A World That May Never Accept Him

Author Interview
Theo Clarkson Author Interview

Muddied Waters tells the story of pirates looking for that last big score. When things don’t go as planed it becomes a race for their lives. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?​

The first chapter of Muddied Waters is essentially a dramatization of an actual event involving the pirate crews of Olivier Levasseur and John Taylor, who stumbled upon the damaged treasure galleon of the Portuguese Bishop of Goa. The ship, Nossa Senhora do Cabo, had been the victim of a storm near the island of Reunion the previous night. The pirates raided the hapless viceroy’s ship and made off with the bishop’s wealth, leaving him to return to Lisbon penniless. According to historical records, the story ends here- the pirates were never heard from again. I found this to be the perfect catalyst to a fictional yarn, one where I could create an accurate depiction of what life on the high seas could have been like during the 18th century. Jackson Teague is my version of Taylor, a newly appointed captain eager to prove his leadership after a successful mutiny against his previous captain. Much of my backstories are inspired by other actual events during these times.

What was your favorite scene in this story?

In “A Lion Among Hyenas”, I give the reader a rich backstory of Awiti, one of Teague’s crew. I found this character to be infinitely compelling, given the fact he is an albino mute, and felt he deserved the most attention as a character unable to tell the others about his own life and motivations. For much of the book, no one else but the reader knows who he truly is or where he came from. To me, he is the most fascinating player in Muddied Waters, and I very much enjoyed contrasting him against his lessers- a true warrior who had fallen in with a group of misfits for the sake of his own survival in a world that may never accept him as he is.

Did you find anything in your research of this story that surprised you?

I’ve read many, many books about piracy and the thing that impresses me the most is how well they adhered to the principles of democracy. While mutinies aboard any other vessel can be viewed as insubordination against an established authority, the situation aboard a pirate vessel seems much more honest. The power was always held by the majority, and not by the one they elected to speak for them. Leadership was a privilege earned from the backing of your peers, one that could be taken from you the moment you failed to satisfy the reason they put you at the helm in the first place. I think that’s an amazing tidbit.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I initially dove into writing only standalone novels. Series’ have never appealed to me and my opinion had always been that the best books were the ones expressed the author’s philosophy and world-view within the context of an interesting story. I wrote Muddied Waters so that I could ruminate on the nuances of these rebels of the Golden Age. Problem was I had come up with an amazing female character I just could not effectively fit into the plot and I had to leave her on the cutting room floor in favour of pacing and continuity. This bugged me a lot, until I realized a way I could continue Teague’s story while not retreading the same themes in the first novel. So, I came up with an unplanned sequel centred around colonialism and slavery in the New World that allowed me to tell her story as well. Muddied Waters: Coda is in its final stages of editing and will be released in early 2022. I hope you enjoy it!

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook

It is the end of the Golden Age of Piracy, with all of the most famous bandits either killed, disappeared, or captured and executed by authorities. A retiring viceroy, on his way home and carrying with him decades worth of riches, runs into one of the few crews of brigands left roaming the open waters. His misfortune is not only the haul of their lives, but a prize for the ages. The pirates attempt to disappear with the treasure, not realizing that this viceroy will stop at nothing to regain what has been stolen from him. Muddied Waters is a tale of ambitious and uncompromising men who carry with them not only the fruits of their plunder, but the weight of its true cost.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on December 24, 2021, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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