiful children who continue to amaze her.
Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.
Edward “Teach” Drummond, son of one of Bristol’s richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There’s just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.
Following her parents’ deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she’s stuck in England?
From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.
Nicole Castroman brings the dangerous pirate ports of the Caribbean to life in this vibrant sequel to Blackhearts—the reimagined origin story of history’s most infamous pirate, Blackbeard.
Edward “Teach” Drummond is setting sail to the Caribbean as first mate on the most celebrated merchant ship in the British fleet—until he rebels against his captain. Mutiny is a capital offense and Teach knows it could cost him his life, but he believes it worth the risk in order to save his crew from the attacking Spanish ships.
Sailing on the same blue waters, Anne barely avoids the Spanish attack, making it safely to Nassau. But lawless criminals, corrupt politics, and dangerous intentions fill the crowded streets of this Caribbean port. Soon, Anne discovers that the man entrusted to keep the peace is quite possibly the most treacherous of them all—and he just happens to hold Teach’s fate in his terrifying hands.
Life and death hang in the balance when Teach and Anne are given a dangerous mission. It’s a mission that will test their love, loyalty and devotion, forcing them down a path neither one could have ever imagined.
Thank you so much, Nicole, for sharing your story with us! It’s so important to never give up hope, and to understand that everyone reaches success at different times and different ways.
A huge thank you to everyone who has participated in this feature! Your words never fall upon ungrateful minds. You are appreciated.
We hope you have a great rest of your week!