The Big Idea: Sheila Jenne

Authors often use the past for inspiration. But at what point does the inspiration of earlier days become a problem for the setting our author wants to write for? It’s a question Sheila Jenne confronts in this Big Idea for Black Sails to Sunward.


My dad has two major obsessions: space and the sea. Since he couldn’t join Starfleet, he joined the Navy. He always loved telling us about old Navy traditions from the Age of Sail. So it was pretty natural for me to want to combine these two family obsessions by writing a book about sailing in space.

I’m far from the first to do it, of course. There’s Honor Harrington and David Drake. Even Star Trek itself has been described as “Horatio Hornblower in space.” But, I decided, I wanted to do it better. More real Navy traditions. That real salt-air, sea-shanty feel.

To prepare, I brushed up on Hornblower, Master and Commander, and Mutiny on the Bounty. But I quickly stumbled onto a problem…

Black Sails to Sunward: Amazon US|Amazon UK|Barnes & Noble|Waterstones

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Read on to see how she solved the problem at: The Big Idea: Sheila Jenne

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