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, we’re talking to an author who I’ve been fortunate to know and become friends with: Anna Banks. Anna has been one of the loudest voices encouraging me to keep this blog going and it’s an honour to have her here to talk about Of Poseidon.
Angel: What kind of research did you have to do before writing your book?
Anna: I tried to make my mermaids (Syrena) scientifically feasible, so I watched a lot of oceanography documentaries about lost cities, shipwrecks, underwater cavern systems, and of course, sharks, whales, and fish communities. I also bought a college text book on oceanography and marine life. I didn’t concentrate too much on the mythology part, because I twisted it anyway to suit my (scientifically feasible) creation.
Anna: For the same reason people are fascinated by the idea of aliens; the unknown. The sea has the same mysterious draw as space; even with modern technology, less than 10% of the world’s oceans have been explored. I like to tell the story of the colossal squid. It used to be considered legend, fishermen’s lore—we’ve all seen the drawings of giant tentacles wrapped around a 17th century ship, right?—until a specimen washed up on shore in 2005. 2005!!! Like, six years ago, people! Who are we to say what does and does not exist?
Angel: What are your favourite sea-themed stories or legends? Did any of them influence your own book?
Anna: My favorite is The Little Mermaid, but Disney’s version instead of the darker original. I could recite every word of that stinking movie! But again, I wanted to make it more sci-fi than fantasy so I only mixed bits and pieces of legend into a sort of mythology cocktail, rather than favor any one over another.
Angel: How does your novel stand out from other mermaid/siren/selkie-themed books?
Anna: So far, the mermaid books I’ve read have all had an element of magic in them and mine doesn’t. It’s meant to be completely feasible, so there are no magic spells or curses or anything. Even Emma’s Gift—the ability to communicate with fish—is based on how other species communicate with each other. I’ve also noticed a tendency to make mermaids murderous, and I tried to steer clear of that. And their tails do not have scales; I fashioned them after shark fins.
I’m so surprised by how diverse the mermaid books have been. So far, from the ones I’ve read, or based on the summaries of the ones I haven’t had a chance to read, none are just alike, which I think is fantastic. I’m really blown away by the creativity of other authors who’ve written mermaid-themed books! And because of that, I’m excited for readers to explore all the different possibilities presented.
Anna: That’s a tough one! I’d have to say deep Atlantic for all the shipwrecks, but all the oceans have so much history hidden in them.
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?
Anna: I would warn her about the ability (tendency!) of human legs to produce cellulite. I would also ask her how corsets compare to sea shells, and if Eric was worth it.
Emma and her friend Chloe are spending vacation in Florida. When Emma (literally) runs into a hot guy named Galen on the beach, little does she know he’s a prince of the Syrena. Galen and Emma both feel something strange – is it attraction? – and Galen suspects that Emma might well be the girl he’s heard of – a human who can communicate with fish.
What follows is a deadly scene with a shark in which Galen witnesses Emma’s gifts. He must know more about her, and follows her back to New Jersey, and high school, to find out for sure if she’s the key to saving his kingdom. Soon, Emma can’t deny her feelings for him, but can’t explain them, either – and both she and Galen must learn more about where she comes from and what her powers are before they can trust one another and their feelings.
I was lucky enough to read an ARC of this book, and trust me, it’s one of the most enjoyable novels you’ll read all year! Anna’s writing is beautifully lilting and fun, and her characters jump off the page and take you along on a great adventure. Be sure to add this one to your wishlist!