Hey everyone! I’m so excited to be a part of Lyndsay Johnson’s blog tour for her novel, Fire of the Sea (March 24, 2014)! For my blog tour stop, I have an interview with Lyndsay. First, here’s some more information about Fire of the Sea:
Sharp, sleek, and golden. Like the dagger she has worn since childhood, eighteen-year-old Aeva is all three of these things. But there is something else that this mermaid and her prized weapon share – they are both hunted.
Hidden within the caves off Iceland’s dark shore, Aeva waits to take her place as the next ruler of the Meriads. But when Aeva uses her potent and alluring song to save a drowning human, she disrupts a delicate balance. Realizing she has unexpectedly bound herself to Gunnar, Aeva is torn between duty and love.
Aeva severs one life to begin another, and soon finds herself not only rejected by the sea, but also stalked by an old enemy. As the worlds of myth and man intertwine, Aeva will challenge fate to protect her own sacred relic and the man she loves.
But legends and lies cast an intricate net. With time and safety quickly unraveling for Aeva and Gunnar, there is only one clear course: Find and defeat Delphine before she can shift again.
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For the blog tour, Lyndsay was kind enough to share an excerpt from Fire of the Sea with us. This comes from Chapter 2: The Call. Enjoy!
In the deepening blue, what appeared to be an enormous jellyfish was descending slowly and steadily. A white plume the size of a ship’s sail, with long trailing tentacles, hung in the agitated water. Part of it still clung to the surface.
I moved closer. Reaching out, my fingers felt the edges of the ghostly form. Fabric. I’d read of its tight weave used in human clothing. I’d never seen so much of it, much less touched it.
White strings were attached to the fabric, tangling down into the depths. My gold hair whirled in front of my face as I paused to make sense of what hovered before me. As I whipped my head around for clarity, I saw him.
Snared at the center of the mass was a young man. A human. What I had first thought to be a jellyfish was something else entirely. The human was attached to the now collapsing net of fabric and rope by a bundle strapped to his back and shoulders. He sank deeper and deeper in a slow-motion descent, as the last of the fabric slipped below the surface. His head was bowed, but his body wasn’t completely limp. He struggled sluggishly. Was he giving up? Why didn’t he remove the pack?
It took me a moment to tear myself away from my fascination. I managed to remember that humans couldn’t hold air in their lungs underwater for very long. They would lose strength in the sea, not gain it. He was drowning.
And now here’s the interview! Hope you guys enjoy it!
Question: Describe your book in ten words or less. Go!
Answer: Daughter of the Sea, Viking son, coveted relic, common enemy!
Question: Where did the idea for Fire of the Sea come from?
Answer: I had a dream, actually. I’ve always had really vivid, detailed dreams. One morning I woke up after dreaming that I was a mermaid. I had rescued a pilot who had fallen from his plane (he was being dragged under by his parachute). I was swimming through all of this billowing, white fabric. It was amazing. I woke up and had to type a rough draft of what would eventually become the second chapter in my book.
Question: Why mermaids?
Answer: It seemed like the right time (and because who doesn’t love mermaids). We’ve seen a lot of vampires and zombies, and I wanted to write something that didn’t feel as dark. Of course I do have a few dark characters in the book, but overall I was aiming for something with a little more beauty and magic.
Question: What makes Fire of the Sea stand out from other mermaid books?
Answer: While Fire of the Sea is in some ways a modern twist on a classic tale (mermaid saves human, falls in love, leaves her home beneath the waves), my story is also quite unique. My mermaids are Icelandic and live in sea caves. They are marine mammals and breathe air. They are generally a peaceful species. But I combine this peaceful race with the mysterious Selurs (or Selkies of the North), as well as a dangerous shapeshifting demigoddess. I also draw on a lot of Norse mythology for Fire of the Sea, and tie Viking heritage into the story, as well. There really is something for everyone in this book. It’s overflowing with myth and legend.
Question: What scene do you most regret having to cut?
Answer: I had two major changes that were really hard (but only one was a true “cut”). The first came before I began submitting my manuscript for publication, and the second came later in the game. My main character, Aeva, has a best friend named Sissel. Sissel is a unique mermaid because she is a “Seer,” and has special abilities to see things in her mind’s eye. Sissel has a complicated and detailed backstory that I thoroughly enjoyed writing. But it was adding unnecessary distraction to my plot, and seemed to slow things down. But it would make a great appendix or novella! Also, I ultimately had to change my antagonist’s name. For many valid reasons, my publisher and I decided it would be best. It was really hard to make that change because her name had so many levels of meaning. We came up with a great alternative, but for me, my antagonist will always have her original name.
Question: If you could create an “alternate ending” for your book, what – if anything – would you do differently? Why?
Answer: Sometimes I toy with the idea of what I call “the trilogy that never was.” I really feel like this book stands on its own. But I do find myself daydreaming about how I would have gone about a trilogy. In order to do that, I would have had to create a completely new ending for this particular book that would have taken things in a new direction for a while before circling back to the current ending. I don’t think I could ever abandon the ending that I have written… but I could have possibly delayed it.
Question: Craziest thing you’ve had to Google for a work in progress?
Answer: I don’t think I could pick one thing. Ha! There have been many Tweets and Facebook posts stating, “I never thought I would be Googling (fill in the blank).” Some of my Google searches involved ancient runes and divination, Viking longship construction, traditional Icelandic fisherman attire, and parachute material.
Question: What books would you recommend to a reader who loved yours, and wants to read something similar?
Answer: Well, I don’t know about other mermaid books, per se. But I can recommend some wonderful fantasy trilogies. From my publisher, 48fourteen, check out the Born in Flames trilogy by Candace Knoebel (dragons!). And if you like the idea of nineteenth century boarding school girls who moonlight as witches, try the Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray. I am also on book two of the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, which has a wonderful combination of magic and a unique cultural aspect, which I really enjoy (her world building is wonderful). And finally, the Starcrossed trilogy by Josephine Angelini (modern-day Greek mythology with a stunning love story).
Question: What are three must-have items when you sit down to write?
Answer: My laptop, my writing “soundtrack,” and Junior Mints.
Question: Are you working on anything new?
Answer: My next project is a dystopian YA novel that explores how people perceive beauty and power. I plan to finish that in the coming year.
Lyndsay grew up in the wide expanses of Texas, where the only thing stronger than the accents was the state pride. An over-active imagination, tale-telling father, and encouraging librarian mother lead to her love of all things creative.
When it comes to books on her bedside table, young adult lit has always been a favorite (Blue Balliett, Libba Bray, and Stephenie Meyer, to name a few.) But it was actually an old, yellowing copy of Scandinavian Folk and Fairy Tales that planted a particularly relentless seed. Shapeshifters and sea nymphs began forming the seed of an idea that would eventually grow into Lyndsay’s debut novel, Fire of the Sea.
When she is not writing, you can find Lyndsay spending time with her family in the Rocky Mountains of Utah. She enjoys sitting in dark theaters, trying new gluten-free recipes, watching breaking storms over the peaks out her window, and secret naps.
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