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RANSOME’S QUEST–Inspirations

Friday, July 22, 2011

Don’t forget your comments—but only comments related to today’s post!!!—earn you entries in the drawing for one of two signed copies of Ransome’s Quest. (So no “please enter me!” types of posts. Please make your comment relevant to what’s being discussed today. Also, please do not put your e-mail address in your comment. Just make sure it’s correct when you sign in to post your comment.)

It’s no secret that I’ve been quite inspired by the actors I’ve “cast” in the roles in The Ransome Trilogy (seen here, here, and here). But there have been some other sources of inspiration either from the very beginning or which I’ve turned to throughout the years I’ve been writing this series to learn more about the era or costumes or settings and so on.

The most obvious, of course, is Jane Austen’s Persuasion. I read it for the first time when I was the same age as Anne Eliot, twenty-seven years old, so maybe that’s why it became my favorite Austen novel. It could also have something to do with the fact that Frederick Wentworth is the most well-rounded hero in Austen’s works—she gives us more insight into his character and his inner workings than any of her other heroes. Actually, all of Jane Austen’s books were quite helpful, especially listening to them in audio format, in getting the style and cadence of the language right.

Master & Commander by Patrick O’Brian. I’ve never read it all the way through—but I have read enough to get a good sense of the setting and lifestyle aboard a Royal Navy ship, as described by O’Brian. And because his books are so well researched and so popular, there is a huge amount of supplementary material available explaining everything in his books—and those are the books I relied on when researching Alexandra, Audacious, and Vengeance.

Lieutenant Hornblower by C. S. Forester, as explained here.

And, of course, there were my research books.

Hornblower: Mutiny, Retribution, Loyalty, Duty. Because these four made-for-TV movies are what made me fall in love with Paul McGann. And you can see why those movies and Paul McGann are important to The Ransome Trilogy here.

Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World. Because the detail in this theatrical film is amazing, from the battle scenes to the crew movements/duties to the costumes.

Captain Blood. Because who doesn’t love Errol Flynn as a pirate???

Pirates of the Caribbean. Um, hello—I wrote a book with pirates in it!

Persuasion 1995. Could have something to do with the fact that the 1995 film version of Persuasion is my favorite of all of the Jane Austen novel film adaptations.

St. Ives. Because it starred Anna Friel, the template for Julia Witherington, in a story set during the Napoleonic war, which meant I got to see her in period costume. And it’s where my favorite images (screen captures) of her came from, which I referred to often as I was writing her scenes.

  1. Friday, July 22, 2011 5:34 am

    And all that inspiration is why I couldn’t put Ransome’s Honor down. I haven’t heard of St Ives before this so it’s going on my Netflix queue.

    The details of shipboard life are fascinating to me. What is it about the sight of one of those 18-19th C ships (replicas) underway that thrills me so. Obviously I’m not alone.

    Thank you for providing one of my favorite series, Kaye. I’m anticipating RQ and Laura Frantz’s The Colonel’s Lady to go to the top of my TBR pile.


  2. Friday, July 22, 2011 5:52 am

    I love history, and that is just one of the reasons why I love historical romance. I started out as a young romance fan reading Georgette Heyer, Barbara Cartland, and Jane Aiken Hodge. One of my particular favorites is “Marry in Haste” by Ms. Hodge. I first read MARRY IN HASTE when I was in high school over thirty years ago, and it was one of the first really great romance novels of my reading life. I recently purchased a copy, and I was once again an eager young reader devouring the very well crafted story by Jane Aiken Hodge. Intrigue, espionage and rich historical detail combine with a remote but dashing hero who is brought to life by a warm, kind and forgiving heroine. At age 50, I enjoyed this book even more than I did when I was 15!

    Growing up, I watched a lot of westerns with my family. My grandmother, mother, and I loved to watch Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy films–not just great singing, but also wonderful historical settings and costumes. I still love to watch the great old black and white period films from the British studios–not many fake accents there!

    When it comes to swashbucklers–Errol Flynn is hard to beat. In his youth, he was beautiful–impeccably mannered, so handsome, and that voice! Oh, what a wonderful voice! Of course, he was also the ultimate rogue. For me, he will always be Sir Robin of Loxley, aka “Robin Hood”!

    PBS has provided so many wonderful, wonderful productions. I love Australia, and it also offers a wealth of entertaining historical films. I particulary loved “Sara Dane”, the film version of the book by Catherine Gaskin.

    I recently watched a TV film, “The Immortal Voyage of Captain Drake”, starring Adrian Paul of “Highlander” fame. The movie could have been better, but Adrian Paul was terrific. His manner of speaking, the cadence of his voice, and his mien as captain were all pitch-perfect. Two very watchable swashbuckler films are versions of “The Buccaneer”. The 1938 film stars Fredric March as the charming and cunning pirate, Jean Lafitte. In the 958 version, Charlton Heston portrays President Andrew Jackson, and Yul Brynner swaggers as pirate Jean Lafitte.

    I have a great interest in fashions and costumes. I love to sew and work with fabric. My favorite era is the mid to late 1800s. I have done quite a bit of custom sewing, making hundreds of cloth dolls, quilts and pillows. Embroidered Western shirts with pearl snaps are a pleasure to complete. Western costumes and custom clothing is an art form in itself! As a child, I loved to play “dress up”. I was very fortunate to have clothing from my great-grandmother, grandmother and mother to use as my costumes. I loved to entertain and put on shows with my family as my “captive audience” : )


  3. Amy Smelser permalink
    Friday, July 22, 2011 7:08 am

    Such great information. I haven’t heard of some of those movies so I will be checking those out soon at my library. I love the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, all of them. So when ever I read about pirates or just simply ship battles I am able to imagine the battle scene better do to those movies. Now I have some great images for the last of the Ransom trilogy.


  4. Friday, July 22, 2011 7:38 am

    I’m amazed at the amount of research you do. That is what makes your characters real instead of paper dolls. You are able to draw a person into the story and become a part of it. It’s wonderful! I love pirate stories and can’t wait to read this book.


  5. Friday, July 22, 2011 8:05 am


    How interesting these posts have been! I too LOVE “Persuasion” and all things Royal Navy.

    The Hornblower movie series is at the top of my To Rent list. So excited!

    Loved, loved, loved the first books of your series. Looking forward to this one!


  6. Friday, July 22, 2011 8:44 am

    Kaye, I love how you share these inspirations with us! It helps me so much when reading the books to know what you have in mind for the characters!

    I haven’t seen several of these movies and will be finding them to watch soon! I love period movies and if you are inspired by them perhaps I will be too 🙂


  7. Friday, July 22, 2011 9:21 am

    Thanks for sharing your inspiration behind your series. I also love the story of Persuasion! I’ll have to check out some of the other movies you mentioned (I think I”ve seen just about every Austen adaptation)


  8. Friday, July 22, 2011 12:42 pm

    Im a sucker for anything that remotely relates to Jane Austen’s books. I am a HUGE fan of her and that might be why I named my daughter Emma – just saying. The stories are so uplifting and her detail into each character is so real you feel like you know them personally. I would have to say my all time favorite movies are of course “Emma” with Gwyneth Paltrow and “Pride and Prejudice” with Kiera Knightley. I know for fact that is why I am drawn to the Ransome Trilogy – and because of the pirates. Who doesn’t like pirates??


  9. Kelly permalink
    Friday, July 22, 2011 2:04 pm

    I LOVE Pride and Prejudice but I think Persuasion is my next favorite Jane Austen book. And I loved the movie… I thought Ciarin Hinds did a great job as Wentworth, absolutely what I pictured. I have not read Ransome’s Crossing, so I am looking forward to reading both together.


  10. Lissie permalink
    Friday, July 22, 2011 5:26 pm

    The 1995 version of Persuasion is definitely the best one!


  11. Friday, July 22, 2011 7:00 pm

    As usual, you never cease to amaze me! The amount of research needed for your books must be staggering! Pirate books & movies are the bomb! But, I’ve got to admit, Ioan Gruffudd as Horatio Hornblower was my absolute favorite shipboard hero!! 😉 Thanks for your books!


  12. Brandy Gilbert permalink
    Saturday, July 23, 2011 12:52 am

    I loved reading the first two Ransoms Books! I follow your blog and love all the research you share with us here! My also love Jane Austen Books, including persuasion! But, I loved the BBC masterpiece version of Pride and prejudice so much, I thought that the persuasion BBC version must also be “the best”. I have not yet scene the 1995 version! I can’t wait to watch it tomorrow on Netflix. I really enjoyed reading your comparisson of the two versions :D. Can’t wait to finish the ransom trilogy… Although I know I will be sad when it ends.


  13. Jill Wagner Burnett permalink
    Saturday, July 23, 2011 1:39 am

    I love your books, I think they are well written, look forward to the new one coming out.


  14. Saturday, July 23, 2011 4:50 am

    I have to say I love the hornblower series. wish there were more and I agree Bush was a good character. Have watched it many times. I have the book here to review so dont enter me. I have book 2 to read first and cant wait to read both.


  15. Saturday, July 23, 2011 6:36 pm

    i cannot count the number of times i have read patrick o’brian’s aubrey-maturin series. i lose myself in all 21 of them for hours! LOVE LOVE LOVE

    my favourite film–because i think it is one of the most pitch perfect film adaptations ( for capturing spirit and essence of a book—well, two books: the first and the tenth) ever made! 🙂


  16. Sunday, July 24, 2011 3:12 pm

    I watched the Hornblower series last year and loved it. Maybe it’s time to borrow it from the library again. 🙂 I think I should borrow Persuasion also, since I’ve not watched it.


  17. Rebecca permalink
    Monday, July 25, 2011 1:52 pm

    Thanks for sharing about your research. It’s given your stories depth, to be able to see where your ideas for setting and character came from. I am looking forward to reading book 3 in the Ransome trilogy!


  18. LeeAnna Warren permalink
    Wednesday, July 27, 2011 8:59 pm

    This is the first time I has ever posted a comment on any website. I just have to say that I heard you speak in Dover Ohio last year and purchased the first book of the Ransone series. I read it in three days. I was hooked and had to get the second. I can’t wait for the third. I live near the publisher and just want to go over there and beg for a copy.

    I have always been interested in the 1800’s. I love the buildings and fashion. I wish women still dressed like that.


    • Wednesday, July 27, 2011 9:34 pm

      Actually, this series is with a different publisher, Harvest House, which is out in Oregon!

      So glad you enjoyed the series! Hope you’ll drop back by this Friday and leave another comment and be entered in this weekend’s drawing for the last two books I’m giving away this month!


  19. Charmaine permalink
    Friday, July 29, 2011 12:12 am

    Kaye, I haven’t read your Ransome trilogy but it sounds very interesting! I am getting the first book and will hopefully buy the 2nd one soon! 🙂 I love Christian historical fiction and it’s so cool that you’ve written some – I know you have done a lot of hard work and research with these books. God bless & keep writing the stories that you love to write. 🙂



  1. Review: Ransome’s Quest « On my bookshelf

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