To write was always an act of life for me. A conscious move towards the world of the written word. An expression of my soul. An inside world to be rediscovered in the world outside. Books were my companions and they were gifts more treasured than gems. First there were diary entries, then handwritten snippets of thoughts, poems in germination. Then I discovered other languages, English writers and writing of poetry, fiction, plays, articles, historical essays. My studies lead me to a teaching of those. My life, which was not following the straight path was opened up by trips to the sea, sailing on it, painting, feeling and breathing it into my fabric of being. A storm at sea was fun, a storm in life was pain till the path was laid out for me to accept writing as my destiny. Poetry was first.
Then I threw the stone into the sea of prose to see its ripples. A sea tale it had to be, with historical background, a tall ship, an adventure, prolonged and through the dangers of the deep. The love of the sea and the sea of love. A copy of an old newspaper, the London Gazette, set the course; Captain Cook embarking on a secret voyage. I was hooked.
The idea was setting anchor in my mind. Research, Captain Cook´s own journal of his first voyage and the idea to write it from the point of view of a sailor, Josh Childs, who actually sailed on board HMB Endeavour inspired me to write my first novel. Would I be able to do so, in a language that was not my mother tongue, but my chosen instrument? I was encouraged by fellow writers, by my verve to paint nautical scenes as self-motivation, by writing just because I felt drawn to my characters, the adventures, the ship, the journey and the poetic approach. The quest was multidimensional, the longitude in nautical and personal terms. My inner compass was the chart.
There is a true story, a timeline, historical events, true life persons and places of encounters on a map. And there is a love story. A maid, Rose Riley, and a cook-to-be, Josh Childs, who sets out to new adventures lured by the sea, on Barque Endeavour. The lovers´ romance spans over time and distance. In an epistolary manner a seaman keeps his love alive by writing his soul as letters in a journal that was a gift from his beloved. The waiting girl is tempted in her patience. The canvas of a quest for longitude on the sea of love unfolds.
(c) Andrea Connolly