On another edition of Breaking the Spine’s awesome meme, we’re talking mermaids!
Set against the backdrop of a Coney Island summer comes The Vicious Deep, the story of sixteen year old Tristan Hart whose life is turned upside down when the mermaids make an unscheduled return to land in search of their new king.
When a sudden storm pulls Tristan from lifeguard duty into a deadly riptide, he discovers what he really is—a prince of the Sea Court. Turns out, his girlfriend hopping and talents as a swimmer aren’t caused by his teenage prime hormones after all.
In this modern Arthurian tale with a twist, when all a guy wants to do is get The Girl and enjoy the freak show that is a Coney Island summer, Tristan has to fight for his life, the lives of his friends, and his humanity, if he still wants it, as he’s caught in a race for a throne that is as ancient as the gods.
I’m happy to introduce you all to Zoraida in another edition of Bubble Talk!
Angel: What kind of research did you have to do before writing your book?
Zoraida: Not much. I researched Coney Island’s history and maps a bit. Primaraly from Coney Island Lost and Found. But I added clubs/names that suited my story. As far as merpeople go, I looked at books which detail mermaid citings. Mermaids and Mastodons by Richard Carrington and Folklore of the Sea by Horace Beck. I’ve read about sea creatures all my life, but solely for pleasure. I only hope my world of The Vicious Deep adds to existing merlore!
Angel: Why do you think humans are fascinated by mermaids/sirens/selkies and tales of the sea?
Zoraida: There is something mysterious about the sea. We’ve touched almost all part of the world, even some of space. But how can we truly explore all of the oceans and everything it could be hidding?
Also, as people there’s a calming return to the womb we experience when submerged in water. If you can ignore the threat of sharks or jellyfish, then the sea can be very calming!
Angel: What are your favourite sea-themed stories or legends? Did any of them influence your own book?
Zoraida: It is cliche at this point, but my first love is Disney’s The Little Mermaid. I grew up with it. I can recite the script to you at any point. In books it would be Sirena by Donna Jo Napoli.
Sirena [influenced me] a bit. I got to see a story grounded more in reality. Plus the writing was brilliant. I haven’t read it in years, but it has stuck with me.
Angel: How does your novel stand out from other mermaid/siren/selkie-themed books?
Zoraida: I’m so excited for the explosion of merbooks! (Correct me if I’m wrong) The Vicious Deep might be the first of 2012 YA novel with a merman protagonist. We’ve all seen mermaids. But what about the merdudes! I think the girls will have a fun time reading through Tristan’s mind. I know I always want to know what boys are thinking. That was the fun part of my research 😉
Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown (also an Apocalypsie) comes out right after on June 12 and also has a male POV, so here’s a shout-out to cute sea boys!
The Vicious Deep explores the inbetween world of magical New York City. If you dig Holly Black’s urban fairy tales, you might find a similar vibe. (That’s me flattering myself, fyi).
I’m also heavily influenced by heroic adventures like King Arthur, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars so the story has a much larger scale. There’s a reluctant love story, but there are also two worlds and many lives at stake. Tristan Hart has a handful.
Zoraida: The one with the warmest, bluest water, and a view of the hottest guys.
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?
Zoraida: How do you get your hair to do that side poof thing? I tried all my childhood and failed!