Jan 26 2012 1:00pm

Pirates: The Ultimate Bad Boys

Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the CaribbeanIn the spirit of Heroes and Heartbreakers, I’m discussing the inspiration for the hero of my forthcoming book, Bastien Harcourt. Bastien, aka Captain Cutlass, is a pirate. Well, he says he’s a privateer, but really, what’s the difference? Bastien is charming, he’s a rogue, and he, like most pirates, is the ultimate bad boy.

Whenever I mention that Bastien is a pirate, the response is, “Really? I love pirates!” I started to wonder why we love pirates so much; is it because Johnny Depp is so hot as Captain Jack Sparrow? Is it because there’s been a dearth of pirate books lately?

Or is it because pirates represent the kind of alpha heroes we find ourselves drawn to?

Conjure the image of a pirate in your mind, and you probably think of a man in a flowing open white shirt, tight black trousers, and tall black boots. He’s standing at the helm of a fast, sleek ship with the wind on his face and the crash of the waves at his back. He answers to no one—no man or woman, no country, no law. The pirate is the ultimate bad boy.

What makes a bad boy?

Bad boys are independent. By definition, a pirate is a rule-breaker, a loner, someone who goes against the grain. A pirate doesn’t follow society’s rules. In fact, he’s probably exhilarated by the simple idea of breaking them. There’s something very sexy about a man who knows his own mind and follows his own path, a bad boy who makes his own rules.

Pirates were also ahead of their time. Believe it or not, democracy reigned on board most pirate ships. The crew voted on their captain and quartermaster and divvied their plunder equally. Pirates even had a “worker’s comp” program for their injured compatriots. Historical records show instances of pirates voting to set aside booty to be used later in the event an injured crewmember needed help. A bad boy with a heart and a sense of justice. Really, is there anything more appealing?

A bad boy doesn’t ask, he takes. No, I’m not talking about rape. We’re talking bad boys, not criminals. A bad boy takes liberties, crosses the line, and has his own ideas about propriety. My hero Bastien is a particularly charming pirate. I imagine he’s always attracted his share of ladies, but he’s definitely not the kind of man who would ever touch a woman against her will. Still, he doesn’t have a lot of qualms about kidnapping a woman when it serves his purpose. In fact, he kidnaps the heroine Raeven more than once. Fortunately, Raeven is no wilting flower, and she makes Bastien pay for his sins.

A bad boy doesn’t back down. Pirates are known for taking risks, taking chances, and taking on bigger, stronger foes. Think of all the pirates in history who ran blockades, challenged ships of the British (or American or French) Navy, or who created their own outposts—and defended them—from invaders. Pirates don’t surrender, and they don’t back down from a fight.

But the real appeal of the bad boy pirate is that he’s fiercely loyal. Bad boys aren’t sappy, romantic poets. They don’t fall in love easily, if at all, but when they do fall in love, they fall hard and forever. A pirate will risk his life for a friend and crewmember, and this is doubly true for the woman he loves. He’ll protect her, fight for her, and be fiercely faithful to her. In short, a bad boy can be a very good boy to fall in love with.

What do you think makes pirate heroes appealing? Is it because they’re history’s ultimate bad boy, or is it something else?

Thanks for commenting. I’ll be checking in all day to read your comments. I’m also pleased to offer two copies of my upcoming release, The Rogue Pirate’s Bride, for the sweepstakes below.

To enter for a chance to win one of two copies of Shana Galen’s The Rogue Pirate’s Bride, make sure you’re a registered member of the site, and then simply leave a comment below.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 or older. To enter, fill out entry at  beginning at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) January 26, 2012. Sweepstakes ends at 11:59 a.m. ET on February 3, 2012 (the “Promotion Period”). Void outside of the 50 US and DC and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules at Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

Want more? Read an excerpt of Shana’s upcoming release, The Rogue Pirate’s Bride!


Shana Galen
The Rogue Pirate’s Bride, February 2012
Twitter: @shanagalen

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Heather Waters
1. HeatherWaters
Great post! I think it is the bad-boy thing, and how pirates by nature are all at least slightly dangerous.

Pirates don’t surrender, and they don’t back down from a fight.

Gotta admit, that's hot too.
Megan Frampton
2. MFrampton
A loyal, independendent, democratic renegade wearing tight black pants? Sign me up!
Shanan Anderson
3. mariahswind
I'd like to win! Nice post by the way you've put it well why the bad boy in any form makes a interesting character and an excellent hero! I am looking forward to 'The Rogue Pirate's Bride"
Crystal M
4. Crystal M
Would love to win a copy of this book! :-)

Thanks for the giveaway!
Crystal M
5. Jillian Stone
I have a fascination for men who are just a little untamed. I like them best in romance novels where the heroine can torture them and make them behave...kinda. ;)
Crystal M
6. Sheila Mulholland
Hot sweaty bad boys in tight leather pants....yup, works for me.
Shana Galen
7. ShanaGalenAuthor
redline_, I couldn't agree more. It's definitely the danger-factor.
Shana Galen
11. ShanaGalenAuthor
LOL, Jillian. I do think raeven tortures Bastien in this book. She has fun with it!
Jane Limback
13. jane321
Fabulous blog. You are so right about the dearth of pirate books.
Handsome bad boys with good hearts and (is it getting hot in here) other parts! They're my favorite reads. Thanks for filling the void... I can't wait!
Crystal M
14. Diane Diamond
Hi Shana,

I just loved your description of why pirates are appealing.

Like most women, I love a bad boy too, and those pirates in their swashbuckling outfits do it for me everytime. I can remember watching a show on the telly years ago when I was just a kid (wayyyy before your time) called "The Buccaneers". That's when I fell in love with the captain played by (I think) Robert Shaw.

Whenever I read a book with a bad boy as the hero, I'm so lily livered and weak and very easily swayed by these bad boys. I like to think that eventually, they can be redeemed, it's just a question of peeling away their layers and revealing what they're trying so hard to hide.

Thanks for this chance Shana, I would love to read "The Rogue Pirates Bride".
Jennifer Hutson
15. Jenn3128
Yes, all of the above. I love pirates, pirates in movies, in books, any form I can get them. For me, it's the charm factor. Sure, he's rough & tough, but oh so charming...making me smile coyly as he steals my... whatever....
Lora Patten
16. LadyRed
For the wealth of books with pirates as the hero, I, surprisingly enough, haven't read all that many. Its not that I am not interested in a pirate being used as a hero, its just that I really haven't seen that many out there (of course the last NEW book I bought was not a NEW book, it was published in 2007 I believe and I bought it at Borders last year before they went out of business). I will say that my favorite "pirate" book thus far has been Captain Jack's Woman by Stephanie Laurens and that falls into the pirate category loosely lol! Will have to make it a point to keep my eyes open for any pirate books ;-)
Gayle Cochrane
17. Gayle Cochrane
Love fictional Pirates too, and I think it is their freedom that does make them so appealing. If they don't like where they are at they can just pull up anchor and move on.
Julie Guan
18. hafelina
It's their bad boy status and the fact that they come hardwired for adventure. I imagine adrenaline-drenched escapades are part and parcel.
Crystal M
19. Syl
I've been reading old Marsha Canham books aloud to my husband every weekend for the last few months. He likes the highwaymen but his favorites are the pirates. Both are men of action, both have cool weapons, but pirates also have ships and tides and weather and complex strategy for battles at sea! What is the biggest, fanciest tool a man can own? A ship with dozens of canons.

The born leader aspect also appeals to DH, plus that snap decision making required by the life-or-death action.

I like the optimism. You can beat a pirate, cut off his leg, sink his ship, and he will find some way to regain all he's lost. That drive to prevail is very cool.
Sue Peterson
20. booboo2
Interesting to hear your viewpoints on pirates. This is not the image of a pirate we were taught in school. But yours sounds delicious! Sounds like a fun book. Always so sweet that you have all these giveaways. Can't wait to reach it in my TBR pile.
Lori Dibert
21. Sonata917
Great post! Agree with all you said about pirates. Love those bad boys with a code of honor and loyalty who falls hard for his true love. And, who doesn't love Captain Jack! I remember reading romances with pirate heroes in the '80s and it's so nice to see pirate heroes have become popular again.
Crystal M
22. Johnda
Nice post. Would love to win a copy.
Marian DeVol
23. ladyengineer
Shana, thank you for your prospective on pirates. I feel there actually IS a difference between privateers and pirates, other than the obvious one of piracy in the name of a government or in your own.

My impression is that privateers were more likely to be gentlemen and generally had investors (if only the crown to which they bowed) and were less likely to be totally ruthless. A "safe" pirate, if you will....if there IS such a thing. ;->

My conclusions come from researching history and from reading at least a few fictionalized accounts of some of England's privateers - e.g. read a novel(?) some years ago about Captain Henry Morgan (I think he became English governor of Jamaica).

When I was growing up, my family used to vacation on Ocracoke Island NC, former home and base of operations for Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard. Even now Silver Lake, Ocracoke's harbor, is the best harbor on the Intracoastal Waterway.

I'm looking forward to your The Rogue Pirate’s Bride.

During a flurry of book buying as a result of Borders going out of business or just before, I picked up copies of The Making of a Gentleman and The Making of a Duchess. More recently I bought Lord and Lady Spy. Unfortunately, my TBR pile is HUGE, and these three have not yet surfaced to the top, but I know they will soon.
Crystal M
24. Karen H in NC
Hi Shana, Enjoyed reading your post today. Yes, pirates are rule breakers...sort of reminds me of a song I have by a relatively unknown singer from Nashville named Eric Heatherly. The song was titled '(I Didn't Make the Rules) I Just Break 'Em'. Fits your discription of pirates to a Tee!

Now, other than Johnny Depp, who did you have in mind to help you visualize Bastian while you were writing him? And, if you book were to be made into a film, who do you see playing the parts of the main characters?
Crystal M
25. Kaye Whitney
Pirates are somewhat like epic heroes, because they face danger bravely; they are somewhat like Viking chieftains who reward faithful service.
Elizabeth Murray
26. elm55
What I like about pirates is the free life at sea. They go where they please. And I think being on one those beautiful ships back in the day had to be fun to run. I'm from Charleston, South Carolina and there is a house in downtown Charleston called the Pirate House that people think Blackbeard (and other pirates) visted a lot to gamble, drink, smuggle, and do other piraty deeds in (lol). On Daniel's Island there is a resturant called the Queen Anne's Revenge that claim they have a few artifacts that came from Blackbeard's ship.
Barbara Elness
27. barbed1951
I think pirates are appealing because not only are they the ultimate bad boys, but they sail the seas and the thought of sailing along with them sounds so freeing.
Charli Mac
28. CharliMac
For me the appeal of the pirate is the rebel stuck on a boat full of other rebels, and all of them are men. Now, if we really thought about history and hygiene, we wouldn't be drooling over pirates. Just the opposite.

I love me some Jack Sparrow but my favorite pirate cast is from the 80's cult classic, The Pirate Movie, a parody movie of the Pirates of Penzance, starring Kristy McNichol and Christopher Atkins. Loved this movie!
Shana Galen
31. ShanaGalenAuthor
Good luck in the contest, Diane. The great thing about bad boys in romance novels is they really can be redeemed. Not so much in real life :-)
Shana Galen
32. ShanaGalenAuthor
Jenn3128, that's it, exactly. Pirates are charming. That was my favorite thing when I was writing Bastien. Even when he was irritating the heroine, he was unfailingly charming.
Shana Galen
33. ShanaGalenAuthor
LadyRed, Stephanie Laurens's Captain Jack's Woman is a classic. I know Katharine Ashe has written some pirate books recently, too, and she's great.
Shana Galen
34. ShanaGalenAuthor
Very true, Gayle. It's not like when you have a mortgage and kids to put through school. I think all of us long for a little more freedom and it's nice to live it vicariously.
Shana Galen
35. ShanaGalenAuthor
Hafelina, I love that phrase--"adrenaline-drenched escapades"! Thank you!
Shana Galen
36. ShanaGalenAuthor
Syl, if only I could get my husband to listen to Marsha Canham's books! I wish I had a tenth of her knowledge about ships and sailing. She's just wonderful.
Shana Galen
37. ShanaGalenAuthor
Booboo2, on another blog a reader pointed out to me that in some places pirates don't get a bad rap. She mentioned Jean Lafitte's efforts in the War of 1812, and I thought about a recent trip I took to Key West, where the pirate origins are embraced. So in some sectors, pirates aren't seen as so bad. And, of course, in my book, Bastien isn't nearly as bad as all the press make him out to be.
Shana Galen
38. ShanaGalenAuthor
Sonata917, I loved those pirate romances from the '80s too. I think most of them had Fabio on the cover. It is nice to see them back--without the forced seduction.
Shana Galen
40. ShanaGalenAuthor
LadyEngineer, I have that same problem with my TBR pile--and I also bought a bunch of books at Borders when they were going out of business.

You are right about privateers, of course. Every government licensed some privateers, and they were legitimate operators in that government's sight. Other governments didn't have quite the same opinion. Bastien really is a privateer. He considers himself as such and has backing from Spain, but Raeven, who is the daughter of a British admiral, has a very different take on who and what he is.
Shana Galen
41. ShanaGalenAuthor
What a great song title, Karen. I'm going to have to Google it and listen to it after I finish these posts.

I could answer your question about the cast for the movie, but I'm blogging on that at Romancing Rakes on February 10, and I don't want to pre-empt that blog. So check over there on the 10th (another chance to win books!).
Shana Galen
42. ShanaGalenAuthor
Kaye, what a great comparison! I hadn't thought about pirates being like Viking chieftains. I like the visual.
Shana Galen
43. ShanaGalenAuthor
Elm55, it's so much fun to see artifacts and houses and so on. When I was in Key west recently, I was fascinated by all the pirate lore. It made me want to write more pirate books!
Shana Galen
44. ShanaGalenAuthor
Barbed1951, having sailed with my dad on many occasions, I have to say I never found life on board a ship very freeing. It's small and cramped. I like writing about ships much more than I like actually being stuck on one in the middle of the ocean. But I know there are people who wouldn't have it any other way and live on boats, sailing all around the world. Bastein and Raeven are definitely in that category.
Shana Galen
45. ShanaGalenAuthor
CharliMac, I need to see that movie! You are absolutely right about the reality of the pirate life. So much nicer in fiction, right?
Crystal M
47. Syl
Shana -- I have a copy, signed IIRC, of Fabio's Pirate. A fun read but definitely not Canham. And yes, her knowledge of ships is impressive. DH and I both grew up sailing so we can hear the wind snapping the sheets and whistling through the lines, and feel that touch of nausea when the ship rises up on a peak before diving down into a trough.

My grandfather was a professional sailor who crewed for races, brought home boats after races (the way home is nearly always a longer route), and did yacht maintenance between jaunts. He said that sailing on San Francisco Bay was like volunteering to sit in rush hour traffic. He loved racing across the Pacific. One time on his return from Fiji he was waylaid by a typhoon with waves higher than the length of the yacht he was bringing home, so I moved down the street and stayed with Grandmother to distract her. He was over a month later than expected -- boy were they happy to see each other! I was a pesky child and far more interested in the giant vanilla beans he brought from the islands.
Shana Galen
48. ShanaGalenAuthor
Syl, it sounds like I need to consult you before I write my next book with any sailing in it. It's in your blood.
Jean Chapman
49. jlc
Pirates represent freedom. They question authority and enjoy adventure. I love what they represent in times when women were constrained by rigid rules. I always had a hard time seeing the "romantic pirate" as anything close to a historically accurate pirate. Romantic seafaring men seem to be more like the hero in Laurie McBain's Wild Bells in the Wild Sky...entrepreneurs. Why?
Crystal M
50. Syl
Shana, I'm the only one in the entire family who gets seasick -- I'm fine under sail but power and I disagree. My husband can answer a lot of questions (about all sorts of things, including sailing) and Grandfather's in hospice at his home now but as long as he's with us he has email. Feel free to send questions my way and if I don't know the answers I might know someone who does.
Crystal M
51. jsmom2
James Malory was the first pirate rogue I ever fell in love with and they've been a particular weakness ever since :)

already added to the TBR
52. maniac
Love Bad Boys and Pirates are definitely that! Love Captain Jack - Stephanie Lauren's character Will be putting this one on my TBR list when it comes out.
Shelly Ash
53. bookshellz
I love Shana's romances and who doesn't love pirates and bad boys???? Yum! I would absolutely adore winning a Shana Galen book! Thank you so much! bookshellz
Crystal M
54. JAMIE heustess
Love those troubled, soul searching pirates!!

Thanks for the giveaways!

Drgnys30 at Yahoo dot com
Crystal M
55. slfoster01
i've already bought and read the book, so i'll let someone who hasn't go for the win. as for pirates, the errol flynn movie , "the sea hawk" 'captured' (pun intended) my attention, but the one that hooked me was "swashbuckler" from the '70s (i know, i'm dating myself) - first the movie, then they put out a book. as for johanna lindsey, before 'a gentle rogue' with james malory, there was 'a pirate's love- with captain tristan. ps. for whatever reason, i never really got into pirates of the carribean. pss. i wonder why shana didn't stick with 'making of a rogue' for the title?
Crystal M
56. erinf1
Thanks for the great giveaway! I've had book lust for this title, ever since I first saw it on amazon :)

Congrats on the new release!
Vilmarys Collado
57. vilmarys
Great post Shana! "He’ll protect her, fight for her, and be fiercely faithful to her." That is why I love pirates. That line says it all. Very sexy when a man won't back down for anything but even sexier when he won't back down for me!
Crystal M
58. smh
Pirates are definitely the ultimate bad boys. There's just something about a sexy guy who knows no fear, sailing the high seas and hiding out on exotic islands... (particularly when you work in a high-rise office, with no window...)

Can't wait to read your new book - would love to win a copy! :)
Crystal M
59. elylibrarysec
Every woman wants to try to tame the bad boy. But don't you love it when they're bad. It's what makes things so exciting. They just seem a little sexier when their wild side comes out to play.
Crystal M
60. Joyofbean
Pirates are the only kind of men who can make even a "puffy shirt" sexy!
Joan Boose
61. joan.boose
Loyal, faithful and a lifetime keeper. Sounds like the best kind of bad boy.
Marsha Dennison
62. mldennison
Of course when I think of a pirate at the helm, somehow I always see him holding a woman off to the side. I think that has more to do with some romance covers.
And I love Johnny Depp as a pirate. It's one of my favorite roles by him! There's something sexy about his bad pirate ways.
Megan B
63. Megblod
I love pirates.

I'd love to win a copy.
Thanks for the giveaway.
Kai Wong
67. ecocat
I think it the bad boy's thing that attracts me. I think most of us want to go other to the darkside to have a little bit of fun.
Shana Galen
69. ShanaGalenAuthor
jlc, I have to agree that the reality of pirates probably isn't much like the way we romanticize them. I'm okay with that, though! ;-)
Shana Galen
70. ShanaGalenAuthor
Thanks so much, Syl! Sorry about the seasickness. I know that must be hard.
Shana Galen
72. ShanaGalenAuthor
Thanks maniac. And you can't go wrong with anything by Stephanie Laurens.
Shana Galen
75. ShanaGalenAuthor
Slfoster, thanks for buying the book! If only it were up to me to decide what the titles of my books would be! My publisher changed the title because they didn't think the original title reflected the style of the book. I like both.
Shana Galen
78. ShanaGalenAuthor
SMH, good luck in the contest. Hugs on the no window. I taught in a room like that for 2 years. Hated it!
Shana Galen
79. ShanaGalenAuthor
Elylibrarysec, bad boys are definitely more fun. Who doesn't like a challenge?
Shana Galen
81. ShanaGalenAuthor
Joan, the bad boy is fun at first, but in the end we want him to have a heart of gold, right?
Shana Galen
82. ShanaGalenAuthor
Mldennison, I think of that too! It's definitely the romance novel covers.
Shana Galen
86. ShanaGalenAuthor
Rogue2378, you have the perfect name to win this book! Good luck :-)
Shana Galen
87. ShanaGalenAuthor
Ecocat, I completely agree. It's fun to play with fire once in a while.
Shana Galen
89. ShanaGalenAuthor
I want to say thanks to Heroes and Heartbreakers for hosting me. I had such a great time. Thank you to everyone who commented. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by! I believe the contest goes through Friday, so you may keep commenting to enter.
Nareh Alexani
90. booklover22
Pirates. Does it get any better? "Worker's comp" is really interesting. I'd love to win a copy of this book.
Lexi Hansen
91. Lexi
Johnny Depp doesn't hurt, but I have been facinated with pirates for longer than that. I agree with the whole bad boy with honor thing. They buck the system, take what they want (alpha males) yet still hold to their own morals. Bastien is one great pirate! I can't wait to read your next book!
92. aracnatec
imo. Pirates don't only rule the seven sea's on the olden days, they rule the hearts of many women (and gay men ;) in the present day....
From Errol Flynn to Johnny Depp.... they can shiver me timbers any day of the week... ;-)
Carol L
93. Carol L
I've been waiting for Bastian's story. I enjoyed your post . Please count me in . Thanks for the opportunity Shana.
Carol L
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com
Lindsay Hardy
94. lhardy0007
Oh, I just love a pirate, especially in romance novels! So here is to hoping I win!
Lindsay Hardy
Crystal M
95. Reckless
I love intrigued by a pirate named Bastion...Hoping I win.
Thanks Shana
Ellen Geiss
97. awoa121
I am looking forward to a good swashbuckler!,I hope the main hero is one sexy alpha male. Is this book available on KIndle? O hope so as it is the only way to read today.
 Sandra Spilecki
98. Whitney
I love a good Bad Boy story and it has been a while since I have read a pirate story. Hooray and thank you! This will go to the top of my TBR pile.
Crystal M
100. margee
I think women love a bad boy because of a few reasons. One, the challenge, the chase, the thrill of another being in control and doing things you want too, but wouldn't dare do. The excitement of being taken (not rape), seduced. NavyMom Not too old to still fantasize ! :)
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