Monday, September 15, 2014

"Captain Shelby" by Jesse Giles Christiansen

Captain Shelby
(The Captain Shelby Trilogy Book 2)
by Jesse Giles Christiansen

Captain Shelby is the second book in Jesse Giles Christiansen's Captain Shelby Trilogy. Also available: Pelican Bay.

Captain Shelby is currently on tour with Pump Up Your Book. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

There are places even the sea cannot go…
In coastal Denmark, a young man named Nereus builds a longship and leaves at age eighteen to discover a new, enigmatic land. Faced with unimaginable obstacles, he crosses the North Atlantic, only to be captured by the Skraelings, the Inuit indigenous people who seek revenge on all settlers because of a "Great Red Man" who murdered many of their family members.
Many years later, Nereus is hired by a group of Irish settlers who are fleeing the tyranny of King Henry VIII, and he takes them across the North Atlantic to the New Found Land. A fierce battle ensues against the sea, the Little Ice Age, and the vicious Skraelings.
When Nereus falls in love with Laura Hodges, fiancée to the group’s leader, William Brockelby, he becomes embroiled in a dangerous love triangle … until the formidable mystery surrounding Captain Nereus H. Shelby is finally revealed.

Video for Book 1

I am master of snow. I am master of fire. I am master of the hunt. They call me Kaya, a name given once to wolves and now given to snow dogs. It means “stay and don’t go back.”
But there are times when even the snow dogs turn back. My brothers and sisters and I were brought death by the blue-eyed, silver-haired ones, but we did not go back. We felt the breath of the Little Ice Age, but we did not go back. We are more powerful than the snow dog. We walked over many frozen centuries and did not stumble. We are more powerful than the Great Red Man’s temper. We are more powerful than the biting winter. In the past, we drank her blood to quench our thirst and to cure our hunger, and used her flesh to build our homes.
They called us monsters when we attacked because we are strong and brave. They called us Little Devils when we ate their flesh to become one with our enemies, and to survive even when the great caribou froze where they stood. We are the natives of these lands.
We don’t know if monsters exist. Only the white strangers know that. But if they do exist, my brothers and sisters saw them walk on our shores once. They floated here on great wooden turtles and moved themselves with giant sticks. We were afraid, but I told my brothers that they are the blood of Kaya, and the blood of Kaya never turn back. We prayed to Agloolik, the god of the sea, who lives under the ice and helps us in the hunt of the great whale, to put a curse on them. But Agloolik did not help us, and we wondered if he was afraid, too, of the blue-eyed, silver-haired ones who appeared from the other side of the world.
They carried long, shiny spears that looked like yellow fingers stolen from the sun and wore heavy helmets with horns like the gods of the mighty buffalo. They walked heavily and left giant footprints in the sand. They slashed the sea with their flat sticks and trapped the wind, made the ground quake, and still, Agloolik did nothing.
Their leader stood far above his brothers, and had a giant beard that dropped and twisted in the wind like great red feathers dancing under a peace pipe. His eyes were not like the others. They were green, like emeralds stolen from Agloolik’s treasure deep below the ice, and as mean and fierce as the eyes of a crocodile. His hair was at war with his helmet, and when he removed it, it exploded like a great fire.
We stayed hidden and watched from the darkness of the woods as the visitors murdered many trees and built skeletons with them upon the land and fleshed them with thick mud. My brothers and sisters cried as they killed many caribou and left their skin and bones to rot under the sun. We thought they would be cursed by the land for such wastefulness, and become sick and die.
But that never happened.
Soon we agreed that I should go and talk with the visitors to try and make peace with them and to understand their ways. I brought two of my bravest brothers with me. We sang a welcoming song together at the edge of their village and waited. The Great Red Man came out to talk to us, his brothers staying close behind. They came with their yellow fingers of the sun, but they did not wear their strange helmets.
“We come from Norway. We have claimed this land. Who are you?”
His language was stranger than his red hair and wild green eyes. I could not understand a word he said.
“We come in peace to understand our strange new brothers,” I said in my native Inuit tongue.
The Great Red Man’s eyes became greener and wilder, and he shook his head.
“We must find a common language so we can better share the sacred land,” I said, pointing at the ground and widening my eyes, which flashed white in the afternoon sun.
The Great Red Man pointed at the ground now too, then to himself, over and over again. His face became a boiling red stew of anger. I looked at him, confused, then turned to my brothers. They raised their arms in confusion, too.
The Great Red Man raised his yellow finger of the sun and waved it around, holding it high. His brothers did the same. When they came toward us, they were very many now, and we retreated and hid in the trees.
The night fell quickly upon us, so we made camp inside a cave on the way back to our village. My brothers spoke around the fire of the strangers and their strange ways and their great fear of them. I told them they are brothers of Kaya and that they should fear nothing. But we all slept restlessly that night.
Halfway between the sun’s lowest and highest place in the sky, we arrived at our village and fell to our knees, weeping and bunching our fists. Our homes were destroyed and flattened. Our brothers and sisters and our children lay all about with red holes of anger in them, some of them missing their heads.
When we finished weeping, my brothers asked me, “What will we do?”
“Soon more of their boats will come,” I said. “We will gather our brothers from the south and be ready for them. May Agloolik be with us.”

Praise for the Book
"With haunting prose, Captain Shelby is a unique foray into the magical yet poignantly human history of the old fisherman from Pelican Bay. This prequel will not only deeply satisfy Christiansen’s previous readers, but will leave them so tantalized by the story lines, they will think the events actually happened - a demonstration of skill surely to launch this author into the big leagues." ~ William R. Forstchen, New York Times bestselling author of One Second After
"Captain Shelby is written in the style of a classic novel which should stand the test of time. It is the finest in adventures/literary fiction genre seen by the best writers in the business. Christiansen tells this beautifully written novel with precision, making his storytelling that of an American master at the top of his form." ~ Cathy Scott, award-winning author of The Millionaire's Wife
"This is a novel with lots of different layers. On one level it's an enthralling historical romp but on another it seeks to forge a whole new myth around the early history of Canada with big characters and more than a hint of the supernatural. In its ambition and scope it reminded me of Mordecai Richler's classic of Canadian literature Solomon Gursky Was Here." ~ Chris Hill, author of Song of the Sea God
"Captain Shelby is a story full of adventure, mystery, intrigue and love. Christiansen states he was inspired by Hemingway. The inspiration has given birth because this narrative is masterful. Hemingway would be very pleased with this author’s work." ~ Lori Caswell, Top 1000 Amazon reviewer

Interview With the Author
Hi Jesse Giles Christiansen, thanks for joining me today to discuss your new book, Captain Shelby.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
While there is no profanity or explicit sex in the novel, there are adult situations, so I should think 18+ is fine. Captain Shelby has enough mystery, history, adventure and romance for everyone!
What sparked the idea for this book?
Captain Shelby is a deeper exploration of the original novel, Pelican Bay, which actually birthed from one of the strangest dreams of my life. I was standing on the South Carolina coast eyeing strange, black stones emerging from the ocean floor just beyond the shore. My ex-girlfriend of ex-girlfriends (Morgan from Pelican Bay) was standing there with me. We kept asking each other what the heck they were. I woke up and my fingers went to work. By the end of chapter one, Captain Shelby emerged right out of the pages. Little did I know back then that the fisherman would change my writing career forever.
So, which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
For me, the novel idea, though along with the novel idea I often have fuzzy notions of the characters. But the novel premise is the river, which tells me what kind of reeds I’ll have, and how they’ll sway, bend, or break.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
The research. Not only did I have to delve into Greenland and Viking history, as well as 16th century Ireland, but I also had to pretty much master Early Modern English … a daunting task, since language is not a fixed entity, but a constantly evolving and highly theoretical one.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
Mainly, that the sea is a mystery to us all, one of the greatest mysteries, if not the greatest, of our planet. One must remain open to learning from the sea. Captain Shelby has a very special bond with the sea, a type of bond I wish we all had.
How long did it take you to write this book?
About 6 months.
What is your writing routine?
As a part-time author, I wrote 2 hours a day, then spent about 2-4 hours on submission and promotion. However, on 1 January I move to 4 hours of writing a day. Wish me luck!
Good luck! How did you get your book published?
I started by querying agents, but just couldn’t find the agent or the book deal I wanted. I did some research on my own and, through the word of another author, I discovered the publishing house, Imajin Books, small in size, but gigantic in marketing clout (that is what one needs in the 21st century if he or she wants to get anywhere before turning into Rip Van Winkle). Imajin Books owner, Cheryl Kaye Tardif, is an international bestselling author herself, offering a well of book publishing and marketing wisdom.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
These days, all publishers want to see a social media presence and some marketing savvy in an author if they’re going to take him or her on. Also, having a weekly blog is a big plus. The Internet and ePublishing have changed everything; they’re a double-edged sword. It’s easier to publish than ever, which makes it harder to get seriously published than ever. An author has to stand out with strong media presence … and knowing how to write a strong query and having a great editor really pays off if you want that agent that’s going to give you the keys to Kingdom Big 6. But don’t get pigeonholed into any one strategy; sometimes you have to be bold when bold options are available. That’s what we’re in - a bold writers’ century.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I’m also a singer-songwriter, so spend much of my off-time making music (I also write songs for my books). I love reading and anything to do with animals or nature.
What does your family think of your writing?
They love me for the artist I am, but my mother keeps telling me she wants me to make more money. Artists have it tougher than ever now; we give up a part of our souls for a .99 eBook.
Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I was raised in Miami, Florida, where I almost grew up on the beach. I developed an undying love for the sea, and she seems to seep into most of my stories so far. I lost my father when I was very young, and I often think that Captain Shelby is a unique literary amalgamation of all the male role models in my life that followed after.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
Yes! I was a real geek - one of the few who read Great Expectations by Charles Dickens in grade school and actually loved it!
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Funny, it wasn’t until late in life. Though I’ve written since I was a kid, it was always a hobby. Then, when I was supposed to be working on my PhD, I kept writing novels instead, shooting myself in the foot, as it were. After betraying myself over and over again, I finally surrendered myself to the passion and resigned to write novels until I die.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Definitely! I think that our novel worlds and characters are like dreams. We pull from the wide, raging sea of everything we’ve ever experienced - and out leap new universes … new lives … new memories for readers. And if we do it right, they’ll forget these entities were wrought of fiction.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
London, Hemingway, Dostoyevsky, Proulx, Capote, Irving, Harding, Faulkner, to name a few (but the list goes on and on).
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I love to hear from my readers! They are always very encouraging and enthusiastic, but also honest. And I wouldn’t want anything else! I like to interact with my readers at my book launches and other book promos. They often ask about plots, characters, and inspirations behind books. Oh, and if I can send them a signed paperback for free. LOL
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I’m releasing my first Christmas story, Goth Town, on 6 November. While maintaining certain classic themes of past Christmas stories, it is also (I hope) the most unique holiday novel you’ll ever read, with an imaginative plot, rich characters, and a post-apocalyptic, haunting world.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by today, Jesse. Best of luck with your future projects.
Thanks! And thanks for having me!

About the Author
Jesse Giles Christiansen is an American author who writes compelling literary fiction that weaves the real with the surreal. He attended Florida State University where he received his B.A. in English literature, and holds an M.A. in philosophy from Georgia State University. He is the author of Pelican Bay (book one in the Captain Shelby Trilogy), an Amazon #1 list bestseller, outselling The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway. One of Christiansen's literary goals is to write at least fifty novels, and he always reminds himself of something that Ray Bradbury once said: "You fail only if you stop writing."
His latest book is the literary fiction/magical realism novel, Captain Shelby.