Slave of the Sea
The Chronicles of Salt and Blood Book 1 by Dawn Dagger Genre: High Fantasy, Pirates
Levanine’s life as a slave is insignificant. She has always been property; bound to her owner, content to serve quietly where no one can cause her harm. However, when her master sells her to pay a debt, her false safety is shattered, and she finds herself offered as a sex slave on the continent of Dreanis.Fearful and hopeless, Levanine expects the worst to happen. Nothing could prepare her to be suddenly swept onto a pirate ship by an infamous captain whose interests are a mystery to her. Forced to think on her feet, the silent girl must overcome a lifetime of servitude to survive on a ship where everything is trying to destroy her.As sea monsters, mutinies, and ghosts wreak havoc on the ship and its crew, Levanine realizes that she doesn’t have the luxury of simply surviving until they arrive at Avondella, her continent of redemption. Levanine must decide whether she will die the person she has always been, a meek nobody… or will she make a name for herself at sea?
xzDawn Dagger has had a passion for reading and writing ever since she could remember. When she was six she drew and wrote her very own book, and though it hardly makes sense now, she was so proud. She has written many books, short stories, and poems since then, and continues to do so. Dawn placed highly in her two middle school years of Power of the Pen and even has her short story 'The Haunting' published in an anthology, She admits she isn't good at anything physical (except some ballroom dancing), or video games, but she does enjoy a nice game of Mario Kart, a trip fishing, or just a walk in the woods. She has a knack for taking pictures of whatever catches her eye; especially brightly colored flowers. Dawn is a sucker for a good fantasy book, lives off of coffee, and loves her wonderful family and friends, and her dedicated boyfriend, Nevin, who is just like a romance novel character.
Dawn has over 70 stories started (don't believe her? Just the other night she rattled off the 37 stories she's actually named and what they're about to Nevin because he wanted to know) and that doesn't include short stories or poems. She has lots of writing to do, and is excited for what's ahead!
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
My name is Dawn Dagger. I am a young adult author. I am going to be studying French and Secondary Education at the College of Wooster, and I work at Staples in the Print and Marketing department. I enjoy learning new things and new languages, coffee, long walks through the woods, hot showers, and graphic design. Of course, writing is my main passion!
The first thing I’ve ever written A Christmas Story originated from my lil’ six-year-old brain, where I drew and colored an entire picture book in crayon, on construction paper. I’ve been writing ever since! I wrote my brother a little book I tied together with those rainbow band looms when I was ten. I had my short story The Haunting published in the Stories for the Campfire Anthology when I was in 7th grade, I self-published my first novella My British Bear as a freshman, then I uploaded a second (much better) edition junior year. I have a story (Shattered) in Fredric Shernoff’s Atlantic Island Universe Anthology, and will be teaming up with him to release the Mosaics trilogy! (The first novel, Fragments of Time, is currently in the editing stage!)
What is something unique/quirky about you?
Unique and quirky? Hm… Sometimes I’ll get lost in my own head when I’ve been writing a lot. Like, on one occasion I was washing dishes and thinking of travelling to Great Britain, and all the amazing things I would do down there. One such thought was, “oh! I can visit Sherlock and Watson!”
It took me a good few minutes to realize those dudes aren’t actually real.
Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you!
My most embarrassing, hilarious story.
When I was thirteen we lived in the middle of dead-end nowhere country. Woods and cornfields around for miles. Due to that, we had little light pollution, so the summer nights were black. We also didn’t realize I needed glasses at the time.
One night we had a bonfire and I was playing tag with my cousin. Somehow she saw the tree and I didn’t, so I ran full thirteen-year-old speed into a tree three times wider than I was. I somehow didn’t break my nose, but it wasn’t the end of my troubles.
My face hurt really bad and my nose bled a lot. Two days later my brother threw a frisbee right into my nose on accident. Then, a month later, my other brother accidentally dropped a concrete ball (why we had concrete in the perfect size and shape of a baseball, I have no idea) on my face.
My nose is fine now and I somehow didn’t have a concussion, but that was definitely an experience!
Where were you born/grew up at?
I was born in Ohio, and have lived her all of my live. I’ve rarely travelled (not my own decision), and we have lived 20 places in 18 years.
What are you passionate about these days?
I am passionate about writing, teaching, helping people, and art in general. I love music and dancing, and I like to animate when I’m not writing or creating graphics for my author socials. I have a very busy school day tutoring two students in different languages, and I just love helping people any way I can.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Stars dance on black velvet.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always considered myself a writer, since I wrote that tiny book all the way at age six. It’s just in my blood I guess. A writer and reader have been my identity for as long as I can remember!
Do you have a favorite movie?
Right now it's definitely the Joker movie. Jaquean Phoenix is my favorite actor, and that movie was such a trip.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
All of them, but definitely this one, Slave of the Sea would be the best in a movie or TV series.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
I am a… uh… oh boy. I’ve always liked cats, but if I had to say, I would go with a… oh man, teehee. A tree nymph. Kind of graceful, kind of insane. A lot of dancing and plants. Yeah! A tree nymph.
What can we expect from you in the future?
A lot! As I mentioned before, Fragments of Time will be releasing soon, as well as a hoped sequel to My British Bear. There will be lots more of the Chronicles of Salt and Blood novels. I actually have 87 unique stories started/named, so a lot more is going to come of me!
Just a few include
Take to the Skies
Duct Tape Fixes Everything
I Never Thought I Would Have a Book Title as Long as a Fall Out Boy Song, but Here We Are
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
Oh, yes! I have a novel called The Fall of Niesium that describes why Rakifi, the boatswain, cannot attend a Runecasting Academy (it has nothing to do with him, it isn’t his fault, hehe!). I have a side novel about a character who has an interaction with the Captain Guy (way later in the timeline), and I am really thinking about writing a novel based around the medic, Eldred, because I really love his character, and I think he has a lot of stuff I never explored in the book.
He comes from a country that’s not developed in my mind completely yet, and his character is a strange one. It’s clear he has seen ghouls before, but doesn’t seem avidly religious or superstitious. He never talks about his past, but is a firm, caring character that can do his job well.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
I was just sitting around one day, finishing the editing of My British Bear and reading the last of Throne of Glass, and I decided I wanted to write a good pirate novel. A good, dark fantasy, something the likes of which I had never written before.
I basically wanted something no one had done before, that was gritty, deep, and fun.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
Most of them I just felt around with noises on my tongue until I formed something I liked (Eldred, Norrin, Keshnitte, Kethaltar), but sometimes I used my best friend in the entire world, the www.fantasynamegenerators.com website because it has some bomb names.
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
Levanine loves the ocean. She wants to be free, but she is wary due to her past. If she can reach for freedom, she does. But, if it poses a risk to herself or someone she loves, she backs down.
How did you come up with the title of your first novel?
I actually had a friend help me and we waddled through a bog of names for a while. Slave of the Sea just sounded right.
Who designed your book covers?
Oh my goodness, the absolutely wondrousSavanah Jervowski. She is absolutely amazing, and I tell you what, this girl makes the most stunning covers! You have to check her out!
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Oooooohhhhhh. Definitely Felicity Jones as Levanine, and Aiden Turner as Captain Guy.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I love you guuuuyyyyysssss.
If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
Rakifi. What would we do? Walk around the park and eat and drink tea and just hang. Ugh, I love Rakifi.
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
The only person based off of anyone is Captain Guy. He’s a mix of Guy of Gisborne and Poldark. The rest are entirely my imagination.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
Oh man they always hijack my story, I tell you what. In My British Bear one of the most pivotal characters, Reese, didn’t exist at all. I had everything planned out, and then she showed up and changed everything.
It felt the same way with Rakifi, Norrin, Awla, and Eldred in this story. Eldred just was so mysterious and important that he needs his own book. Norrin and Awla were supposed to be unimportant, half named characters, and instead they busted up and are now pretty important (and hard to keep track of. Lucky for me they’re always hanging out together).
In the original draft, Rakifi was unimportant too. Quinn held the reigns and helped Levanine the most, but then I started rewriting and Rakifi just, like, Kool-Aid man kicked down the door, and was like “I A M T H E M O S T I M P O R T A N T T O H E R.”
So, yes. They absolutely do rule supreme. I’m just the dude that writes down their adventures.
Have you written any other books that are not published?
The only novel/novella fully written and not published yet is Shadow, which is an intense work in progress.
If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?
Salty Seas or Lilly Lagoon
What did you edit out of this book?
Nothing really, I more added things. I edited Quinn out a little, because Rakifi was more important.
Hilarious moment in writing
So, when writing a particular scene for Slave of the Sea, I found out the hilarious differences that one word placing can cause.
“You have a story to tell me, Cap’n.” It was nice to see her confident, smiling, happy. He knew this would not last too long, but it was a good omen. He was unsure what had caused it.
“Do I now?” He folded his arms behind his head and leaned back, staring at the wooden ceiling. “I do, I did say I might. The Tale of the Sea.” He glanced out of the corner of his half closed eyes and smirked as she leaned forward to rest her chin on her hands and her elbows on her knees.
“You’re sure your Rakifi has not told you already?”
So this was the context of the scene. The last sentence was supposed to be ‘you’re sure Rakifi hasn’t told you already?’. But, I was texting and distracted at the time, so I instead wrote, ‘you’re sure you’re Rakifi hasn’t told you already?’.
My brain absolutely melted, haha. I wasn’t sure if the Captain should be implying that Rakifi and Levanine were an item, or if he was using the term more as a ‘your friend’, or if I should keep it at all.
I kept it, as you can see. It was just funny to me how certain little things like that change the whole feeling of the scene. Just one of those things you learn!
How long have you been writing?
Like, 13 years.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
They come to me as I write, as I said before. They kind crop up and I’m like ‘okay cool welcome to the party’.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
I had to find out all about pirates, pirate ships, and how people lived back then. I had so many books from the library, and so many computer tabs open for so long.
Do you see writing as a career?
That’s the goal!
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
High fantasy or teenage post-apocalyptic for sure.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
I have to have music and/or like a fan noise. If not, my brain gets crowded with too many thoughts and I lose what I’m doing.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
Multiple, as one can see. As I was editing Slave of the Sea I was writing Fragments of Time. As I’m editing Fragments of Time I’m writing My British Bear 2 and (accidentally) Empty Vessels.
Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
Rakifi for absolute certain. Guy is hot, Silva is a cute bean, but Rakifi. He’s so nice and brave and genuine and ugh. Ugh. Love him to death. Sort of insulted my bff doesn’t feel the same way.
What makes a good story?
Characters you care about (not relate to, care about), moments that make you physically feel pain or happiness, and good endings. If the endings aren’t good, then the book isn’t worth it.
What are they currently reading? Penny from Heaven. It’s super cute and I love it.
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
I am a PROUD pantser. I have an idea, and I tipidy-tpyidy until it is done. I’ve outlined twice and been highly unsatisfied. Like, sure I’ll have a goal, an end result, or a perfect ending, but its not usually planned. Chapters usually end themselves nicely, so I don’t have to force them.
I basically get an idea and run with it.
I like to read books with a similar character feel and voice sometimes, but most of the time when I’m writing, I listen to music and read books opposite of what I’m doing, so I can kind of feel out all the emotions I don’t want and hone in on the ones I do.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Timmeeeeeee omg. I do school full time and work 15-30 hours a week and help watch my siblings and drive two hours a day to and from work and school and also I have to sleep? So, definitely finding time.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Always try to be original. I write because I love writing, but also because I want to impact people the way writing impacted me. I want to show growth, true love, humanity, hope. I want to make people want to live the way writing made me want to live. I want to positively impact people, and I can only do that through originality.
I want my writing to be a sort of earworm. I want to write characters that people fall in love with, and when they truly fall in love, if its a bad relationship, they’ll have that earworm, and think ‘this isn’t what I wanted.’
If I delivered readers what they wanted, I would not have the intended impact.
That’s not to say I don’t think about what I’m writing. Not at all. For example, my newest WIP, Empty Vessel, follows the journey into insanity of the prince of Keshnitte, up until he follows the ‘voice of the Gods’ in his head, telling him to “kill all of your darlings”. I’m really trying to consider what would make a reader put the book down and walk away, or be disturbed, and I’m trying to make sure I don’t do that.
But yeah. I take into account what people do and do not want, but I don’t write solely to please the masses and get sales.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Um… mostly what they smell like if you’re trying to be romantic. Like, she snuggled him and he smelt like… what? Rocks? Sun on the rocks sounds like a Yankee Candle scent, but, like, for realsies, what do guys smell like romantically without cologne?
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Ahhhh… Shoot. This took me five years because I forgot it existed. My British Bear took two years. I wrote the entirety of Fragments of Time in 30 days for NaNoWriMo. So, I’ll say… two years, give or take.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I believe in a lack of time and that people allow themselves to become uninspired. You can always write something.
What were some struggles you faced when writing this book?
I didn’t face many struggles, but two were glaring. Character descriptions, and no good basis in other pirate novels.
The first one is hilariously silly.
Captain Guy is a very strong, powerful character who can hold his ground. He enjoys picking a fight (which is kind of the reason that he is a pirate captain and not, say, the prince of a kingdom or a farmer). When writing, I try not to have similar comparisons or plot points, so every piece of writing feels fresh. In a similar novel that I haven’t written, there is a pirate captain much older than Guy and later in the time period, Captain Udolf.
I base Captain Udolf very heavily off of a wolf, and his name even means wolf in some gaelic language. The whole while I was trying to write Captain Guy, I kept trying to use wolf analogies. Baring his teeth, muscles rippling, etc. I literally had to write up his scenes, then go back and rewrite them using analogies to big cats, like panthers. So, Captain guy is more similar to a panther than a wolf.
The second one is the fact that there are not any really solid fiction based on the real going-ons of pirates. There’s like, fiction books, but they’re usually about teenage kids marooned on an island with a bunch of grumpy, drunk guys. That or the pirates’ activities are grossly inaccurate (*cough*piratesofthecaribean*cough*).
So, very first, I had to research a lot about pirates. Then I had to fit it into my fantasy world. Did you know pirates weren’t allowed to set actual bets gabling on ship? Did you know they had workman’s comp? They had rules and regulations!
Even crazier, they voted for the pirate captains! Mutinies were basically voting in a new pirate president.
I incorporated these elements, and there was some hilarious miscommunication between my editor and I. She couldn’t believe that Captain Guy was fully in charge of the ship, with the fear of the Saints and Gods put into the men. I had to explain to her how pirate ships worked, and that most pirate media (*COUGH*piratesofthecarribean*COUGH*) were not accurate.
Sorry, I have a bit of a cold.
But, besides those two things, this novel was fairly easy, and really really fun to write!
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