So, as I was talking to Rhys about our upcoming joint takeover of Dreamspinner’s Twitter account, she asked me a question about Love Rising. “Why mermaids?”
Well, there’s a short answer to this question—and a longer one.
The short answer is: one of my closest friends, Melanie Tushmore, posted some prompts last year before her birthday asking people to write stories for her as gifts. Since I happen to love my dear Ms. Tushmore, I decided I would write one. The prompt that appealed to me the most was her request for mermen, of which she is a huge fan. In fact, that’s something we have in common, and so Wick the merman and Love Rising were born.
See, I’m a bit of a fairy tale and folklore junkie. I’ve read plenty of stories about mermaids and selkies and the creatures that live in the depths. There’s a certain appeal to a creature that is part of both worlds at once—land and sea. And then there are all the stories, dating all the way back to 1000 BC. The first mermaid was supposedly the goddess Atargatis, who loved a mortal man and accidentally killed him. She jumped into the lake in remorse and took the form of a fish, but her beauty was too great to be hidden, so she became a mermaid—woman above the waist, fish below. But hers was far from the only tale about mermaids. Stories about them have appeared in numerous cultures throughout the world, and you have to wonder where they all came from. Could these types of creatures actually exist or are they purely mythical? No evidence has ever been found to the positive, but the romantic in me wants to believe.
I rooted for Ariel in Disney’s version of The Little Mermaid and lamented the fact that she was trapped at sea while all she wanted was to live on land and experience life as a human. I debated whether or not to write this story in the merman’s point of view, to show him yearning for a land dweller. But as soon as I started writing, the words started flowing from the perspective of my human main character, Francis. See, his story was a more tragic one, full of loss and longing. Wick, although he remains a bit of mystery in Love Rising because of the language barrier and the limited POV, is a much happier, carefree creature. In his natural habitat, he’s playful. Don’t get me wrong, Wick feels deeply, too, but it was Francis I could relate to—his fascination with this creature and how it can exist, his protectiveness, his awe. I think if I ever saw a merman/mermaid face to face, one like Wick, I’d feel much the same way.
I might dabble with mermen again. Wick has numerous siblings, in fact, and one of them has been whispering in my ear. Maybe such a creature is out there somewhere, right now. Most of our planet is made up of water. Who knows what lurks in the depths? 😉
Love Rising is available now. Buy it from Dreamspinner or wherever else your favorite ebooks are sold.
In the 1700s on the island of Sagrario, men who love other men find safe haven. For Francis Holland, an escaped indentured servant, Sagrario offers nothing but loneliness. His life begins to change when he finds Wick, a merman, washed ashore.
When Wick awakens under Francis’s care, Francis returns him to the sea at his request. Soon after, they begin to meet in secret, and gradually, Francis blossoms under this new companionship. However, a merman is a difficult creature to entrust one’s heart to. With one trapped on land and the other at sea, the differences in their species threaten to keep them apart forever. It may not be long before Wick is gone, taking Francis’s reason to smile with him.
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