Behind the Book with Meg Hennessy

A Pirate’s Command is book two of the Secrets of the Bayous Trilogy. When I wrote the first book, Dark Secrets, Deep Bayous, I had written with the idea it was a single book, but after it was completed, the sister of the hero, asked me (as characters often do) to write her story. As I looked at the first book, it had lent itself to a sequel, maybe I had that in my mind all along but I decided to take the plunge and figure out Colette’s story.

Who was the pirate she had disappeared with in Dark Secrets, Deep Bayous and why was he now the greatest threat to her chosen life of piousness and service?

Colette had always seen her world as precariously balanced between love and need. Having nearly lost her parents at the age of five, she often felt abandoned, alone, and unloved. The only way for her to replace those lost feelings was to devote herself to the service of others, for in their need of her, came her self-validation, self-worthiness. Loving Donato goes against everything she believes about herself, for loving him would answer her own needs, desires, something she had learned as a small child not to acknowledge. Colette had struggled to get her memory back and when her brother showed up to rescue her from the island, she left with him, wanting to regain what she had lost. But that meant leaving Donato and taking with her their son.

Donato de la Roche was probably the more complicated of the two characters to develop. In book one he was a shadowy figure that appeared briefly once or twice, but suddenly stepped into the limelight, demanding to be the hero of A Pirate’s Command.

So I had two lost lovers both wanting a chance to tell their story.

I needed more…

Who was this man living on an island in the middle of the gulf, short distance from both Cuba and United States? What was his purpose? I had to find Donato’s passion and build his story from there. He was from Spain, so how did he get an island off Cuba as his private domain? He would have needed the influence of Spain. Once I decided that fact, I needed to understand Donato’s relationship with Spain. When I learned those little secrets about him, his character came to life.

Donato de la Roche was a man of action, resourceful, and tenacious. Having felt a sense of betrayal from his father, he values loyalty for his friends and comrades. He had seen his mother driven to weakness and despair over her love for his father. Donato’s driving fear of being controlled by others has kept him from really connecting with love, because love gives too much power to someone else. He thought to never surrender that power until Colette complicates his life and steals his heart.

When her brother finally finds her, Colette leaves him taking their son back to America from the Cuban islands. But Colette knows Donato, and waits for the day he comes to take his son back. And that is the beginning of A PIRATE’S COMMAND. Does he come? What happens if he does? Which brings me back to the original question, that book two now answers.
Who was the pirate she had disappeared with in Dark Secrets, Deep Bayous and why was he now the greatest threat to her chosen life of piousness and service?

So how were these characters to work with? As I mentioned in a previous “Behind the Book” not all characters are easily molded or easy to work with. Donato was his own man and needed little help from me to round out his character, his thoughts and actions were nearly all his own. I added only a few where perhaps he didn’t get the hint. Some men are natural romantics and Donato was one of those types of men. His love for Colette came easily to him, in spite of his feelings towards love and his efforts to repress them, and expressing it was even easier.

Colette needed more guidance, for taking a leap of faith did not come easy for her or she’d forever stay with her brother and work her charities. But when her son is kidnapped, she must rely on the one man she had loved and left, the boy’s father. Can he forgive her for taking his son away from him? And can she forgive him for a crime so egregious it propelled Colette into a place of no return?

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