I’m so happy to have the chance to revise and republish Star-Crossed as Barbados Bound; book one of the Patricia MacPherson Nautical Adventure Series! Last week I received the reversion of rights from Random House, and today I emailed the revised manuscript to Fireship Press. I’m going to include a preface, explaining the title change. Something like this:
Barbados Bound was first published by Alfred A. Knopf as Star-Crossed. I wrote it as adult historical fiction, to explore what it might have been like to have been a young woman down on her luck, aboard an 18th century ship. Not as a passenger — but as part of the crew.
My curiosity had been piqued after my husband and I spent three weeks as voyage crewmembers aboard HM Bark Endeavour, a working replica of Captain Cook’s renowned ship of exploration. As crew, we were taught everything we needed to know about sailing the ship by our superior officers. Our duties included standing our rotating, four-hour watches, during which we climbed aloft to make or reduce sail, kept a look-out for other vessels, and took our turns at the helm. When not on watch we were assigned cleaning and maintenance duties, and at night strung our hammocks from the deckhead, just as British seamen did for centuries. Although Endeavour was equipped with a few modern conveniences Cook didn’t have, she was a time machine for my imagination. While standing watch, or at the helm, I found myself thinking that if I could perform these tasks alongside my mates (perhaps a quarter of whom were women like me) then surely there was truth to the stories about women dressing as men and working aboard ships during the age of sail.
During the three weeks I was an 18th century sailor, we sailed Endeavour across the northern Pacific Ocean, from Vancouver to Hawaii. When I disembarked in Kona, I carried with me the seeds for a story — though there was years of research to be done while writing it. The story I wanted to write was not about the Endeavour or Captain Cook, but it would take place on a vessel similar to the Endeavour.
Orion Rising was the working title for this story, written from the view point of a young woman who stows herself away in order to get to Barbados. It was published as Star-Crossed by Alfred A. Knopf in 2006, and marketed as a young adult novel. Although I didn’t write it for a teenaged market, I was honored when the New York Public Library chose it to be among the Books for the Teen Age – 2007.
Star-Crossed went out of print in 2011. Fireship Press has republished it as adult historical fiction — the first novel in the Patricia MacPherson Nautical Adventure Series.
I have taken this opportunity to correct a few minor historical inaccuracies – and to make a few other revisions, as authors are wont to do. I have also put back in some of the original wording that was changed for a young adult readership. Finally, I have retitled it because I always felt the title Star-Crossed (Knopf’s choice) was more indicative of a romance novel rather than a historical adventure story. Although the working title was Orion rising, I feel Barbados Bound better reflects the spirit of the story.
I am very grateful to Tom Grunder, the founder of Fireship Press, who wanted to publish Barbados Bound as the first book in a series about a woman who goes to sea in the age of sail, and who published Surgeon’s Mate; book two of the Patricia MacPherson Nautical Adventure Series in 2011. Tom didn’t live to see Barbados Bound under the Fireship label, but I am greatly indebted to him. I appreciate the support and editorial guidance he gave me while he was alive.