With her debut novel ‘Wrecked’ coming out today, May 1st, I’d like to welcome author Anna Davies to the blog. The month of May is HUGE for mermaid debuts, so I asked Anna a few questions about the book and being behind one of the whopping THREE mermaid YA’s coming out in the next thirty days.
Q: Describe your debut novel ‘Wrecked‘ in 25 words or less!
A girl finds out that when you feel like you’ve lost everything, sometimes, the only thing you can depend on is a little bit of magic.
Q: ‘Wrecked‘ takes place on Whym Island, a place shrouded in folklore. You live in Brooklyn. How did you go about ‘escaping’ the city during your writing, in order to realistically capture the atmosphere of the island, its beach and the water?
In college, I spent summers working at an arts festival in South Carolina, so I knew SC well enough to bring back memories. And then I’ve always loved the ocean—I used to be a camp counselor when I was younger on an island in the San Juans off of Washington State, where I always used to sleep outside, on the beach, in my sleeping bag. I love New York, but I always escape to the beach whenever I can—have been to Costa Rica twice this year to learn how to surf. Which, by the way, is what I hope my next book will be about—surfing!
Q: What inspired your love for mermaids and the water? Is it something you’ve always been interested in?
Like every little girl, I loved the movie The Little Mermaid. I think there’s something so magical about believing a whole world exists under the ocean. And then the ocean is so romantic. It’s so beautiful, and wild, and really something that we can’t tame. I feel like I’ve grown more and more obsessed with the ocean as I’ve gotten into surfing—you’ve got to understand and respect the waves and they’ll respect you back. In the book, Miranda and her friends have all grown up with this respect and understanding of the water, but they still realize that there are some things about it that are outside of their control.
Q: What were the main challenges in writing Miranda’s story? What parts of the novel did you struggle most with?
Well, I began writing this right after my mom died from cancer. There are actually a few sections of the book I wrote before she passed away. And then when I had to go back into the novel after she passed away—it was so hard. So I really understood the pain, confusion, and sadness Miranda experiences in most of the novel, because I was going through it at the time.
Q: How long did the process of writing the novel take? Was the story of ‘Wrecked‘ one you had flitting about in your head for a while, or did it demand to be written immediately?
I’d been trying to think of a new thing to write, since my ghostwriting work (novels about two vampire brothers who hate each other) was coming to a close. I also had gotten really into legends and fairy tales and myths, and travelled to the Isle of Man, in the Irish Sea, to do some research on fairies. And then somehow, the idea for Wrecked came from that. Because whenever I sat down to write about fairies and the Isle of Man, I kept thinking mermaids, and somehow, this is the story that I ended up telling.
Q: You have some friendly competition this month, as two other mermaid novels are also making their debut – ‘Of Poseidon‘ by Anna Banks and ‘The Vicious Deep‘ by Zoraida Cordova. If readers could only pick one of the three, why should they choose ‘Wrecked’?
Well, hopefully, they can read all three! Wrecked is about magic, and mermen (betwixtmen, to be specific) but it’s also about love and loss and learning that you can move on from anything, and that sometimes, when you don’t believe in anything, you’ve just got to believe—period—and let things unfold.
Q: You’ve ghost-written books before. Is it refreshing and liberating to finally have a book out with your name on it? How did the process this time around differ from your previous publishing experiences?
It’s a lot different! Before Wrecked, I’d ghostwritten two major series (one about the aforementioned two vampire brothers/rivals, and the other about a group of privileged Upper East Side elite teenagers) I learned so much from both series—had amazing editors, worked with the creators, and learned how to write fast and take direction. With Wrecked, I had a lot more freedom, which was good and bad. Good in that I could really drive the story, and bad because I was used to working with an outline. I ended up just doing a basic outline for Wrecked, but in my future projects, I now write detailed outlines, plot notes, and character descriptions before I start.
Q: 2012 is an exciting year for YA debuts! Aside from your own (hehe), what are some titles you’re eagerly waiting for or have already enjoyed?
Ones that I’m excited about — of course, Of Poseidon, by Anna Banks, since we share a first name, subject matter, and some fun Tweets. I like the premise of If I Lie by Corrine Jackson, about a girl who cheats on her boyfriend—who’s currently serving in Afghanistan. It was a debut last year, but I love Jocelyn Davies (no relation, but we had coffee once) A Beautiful Dark —and the next book in the series, A Fractured Light, is coming out this fall.
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