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Suzanne Johnson | Would You Date an Undead Pirate?


Let's face it—pirates are sexy. They're dangerous. They're fearless. They're rakish alpha males. And in fiction, we can ignore the less savory aspects of their occupations—you know, the ones dealing with murder and mayhem.

When I started writing my debut release, ROYAL STREET, which came out in early April, I liked the idea of having a species of paranormal character called the "historical undead"—formerly famous humans given an immortal life by the magic of human memory. And with a book set in New Orleans, what better member of the historical undead than the pirate Jean Lafitte?

I brought him in for the first scene, and—like a pirate—he refused to leave. I'd made him immortal, after all, so every chance he got for a little page time, here he'd come again. My heroine, DJ, has a serious attraction to him. She knows it isn't healthy. She knows he's technically dead. But he's a pirate. He's big and brawny. He's devious and smart and charming. And (OMG) he's French.

The real Jean Lafitte was French, and big and brawny, and smart and charming, by all accounts. He also was the Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean's last great pirate, plundering Spanish ships bound for New Orleans in the early 1800s. He'd take the loot and sell it to New Orleanians at much lower prices than they could get from local merchants. The people loved him; the government hated him and put a price on his head. Annoyed, he offered a larger reward for the head of the governor. That's my man Jean.

I didn't get to explore Jean Lafitte's tremendous romantic potential too deeply in ROYAL STREET because the book takes place in immediate post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans. The characters are just trying to stay alive, to come to terms with the loss of their city and so many of its people. They're trying to figure out their place in a world where Katrina not only tore down the barriers between Lake Pontchartrain and the city of New Orleans, but also destroyed the barriers between the modern world and the preternatural world Beyond. All kinds of things much nastier than pirates are coming into town. It wasn't the right time for romance...although all that will change as the series goes along.

I can't promise DJ will end up with Jean Lafitte, at least not in a romantic sense. But then again, she might. A pirate wench doesn't kiss and tell.

Below is a little taste of Jean Lafitte. And if you think you'd date an undead pirate...just say so in the comments, and I'll enter you into a drawing for a signed copy of ROYAL STREET!

You can find ROYAL STREET at:

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Book Depository * Or at your local indie bookstore on the science fiction and fantasy shelves.

About Royal Street:

As the junior wizard sentinel for New Orleans, Drusilla Jaco's job involves a lot more potion-mixing and pixie-retrieval than sniffing out supernatural bad guys like rogue vampires and lethal were-creatures. DJ's boss and mentor, Gerald St. Simon, is the wizard tasked with protecting the city from anyone or anything that might slip over from the preternatural beyond. Then Hurricane Katrina hammers New Orleans' fragile levees, unleashing more than just dangerous flood waters. While winds howled and Lake Pontchartrain surged, the borders between the modern city and the Otherworld crumbled. Now the undead and the restless are roaming the Big Easy, and a serial killer with ties to voodoo is murdering soldiers sent to help the city recover. To make it worse, Gerald St. Simon has gone missing, the wizards' Elders have assigned a grenade-toting assassin as DJ's new partner, and undead pirate Jean Lafitte wants to make her walk his plank. The search for Gerry and the killer turns personal when DJ learns the hard way that loyalty requires sacrifice, allies come from the unlikeliest places, and duty mixed with love creates one bitter roux.

Praise for Royal Street:

"Unplug the phone. Turn off the TV. You won't want to be interrupted. A thoroughly enjoyable world and a likeable heroine make for a fun read."—Cat Adams, author of Siren Song

"Not only is this book an enchanting urban fantasy debut, but it's also one of the most sensitive and honest depictions of post-Katrina New Orleans I've read. I raced down Royal Street."—Nicole Peeler, author of Tracking the Tempest

"A vivid debut that's far more than the sum of its parts...Sympathetic, entertaining DJ is the perfect narrator for a lively tale jam-packed with action, magic, and intriguing plot twists."—Publisher's Weekly (starred review)

"Make sure to suggest this fast, fun, and engaging fantasy-thriller to fans of Charlaine Harris and Cat Adams."--Booklist


A secluded Louisiana bayou. A sexy pirate. Seduction and deceit. My Friday afternoon had the makings of a great romantic adventure, at least in theory.
In practice, angry mosquitoes were using me for target practice, humidity had ruined any prayer of a good hair day, and the pirate in question—the infamous Jean Lafitte—was two hundred years old, armed, and carrying a six-pack of Paradise condoms in assorted fruit flavors.
I wasn't sure what unnerved me more—the fact that the historical undead had discovered modern prophylactics, or that Lafitte felt the need to practice safe sex.
Nothing about the pirate looked safe. Tall and broad-shouldered, he had dark-blue eyes and a smile twitching at the corners of his mouth as he watched me set two glasses and a bottle of dark rum on a rickety wooden table. A tanned, muscular chest peeked from his open collar, and shaggy dark hair framed a clean-shaven face. A jagged scar across his jaw reminded me the so-called Gentleman Pirate also had his ruthless side.
He'd arrived by way of a stolen boat at this isolated cabin near Delacroix, a half-hour outside New Orleans, to pursue two of the world's most timeless pleasures: sex and money. I'd met him here to play the role of a gullible young wizard falling under the spell of the legendary pirate, at least for a while. Then I'd do my duty as deputy sentinel and send his swashbuckling hide back to the Beyond, where he could rub shoulders with other undead legends and preternatural creatures unfit for polite human company.
My hand shook as I poured the rum, sloshing a few drops of amber liquid over the side of the glass. I'd finally been given a serious assignment, and I needed it to go without a hitch.
Lafitte's fingers brushed mine as he took the drink, sending an unexpected rush of energy up my arm. "Merci, Mademoiselle Jaco—or may I address you as Drusilla?"
I pondered the odd spike of energy I'd gotten from his hand. Touching increases the emotional crap I absorb from people as an empathy, but Lafitte was technically a dead guy. Still, I'd like to say if he touched me again, I'd demand double pay from the wizards' Congress of Elders. Triple if it involved lips.


excerpt © 2012 Suzanne Johnson

Suzanne Johnson writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance from Auburn, Alabama, after a career in journalism and educational publishing that has spanned five states and six universities. She grew up in a small Northwest Alabama town, halfway between the Bear Bryant Museum and Elvis Presley's birthplace. That, plus living in New Orleans for fifteen years (including the Hurricane Katrina years), has given her a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of college football and fried gator on a stick. She is single, lives with two dogs named after professional wrestlers (it was a phase—really), and harbors a no-longer-secret penchant for reality TV shows. You can find Suzanne online at www.suzanne-johnson.com.




33 comments posted.

Re: Suzanne Johnson | Would You Date an Undead Pirate?

That book sounds amazing! I have been obsessed with Pirates for a long
time. Would I date an undead pirate? Hell yes! I have always been
interested in their way of life. They don't give a damn and take anything
they please, hell with everything else! Love it! So much so, my cat is
named Pirate. I kid you not! And, I have a tattoo of a pirate's sword behind
my ear. Yup.
(Kelsey Reif 5:24am May 6, 2012)

I love reading books with interesting backgrounds - whether that is historical, geographical or societal. The fresh inventions of fantasy are a bonus on top with this tale of an undead pirate in New Orleans - ticking all the boxes for me! I have read other tales set in New Orleans and the city always comes across with a wonderfully individual atmosphere. As for dating the pirate in question - well that's got to be a fascinating date! How could anyone turn down the chance?
(Clare O'Beara 6:58am May 6, 2012)

This sounds like such a cool book, what a great idea! New Orleans is my favorite place, it's where we went on our honeymoon. After Johnny Depp as a pirate, of course I'd date an undead pirate!!! I wish you much success!
(Renee Pajda 6:59am May 6, 2012)

If it was Johnny Depp I would...I've been to New Orleans only once but loved it. I think this would be a very interesting book to read and I know I would enjoy it. Thanks for the chance to win it!!
(Bonnie Capuano 8:12am May 6, 2012)

The book sounds great. I love pirates.
(Pam Howell 8:19am May 6, 2012)

This book sounds really interesting and pirates can always add an element of adventure to a story. I am not sure if I would date an undead pirate or not, I think it would depend but as long as they don't look like a zombie I don't think it would be much of a problem. I hope you have a great day.
(Chelsea Knestrick 10:32am May 6, 2012)

This book sounds fantastic! And yes, I'd date an undead
pirate! What fun that would be...especially if he looked
like Johnny Depp.
(Karen Haas 10:45am May 6, 2012)

I'm not sure I would date an undead, French pirate...but the way you describe him is appealing! A pirate would just sweep you off your feet I guess.
(Catherine Lee 11:13am May 6, 2012)

First craze, dating vampires. Second craze, dating pirates.
(Rachael Whitzman 11:33am May 6, 2012)

I'm always on the lookout for new supernatural series to go in my library. Sounds great!
(Kathleen Conner 12:46pm May 6, 2012)

yes i would!
(Debbi Shaw 12:59pm May 6, 2012)

Lafitte does sound like he could be a romance hero and the story does sound pretty interesting.
(Maureen Emmons 1:21pm May 6, 2012)

Hmmm... if he was sexy then I would probably say yes! ;)
Love the sound of your book! Congrats on your debut release!
(Colleen Conklin 1:39pm May 6, 2012)

the book sounds great; another for my TBR list. thanks for the draw! Congrats on the debut.
(Barbara Studer 2:11pm May 6, 2012)

this book sounds so wonderful i love supernatual books
(Denise Smith 2:20pm May 6, 2012)

I would certainly have to meet the "undead" before making a decision about dating.
(Marjorie Carmony 2:29pm May 6, 2012)

I'd love a chance to read your book. As for dating an undead
pirate...I'd have to consider that HARD.
(Mary Hay 2:50pm May 6, 2012)

I most certainly would date an undead pirate. Ooo, and a french pirate at that. I love french accents. Yum!
(Molly Frenzel 4:26pm May 6, 2012)

Looking forward to reading this book
(Craig Clarkson 5:44pm May 6, 2012)

Not normally drawn to this type of book, I'm intrigued with the inclusion of real life events.
(Nancy Luebke 5:48pm May 6, 2012)

Wow this sounds great an immortal pirate thats my kind of man:).Cant wait to read Royal Street its a must have for me .Have a great day and a fantastic week ahead .
(Wanda Flanagan 6:16pm May 6, 2012)

I lived in New Orleans twice but I never met the characters you describe....thank goodness.
(Clydia DeFreese 6:22pm May 6, 2012)

OMG!! Suzanne!! I have such a connection to this book, it isn't even funny!! My best girlfriend, who I consider my Sister, would put the Gris-Gris on me if I didn't have this hot little book in my hands!! She lives in New Orleans, and called me when Hurricane Katrina was roaring through!! I feel such a connection to this book!! I love the excerpt, and find it to be clever, as well as a good read!! I'm sure it's going to be something I'll be able to share with her. The cover you chose is so sexy, yet so powerful!! I am just bouncing off my chair at the moment, as well as the walls!! lol I want to thank you for coming here today, and making my day!! I've heard of Lafitte, and this has gone beyond my wildest dreams!! A million thank yous come from me for writing this book.
(Peggy Roberson 6:49pm May 6, 2012)

No - but enter me to win
(Jane Squires 7:01pm May 6, 2012)

Sounds like a great book with a sexy hero!
(May Pau 7:17pm May 6, 2012)

sounds like a great book and i can't wait to read!!!
(Jennifer Beck 7:53pm May 6, 2012)

I don't know about dating a pirate, but he would sure bear watching. I'll bet he's coniving and used to getting his way, so it's a livley read on the high seas.
(Alyson Widen 8:01pm May 6, 2012)

Yes, to the date!
(G. Bisbjerg 8:14pm May 6, 2012)

Sounds like a very good book!! Thanks for the chance to win!
(Natasha Donohoo 9:52pm May 6, 2012)

I'd date any kind of pirate, undead or not. They would need to have a grasp of personal hygiene though.
(Mary Preston 9:59pm May 6, 2012)

I love the idea of pirates, but I always think that the reality would fall short. Sure, Johnny Depp is hot, but in the movies he always looks like he hasn't showered in ages, and that's just gross, lol. Now, an undead pirate might be different...
(Rebecca Whitehead-Schwarz 10:57am May 7, 2012)

I would definitely date an undead pirate. It would be interesting if he was the pirate in my ancestry. My pirate was French and sailed the waters of VA.
Suzanne, I went to B&N looking for your book but it wasn't out yet. I can't wait to read it! I'm very excited about it.
Thanks for the chance to win!
(Melissa Keith 2:02pm May 7, 2012)

OMG I love pirates! I'd date an undead pirate, especially if he looked as good and sexy as Johnny Depp did as a pirate in his movies! I'm so excited about this book.... Yeah! THANKS FOR WRITING IT!!!
(Linda Luinstra 5:40pm May 7, 2012)

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