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CRESCENT MOON BAY

Where better to start your voyage than Crescent Moon Bay on the East Coast of Australia? Here’s where Connor and Grace Tempest spent the first thirteen years of their lives, living with their dad, Dexter Tempest, the town’s lighthouse keeper. As some of you may have guessed, I was inspired by the Australian coastal town of Byron Bay and the lighthouse at Cape Byron, which marks the most easterly point of the continent. I should say though (especially to any Australians reading this!) that any resemblance to Byron Bay begins and ends with the topography! Byron Bay is …

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MA KETTLE’S TAVERN

Ma Kettle’s Tavern is the place where every self-respecting pirate heads for “the three Rs” – Rum *, Rest and Relaxation - between skirmishes on the high seas. It is located on a rocky outcrop at the water’s edge… “There it is!” Connor said. A neon light came into view, flashing erratically through the darkness. “Ma Kettle’s Tavern,” Grace read. “I hope you’re ready for this, Grace,” said Cate, who stood on her other side. “Is anyone ever quite ready for Ma’s?” asked Bart, with a smile. The bar is never the same from one visit to …

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THE DIABLO

Ships are integral to the world of Vampirates. Visually, so far, they all hark back to the era of the tall ships from the original golden age of piracy in the eighteenth century. However, on closer inspection, each ship is somewhat different and expresses the unique character of its captain and crew. The Diablo (meaning “The Devil” in Spanish) is one of the most notorious pirate ships ever to roam the high seas. It is captained by the eccentric and flamboyant Molucco Wrathe, oldest brother in a clan of three famous pirate captains (his brothers are Barbarro and Porfirio). In …

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THE TYPHON

The Typhon is the ship captained by Barbarro Wrathe, Molucco’s brother. There is a (slightly embarrassing) story as to how I created its name. I wanted to find a two-headed monster, so as to reflect the captaincy and deputy captaincy of Barbarro and his rather terrifying wife, Trofie. When I searched for this, Wikipedia said that, in mythology, the Typhon was a two-headed monster. “Perfect!” I thought, “I’ll use it”. Then, when we got to editing the book, we found that in fact the Typhon was a many headed monster! This wasn't really what I'd intended. But it …

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THE NOCTURNE

The Nocturne is the most mysterious of ships (we don’t even find out its name until the end of Tide of Terror) and is first glimpsed by Connor as he drifts in the sea awaiting rescue. “All he could make out was the dark silhouette of its strange, tattered sails. They seemed to flap gently as the ship made its way. It seemed as if, rather than sailing through the rough ocean, the ship was merely skimming the surface, unaffected by the strong currents.” Connor glimpses the figurehead, with her sleek black bob and wide, mesmerizing eyes. Little does …

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PIRATE ACADEMY

As I’ve gone on with the Vampirates sequence, it’s continued to be a melting pot of genres, ideas and influences. For the second book, Tide of Terror, I created a Pirate Academy, and it was really important to me that I make it unlike any other school I’d experienced or read about. As Connor says to Grace “You know me and schools . . . it’s just not a good combination.” So I had to come up with something a little bit different… Pirate Academy has an exotic, tropical location and the buildings are painted bright yellows, pinks and …

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SANCTUARY

Having travelled to Pirate Academy in Tide of Terror, I thought it would be interesting to journey to a very different kind of institution in Blood Captain. The idea behind Sanctuary was essentially a “rehab” centre for vampires. In the conventional world, people go into “rehab” to deal with their addictions to alcohol and other drugs. Sanctuary is the place for vampires or vampirates who are wrestling with their addiction to blood. Of course, Grace and Lorcan, and the rest of their party, have somewhat different reasons for travelling there. Sanctuary is presided over by the powerful and enigmatic Vampirate …

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THE BLOOD TAVERN

Ok, so you’re thirsty…as in vampirate thirsty but that is only the start of your problems. A night out on the oceans isn’t what it used to be. First you need to get yourself a boat then navigate along the dark waters known as Limbo Creek. Good luck finding the barely visible doorway, set into a craggy and overgrown rock-face. Well, you’ve made it so far, but as a pair milky eyes stare out at you through the metal viewing slot, do you even know the correct password that will allow you access? All the best …

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LANTAO ISLAND

Lantao is a remote, sea-faring community made up of stilt houses that have been built at the base of Lantao Peak, the island’s highest point…think of the lush ruggedness of the Hawaiian Islands or the dominating peak Pão de Açúcar overlooking the beaches of Rio de Janeiro. Lantao Island is only two days sail from Pirate Academy, yet even the most seasoned sailors rely on navigational maps to find their way. Once ashore, if you can get past the rancid stench of the salt fish and shrimp paste being sold along the waterfront, you are in …

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