Bubble Talk is where I interview some truly amazing authors and tell you all about their books! November is all about those elusive creatures of the sea, mermaids, and I’m so happy to be able to introduce you to ten talented authors and their stories.
Today, Aimee Friedman stops by to talk about her selkie novel, Sea Change. This is the novel that inspired Mermaid Month, and I hope you check it out yourself after this interview!
Angel: What kind of research did you have to do before writing your book?
Aimee:I read up a lot on mermaid folklore from different cultures and time periods. I visited a wonderful exhibit about sea creatures at the Museum of Natural History (which gets a brief mention in the book!) and I took a magical trip to Tybee Island, right off the coast of Savannah, which served in many ways as the inspiration for Selkie Island in the book.
Aimee: The sea is endlessly fascinating. It’s mysterious. Even with today’s advanced technology, the depths of the oceans still seem so unknown and unknowable to us: a whole world separate from our own in which strange beings might teem. In writing Sea Change, I wanted to touch on this sense of wonder and intrigue.
Angel: What are your favourite sea-themed stories or legends? Did any of them influence your own book?
Aimee: I actually love the original Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, “The Little Mermaid.” It’s much darker than the Disney version (which I also love), and in many ways, it’s what gave me the idea for SEA CHANGE. I wanted to take the classic mermaid story–the sea-girl who lives on land and falls for a human boy–and switch the genders. That’s how Leo and Miranda first came to be.
Angel: How does your novel stand out from other mermaid/siren/selkie-themed books?
Aimee: My book is less an outright paranormal story than a love story tinged with hints of magic. I leave certain things very ambiguous, which I know has some readers very divided! Ultimately SEA CHANGE is a romantic tale, but also a tale of a girl’s coming of age and coming into her self, learning how to blur the logical and the mysterious.
Aimee: The Mediterranean isn’t technically an ocean, but that’s where I’d love to hang out. In the warm, azure waters somewhere off the coast of the French Riviera. Ahh…
Angel: Ariel (of Disney’s The Little Mermaid) is the most famous mermaid of my generation. What would you tell her if you had the chance?
Aimee: The seaweed is always greener in somebody else’s lake. (Thanks, Sebastian).
Sixteen-year-old Miranda Merchant is great at science. . .and not so great with boys. After major drama with her boyfriend and (now ex) best friend, she’s happy to spend the summer on small, mysterious Selkie Island, helping her mother sort out her late grandmother’s estate.
There, Miranda finds new friends and an island with a mysterious, mystical history, presenting her with facts her logical, scientific mind can’t make sense of. She also meets Leo, who challenges everything she thought she knew about boys, friendship. . .and reality.
Is Leo hiding something? Or is he something that she never could have imagined?
+ Folklore. Before I read Sea Change, I had never heard of selkies. Two years later, I think about them all the time, and I have this book to thank. What appeals to me most about the selkie legend is the utter helplessless of it, how love itself can’t really change anything in the end, and the human determination to try anyway. Miranda’s story encompasses all of that, with a healthy dash of teenage longing and hope. The draw of the legend is as irresistible as the call of a selkie’s skin and is just as magical for the reader as it is for Miranda.
+ Romance. Raise your hand if you’ve had an unforgettable summer fling. Miranda and Leo’s story swept me off my feet and I never ever wanted to look down. When I think about the romance in this book, it feels like a wave at high tide–we expect it and look for it, but we will never know just how the wave will touch the shore. There wasn’t a point in the book where I could predict where it would go, and I loved that. I loved the uncertainty and the tender, tentative way Leo and Miranda treated each other.
Recommendations: If you’re looking for a sweet and heartbreaking story, with a wonderful folklore twist, be sure to check this one out.
Go visit Aimee Friedman at her website.