In "The Wreck of the Nymph" by author and award-winning journalist Don Flood, protagonist Amanda McCartney daydreams of becoming rich and famous.
Bright and pretty, Amanda assumed her day would come, but now she’s nearing 30 and feeling the desperation of a dead-end career. She’s eager to weasel her way into a hunt for a legendary treasure ship, even if that means telling lies and using a little seduction to manipulate seedy members of the opposite sex. After all, there’s a billion dollars in gold at stake.
But is Amanda willing to reject a man who loves her? Make a deadly deal with a thug and his stone-cold killer bodyguard?
Flood’s fast-paced, page-turning thriller pushes back against what’s become a modern cliché: the Woman Warrior. In "The Hunger Games" and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," the female hero triumphs by defeating male foes in physical combat. Of course, this trope was a response to an older cliché: the Damsel in Distress, who waited helplessly for the male hero to save her.
In "The Wreck of the Nymph," a woman drives the plot, and she doesn’t just react to the actions of the male characters, like most so-called modern heroines.
“Amanda doesn’t best men through physical prowess, but she is a modern woman,” Flood says. “She beats men the old-fashioned way: she flatters them, outsmarts them, outmaneuvers them, and she isn’t shy about exploiting her sex appeal to get what she wants.”
"The Wreck of the Nymph" is loosely based on the legendary treasure of the HMS DeBraak, a British ship that capsized in a storm near the mouth of the Delaware Bay in 1798. For nearly two centuries, rumors persisted that the ship sank with a fortune in Spanish gold. As the son of a local newspaper editor and a journalist himself, Flood was familiar with the story.
He’s also familiar with how the newspaper industry has changed.
“As a newspaperman, I’ve seen a lot of talented, intelligent young people enter the business because they love to write. A career in newspapers used to be one way to make a living as a writer. Many people began at a weekly, moved up to a larger daily and finally landed at a big metro paper. Or became columnists or nonfiction authors. Some still do, but the career path is much tougher than it used to be,” says Flood. “Today, we have online publications that offer a wealth of opportunities for writers, but not for those who have to eat and pay rent.
“And what’s happening in journalism is matched throughout the American economy,” Flood continues. “The result is that you’ve got lots of young people, well educated and driven, who are nevertheless having a hard time getting ahead. Not too mention paying off college loans.”
Flood is an award-winning journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the newspaper industry. After attending the University of Delaware, he became editor of the Dover Post and later a syndicated columnist with King Features. Flood writes a column for the Cape Gazette and is a mentor for HOSTS, a literacy program for students, and lives in Lewes with his wife, Helen.