Disclaimer: I am probably the worst blog hopper ever. Mostly because I accepted Adi Rule’s invitation when I don’t actually have a blog. Also, because after being tagged roughly a decade ago, I am just now getting around to this.

Fortunately, the crew at Quirk & Quill took me in like the starving internet-urchin that I am. They gave me a blanket, a crust of bread, a platform for posting, and a deadline. So many problems solved so quickly!



ABOUT THE PERSON WHO TAGGED ME: Adi Rule is a writer/cat lackey from New Hampshire. Her [TOTALLY AWESOME! -ed.] YA novel STRANGE SWEET SONG is out now from St. Martin’s Press, with [TOTALLY AWESOME SOUNDING! -ed.] REDWING forthcoming. When the cats approve, Adi also sings in the chorus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra/Boston Pops.

Which is all fine and well and clever. The bio writer chose to focus on Adi’s cats more than one might expect, but so it goes—no bio writer is perfect. My bio writer once called me a “writer of ‘some’ renown” when clearly what was intended was “internationally beloved man of mystery whose books you should purchase by the truckload.” I could deal with the slip-up, but the ironic quotes around the word ‘some’ were not appreciated.

CAMERA WHIPS TO ADI RULE: All cats aside, Adi is truly one of the most gracious writers I know. And talented to the extreme. I once heard her read a scene that included the sentence “What ho, Hat?” I have no idea how to punctuate that, but it was a boy talking to a hat and it was the funniest scene I’ve ever heard aloud and if Adi will just send it to me, I will print it up on a t-shirt and wear it at all times.

Lastly, DAMN! Adi’s book Redwing sounds awesome.



WHAT DOES THE TITLE MEAN? In pirate speak it translates to “we will kill you instead of taking you captive.” The black flag is the visual embodiment of this concept. In publishing speak it translates to “no one knows what it means and you might have to change it.”

Pirate Flag

WHAT IS THE NAME OF YOUR CHARACTER: Virtually all of my characters lie about their names at some point, so listing them would be futile. The most interesting name is probably “Death’s Abbot”—a pirate who got his name by surviving a poisoning by the plant monkshood. He is not historical but if he were and he met Blackbeard, there would be a fight. Blackbeard would leave the encounter in a wheelbarrow.

WHEN AND WHERE IS THE STORY SET? The story is set on Isla sin Nombre—whose inhabitants simply call it Sin. The island is made up, but certainly inspired by my career as a travel writer and my travels through the tropics.

It is set in an ambiguous time period during which bounty hunters roam the sea on giant turtles and oversized rogues keep snarling hyenas as pets. There is no WiFi.


WHAT SHOULD WE KNOW ABOUT THE PROTAGONISTS? Nick and Sophie live in a den underneath a gnarled oak. Their father, a famed pirate, left them with a map, a key, and two throwing knives. In the book’s opening pages, a one-eyed man finds them and offers a simple trade: in exchange for the map and key, he will sail them to Sin and show them the man who killed their father. By the end, the siblings will need every millimeter of those two throwing knives.

WHAT IS THE MAIN CONFLICT? If there’s one thing this project has an excess of, it’s conflict. The main emotional conflict is between Nick and Sophie as they each separately wrestle with the idea of revenge, what it means, what its ramifications are, and if it is worth seeking in light of the fact that the entire island is trying to capture them.

WHAT IS THE GOAL FOR THE MAIN CHARACTER? Nick and Sophie’s goals often diverge. Nick wants revenge. Sophie wants to stay alive. These two goals are often in conflict. As they evolve and new information comes to light, their goals change dramatically.

WHEN CAN WE EXPECT THIS TO PUBLISH: Tomorrow? Next week? Tough to pin down. But I do know that my incredible agent will be receiving a draft very soon.

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SAY? Yes, please! I have another book—much lighter in tone—called Ronald Zupan and the Pirates of Borneo! (these are more whimsical pirates) which comes out from Bloomsbury in fall 2016 with a sequel the following year. I really hope you read it, because I think it’s funny.

Also, I’m on Twitter. www.twitter.com/stevebram


Pending. I forgot about the tagging part. Anyone want to be tagged?