Please welcome the faberoony Rebecca Cohen to the StudioBlog. It’s so wonderful to have her here talking about her book, Captain Merric, which is a brilliant read. Let’s get going with the questions!

Studioenp: Silence or noise when writing?

Rebecca: I’m lucky that I can pretty much write anywhere, and background noise doesn’t bother me. I guess it comes from having to grab every spare minute to write, so no chance to be picky.


Studioenp: Ah, been there and done that. So, what’s your latest release?

Rebecca: Captain Merric. A tale of pirates, lost love, and the fight for a happy ending. A gay historical romance, set in the age of sail.


Studioenp: It’s wonderful. Lovely imagery, and the love story is the best! How did the plot come about for it?

Rebecca: The original Captain Merric was a short story in a pirate-themed anthology which grew from an exercise I did in my Open University Creative Writing course. I had to write the opening paragraph of something you’d never write… so I thought age of sail and, well, it grew from there. Once I got the rights back for the short, I thought I could give it a quick edit, but it grew and grew into the novel-length version. The main story changed a little, especially the ending, and Edward, who was originally called James, got a new name as I am using the name James elsewhere.


Studioenp: Great when you can expand a book like that, isn’t it? How long did it take you to write it?

Rebecca: About three months for the first draft of the extended story (there’s very little of the original short left). I was in a bit of rut and wanted something fun to play with, and a pirate romance fitted the bill perfectly.


Studioenp: Brilliant. So what’s next on your writing list?

Rebecca: I’ve a new historical series which is a spin-off from my Crofton Chronicles. We will journey through the centuries with the Earls of Crofton. The first up is Anthony (from the Crofton Chronicles). Then James (set in the Restoration period), followed by Charles (Regency), and then Henry (Victorian).


Studioenp: Oooh, these sound thoroughly delightful! Are you a plotter or panster?

Rebecca: Plotter. I love to map out and build the basis of a story then flesh it out. That doesn’t mean everything always goes to plan, though.


Studioenp: LOL. Sometimes books have minds of their own, don’t they? No matter how hard you try to stick to the original plan, something always sneaks out on you. That’s the beauty of writing, though, eh? What is your go-to form of procrastination?

Rebecca: Playing Lego and Playmobil with my little boy.


Studioenp: Aww, a most delightful pastime. Paul loves Lego. Em loves Playmobil. Um…well, she doesn’t play it now the kids have grown, but… Anyway, let’s move on, shall we? How many hours per week do you write?

Rebecca: Anything from 1 – 15, depending on the day job and family life.


Studioenp: That’s the trouble with jobs. Grr. They get in the way. What’s one genre you’ve always wanted to write but haven’t—and will you ever write it?

Rebecca: I write in all sorts of genres (published contemporary, historical, sci-fi, fantasy) and have a crime series I’d like to do something with, so there’s isn’t a genre I’ve not given a go when I wanted to.


Studioenp: Brilliant! What’s the best book you’ve written?

Rebecca: The next one… Actually, the Earls of Crofton Anthony is pretty close to being finished and it’s one of my favourite plots to date. Rooftop chases, spies, and romance in the court of King James I.


Studioenp: That really does sound like an amazing book. Well, sadly our time has come to an end (boo hoo!), but thank you so much for being here with us and sharing your new book. We wish you well in your career and hope you come back again once Anthony is released.


Dear readers, as it’s Friday, we have heaps of chocolate on the table over there and an abundance of doughnuts (yummers!). Please indulge in those while also indulging in the following excerpt from Captain Merric. Enjoy—and have a marvellous weekend!

Blurb for Captain Merric:


A tale of pirates, lost love, and the fight for a happy ending.


After he’s set adrift and left to die by his mutinous crew, the last person Royal Navy officer Daniel Horton expects to come to his rescue is Captain Merric. An infamous pirate, Merric is known as much for stealing his victims’ hearts as their jewels. Daniel’s world is about to be turned upside down when he recognises Captain Merric as none other than Edward Merriston, someone he thought he'd never see again.


Edward can’t believe Daniel Horton is aboard his ship. While Edward is willing to do anything he can to get a second chance at their happy ending, Daniel isn’t interested in digging up the past. But Daniel is one priceless treasure Captain Merric isn’t about to let go of without a fight.

Excerpt for Captain Merric:

Daniel spluttered, regaining consciousness as water hit his face. He tried to sit, but the foot on his chest kept him pinned in place, flat on his back, hands tied once more. He was surrounded by six men, but the glare of the sun overhead prevented him from getting a better look at their faces. However, one thing was for certain: they weren’t members of the Royal Navy.


Bewildered, he at last realized he was on board a ship, the gentle roll of the world and the sound of flapping sails unmistakable. He peered upwards. The mizzen wasn’t the right configuration for a frigate, and there were no flags proclaiming she sailed under the command of the French crown. But, hanging high on the mast, there was the unmistakable emblem of a skull and crossbones.


Daniel let his head smack down on the deck, wondering what he’d done wrong in his life to find himself in such a situation. With the French he might have been a potential prisoner of war, held somewhere he could attempt an escape from, but pirates…. He was a dead man.


“English pig,” he heard one say, his accent clearly Spanish.


“We should throw him overboard. There may be ships after him,” said another, and if Daniel was not mistaken, he recognised a trace of County Cork about him.


“Take him down to Merric. The captain’s always been fond of a pretty Englishman. This one should entertain him nicely until he decides the bastard’s fate,” said a third.


He was older, more commanding, and Daniel thought he might be the first mate by the way he spoke.


Two of the pirates dragged him across the deck. His parched brain and body were too confused to put up a fight, but he knew the name the men had mentioned. He’d heard of Captain Merric. Every member of the fleet had a story to tell of the pirate who had swiped the jewels of Ambassador Swin’s wife and fled with his son. Daniel had pursued Merric once or twice himself, but he’d never caught him. Merric’s ship was too fast, and despite the large bounty on his head, no one had information to sell. Even Swin’s son had been curiously tight-lipped when he’d been returned, unharmed.


Hauled below deck, Daniel was temporarily blinded by the loss of the bright sunlight, but his eyes adjusted as he was manhandled down dark corridors that smelled of gunpowder and expensive spices. They stopped outside a closed door, and one of his captors banged his fist heavily against it.


“Come,” was the curt reply.


The door opened. Daniel was thrown to the floor, landing so the first thing he saw of the infamous Captain Merric was the worn leather of his unpolished boots.


Daniel struggled to his knees, looking up to get a view of the pirate. The sun must have affected him more than he had thought, and the figure that stood before him had to be an illusion. The face was older, and now had a beard, but belonged to that of a man who had died over fifteen years ago.


He shook his head to clear his sight, but it didn’t change the vision towering over him. “I am seeing ghosts.”

About Rebecca:

Rebecca Cohen is a Brit abroad. Having swapped the Thames for the Rhine, she left London behind and now lives in Basel, Switzerland with her husband and young son.

First published in 2011, Rebecca primarily writes gay romance but in many sub-genres (historical, sci fi, fantasy, contemporary), and she simply can’t bear not to follow a story even if it is set in a different time, space or reality.



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