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Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

nowhere to escape - Shadow in the Sea by Sheila A. Nielson

When sixteen-year-old Sadelyn Hanson washes up on the shores of Windwaithe Island, her beauty and the strange marks on her wrist make superstitious locals suspect she is a mermaid. Feigning amnesia, Sade hides a far worse secret: she was sailing to her own murder trial when she was thrown overboard by the real killer, the cunning and cruel Captain Westwood.

Description:

Published: July 15th, 2015

When sixteen-year-old Sadelyn Hanson washes up on the shores of Windwaithe Island, her beauty and the strange marks on her wrist make superstitious locals suspect she is a mermaid. Feigning amnesia, Sade hides a far worse secret: she was sailing to her own murder trial when she was thrown overboard by the real killer, the cunning and cruel Captain Westwood.

Sade’s quiet effort to rebuild her life on the island is threatened when she meets an actual young merman. Unable to speak his language, Sade still longs for the warm companionship he offers, despite the locals’ dire legends about merfolk and their dark magic. But her confused feelings for the impossible boy become the least of her problems when Captain Westwood’s ship docks at Windwaithe.

With nowhere to escape, Sade must trust in the one person who doesn’t fear the merfolk. A woman who had dealings with them herself—years ago.

GUEST POST
Secrets of the Sea and Fantasy 

World building in a novel is never an easy process. Sadelyn Hanson, my main character in Shadow in the Sea, is terrified of the ocean. Her fear of drowning is all consuming and very real. That’s because her fear—is mine. 

I almost drowned as a teenager. I was alone—swimming across a lake in California—when things went frighteningly wrong. Realizing I was going under, I panicked and made things much worse. I quickly learned that if you can’t keep your head while swimming, you’ll never keep your head above water. Luckily, I was able to calm down enough to float back up to the surface and slowly stroke my way back to shore. I was so hysterical and weak by that time—I didn’t have enough strength to pull myself out of the water. I just clung to the side of the boat dock, reliving the horrible nightmare of almost having drowned over and over in my mind. I’ve had a raging fear of deep water ever since. 

There are times I can’t help but wonder if this experience isn’t one of the reasons I was so captivated with the idea of writing a story about merfolk. It was my greatest dread. A forbidden topic I’d always avoided. Writing Shadow in the Sea, forced me to face my fear. To learn every fascinating detail of what it would be like to live deep within the darkest depths of the ocean. 

How would merfolk communicate with each other surrounded by water? Could they hear each other when they spoke out loud—or would they have to read each other’s minds? As I asked myself each question, I had to do research in order to find out the answer. For example—I studied whale calls in order to understand how sound worked underwater. I was amazed to discover how much faster and further sound travels in water versus air. Another question I asked myself was how would the merfolk see down there in the pitch black? To answer this, I watched a documentary about the wreck of the Titanic being explored at the bottom of the ocean. I took extensive notes describing what it looked like down there—all lit up by the eerie light of submersibles. How far did the lights reach? How much area could be lit up at once? How clear was the water that far down? What did the bottom of the ocean look like? What kinds of fish were living that deep down? These were the kind of things I needed to know in order to write a mercity that felt real. 

As a writer, I imagined all sorts of cool things in my fictional underwater world. But once I did the research—some of those ideas had to go—or at the very least—evolve. An example of this was my desire to have the mermaids wear jewelry. That was the way I’d always pictured them in my mind. Unfortunately, most metals quickly rust or erode in seawater. After doing some research, I turned up some pictures of sunken treasure that had been found sitting at the bottom of the ocean after hundreds of years. Most of the metals they found were in pretty bad shape—except for one. The gold was as shiny as the day it went down. Turns out, gold is one of a very few metals that don’t rust or corrode—which is why all the mermaids in Shadow in the Sea only wear solid gold jewelry. 

I also wanted my merfolk to dance. But when you live in water, what does that look like? How does it work? Watching videos of synchronized swimmers and professional mermaid performers, really helped me to imagine (and describe) this phenomenon much better. 

I must admit, there were times while writing Shadow in the Sea that I found myself reliving that day when I almost drowned. As I imagined the watery merworld, I’d find myself struggling to get enough air into my chest. It felt so real, I’d have to step away from the computer long enough to catch my breath and calm myself. But I was always eager to return as quickly as possible to that magical place in order to explore just a little bit further. I couldn’t help myself. 

I can only hope readers will feel the same.

About the author:
Sheila never did figure out what she wanted to be when she grew up. 

She graduated from college with a BFA in illustration, has worked as a children's librarian for over eighteen years, and would eventually like to be a full-time author. Why pick one career when you can have many? 

Sheila lives with her two pets, a goffin cockatoo and a tiny toy poodle. She was born and raised in California but has come to also love her adopted home in Utah where she currently resides.

Author's Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

7 comments:

Deanne Patterson said...

The cover is so beautiful and the book sounds so magical. A definite must read. Thank you for hosting and offering such an epic prize pack !

Esther Gerdzen said...

Sounds good ! Thank you for the chance :)

Jan Lee said...

I've never read a book about a mermaid but the synopsis sounds good. I'd like to read this :)

Cyndi F said...

I can't wait to read this, I want to see what happens with Sadelyn Hanson and all that goes with it, this story is right up my alley and the prize is amazing thank you!!

Alexis N said...

I've added both these books. Looking forward to reading them.

Stephanie LaPlante said...

I absolutely love mermaids and this book sounds super interesting. Really hope to read this.

Linda Trinklein said...

I love lOve love this! thankyou so much for the chance!