Updated: Jan 9
In 2016, I published my first novella through Kindle Direct Publishing and a company called Createspace (now owned by Amazon). Titled Pirate Ophelia, it is an adventure story about a woman and her desire to become a pirate, giving a fictional, almost feminist twist to a story sprung from bits of the real history of the Caribbean. Looking back, it isn’t the greatest of my writing, but it served its purpose: to help me work through some mental health issues and move on from post-traumatic stress. My increase in nightmares went back to normal and I was able to recover, both mentally and physically, from a semi-abusive work environment.
I’ll admit, some of the abuse was my own doing since I felt I had to prove something, but I was not prepared for my closest friends to betray me and throw me away as if I were garbage. The events that inspired my first book are summed up in a piece I published on Medium: Pirate Ophelia: The Real Story. I started writing the sequel shortly after publishing the book, and now, six years later, I finally finished the next part of Ophelia’s story.
My biggest struggle with the sequel was initially time, and then where to take the story. I had a vague plan from the beginning, knowing what I wanted to happen, just not quite how I wanted it to end. Ophelia was inspired by a friend of mine—a friend with whom I am no longer in contact after a bad falling out. I always had a rule to never live with friends, and caving in to help this friend eventually ended our relationship. I debated what I wanted to do with Ophelia, one of the main characters in my series, and that made writing the sequel harder.
However, time was more of a factor than anything. I had taken a promotion at my new job back then, becoming the store manager at a craft store, leaving very little time and energy to write. That job was a different type of stress, and I eventually left it after I was suddenly expected to travel, though there were many smaller parts leading up to my departure. Coincidentally, I had just given my months’ notice there when COVID-19 started rapidly spreading across the country, and I was glad I did after witnessing the company’s behavior during the early days of the pandemic. Needing to write once again to vent my frustrations, I wrote and published The Fabric Manager: A Memoir of a Craft Store Manager in 2021.
In March of 2022, I tried again to return to the sequel to Pirate Ophelia, but the story just was not coming to me. I started to think about the other main characters in the book and decided to create short backstories for the main ones. I was unemployed and struggling to find work among companies claiming that they were “urgently hiring,” so depression took over here and there, making me feel useless and destroying my creativity. Eventually, I started to write again, focusing on my prequel idea.
I started with the blacksmith, Edward, but actually created a timeline for two stories that would connect. Edward’s story stalled, so I moved on to Admiral Janneke—the character based on myself. Janneke’s story, Pirate Ophelia: The Admiral’s Tale, became longer than I intended and I published it as its own short book. Edward’s story is still a work in progress.
After my cat Loki died, I felt the urge to write again. I initially wanted to write about my boy, but my grief was still too intense to write what I wanted to say. It still is too much to return to what I have already written about him. I started a new story idea, but I was still in the mindset of Ophelia’s world, so I once again revisited my sequel. The book that had been waiting for six years. The book that my little brother said I would never finish. The story just started to flow and I finished it rather quickly. A few chapters had already been written years ago by a slightly less inexperienced me. The plot was there; the writing just needed a few edits. The book was finally published on December 28, 2022.
Pirate Ophelia II: Ophelia’s Revenge takes place twenty-seven years after the first book and includes many of the same characters, along with new ones to the sequel and some who were introduced in the prequel. It is currently available on Amazon for Kindle and in paperback, along with all of my other books. Both Pirate Ophelia and Pirate Ophelia: The Admiral’s Tale are also available on Medium for subscribers.
As for what happened to Ophelia... You'll just have to read the book.