FIRE OF THE SEA
by Lyndsay Johnson
Release date: March 14th, 2014
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 jagged coast, Aeva waits to take her place as the next ruler of the Meriads. But new rumors of an old enemy begin to taint the merfolk’s guarded waters. Delphine, the covetous shapeshifter from Aeva’s past, has emerged from hiding. She comes for the blade said to grant immortality, and is drawing Aeva closer to a forbidden shore.
When Aeva uses her potent and alluring song to save a drowning human, the balance begins to shift dangerously. Realizing she has unexpectedly bound herself to Gunnar—the raven-haired stranger with eyes to match an arctic sky—Aeva is torn between a promise to protect the Meriads, and leaving the sea for love on land. Surrendering to fate, she painfully severs one life to begin another.
On the unfamiliar banks of Iceland, Aeva soon finds herself not only rejected by the sea, but also stalked by dark forces. As the worlds of myth and man intertwine, Aeva looks to Gunnar’s family to help protect both her 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.
***Author Interview with Lyndsay Johnson***
Tell us something unique about yourself.
I grew up riding horses. My best friend and I competed in show jumping, and we loved it. We spent every extra minute of our lives at the stables. But when my friend started dreaming of the two of us competing in the Olympics, I said, “I don’t have time for the Olympics—I have to go to college!” 🙂
What inspired you to become a writer?
I have always loved to write. For me, there is a constant creative drive, whether it’s writing, illustrating, painting, or designing. I have degrees in graphic design and creative writing. When I was younger I wrote and illustrated a lot of stories and poetry (when I wasn’t riding horses). Once I was older, I focused on graphic design for more than ten years. But over time the desire to write began to resurface again. So I decided to just give it a go!
What inspired your paranormal novel, Fire of the Sea?
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. (*for an excerpt from this chapter, see below)
What was it like to write Aevaand her inner battle between protecting her people and following her heart?
Aeva is the daughter of a king. She wears a heavy mantle. But her family was killed when she was young, and so she has been hidden away, preparing for her future under a veil of protection. I wanted to write a protagonist who had inherent power, but who was also realistic (you know, for a mermaid). I gave Aeva some challenges that I have had to face in my life during the transition from teenager to adult. She feels nervous about making really big decisions. She has some fear of the unknown. She sometimes makes rash decisions based purely on emotion. But unlike Aeva at the beginning of the book, I am able to look back on that point in my life and see the hand of providence. So I wanted fate to be at the heart of Aeva’s story and struggle. I really felt like Aeva could be true to her duty and people, while also following her heart. One of the major themes of the book is that choice and fate are intertwined. I honestly believe that if we listen to our inner truth and act on that, things have a marvelous way of working out.
What influenced you into writing about mythical creatures such as mermaids? What kind of research did you do to build the backstory of your novel?
I love fantasy. So when I had the idea for Fire of the Sea, I was really excited to find a new way to portray mermaids. My mermaids are unique in that they are Icelandic. I wanted to draw on Norse mythology for Fire of the Sea. An old copy of Scandinavian folk and fairy tales was probably my first inspiration. I did a ton of research. The book took me more than two years to write, partly because I was doing so much research. My mermaids are marine mammals. They have tails like dolphins. They breathe air. I read about arctic conditions, and how my mermaids’ skin could keep them warm (like a wetsuit). I read every book on mermaids I could get my hands on, and then created my own brand of mer culture. I did a lot of research on Iceland, ancient texts, runes and divination…the list goes on. Ultimately, I weave together elements from the Icelandic Sagas and other ancient texts, Norse mythology, a bit of Greek mythology, my race of merfolk, Selkies, and humans descended from Vikings, all set in modern-day Iceland. Whew!
Do you have any other books in the works? What are your future goals?
I am currently working on a dystopian YA novel that explores how we perceive beauty and power. I plan to finish that in the coming year. And in the mean time, I hope to have some more crazy vivid dreams!
What advice would you give an aspiring author?
Revise, edit, resubmit. Sending your book out into the world is like dating. It’s a rollercoaster ride. You think you’ve found “the one” in an agent or publisher, only to be let down, often repeatedly. Don’t spend your time worrying about the ones who don’t like you. Keep looking for love. You don’t need to worry about the 200 that say “no.” You just need one to say “yes.” So spiff yourself up and get back out there!
Where is your favorite place to write?
I write mostly in bed on my laptop. Maybe not my favorite place to write, but it’s the most practical. I have three little kiddos (my third was just born in February). So I tend to either write in bed at night, or carry my laptop around and find pockets of time to write during the day.
What is your favorite genre to read?
I don’t really have a favorite genre, although I do tend to gravitate towards fantasy. I also read a lot of young adult. Some of my favorites include Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliet, The Griffin and Sabine trilogy by Nick Bantock, The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, the Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray, and I could listen to all seven installments of Harry Potter on audio book on repeat, forever.
What is the best thing that ever happened to you?
My family. Having a husband and three amazing children has profoundly changed me. They all inspire me to see the beauty and magic in the world around me. Even on the tough days.
Chapter Two: The Call
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.
About the Author:
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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