Digging deep into the true history of Piracy and those who lived this life, Robert Jacob unearthed a treasure of information that allows his readers to experience the true life and motivation of pirates in their Golden Age. His book, A Pirate’s Life in the Golden Age of Piracy won a Gold Medal in the Education category of the 2019 Florida Authors and Publisher’s President’s Book Awards (and a Silver Medal in the Coffee Table Book category.)
Tell me about your background. Where you grew up, where you live now, education, work experience? Share some interesting things about yourself that we should know about.
I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and got involved with living history in 1971. I did Revolutionary war re-enacting all through the bicentennial. I received a BS in education from Duquesne University and a MA from VCU in Richmond. I served in the United States Marine Corps for 31 years (1982-2013)
While serving in the Corps, I continued with my living history hobby, doing Rev-War, western gunfighter and mountain man rendezvous along with my wife, Anne, who always participates in these events. In 2006, I became interested in pirate re-enacting.
I retired from the Corps in 2013 and moved to Florida.
What inspired you to write this book? What is the story behind the story?
When I became interested in pirate living history, I wanted to learn about the time period, so I read every book I could find. I quickly realized that most of them were highly inaccurate and none of them told the complete story. Most were re-hashes of one book written in 1724, which was not historically correct and was filled with embellishments and incorrect “facts”. After several years of searching for a good and complete book on the subject, I decided to write the book I was searching for.
What has been your biggest challenge or obstacle?
Finding a publisher.
What has been your biggest “aha” moment or success?
I have many of them, each time someone tells me that they really enjoyed reading my book.
What authors do you like to read? What books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?
I exclusively read history books. Most of them are difficult to read. Not only are they exceptionally wordy, but the jump around in the historical timeline when telling their story. Their influence on me was to develop a style that is NOT theirs. My narrative is easy to read and is chronological as much as possible. There is one author whose style did influence me, James Burke. He also did a TV series in the 1980’s titled “The Day the Universe Changed.”
Do you write every single day? Any writing rituals?
My writing seems to go in spurts. I may write constantly for a week, then not touch it for a month.
What are your interests outside of writing?
I still do living history and give lectures on pirate history. I also enjoy fishing.
Share some tips for other Authors or Aspiring Authors: What would you do differently? What would you do the same? Please share anything you think would be beneficial to those reading this.
Getting the right publishing team is everything. No matter how good your writing is, getting it formatted and getting the right cover design is very important. I found my publisher by joining local groups of writers and asking them to introduce me to their publishers.