MC D’Alton interview with Elizabeth Ellen Carter
Elizabeth Ellen Carter is an award-winning historical romance writer who pens richly detailed, historical romantic adventures. A former newspaper journalist, Carter ran an award-winning PR agency for 12 years. She lives in Australia with her husband and two cats.
Q. Where did the idea for the Corsairs trilogy come from?
I never thought I’d write a series. I always thought I was a single title kinda gal, but when Captive of the Corsairs started to take shape, the more the characters of Elias and Jonathan started to take shape, the more I realised that these guys needed a story of their own.
Also, as Captive came to an end, I knew it couldn’t have a happily ever after for all the characters so it lent itself to a sequel or two.
Q. Is there anything which sets Shadow of the Corsairs apart from its two predecessors or even from any other book in the genre?
There is the obvious. It is an interracial romance – Jonathan is from Ethiopia and Morwena is Sicilian. However, they share a lot of cultural touch points so the real conflict in the story is Jonathan and Morwena’s individual struggles and where they intersect as a couple.
Jonathan is still grieving the murders of his wife and daughters, while Morwena battles societal expectation and the machinations of her brother.
Lastly, Shadow is a prequel, so we go back to the early days where Kit Hardacre is just beginning his quest to deal with Kaddouri…
Q. What, if any, were the challenges you faced writing the trilogy?
Because Shadow is a prequel, I had to make sure the characterisations of Kit and Elias were right. Kit was more prickly and arrogant, Elias was a lot more naive.
Also, across the series, the underlying subject matter was serious – slavery and sexual abuse – I wanted to write a story which did justice to the real historical events but not be prurient or exploitative about it.
Q. Why the underlying theme?
I read a few years ago about a little known aspect of the slave trade – that the Ottoman Empire was one of the principle drivers of human trafficking and slavery for centuries.
While we know the awful African slave trade – put to an end by the English through William Wilberforce – very few people know that slave were taken from Europe. Between 1650 and 1830 between 800,000 and 1.25 million Europeans – some as far away as Iceland were taken into slavery.
In fact, an entire Irish village was captured. Its inhabitants were never seen again.
What I love about writing historical romance is bringing some of these lesser known aspects of history alive.
Q. Would you call Tewodros “Jonathan” Afua a typical romance hero? Why not? What sets him apart from the men we usually encounter in historical romances?
Jonathan is a man who has had to rebuild his life from scratch. He’s had a very privileged upbringing. He is the younger son of a Ras – the Ethiopian equivalent of a Duke – he’s been able to indulge his passion for exploration and European culture without the responsibilities that come with authority.
When we first meet Jonathan, he is in chains, his friend, a German explorer is near death, he witnessed the death of his three daughters and he does not know at this stage whether his wife lives and is a slave, or whether she too is dead.
Having learned that Mellesse is dead, Jonathan tempted to take the path of head-long deadly revenge offered by Kit who is battling his own demons.
Q. What was your inspiration for Afua?
We have a lot of new African migrants in Australia and I’ve gotten to know a few through church. It’s a big step to start life over again in a new continent and they’re embracing life and the opportunities here with both hands.
That was the type of character I wanted Jonathan to embody.
Q. Tell us about your heroine, Morwena. What was your inspiration for this character?
I worked with a lady who was Morwena – she was fierce, sharp tongued, ambitious, straight-talking, friendly and loyal.
When writing dialogue for Morwena in Revenge of the Corsairs, I would here Deb’s voice in my head and I used that to flesh out Morwena’s character in Shadow.
Q. What kind of research did you undertake when writing Shadow of the Corsairs?
I did a lot of reading of the Mediterranean slave trade, the expansion of the Ottoman Empire and its affect on Europe and international trade. I also discovered a lot about Ethiopian history. It was a very sophisticated society and in effect could be described as the Empire of Africa. Ironically one of its key industries was the slave trade. And it was the only country in Africa not to be later colonised by the Europeans.
Q. What was your favourite part in writing this book?
Great question! I think one of my favourite bits was to create a compelling stand alone story that dovetails neatly back into the Captive of the Corsairs. Shadow of the Corsairs brings the Heart of the Corsairs series back full circle.
And also, as I mentioned, going back and redeveloping the characterisations of Elias and Kit. I know where and how they end up, so exploring them as they were four years before Captive of the Corsairs was a great deal of fun.
Q. Besides the gorgeous cover, what about this story will draw your reader into your world?
I hope people will be intrigued by the different setting and premise. This is definitely not your standard ‘ballgowns and bling’ Regency!
And for those who have joined Kit, Sophia, Elias, Laura, Jonathan and Morwena on their journey, I hope it provides a satisfying end.
Thank You Elizabeth for taking the time to chat to us about your soon to hit the shelves third book – Shadow Of The Corsairs, involving three amazing men and women from a bygone time!
Shadow of the Corsairs is on Kindle Unlimited and it can also be purchased here https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07DM9VJ5Z
Or follow her on eecarter.com