Best-selling Non-fiction Author Wendy Wilkinson Turns to Fiction to Introduce Us To Those Who Seek Modern Day Pirate Plunder

by Anne Holmes on June 12, 2013

Welcome to Wendy Wilkinson, NABBW member and New York Times bestselling nonfiction author, who has just taken her writing efforts in a new direction with the debut of her first novel,  “Pirate’s Plunder: An Adele Bonny Adventure.”

Pirates PlunderNABBW is honored to be featured as “Day Two” of Wendy’s virtual book tour promoting this fun book which chronicles the story of bounty hunter Adele Bonny,  fictional niece, to the infamous real-life pirate,  Anne Bonny.

Though it’s been thirteen generations since Anne Bonny and her fellow pirates prowled the seas looking for tall ships to plunder,  this book tells of how infamous Pirate Anne Bonny and her current-day niece Adele transcend time and team up in order to solve modern day pirate retrieval cases throughout the Caribbean.

Wendy says the topic came naturally to her,  as tales of the Caribbean and high seas adventures are in her blood. Growing up near the beaches of Southern California, she developed a love for the ocean early on in life. These days, she and her husband live part-time in the Bahamas, where they often sail aboard their 28-foot sabre sailboat.

As might be natural for anyone who makes a home in the Caribbean, Wendy’s been studying pirate lore and modern day pirates for six years. Her first pirate project was a fictionalized historical account of Anne Bonny, and her pirate lover, Captain Calico Jack Rackham.  Published as a Kindle e-book, and titled “ARGHH! Being the Vexing Letters from Anne Bonny to her Secret Sister,” this story, takes place between 1720 – 1724, the years they terrorized the waters of the Caribbean.

Anne Bonny, as Wilkinson tells us, was one of the most infamous female pirates ever to roam the high seas. We soon learn she was notorious for her wealth and success — but perhaps even  more so for her cruelty and ruthlessness.  More important to the  plot, we cannot ignore her romantic escapades.  “ARGHH!” reveals that she and Calico Jack had a child. This, of course, sets up the potential for living descendants.

In fact, “ARGHH!” is  a prequel for “Pirate’s Plunder,” which tells the story of how Adele Bonny becomes a modern-day pirate bounty hunter in order to retrieve Anne’s treasures, which had recently been bequeathed to her — and were pirated again before Adele ever took possession.

As the story opens, Adele,  a successful woman in a happy marriage, is living a glamorous lifestyle in Nassau, the Caribbean playground of the rich. But her satisfying life is suddenly taken from her with little warning: First she learns that her husband has been cheating on her. And hard on the heels of that news comes discovery that her home as been ransacked and her family fortune — actual relics from Anne Bonny’s exploits — stolen.

Worse, The Provocative Pirates Museum on Nassau is set to showcase them as “Romantic Relics of the Caribbean,” and the Museum’s curator is anxious to begin setting up the exhibit.  Perhaps most devastating of all the news comes the discovery that the thief is her husband, and he and his mistress have made off with all of it in her her lovingly-restored boat.

Totally blindsided, Adele seeks solace in a local watering hole, where she runs into and soon shares her sorry tale with Smee, a man she’s previously known only socially.  (By the way, I can’t help but remind you that the use of the name “Smee” is likely a sly reference to Captain Hook’s right hand man, in the Peter Pan story.)

As they talk, she discovers that Smee owns Pirates Plunder, a pirate loot retrieval company. Since she’s lost everything, he offers her a short-term secretarial job, which she accepts. But soon, they team up with a third man, an adventurer who may be a mercenary,  to recover her losses. In the retrieval process, she begins to realize she’s hearing  a voice in her head.

Delightfully, she’s not crazy: The voice is that of her Great Aunt Anne Bonny, the famous pirate. Part conscience, part mentor, Pirate Anne provides just the goad Adele needs to take action to recover her boat and her family  treasures. But can she and her friends track down the modern day pirates and recover her family treasure in time?

I found the story fascinating and a fun and easy read. Of course, I soon wanted to know more about what led author Wilkinson to her trade non-fiction work for tales of piracy — especially as I soon discovered that Pirate’s Plunder is the first in a planned Adele Bonny Adventure trilogy.  So I asked Wendy NABBW’s favorite questions. Here are her responses…

Using one paragraph, tell us a bit about yourself?

Wendy WilkinsonI am a New York Times bestselling non-fiction author who has taken my work in a new direction with the recent publication of my first work of fiction Pirate’s Plunder: An Adele Bonny Adventure.”  My passion has always been writing, but I took a twenty-year detour and ended up in Hollywood as a celebrity publicist working with the likes of Billy Crystal, Robin Williams and Jane Fonda.

Tell us about your family; married, divorced, children, grands, boomerangs or parents living with you, etc.

I have been married for twenty-three years to a wonderful man who works in the technical side of the house.  We have one beautiful daughter, Alexandra Willa, who was adopted from China and the inspiration for my first book “Parent’s at Last: Celebrating Adoption and the New Pathways to Parenthood.

 What is your favorite childhood memory that is reminiscent of growing up in the 50s, 60s or 70s?

In the late 60’s I vividly remember our yearly family trips to San Diego every summer.  My father was retired Navy and in the ROTC and had refresher training duty there.  We would stay at that Grand Dame hotel the Del Coronado, spending two weeks, swimming, sailing and enjoying the beach.

What qualities do you have that speak of our generation of women?

I became a mother in my-late 30’s and have juggled an exciting and unpredictable career along with being a wife and mother to an extraordinary daughter who will be attending college this fall.  I wear many hats and have changed careers several times in the last 30 years.

 What inspires you?

There’s so much that inspires me; riding my horse through the Garden of the Gods on a beautiful day; hiking with my husband and daughter; visiting a special place that I’ve never been to before.

 What brings you the most pleasure in midlife? 

Pretty much the above.

 Do you have any interesting hobbies?

I play the piano and ride my horse Roxanne.

 Do you have a favorite book or movie? If so, tell us why it’s your favorite.

There so many books and movies that I love for so many different reasons.  I recently saw “The Great Gatsby” and remembered what a marvelous book it was.  Fitzgerald had such a way with words and gift for setting a scene.

Do you travel and if so, who are your favorite travel partners and where do you like to go?

My family and I love to travel.  We have a second home in the Bahamas; which served as my research base and inspiration for “Pirate’s Plunder. The beaches boast white sand, fantastic snorkeling and warm blue water. It’s a wonderful place to decompress and regenerate.  In addition, I wrote one of my favorite magazine articles on Tom Selleck there while drinking Bahama Mamas.  We are traveling to London and Paris next Spring.

Do you practice preventive medicine? Please elaborate

Yes, I will always try preventative medicine first; from various vitamins to herbal remedies and Young Living oils.  I haven’t had a cold in seven years.

What do you stress about?

As a writer of magazine articles and well as books, I’m totally free-lance and worry about my next assignment and book deal.

Is it important for you to retain your youthful looks, and if so, to what degree are you willing to go?

It is important but I won’t share my tips on keeping youthful.

 Have you re-invented yourself, and if so, how?

As women, I think we’re constantly reinventing ourselves; from single girl; to wife, mother; grandmother.  In addition, about three years ago, I made the transition from wearing two hats as publicist and writer, to primarily writing and have experienced great success.

 Do you plan to retire?

I don’t think that writers ever retire, but perhaps I’ll slow down a bit in my mid-sixties.  My work is one of the things that keep me energized and involved and I love hearing people’s stories and getting deeply involved with research for my books.

 Are you doing anything to GO Green?

Of course.  My daughter will be majoring in Environmental Studies and constantly tutors us in how to do our part to keep green.  We recycle, no longer buy small water bottles and use reusable grocery bags.

 Can you pinpoint major turning points in your life that led to your life’s work/play at midlife?

The catalyst for was the unexpected death of my father when I was 40.  This sudden loss led the adoption of Alex, which led to the writing of “Parent’s at Last starting me on the path as a writer.

 Do you still have unfulfilled dreams, and are you doing anything to accomplish them?

To see my daughter graduate from law school and to write a New York Times bestselling novel.  “People We Know, Horses They Love” was on the list for ten weeks.

 How do you make a difference in the lives of others, your community, your world?

All of by non-fiction books have benefited a cause of organization.  Sales from “Parents at Last,” benefited children’s organizations; “People We Know, Horses They Love” sales helped to build an indoor riding arena for Pegasus Therapeutic Riding; and Morgan Freeman donated his advance from “Morgan Freeman and Friends: Caribbean Cooking for a Cause”  to start the Grenada Relief Fund, to help victims of hurricanes around the world. Mogan and Friends cover

 Who has had the biggest influence on your life and why?

I would have to say my father, as he was posthumously responsible for what is now my life’s work.

 If you were to have a personal mission statement, what would it be? Feel free to be as serious or fun as you choose.

My mission is continuing to make my family happy and healthy as well continuing to write good work that will resonate long after I’ve hopefully reached those Pearl Gates!

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