Jenerated Reviews September 2017 Featured Review And Author Profile
Within A Captain’s Soul
By: Lisa A Olech
I had the great fortune to come across Lisa Olech in 2015 when I took a chance and read her book Within A Captain’s Hold, book one in her Captain’s of the Scarlet Night pirate romance series. My love of pirate romance goes back many years so when I see new pirate author I am beyond excited. Lisa exceeded my expectations with her great writing, extensive research and the deep emotional insight she had of her characters. Her tales of the Scarlet Night crew are blunt and the roads traveled by her portrayals are not easy, but her work is richly drawn and clearly brings out the best of this writer’s immense talent. Even if pirates are not your thing this series is larger than its theme and the idea that a fabulous story reaches beyond topic boundaries is proven with each book of the Scarlet Nights. As this series comes to a close with its fifth installment, Within A Captain’s Soul, I feel as if old, beloved friends are sailing off into the horizon even as they leave their stamp on my heart and take permanent residence on my book shelf.
WITHIN A CAPTAIN’S SOUL
By: Lisa A. Olech
Stormy seas, a captive heart, and a coupling that breaks all the rules . . .
After years of committed service, Captain William “Bump” Quinn has finally taken the helm of the pirate ship Scarlet Night. But when rough waters send the Night off course, William winds up shipwrecked and alone on enemy shores—and prisoner to China’s most powerful pirate queen.
Captain Jian Jun is as alluring as she is formidable, and she’s careful not to let anyone too close. But the silence of the handsome Jamaican pirate in her custody intrigues her. Tempted by his topaz eyes and the strength of his character, she allows the captive into her inner sanctum. Though their bond defies all convention, Jun finds she is powerless against the emotions Will stirs in her. She prays their first union will not be her last. But with danger lurking in unexpected places, her beloved pirate may soon get the chance to prove he is every inch the hero he seems in her arms . . .
Within A Captain’s Soul
By: Lisa Olech
William “Bump” Quinn is now the Captain of the infamous pirate ship the Scarlet Night that he grew up on. Jian Jun is Captain of a vast pirate army in China. When Bump unexpectedly finds himself the soul survivor of his ship, after a vicious storm destroys all that he holds dear, he finds himself a guest of Jian Jun. Surrounded in danger Bump is presented with a treasure beyond his wildest dreams but is it worth risking his soul?
The heroes and heroines of Lisa Olech’s Captains of the Scarlet Night series are given a swan song worthy of the conclusion of this extraordinary series in Within A Captain’s Soul. Book five told the story of a beloved secondary character in this series, William “Bump” Quinn, a deaf, mute orphan adopted by previous Captains Gavin and Alice “Tupper” Quinn. Ms. Olech nurtured Bump through numerous books into the kind of man to be admired and looked up to and in doing so made the ideal romance hero. Bump was a unique and multifaceted character that withstood the test of this series as they both matured. Jian Jun was a great surprise and a fabulous heroine with her challenging past and empowered persona. In the merciless world of pirates Bump and Jun were strong when needed as well as tender, giving them a beautiful contrast in their roles. This author reached far and took chances on characters that many writers might pass over as being too different yet in giving them center stage made memorable and finely crafted portrayals. Within A Captain’s Soul is the kind of book that lingers as old friends move on to their well-deserved happy endings and embark on their new beginnings, a standout read!
*I was given an advanced copy. All opinions expressed are my own.*
*While part of a series this book can be read as a stand alone.*
William Quinn hated the dark. His companion had taken the lantern when she left. He could still smell the spiced honey of her skin and the musk of their sex in the rumpled sheets. She’d been a tiger in bed. His flesh still burned where her nails had raked his back. He’d lost himself for an hour or two between her smooth dark thighs. He only wished he’d learned her name.
Will lay in the bed and closed his eyes to the darkness. It was easier to visualize the layout of the room from memory this way. The door was to starboard. A three-drawer chest sat a foot to port. His pants were another matter. Where had she tossed them? She’d been in a terrible hurry to put her mouth on him. When she’d stripped him and seen his engorged cock, a smile spread across her shining face as if she’d discovered some long lost treasure. After that, she was driven by a single-minded desire. She’d been a most eager partner.
He rose and found his pants along with the wide blood-red sash he wore about his waist. And one boot. All the while, his limited sense was still on high alert. In this darkness, it would be easy to hide and ambush him. It wasn’t as if he’d hear anyone approaching, but having lost his hearing at such a young age, over his lifetime, he’d honed his other senses to razor sharp. Will lifted his nose and gave another sniff. No, he was alone.
The heat along this stretch of the world limited his choice of clothing. Bare chested, he slipped into a tooled leather vest. He patted the breast pocket. His lusty partner wasn’t interested in his winnings from tonight’s poker tables. As the daughter of one of the local pepper merchants, money was not what she longed for. Madagascar pepper was considered black gold along this great treasure route. Her father was one of the wealthiest men in the city.
Will found his other boot, and sat on the edge of the bed to slip them on his feet. He sat there for a long moment. The hollow beating of his heart echoed in his chest. Even after hours of pleasure, the only thing sated was his body.
This girl, whoever she was, hadn’t been interested in his newfound wealth or even knowing who he was. She’d only been interested in lying with him. It was the same wherever he went these days. He’d become a novelty.
Sex with the silent man.
It wasn’t as if he could brag about his conquests. Tell tales of your night in his bed. He wouldn’t bore you with long stories, or shout demands. He was deaf and never learned the basic fundamentals of speech. For some reason that made women eager to spread their legs for him. At least for one meaningless night.
Making his way to the door, Will wasn’t surprised to find the public rooms below still doing a brisk business. Time held no meaning to these establishments. Glancing toward the back corner, the poker game still wore on. He was tempted to add to his already bulging purse. Tonight’s profits had come too easy, but then it had always been a talent of his to read faces. Call it a lucrative byproduct of being deaf. Whether bluffing at cards or dealing with his crew, he could spot a liar at fifty yards.
Will’s long legs carried him quickly through the dangerous dark streets. At more than six and a half feet tall, he made an imposing figure. The three-pistol baldric and side cutlass helped. As did his permanent scowl. He pulled a short knife from a leather sheath and carried it at his side. For two reasons. A handy weapon was never a bad idea, and the high polish on the blade gave him the perfect view of anyone trying to approach him from behind.
Will reached the docks without incident and was finally able to breathe easy when he dropped down upon the polished decks of the Scarlet Night. The gentle tip of the boards shifting beneath his feet, the smell of tarred rigging, and the sight of her three thick masts brought a smile to his face. He was home.
Lisa A. Olech – Interview
- When did you know you wanted to write?
I’m the proverbial “late bloomer.” I’m an artist first and foremost (which I believe helps me be a more visually inspired writer), but truly being an author was not on my radar. It’s a long tale of a fateful day where someone saw in me a potential I hadn’t seen in myself before. I regularly thank and curse this person! That was more than a dozen years ago, and I now can’t imagine not being a writer. There are days when I wish I had started this journey when I was younger, but I believe things come to us when they are needed and when we are ready for them. I’m just grateful I finally bloomed.
- Where do you get your writing inspiration?
Everywhere! I’ve gotten a story idea from a smell! It can be an overheard conversation, a dream, an unusual setting, a name, a title that sparks a story. Anything. I think once you’re in the mode of creativity, you can find inspiration in a myriad of places. It’s just a matter of keeping your ears and your eyes…and I guess your nose open to new ideas.
- You started off with a contemporary series, the Stoddard School of Art, why venture into historicals?
You’ve done your research! I did start off with a contemporary series. Actually the two series were created simultaneously. I love the versatility of working in two sub genres. I like the quicker pacing of a contemporary. I consider them something akin to that lovely dish of sherbet in the middle of a gourmet meal. They cleanse my palate, so to speak. As I said, I am an artist and you should “write what you know.” I know artists. I’ve worked and galleried with some amazingly talented, quirky, wonderful people. They gave me a wealth of knowledge in a variety of mediums and a deeper understanding of the creative mind. Remember the story idea from a smell? It was touring art colleges with my son that inspired the Stoddard School series. Art schools have a definite, unique smell. I found myself calling it the smell of creativity and I would pull it deep into my lungs whenever we’d step into a working studio. It would elicit a physical reaction, trigger a memory in me of art classes from my past. Add to that a certain life drawing class experience and… ‘Jagger Jones’ was born!
That being said, I love writing historical, as well. I’ve always been a huge historical reader. I wasn’t sure at first if I could write one. The research seemed quite daunting, but the more I got into it the more I loved it. The pace is a bit slower, the backdrops a bit richer, the characters a bit larger. I’m excited when I get to weave actual non-fiction events into my fiction. It makes my story all that more real to me. And what originally seemed daunting has become my favorite part in writing historicals. I can get lost for hours researching the clothing, the food, the lifestyles, and in my case the ships, and weaponry. Talk about inspiration!
- What drew you to writing about pirates?
As I said, I’m a huge historical reader. I love pirate novels! Put a ship and a puffy shirt on a cover and I’m yours! There is just something about them. The sea, the danger, the ultimate “bad boy” heroes. And then, when I started researching them for my own stories, I discovered so much about the lifestyle that I had never known. How, for a lawless society, they were sticklers for rules and regulations. The strict laws aboard these ships, the democracy, and protection of their crews surprised me. Couple that with a variety of characters, and why they chose that life. Or how they were forced into that life. Fascinating! And then, throw in some of the toughest women ever to cross the pages of history, and I was hooked (pardon the pun!).
5. Who do you consider your most interesting character, not necessarily your favorite character?
I thought a lot about this question… I would have to say as a character based on an actual person, the character Jian Jun in Within A Captain’s Soul would be the most interesting. I based her on the true story of the most successful, most brutal pirate in history, Ching Shih. She ruled more than 1,500 ships and crews numbering over 80,000 men. Whole countries couldn’t stop her reign of piracy. Of course for my purposes, I had to use a bit of “artistic license” and predate her by about a hundred years and find a way to soften some of her honed edges. But I used her power and prowess in creating Jian Jun.
I also have to mention another character…Benedict Wolfsan. He played the villain in the first book in the Captain’s of the Scarlet Night series – Within A Captain’s Hold. I mention him because he was fascinating to me in another way. He was so dark and twisted. So evil. And yet, writing him came somewhat easy to me. After writing a quirky, fun contemporary romance about a nude model, here I was writing this horrible, vile character, and I didn’t know where the depth of his depravity was coming from. Evidently there is a very dark corner of my mind!
- Who was your hardest character to write?
I have to say my most challenging character has to be William ‘Bump’ Quinn. Bump has been a character in four out of the five books in the Captains of the Scarlet Night series. He is the hero in the final Within A Captain’s Soul. I say he was the most challenging because when I introduced him, he was a mere child, a filthy street urchin who needed saving. I had no idea he would grow into such an amazing character. In Within A Captain’s Treasure, Gavin Quinn rescues this boy from a brutal horrible life only to lead him into another brutal life aboard ship. I created ‘Bump’ to somehow fill the hole in Gavin’s heart after the loss of his own son. To his crew, this was something totally out of Gavin’s character, but to me…it was absolutely something he would do. You see, Bump is deaf. Which only magnified the challenges not only to Gavin, but to Bump as well. And…to me! Writing a deaf character, who was also non-verbal became quite a test of my writing skills. Now fast forward four books and make him my hero! Communication through the use of signs and physical means were all I had to work with. Internal dialogue became essential. Developing a love story within those confines took some finesse, but he became such a strong character and the relationship between him and Jian Jun worked out quite well, I think.
- Even though your Captains of the Scarlet Night series is set in the Golden Age of Piracy are any of the scenarios that take place based on personal or modern events?
Well, I’m not sure, but certainly writing about incredibly strong women in a time when women are honoring their individual and collective strength has had to have worked its way into my writing. “…and she persisted” is definitely an apt description for my heroines.
- How much research goes into your work?
Quite a bit. It’s important that I know what I’m talking about and that I’m able to sprinkle that knowledge throughout the pages of my stories without giving my readers a history lesson. I marvel at the idea of the historical authors who wrote before the creation of the world-wide web! I don’t know what I would do without Google! I tend to research as I go. Sometimes I even write a scene and then do the research to make sure it was possible in 1700. As an example, I decided that the ship in my pirate series known as the Scarlet Night needed to blow red smoke from its cannons. So I had to find out how that could happen in 1685. I discovered that there is a mineral in a small glen in Scotland that when burned produced red smoke. So then I needed a Scottish pirate who knew the secret of the red smoke! Welcome aboard ‘McTavish!’
- What authors do you read for pleasure?
Writing certainly has made me a different reader. A more critical reader. I love those writers who’s writing is so well done, and so smooth and effortless to read, that I am blessed for a few choice hours lost between the covers of their books to forget I’m a writer and become a reader again. I have quite an eclectic taste… I love Kristan Higgins, Anna Campbell, AJ Nuest, Jude Deveraux, Lisa Klepas, Sue Monk Kid, Alexis Hall… So many!
- How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
I cut my teeth as a NANOWRIMO writer, so I can messy draft a book in about six to eight weeks. Then ideally, I like to let it cool off, give me some time to marinate on the story, and then look at it again with fresh eyes. Give me another six to eight weeks to clean it up before I’m happy enough with it to send it off. Fortunately, I have been given some outstanding, brilliant editors to work with who help me put the finishing shine on it all.
- What does Lisa Olech’s writing future look like?
Another great question! I have lots of ideas. I’m thinking of following ‘McTavish’ for a while back to Scotland. He’s a great character, and I’d love to see what happens when I land lock a pirate! Who knows? All I do know is the characters in my head are all demanding to be heard. I’m planning to be busy telling their stories for a long, long time!
Lisa A. Olech is an artist/writer living in her dream house nestled among the lakes in New England and is a lover of all things pirate. A Jolly Roger flies off the flagpole of her home!
She loves getting lost in a steamy book, finding the perfect pair of sexy shoes, and hearing the laughter of her men. Being an estrogen island in a sea of testosterone makes her queen. She believes in ghosts, silver linings, the power of a man in a tuxedo, and happy endings.