Hi guys! Today I am taking the third of my AP exams, AP Biology, and I am ready for them to be over! Also, I am having the end-of-school blues, especially since many of the seniors — who I’ve gotten acquainted to over this past year — are going to leave. I’m very sad about that. On the bright side, next week I am off to the TN Boys’ State, which is going to be tiring but worthwhile. During that time, I will be offline for the whole week, but in the meantime, here is the LILbooKtalk for the month of Mer-May: “Mermaid Tales and Fairy Tales” with D. G. Driver and Tobie Easton!
About Cry of the Sea
Juniper Sawfeather is choosing which college to attend after graduation from West Olympia High School next year. She wants to go to San Diego to be far away from her environmental activist parents. They expect her to think the way they do, but having to be constantly fighting causes makes it difficult to be an average 17-year-old high school student. Why do her parents have to be so out there?
Everything changes when she and her father rush to the beach after a reported oil spill. As they document the damage, June discovers three humans washed up on the beach, struggling to breathe through the oil coating their skin. At first she thinks they must be surfers, but as she gets closer, she realizes these aren’t human at all. They’re mermaids!
Now begins a complex story of intrigue, conspiracy and manipulation as June, her parents, a marine biologist and his handsome young intern, her best friend, the popular clique at school and the oil company fight over the fate of the mermaids.
Lia Nautilus may be a Mermaid but she’s never lived in the ocean. Ever since the infamous Little Mermaid unleashed a curse that stripped Mer of their immortality, war has ravaged the Seven Seas. Now Lia lives in a secret community of land-dwelling Mer hidden among Malibu’s seaside mansions and attends high school with humans. To protect everyone around her, she must limit her contact with non-Mer. No exceptions. But when the new girl sets her sights on Lia’s crush, she will risk exposing her deadly secret to stop Clay from falling in love with the wrong girl.
Questions are in bold
Kester: The first author we have today is the wonderful Tobie Easton, who I met last year at the SE-YA Book Fest! I loved the first two books in The Mer Chronicles and I cannot wait for the third installment in the series! Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your novels?
Tobie: Hi! It was so wonderful meeting you, too, Kester! Your enthusiasm for the series has really meant a lot to me. The Mer Chronicles series follows the descendants of the Little Mermaid and offers a peek into a world where Mermaids aren’t just real but live among us on land.
As for me, I like to think I write modern fairy tales. I like books that feel magical whether that means they actually feature magic or just really immersive world- building. And, I’m a sucker for romance. 😉
Kester: That’s so awesome, Tobie!!! Thanks so much!
Today we also have the amazing D.G. Driver, who is a local Tennessee author living in Nashville! I devoured her Juniper Sawfeather series and loved the books! Would you like to share with us a bit about yourself and your books?
D. G.: Hi, Thank you for inviting me to be part of this chat. My series The Juniper Sawfeather Trilogy is about a teen environmentalist who discovers mythical creatures tied to her American Indian heritage. In book one, Cry of the Sea, she finds real mermaids caught up in an oil spill. I mostly write young adult and middle grade. I tend to favor contemporary fantasy stories.
Tobie: That sounds so cool, Donna!
D. G.: Thanks. Yours sound great too.
Kester: Here’s my first question for both of y’all: The Mer Chronicles and the Juniper Sawfeather series paint two very different images of mermaids, along with their characteristics and their culture. What inspired you to display mermaids the way you presented them in your book? Could you describe your process as you created your own “spin” on a beloved mythical creature?
D. G.: In Cry of the Sea, I wanted to make the mermaids come across as real creatures that would exist in the ocean today. They are more like fish than the fairy tale creatures in other mermaid stories. It was important to the story, because June and her family feel like people would help their fight against oil pollution if they found out mermaids lived in the ocean.
Tobie: I used the original Hans Christian Andersen version of the Little Mermaid as a jumping off point, but was also very influenced by the Malibu, California setting I chose for the story.
D. G.: I used to live in L.A. Very familiar with Malibu.
Tobie: So, my series has a sparkling, sunlit, ocean mansion-y feel but also addresses some of the darker, more haunting aspects of the original story. With a healthy dose of siren mythology. ‘Cause you gotta have mythology.
D. G.: Mythology is key. My books take place in Washington State, and they use American Indian mythology from the Pacific Northwest.
Kester: I loved the mythology in yours, D. G.. It was all so mesmerizing!
Tobie: That sounds really fascinating!
D. G.: Thanks. The mythology becomes more involved in books 2 and 3. No mermaids in book two, though.
Tobie: Can you share which creatures will be in book 2, or is that hush-hush for now?
D. G.: No secret. The books are out. There’s and ancient tree spirit in book 2 that traps Juniper 170 feet up in an old growth tree. In book 3 the mermaids are back, along with shapeshifting orcas, and a monster made of stone.
Tobie: I love the idea of a tree spirit! So cool!