Hello from Marti Pieper! We’ve just finished the hottest week of summer (so far), although “hot” in Seneca, South Carolina, doesn’t feel anything like it did in Mount Dora, Florida (near Orlando) where I lived until this past November. And I don’t imagine it’s any hotter where today’s interviewee lives in North Carolina, either. I’ve known Eddie Jones for, well, a long time now! We first met when we were both teaching at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference, and we’ve continued to see each other at similar events here and there along the way. Today, I want to welcome Eddie to the CAN blog!
I’m glad you’re with us today, Eddie. Would you please tell us about your featured book?
Once more, Ricky Bradshaw sails back to the age of piracy via an “absence seizure”¾a trance-like state of daydreaming. Normally those who suffer from “absence episodes” cannot remember what happens. In Ricky’s case, he remembers everything while he is sailing the Caribbean Sea as he is being chased by pirates.
Interesting! And what inspired you to write this book?
I’m a pirate at heart. I owned sailboats for over twenty years and still love surfing and sailing¾though not boat ownership. Pirates seem to fascinate people, though really they’re nothing more than marauding, murdering, thieving gangs. In my stories I portray pirates as they were: brutal killers. But I do so with a good bit of humor.
This, I believe. Why did you write this book?
I needed a way to cleanly wrap up books one and two in the series. There was an open question about a large treasure yet to be found. I also wanted to shift the series to a focus on real, historical pirates. Calico Jack was an interesting character. I also wanted to feature two of the most famous female pirates, Anne Bonny and Mary Read. They play important roles in the story and were actually braver and smarter than the men they crewed with.
I love that! What is the primary focus of your book?
Finding one of the largest pirate treasures ever taken in a cave off the southwestern tip of Hispaniola. This one also has more humor than the first two.
Sounds like a win. What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
Some laughs (pirates can do some really dumb stuff), the real sailing route of Calico Jack (I had to create this from research; I think it’s a pretty good recounting of where and when he sailed), and the realization that crime never pays. In the end you get caught. And if you’re a pirate and get caught, you swing by the neck.
I used to tell my kids we can learn great lessons from bad examples. So what was your greatest challenge in writing this book?
As always, finding time to write it.
Amen! What’s your favorite scene in this book?
The dirk-dart scene in the Crow’s Nest tree house with Ricky and Calico Jack. Jack kept changing the rules.
How do you share Christ in your writing?
Not as much in the Caribbean Chronicles series, but definitely in the Monster Mystery series, I always point back to the Bible in some way. I’m not trying to convert someone to Christ in my writing, only plant an idea, a seed. If I can get a reader to open the Bible to verify what I include in a story (yes, one time a man was cursed and turned into a wolf—or at least an animal), then I have done my job. Of course if a reader really wants to know more about me they’ll see my spiritual heart at pirate-preacher.com.
How has being a writer impacted your relationship with Christ?
One thing I’ve learned is that what a writer writes and what a reader reads are not always the same. In fact, sometimes they’re not even close. That’s why I’ve gained more empathy (if that’s even possible) for how God must feel when someone reads his words and twists them or claims that what he spoke is not what he meant.
Ouch! What would be your ideal writing place? And . . . what’s your actual writing place like?
I write in the Green Room (walls and cushions are green) when it’s cool/cold, and top porch, patio, and by the firepit when the weather is nice.
They all sound wonderful. Why do you love writing?
I get to build worlds and people. In some ways that’s as close as I can get to God on this side of the grave.
Why do you write middle grade/early YA?
I never grew up, so this is my sweet spot. A lot of people say middle school was hard or the worst years of their life. I actually enjoyed middle school and the first few years of high school. I was a loner (still am) so I didn’t have many friends, but I enjoyed watching the smart, popular kids in my class, as well as the punks. I also liked looking at the girls, who were way more advanced physically than the boys. I still believe those who knew you before you grew up and became someone are the ones who know you at your core.
Do you have an unfulfilled dream?
Ah … yeah. See my books sell in greater numbers. I write for boys, and that’s a small market. So getting the word out that the series is a good, clean, funny, and fast read remains a goal and unfulfilled dream.
And what ministries are you involved in, and why?
I’m co-founder of Christian Devotions Ministries with my ministry partner Cindy Sproles. We help writers spread God’s message one word at a time. The ministry also helps those in financial need.
And I know that ministry has helped lots of beginning writers. Beginning or not, it seems everyone struggles with time management in our 24/7 world. How do you stay disciplined and meet your deadlines?
I sold my publishing company in 2019, so in theory I should have more time to write. But I’m still coaching and helping authors with their marketing and career goals. I write for one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening and anytime I can in between.
Sounds good, and I love that you’re still involved with helping authors. Tell us about your favorite library memory.
In high school (a really long time ago) I used to get the copies of Civil War Times and make photocopies of the battlefield maps and stuff. I would have a whole stack piled on a library desk. A tall lanky kid kept going to the librarian asking why all the CWT copies kept disappearing. Turns out he was doing the same thing: or trying to. His name was Kevin. He’s still my best friend, though I only see him once a year.
I love that! Now, please tell us about your next project.
I just finished book five, Phantom Gunslinger, in the Monster Mystery series and am now fast at work on book four in the Caribbean Chronicles series: No Good Stede Goes Unpunished – The life and death of Gentleman Pirate Stede Bonnet.
Pirates and monsters. I think you have plenty to keep you busy. Thank you for sharing with our readers today, Eddie!
For His glory,