Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Guestpost: "Why I Fell in Love with Charleston" by Author M.L. Tyndall


Please welcome guest blogger, M.L. Tyndall, author of historical Inspirational romance novels that are thrilling and usually set on the high seas. Find out about MaryLu's latest release, The Red Siren, and win a copy by leaving a comment telling us why you like Charleston, SC, and if you've never been there, why you'd like to go and what you would do and see. Your name will go into a drawing for The Red Siren.

Why I Fell in Love with Charleston!

By M.L. Tyndall

Before I even set foot in South Carolina, there was something about Charleston that drew my affections. A mystique, an allure of romance and adventure that caught my heart long before I tread upon the city’s cobblestone streets. So when my publisher agreed to publish my proposed trilogy called Charles Towne Belles, I just had to visit the city for myself (Research purposes, of course) and see if it was everything I hoped it would be. I wasn’t disappointed.

From the rush of the mighty Cooper River pouring into Charleston Bay, to the unique narrow houses with their open air piazzas stretching the length of the building, to the clip-clop of the horse-drawn carriages over the cobblestone streets, to the magnificent St. Michael’s church built in 1761, and the colorful gardens blossoming with Bougainvilleas, I was enthralled.

But the most fascinating thing I discovered about Charleston was that it was once a walled city, complete with moats and drawbridges. How cool is that? Combining the romance of the medieval castle with the untamed colonies. The colonist built the wall to protect their new homes from Indians, the Spanish, and of course Pirates, but in 1719 they soon outgrew the boundaries and the wall was slowly dismantled. If you want to see a small part of the wall that still remains, visit the Watch Tower museum and take a tour of the dungeon.

But being a pirate lover, the best part of the history for me was learning about the Charleston pirates. Did you know Blackbeard and his crew once blockaded the entire city? He captured several leading citizens and held them hostage on board his ship, not allowing supplies to enter or leave Charles Towne port. Finally after a few weeks of negotiation, Blackbeard released the hostages for only a few medical supplies and left. Lucky for Charleston since he was one of the most brutal of all pirates.

Another of my favorite pirates is a lady pirate named Anne Bonny. She and another woman pirate, Mary Reed, terrorized the Caribbean in the early 1700’s, but apparently Anne had her beginning in Charleston where she was often seen in taverns right alongside the men.

But, my favorite Charleston pirate has to be the pirate they called “The Gentleman Pirate”, Stede Bonnet. A wealthy and educated landowner on the island of Barbados, he abandoned his family and all his belongings to become a “gentleman of fortune”. They say he was not the best pirate, but he also wasn’t a cruel pirate either. He loved books and brought a whole library on board his ship. In September, 1718, Bonnet was captured and brought to Charleston where, being considered a gentleman, he was given residence in the Marshal’s house instead of the dungeon while he awaited trail. Apparently, he was quite good with the ladies and somehow managed to get a hold of some women’s clothes which he quickly donned and then made his escape. Bonnet was recaptured shortly thereafter and, though found guilty, received several stays of execution as the result of pleas from city merchants. Bonnet's friends were influential, but not enough to save him. The "gentleman pirate" was hanged at White Point in Charleston on December 18, 1718.

My latest release, The Red Siren, takes place in Charleston in early summer 1718 and is a story about a lady pirate. Although the story is fictitious, from Charleston’s history, it would not be difficult to imagine such a thing happening. I hope I’ve piqued your interest and you’ll pick up a copy and enjoy the adventure!

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MaryLu, thank you for hosting my blog today. I can't wait to read The Red Siren. I'm currently, reading MaryLu's The Falcon and the Sparrow, a historical Regency that is wonderful! She is a talented writer. If you love historical Christian fiction novels, a great romance, and exciting adventure, then you don't want to miss out on her books!

Here's a link to order the book from Amazon: http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=601567&netp_id=558604&event=ESRCN&item_code=WW&view=covers

CBD.Com
http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=601567&netp_id=558604&event=ESRCN&item_code=WW&view=covers

Visit MaryLu Tyndall at: http://www.mltyndall.com/ or her blog at http://crossandcutlass.blogspot.com/.

10 comments:

As many times as I have visited Charleston I have never visited the Dungeon! That is on my list for our next trip. Marylu, our local PBS station has a show about the Pirates of Charleston that you would love. It touches on every pirate you mentioned. Even the Gentlemen Pirate who really was a very interesting man. And did you know that Black Beard put things in his beard (I can't remember what they were) and lit them on fire to increase peoples fear of him. I'd say it worked!

I don't blame you for falling in love with Charleston, MaryLu. My husband and I did the same on our first visit in 2003. We travel there as often as we can, and even have Charleston dishes that we purchased on Market Street.

Along with the things you mentioned, I love walking the Promenade along the Battery and seeing the abandoned Castle Pinckney in the distance. I also love the architecture (the One Room houses with the piazzas you mentioned amaze me) and the history. Referred to as The Holy City, Charleston was once a cradle of Christianity, and men such as Thomas Smythe, John L. Girardeau, and the Adger Brothers sought to advance the gospel there.

I can go on, I love that city so much. Thank you for sharing your experiences, and for setting your book in Charles Town. I've read of those pirates, so your story should be fascinating. Best wishes!

I've never been to Charleston, but I'd like to visit someday. The story about Bonnet was interesting. How sad that he was hung in the end.

Having been to Charleston only twice, my take will most certainly be a bit different. Don't get me wrong, it's a beautiful city with a rich and fascinating history but, being a WWII buff, walking the decks of the USS Yorktown stood out as my favorite part of my visit.

My only other visit to Charleston was in 1980 and I sat in an Air Force terminal for over 48 hours waiting for a HOP to take my to my duty assignment in Germany. Not much to love there! lol

There is honestly so much to see and enjoy in Charleston that the list of personal experiences could be nearly endless.

Jim

Charleston has something for everyone! Although I've lived here for nearly 18 years (wow, where has the time gone?), I never really understood the city until I started studying local colonial and RevWar history, and that's where my heart now lies. The city is full of contradictions even now.

And MaryLu, are you referring to the Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon building? Isn't that an amazing place? To stand in the same ballroom where festivities were hosted for George Washington on his visit to the city! And actual surviving garments from various people of that time period--Eliza Pinckney, Thomas Sumter, etc.

The place is definitely a gold mine for stories!

Hi everyone! Thanks for reading my post. Yes, Debbie, Blackbeard tied pieces of rope into the long braids of his hair and set them on fire. Kimberli, I loved walking along the Battery! It's one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. Rita, yes, I was sad they hung Bonnet too. Jim, I know Charleston has a great Naval history too. I never made it over to the Naval station there, but maybe my daughter who is currently attending the Academy will be stationed there someday. Shannon, I'm so jealous you get to live in Charleston! yes, I do mean the Provost dungeon. Spooky place. My herione is imprisoned there for several days in The Red Siren. But, methinks I give away too much. Thanks all!

I have never been to Charleston but by your desciption I would love to visit. I like history and I am sure there so much history to see and learn about in the city.

danelli04 [at]hotmail [dot]com

MaryLu, I just love the cover and title of your book! Sounds like a great story. I live in GA but have never been to Charleston but would love to have the time to do that. My daughter visited there and told me that I'm missing something special. I'd love to visit the dungeon and St.Michael's church.

I went to Charleston to visit a friend and we didn't really visit any historical sites. I have often told my husband that i would like to go back with him and explore. It is a beautiful city and I look forward to revisiting. I now know even more to look for. Thanks!

I look forward to reading your book - though I am not an avid pirate fan I am intrigued by the idea of a female pirate. Can't wait to read 'The Red Siren' and your other books - you come very highly recommended from a good friend of mine.

Charleston looks like it has so much history around it. I'd visit if I had the chance.
rachelmarie42@yahoo.com