After three years writing and releasing the books in Pirates of Felicity, Mortal Trinity released August 29th! I really hope you enjoyed the finale to Ebba-Viva’s story. You guys know that I have mega trouble saying goodbye to characters, so in a fit of nostalgia I compiled this behind-the-scenes blog. It contains fun facts about the series, the writing process, and the places that inspired aspects of the story! And if you’re imagining me writing this as I alternatively weep and laugh hysterically over a tub of ice cream, you’re not far off…
***** SPOILERS OF PIRATES OF FELICITY, BOOKS 1-7 AHEAD! *****
Fun Fact #1
I first ‘met’ Ebba after reading a quote:
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein
The Pirates of Felicity was born!
Selkie’s Cove in Immortal Plunder is a smaller version of the real-life Sealers Cove – a remote (and breath-taking!) bay in Wilson’s Promontory. My husband and I hiked there twice while living in Australia–and the first time was shortly after reading the above quote. The isolation and magical feel of the cove stuck in my mind.
Fun Fact #2
Stolen Princess incorporated Maori (New Zealand indigenous) mythology and culture. I’m Maori myself, and had a lot of fun delving into the language and traditions for this story.
Some Maori language you might have noticed: Marae, Papatuanuku, Taniwha, Rangatira Tahaetia, Aroha, and Poripori
In Maori legend, Poripori (the Taniwha in Stolen Princess) swam from a place in New Zealand called Porirua (close to where I grew up) all the way north to Poripori River (close to where my husband grew up). I’ve always liked the connection, so when a Taniwha appeared in the book, his name was a no-brainer!
Fun Fact #3
Grubby is the character who made me laugh most during the series – particularly his odd reports of animals and their traits. The scene in Pillars of Six with the judgemental crocodiles had me in STITCHES while writing. Mostly because of Grubby, partly because Jagger was like ‘screw this crazy talk, I’m out’, and partly because the rest of Ebba’s crew were so damn loyal, they had to jump after Grubby to save face.
Side note: Getting Ebba into a dress was the hardest thing ever. And I love her for it. Even now, I’m pretty sure she let me write her into a dress. She’s kind of scary.
Fun Fact #4
My instructions to the cover designer for the series were very detailed. I wanted the covers to depict Ebba’s personal growth – because she’d change so much over the series – and her fashion journey – because her clothing was so integral to her acceptance of her identity.
It’s hard to pick my favorite cover out of the seven, but I love Dynami’s Wrath because Ebba’s dressed in an outfit of her own making.
One thing I loved was veering from the path of established mythology in Pirates of Felicity to give creatures new stories and powers. Medusa’s story really struck a chord with me in book four – even though she was … well, Medusa. She was one creature I really hoped would find redemption. Other creatures I loved putting a unique spin on were the Siren, the Capricorns, and — how could we forget –Calypso.
Fun Fact #5
I’ve killed characters without a speck of remorse in the past, but sinking Felicity made me feel absolutely horrible. I still think about it sometimes.
Fun Fact #6
No one was more shocked when Grubby turned out to be a very smart albeit arrogant Selkie jerk.
CALYPSO WAS A MAN! OMG!!
Fun Fact #7
In Eternal Gambit, so many plot threads, character conflicts , and world-building complexities had to be pulled together that five manuscript revisions were done before the book went to the editor (nine in total). This book took two more months to complete than the other books in the series.
Number six was the book I’d (im)patiently waited for. The book when I could tell the whole of Jagger’s story and illustrate everything he’d done – but never said – to finally give him redemption in Ebba’s eyes. To me, Jagger is one of the most fascinating characters (both in the decisions he makes and the things that have happened to him) that I’ve ever written. The beauty of what exists between Viva and Jagger is that they loved each other before they even liked one another, yet he was looking out for her – and vice versa – long before they realised that’s what they were doing.
Fun Fact #8
Some things were so hard not to spoil for you guys!!
1/ That Jagger was in internal hell with the taint.
2/ That Caspian would find true love (and his arm) again.
3/ That Charybdis was the entrance to the Oblivion.
4/ Plank’s story and fate.
Fun Fact #9
The spines of the seven Pirates of Felicity hardcovers form a ship! (Pretty cool, huh?). I thought so 😉
Pirates of Felicity was an absolute joy to write. The longer series gave me a chance to throw in so many details that I hope you truly enjoyed discovering. The Exosian Realm is a real place for me now, and in escaping here, I hope Ebba and her crew brought you much laughter, some tears, but mostly happiness in the end.
Kelly’s Favorite Moments (EXTRAS – because there’s still ice-cream left)
1/ When the crew finds out how long Grubby’s been holding his breath underwater for.
2/ When Mortem can’t resist nuzzling Barrels. #becausePillage
3/ When Ebba races past an old tribal woman to snatch and eat the last sweet potato (Kumara) without apology.
4/ When Papatuanuku and Mortem banged and created a realm. – “The creation was strong that day.”
5/ When Jagger and Ebba FINALLY kiss.
6/ When Plank tells his magical stories, and the crew refuse to believe him though the stories perfectly explain what will (or has) happened.
7/ When Ebba tied the dynami to Pillage and he destroyed the deck.
8/ When she then did the same thing with the scio. Because if at first you don’t succeed, just think like Ebba.
9/ Sally, the alcoholic wind sprite, who once betrayed her friends for a champagne fountain and who once rode Pillage like a noble steed through the sky.
10/ Matey the last Kraken who’s fluent in Krakalacken…
And last but not least/ The fathers: Locks’ song for remembering his various girlfriends. Plank’s fashion critiques. Grubby’s anxiety over crew conflict. Stubby’s fussiness over the (often mental) wellbeing of the ship. The correlation between Peg-leg’s temper and the quality of his cooking. Barrels’ over-the-top enthusiasm when teaching Ebba to read.
Their overprotectiveness of their daughter.
Their decision to let Ebba climb the rigging at two years old.
Their dedication to guiding Ebba through life in the only way the knew how (no matter how misguided this often was).
The ice-cream is finished *sob*. I hope you enjoyed the trip down memory lane! If you’re yet to finish the series (sink me, you’re a brave one reading this blog), then grab your copy of book seven here.