A tall ship and a star to steer her by…

22/10/2013 21:14

The nicest thing about writing is getting to write about things that I love. I’m currently working on Salt Winds (or Salt Water – the name seems to have stabilised as Salt Winds for the moment), and as the name may suggest, it features the sea quite strongly. I absolutely adore sailing; well, I love the feeling of sailing. I love the salt wind on my cheeks, the feeling of speed, the water and the sea and the air. What I absolutely hate is being stuck inside a small boat in horrible weather and rough seas. My worst fear is being trapped and drowning – so, I think understandably, I don’t entirely like confined spaces and rough weather. But give me the seaside and a wind, and I’m in absolute heaven.


Writing Obak is hard. He’s essentially selfish, rude, horrible and oblivious to everything else…but he does get to change. I’ve got various methods for the change, amongst which is a slap around the head from several people (all of which are quite theraputic to write), and another is sailing. He’s a complete novice to it, so it’s a bit of a challenge to myself to explain the jargon without being tedious. I also get to try to put all my feelings, all my love of wind and water, into words. I would say it’s a challenge, but it really isn’t – the words come quite easily!


Have a snippet:

“Push the tiller to the right a little.” Rhea said, and Obak could feel the wood strain against his hand. “That’s it, you should be able to feel the tension.”

                “I can.” Obak said, completely unaware that his voice was soft and gentle. He was so caught up in the movement, the wind and the water, the rushing of the breeze against his cheek and the faintest hint of salt spray on his lips, that he had almost forgotten everything else.

                “Go and sit in the bow, and we’ll do some tacks.” Rhea said after a while. Obak reluctantly relinquished the tiller, and crawled forward past the mast. There was a small hatch in the bow, and he realised that by sitting on it he could look over the bow. Swiftwings’ hull was cutting the water, sending white froth back in two white curves. In between, the water was a dark blue, but when Obak raised his eyes to look ahead of the bow, the water was a dull flat grey. How could it change colour so much?

                “Ready about.” Rhea’s voice said from behind him. “Sit down and hold on, we’re going to turn.”

                Obak quickly sat back down in the boat, and held on to the sides. But the turn was so gentle that he couldn’t believe that was all, and stayed in the bottom of the boat.

                Rhea laughed at him. “That’s it, Mage. We’re not going fast enough for a rough tack. You can sit back on the bow for a while if you want.”

                He stayed there for the next tack too, thrilled to feel the boat tilting and then recovering, picking up the wind again as it smoothly turned. The way the grey surface turned to deep blue and white spray fascinated him, but he couldn’t resist lifting his head to feel the wind and spray on his cheeks, sensing the speed despite the seemingly gentle pace at which Swiftwings covered the distance back towards the harbour.

Author: kate

Kate Coe is an editor, book reviewer and writer of fiction & fantasy. She writes the sparkpunk GreenSky series and blogs at writingandcoe.co.uk. When she's not working, she fills her spare time in between writing with web design, gaming, geeky cross-stitch and DIY (which may or may not involve destroying things). She also reads far fewer books that she would like to, but possibly more than she really has time for.