Tricia Levenseller on writing an assassin who actually kills in Vengeance of the Pirate Queen

And why you can totally read this as a standalone even if you haven't read Daughter of the Pirate King and Daughter of the Siren Queen yet.


Tricia Levenseller’s books about pirates, bladesmiths and warriors have been going viral on BookTok, and we definitely understand why. They all have great world and character building, as well as some swoon worthy romance. Tricia is back with another book, Vengeance of the Pirate Queen, which is a spin-off from her Daughter of the Pirate King / Daughter of the Siren Queen duology. However, you can totally read it as a stand-alone. We have the honour of inviting Tricia to our platform today to chat about Vengeance of the Pirate Queen.

1. First of all, can you tell us some of your favourite pirates from movies/TV/comics/books?

Of course! First up is definitely Captain Jack Sparrow. I love how brilliant yet ridiculous he is, and there’s no denying he looks good in that guyliner. I also adored Dreamwork’s Sinbad. The morally ambiguous pirate is one that I’ll always root for!

2. Some readers might not have read Daughter of the Pirate King/Siren Queen before; how did you decide how much info to include in this book so all readers understand what’s happening?

My goal was to provide just enough information that new readers would understand what was going on without going into too much detail. I wanted to focus on the current story being told, not rehash what had already happened before. I hope that readers who are interested in Sorinda’s story might go back and try out Alosa’s story.

3. Vengeance of the Pirate Queen is written in Sorinda’s perspective. Was it difficult to find her voice?

Surprisingly, no. I find that knowing my characters’ motivations and past trauma help in crafting a unique voice for each character. I knew what Sorinda had gone through way back when I was writing Daughter of the Pirate King. I have known her all these years, and it was so much fun to finally get to write her. Also there’s just something about writing murderous females that comes naturally to me.

4. In fact, did you choose to write a story from her perspective because you felt like you know a lot more about her that you can write about, or because you felt like you wanted to understand her better yourself?

Definitely the former. I always wanted to come back to this world to tell Sorinda’s story. I knew where she started and where I wanted her to grow. I’m so pleased with the result, and I hope readers enjoy coming along for the ride.

5. Vengeance of the Pirate Queen opens with a bloody scene. How many ways do you know to kill a person and can we look at your Google searches?

Haha. One of my goals in writing this book was to make sure I wrote an assassin who actually kills people. I wasn’t going to shy away from Sorinda’s work. I didn’t necessarily Google specific ways to kill people. I’m afraid my overactive imagination is to blame for that! I did have to look up how long it would take for bodies to start decaying in the freezing temperatures of the Drifta’s island.

6. Readers of course love it when Sorinda is being a badass, but have you ever worried that she is going to turn readers away given her bloodlust?

Honestly, no. I have been reading about gentle female protagonists who always do the right thing and are endlessly self-sacrificing. I think the YA genre needs more bloodthirsty characters. I think we’re hungry for them. They’re so different from what we experience in real life, and that makes the escapism that much more rewarding.

7. The contrast between being an assassin and a captain is so interesting! What advice do you have for those who just wish to hide in the background like Sorinda, but unfortunately need to be seen?

I love this question. It’s something I still struggle with. I try to remind myself that I don’t need to hide. I don’t take up too much space in the world. I have a voice and it deserves to be heard. We are enriched when we meet new people and learn their stories. Let yours be heard, too.

8. You included a special content in the book — you annotated chapter 1. Why did you decide to include this bonus content?

My US publisher wanted to include something special in all the special editions of these pirate books. Vengeance didn’t really have any deleted scenes or anything, so we decided on annotating the first chapter of the book. I thought this would be fun because it’s always exciting to see where my head is at in the very beginning, before I know how the entire story will unfold. It’s fun to see a character come to life for the first time.

9. What was it like when you annotated this chapter? Do you do this often with your own manuscripts?

I don’t usually do this. It’s fun to go back when all the work is done and just look at where I started. Writing a book is such a difficult and long process. It can be rewarding to view the finished project and remember where it all started. There’s nothing like holding your book in print for the first time. It’s still a special moment with each new book I finish.

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