For this week’s blog, I’m pleased to introduce you to Robin Shipp. Robin is a character created by author, Glenn Quigley. Glenn is also a graphic designer and photographer who lives in Ireland and, as an author, has won a Rainbow Award for his second novel, The Lion Lies Waiting.
Today, we’re getting to know Robin Jonas Shipp, a fisherman from 1780 who appears in all three of Glenn’s novels.
First a short introduction – where do we first meet Robin, a quick background.
When we first meet Robin, he’s starting his day as he always does – aboard his beloved fishing boat, Bucca’s Call. He lives in the little village of Blashy Cove and isn’t well-liked. He’s something of a pariah due to the fact that most people think his father was a murderer. He has few friends and lives a quiet, simple life in the year 1780.
What is your full name?
My full name is Robin Jonas Shipp. My middle name comes from my grandfather. I never knew ’im, mind you. ’E died long before I were born. ’E were a sailor, though, like me.
Where and when were you born?
I can’t say when, exactly, but it were fifty years ago. I were found on board my very own boat, believe it or not. It used to belong to my dad, you see, and one of the women ’e ’ad a dalliance with, well, she gave birth to me and left me there for ’im to find.
Tell us a little about dad…
My dad were Captain Erasmus Shipp. ‘E were at sea for years, took over ’is father’s vessel for a while, then came back ’ome to the island. ’E never married, ’e ’ad too much of a wanderin’ eye, by all accounts.
What is your occupation?
I’m a fisherman. Well, oysterman, if you want to be all technical about it, but I do a spot of pilchard fishin’ in ’igh season, so that counts.
What is your hair colour and eye colour?
I used to ’ave a lovely ’ead of blonde ’air. All gone now, mind you. Well, apart from this little tuft just above my fore’ead, but it’s white as snow these days. My eyes are sky blue.
Portrait of Robin, by Glenn Quigley
Do you have any physical traits that stand out ?
I suppose the first thing people notice about me is my size. I’m taller than anyone in the village, and wider, too. Makes it hard for me to blend in. I always stick out like a sore thumb, no matter where I am. Got a bigger belly than most, except maybe the village butcher. I’m strong, though. A lifetime haulin’ oyster dredgers will do that. I always wear my cap, too. It used to belong to my Dad and it’s got this funny little anchor pendant sewn to it. I’ve never seen another one like it. The rope is ’eld in a spindle in the crown, and winds up around it. I wonder where ’e got it from.
What does your voice sound like?
Oh, I can’t say as I know for certain. I’ve never ’eard it. It’s deep, I’m told. Maybe a bit raspy. I like to think it’s warm. ’Ere’s somethin’ for you— people keep tellin’ me that I ’ave a strong accent! Can you believe that? I don’t know what they’re on about, I think I sound like everyone else round ’ere.
Looking back over your past, how would you describe your childhood?
Now there’s a question. ’Ow long ’ave you got? I remember spendin’ a lot of time with Dad. ’E taught me ’ow to fish, ’ow to cook, and ’ow to clean. I were ’appy, I can tell you that. I used to spend a lot of time with ’is friends — Barnabas and Morwenner. They never ’ad any children of their own and they raised me as much as ’e did, I suppose. We were ’appy, all of us. Until the night that everythin’ changed. I can’t ’ave been more than ten years old. Barnabas died and Dad disappeared, all on the same night. That’s why folks round ’ere say ’e killed ’im, you see. They say Dad killed Barnabas and ran off to join a whalin’ crew. The whaler sank a couple of weeks later and everyone on board drowned. Includin’ Dad. Worst time of my life, that were…
What is you biggest secret? Which person do you least want to know about this secret, why?
I can’t tell you that, it wouldn’t be a secret!
What did you dream of doing when you grew up?
I dreamt of doin’ what I’m doin’ now. Bein’ a fisherman. I went to sea for a few years, when I were a younger man. Tried my ’and at whalin’. Nasty business, that. Not for me. And I weren’t built for life on a ship. I’m too big, I’m always in people’s way, always breakin’ somethin’. I came back ’ome and realized this is where I’m meant to be. I just wish I weren’t ’ere alone.
Something a little more personal, do you have a spouse or significant other? If so, tell us a little about him.
Not these days. Not since Duncan. And ’e won’t even talk to me anymore.
Do you believe in the existence of soul mates and/or true love?
If you’d asked me that a few years ago, I’d ’ave said yes. Backalong, when me and Duncan were… Actually, I don’t want to talk about ’im. Can we change the subject, please?
Of course, who is the person you respect the most?
Morwenner Whitewater. She lost ’er ’usband and ’er friend on the same night and she never let it turn ’er bitter or angry. She’s the strongest person I know.
What is your greatest extravagance?
I treat myself to a bottle of whiskey every once in a while. George Reed does me a good price. ’E’s the landlord of the Moth & Moon. One of the few people I can call a friend.
Early sketches of Merryapple Island, Robin, Duncan, pub landlord Mr Reed and Lady Eva
In your opinion, what is the most evil thing any human being could do?
Take away a child’s parent. Leave them adrift. Alone.
What do you look for in a potential lover?
Ginger ’air. I dunno, I don’t think about it much.
Let’s talk about your likes and dislikes, what is your most treasured possession?
Either my boat, Bucca’s Call, or my cap. I wear it all the time. It were Dad’s, ’e gave it to me the day I caught my first fish.
What makes you laugh?
Oh, lots of stuff. I laugh all the time. I do like watchin’ gulls fightin’ over scraps. They’re pests, but funny ones.
What shocks or offends you?
I’m a sailor, there’s not much shocks me anymore! You should ’ear the language down at the ’arbour after a bad day’s fishin’!
How do you spend a typical night in?
I ’ave dinner by myself at ’ome by the fireplace, or at my favourite spot in the Moth & Moon, then go to bed. I’m always up before dawn so an early night is a must. Not as if I’ve much else to do, anyway.
Do you like to read?
I’m not one for readin’. It’s too ’ard. All them words crammed up tight like pilchards in an ’ogs’ead. Dad left a lot of books in the loft but I don’t look at them.
Describe the routine of a normal day for you. How do you feel when this routine is disrupted?
Up before dawn, wash, dress, then ’ead down to the ’arbour. A quick check of the equipment, then it’s time to cast off and spend all day fishin’. I’ll probably eat at the Moth when I get back to shore. Maybe a quick chat with George or Morwenner. I might pop into the bakery to see Edwin, if ’is mum isn’t about. (She doesn’t like me. I mean, she really doesn’t like me.) Edwin is my other friend. Nice bloke, ’e is. Then it’s ’ome to sit by the fireplace for a bit before bed. I don’t mind a break in routine. Livens things up a bit, doesn’t it? Not that it ’appens very much.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Maybe I’d want to be a tad shorter? There’s only so many times a man can bang ’is ’ead on a doorframe before it becomes tiresome. Edwin says that’s the real reason I wear my cap all the time.
What three words would others probably use to describe you?
Big. Clumsy. Menace.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I’ll probably still be workin’ in Bucca, sellin’ fish at the market, and gettin’ in everybody’s way.
Do you like yourself?
Most of the time. Some of the time.
What is on your bedside table?
A jug of water and a striker-lantern. That’s a lantern with a clockwork thing inside. You turn a key and it does…a thing with…another thing that lights a candle. I’m a fisherman, not an engineer, I dunno ’ow it works!
Who would you most love to share an evening in “The Moth and Moon” with?
My dad. I know ’ow it sounds but there’s no one else I’d want to talk to. I don’t know about politics, or art, or any of that stuff. What would I ’ave to talk to a king or queen about? No, it would ’ave to be my dad. I’d ask what really ’appened to ’im that night ’e left. Oh, and my mum, I suppose. It would nice to know who she is.
If you could choose, how would you want to die?
At sea, on board Bucca’s Call. I were born in ’er and I’ll die in ’er.
We Cry The Sea, has just been released this week and is the third book in The Moth and Moon series.
The Moth and Moon
In the summer of 1780, on the tiny island of Merryapple, burly fisherman Robin Shipp lives a simple, quiet life in a bustling harbour town where most of the residents dislike him due to the actions of his father. With a hurricane approaching, he nonetheless convinces the villagers to take shelter in the one place big enough to hold them all—the ancient, labyrinthine tavern named the Moth & Moon.
While trapped with his neighbours during the raging storm, Robin inadvertently confronts more than the weather. There’s a storm coming. And it’s going to change everything.
EBOOK FORMAT https://books2read.com/u/mKyQlE
PRINT – YOUR LOCAL AMAZON LISTING https://getbook.at/themothandmoon
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSHOP Ask for THE MOTH AND MOON with ISBN 9781948608145
The Lion Lies Waiting
Winter, 1780, and the solstice is fast approaching. Four months after the events of The Moth and Moon, burly fisherman Robin Shipp is preparing for his first Midwinter festival with his lover, the handsome baker Edwin Farriner. But when a letter arrives begging for help, they must travel with their friend, Duncan, to Port Knot on sinister Blackrabbit Island for a final confrontation with Edwin’s mother. Also visiting the island are Lady Eva and her wife Iris, with a stunning proposition that could change Robin and Edwin’s lives forever.
The snow-covered harbour town of Port Knot is a dangerous place. While there, Robin, Edwin, and Duncan explore the menacing rooftop settlement known as the Roost, mingle with high society in the magnificent splendour of Chase Manor, and uncover a violent conspiracy threatening the island’s entire way of life.
Old rivalries will flare, shocking secrets will be revealed, and as Duncan’s scandalous past finally catches up with him, will it ultimately destroy them all?
The men will be tested to their limits as they discover that on Blackrabbit Island, the lion lies waiting.
EBOOK FORMAT https://books2read.com/u/mYALlp
PRINT – YOUR LOCAL AMAZON PAGE https://getbook.at/thelionlieswaiting
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSHOP Ask for THE LION LIES WAITING with ISBN 9781949909715
We Cry The Sea
After the explosive events of The Lion Lies Waiting, life has returned to normal for burly fisherman Robin Shipp. That is until the innkeeper of the ancient Moth & Moon approaches him with a surprising proposal, and an unexpected arrival brings some shocking news that sends Robin on a perilous journey alone.
While he’s away, his lover, Edwin, anxiously prepares for the birth of his first child with his friend, Iris. Her wife, Lady Eva, must travel to Blackrabbit Island for a showdown over the future of the family business. Meanwhile, Duncan nurses an injured man back to health but as the two grow close, the island’s new schoolmaster makes his amorous intentions clear.
Robin’s search for answers to the questions that have haunted his entire life will take him away from everyone he knows, across a dangerous ocean, and into the very heart of a floating pirate stronghold. Pushed to his limits, Robin’s one last chance at finding the truth will cost him more than he ever imagined.
EBOOK FORMAT https://books2read.com/wecrythesea
PRINT – YOUR LOCAL AMAZON PAGE Getbook.at/WeCryTheSea
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSHOP Ask for WE CRY THE SEA with ISBN 978-1-64890-234-5
You can buy a range of t-shirts inspired by the Moth and Moon books exclusively from Moodybear https://themoodybear.com/themothandmoon.html
The designs include Robin on his boat, the sign above the Moth & Moon, and some pirate flags from my new novel, We Cry The Sea!
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Glenn Quigley Self Portrait