She’s written love stories starring monsters and Greek gods, but with Hunt on Dark Waters, Katee Robert has written the high seas fantasy adventure of her dreams.
There’s something about pirates that remains timeless. We gravitate toward the idea of a reckless captain standing at the helm, the salty sea breeze whipping their stylish coat, the horizon an endless blue of possibility. The world feels big in a way that it really doesn’t anymore. Historical—and fantasy—pirates exist out of time and space, and the only rules they follow are the ones they make up.
Obviously, reality was a bit less glamorous and more rife with scurvy and poop decks, but the mythos of pirates continues to attract and seduce. It certainly does with me, at least.
It’s hard to say when my fascination with pirates began, but I suspect it was the moment I boarded the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in Disneyland when I was very young. The “briny” air wrapped around me and I sat with wide eyes through scene after scene of glamorized and entertaining glimpses of what a pirate’s life might be like. I was hooked.
Fast-forward some 30-odd years, through my deep obsessions with pirate nonfiction books, the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise and the TV show “Black Sails,” to name just a few influences. When it came time for me to circle back to my first love, fantasy novels, it was also an opportunity to mix two of my favorite things into one grand adventure.
I will admit that pirates seemed to be a bit of a long shot. While pirates have been a staple in genre fiction since the beginning of time, they’ve kind of fallen out of popularity in recent years. There’s probably some really interesting reasons why, but I love them and I’ve been on the hunt for spicy pirate romances for ages. They exist, to be sure! But there’s never enough to feed my voracious reading. One book is never enough!
Really, though, it all boils down to the fact that I’ve been chasing the high of Pirates of the Caribbean, both the ride and the movies, since my formative years. I saw the first movie in theaters five times. I was addicted to the way my heart beat faster as the music swelled and the sheer possibilities that unfolded when Jack Sparrow grinned and said, “Bring me that horizon.”
I wanted to recreate that feeling while writing—and hopefully for the reader while reading. That moment of looking out at the horizon and having no idea what it might hold. The thrill of a fight against a monster on the deck of your ship. The magic and mystery that comes when things and people aren’t quite what they seem, but you’re seduced despite yourself.
And, because it’s fantasy, everyone is freshly bathed and there’s indoor plumbing!