Sam Staley on the Character Development for His Award-Winning Series, Pirate of Panther Bay

When award-winning author Sam Staley (SR Staley) started writing the first book in his Pirate of Panther Bay historical fiction series, his main character was male. About fifty pages in he realized that the story, set in the Caribbean in the 1780s in the world of pirates, wasn't dynamic enough. By challenging himself and changing his main character to female, Staley was able to open the door to new sub-themes, adding a layer of complexity to the story. How did Staley get into the mind of an escaped, female slave during this time period? He looked beyond sex to the humanity and dignity of the character, and how her life experiences shaped her. Staley also had to put himself in her shoes to understand the feelings associated with being an outsider. The key to dynamic characters and stories, he says, is having a strong and diverse ensemble of characters that includes both males and females. This will naturally drive the tension and conflict in the story to help move it forward.

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