Welcome to Wednesday. Almost to the weekend....hang in there. Sorry I have been MIA
this week, we have all been under the weather at our house. Hopefully, we will all be on the mend soon and I can catch up. Thanks for all your comments. I will return them as soon as I can. I have an interesting read for you all today. It features something that you don't see too often in the paranormal genre: Selkies. I enjoyed this unique book loaded with Celtic Myth. I have author Merrie Destafano here today to share with you here thoughts on creating stories. Here is a bit more about Merrie:
Merrie Destefano left a 9-to-5 desk job as a magazine editor to become a full-time novelist and freelance editor. Her speculative fiction adult novels, Afterlife: The Resurrection Chronicles and Feast: Harvest of Dreams were both published by Harper Voyager, while her most recent novel, Fathom, is a young adult contemporary fantasy. With twenty years’ experience in publishing, her background includes editor of Victorian Homes magazine and founding editor of Cottages & Bungalows magazine. Born in the Midwest, she currently lives in Southern California with her husband, their two German shepherds and a Siamese cat. For more information, visit Merrie on her website, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
Please welcome Merrie.
Making Stuff Up By Merrie Destefano
All story ideas begin somewhere. Mine usually begin with a character in an unusual setting. The idea for my young adult novel, Fathom, was born from a single scene: A mother telling stories to her two young daughters, all three of them nestled in a tree house. The whole story unfolded from that one scene idea, although in the end, I removed that scene from the book.
The concept of myth played a strong part in this novel. In the process, I did a lot of research—especially when it came time to create the monster. Somewhere along the way, I came across the legend of a lake in Canada, where the local people believe that if you take anything from the lake, the lake will come after you and kill you. Unfortunately, I later lost all my notes and couldn’t find any mention of this lake or the legend in any of my reference books or online.
At that point, I had to do what writers have done for thousands of years.
I just made stuff up.
In a way, losing my notes was the best thing that could have happened. I was then free to create my own legends and my own mythical beast. With each chapter, my monster—which lives in the ocean, but can also come on land for short periods of time—became more wicked and more dangerous. I was able to give this beast a mysterious back story and a nefarious purpose. As creepy as this thing was, it fit perfectly into the well-knit weave of Fathom’s mythology, just like a natural predator who serves a purpose by maintaining the balance of nature.
The monster became the dark note in the book’s score, but there are light notes as well. One of the main themes is that of coming of age. The main character, sixteen-year-old Kira Callahan, leaves childhood behind as she gains the courage to stand up to the bullies at school, and as she begins to fall in love for the first time. The mysteries of her past slowly unfold throughout the book as she discovers that her past isn’t what she thought it was.
At its heart, Fathom is book about courage and love and hope—and never giving up, no matter how fierce the monsters in your life are.
Thank you so much, Merrie. I had no idea that you made up all that Celtic lore. You fooled me. Merrie is offering to one lucky winner a signed copy of Fathom. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Please fill out the Rafflecopter to enter. Good Luck!a Rafflecopter giveaway
Here is my review:
Turning sixteen can be hell, especially if everyone in town thinks your mother killed herself and your sister. All Kira Callahan wants to do is swim, hang out with her best friend, Sean, and ignore the kids who torment her at school. That is, until one day when she gets invited to a party. For three minutes her life is wonderful—she even kisses Sean. Then somebody spikes her drink and some girls from out of town lure her into the ocean and hold her underwater.
Kira soon discovers that the group of wild teenagers who have come to visit Crescent Moon Bay are not as innocent as they seem. In fact, nothing is as it seems—not the mysterious deaths of her sister and mother, not her heritage, not even her best friend. And everything seems to hinge on the ancient Celtic legends that her mother used to tell her as a child.
Paperback, 342 pages
Published October 30th 2012 by Ruby Slippers Press
Three and a half stars: A book with a different paranormal creature and plenty of Celtic myth.
Kira awakens haunted by the specter of her dead mother. It has been almost ten years since that gruesome night when something unspeakable happened: Kira's mom murdered her baby sister and tossed her body into the sea. Horrified at what she had done, she threw herself off the cliff into the ocean. Kira and her father have done their best to put back the pieces and live a somewhat normal life, but it is hard when everyone in town is always whispering behind your back. Kira's sixteenth birthday is approaching and for some reason her grandma and father are watching her closely, as if something bad is approaching. Is there something more to the murder suicide mystery that has haunted Kira for years?
What I Liked:
- This book features selkies: mythical creatures that look like seals in water and humans on land. I have not read a book with selkies before so it was something new and different for me, and I am always happy to read anything that is outside the typical paranormal norms.
- I liked that the story was packed full of Celtic myths, especially since I am always drawn to Celtic mythology. If you are looking for a book with mythology, legends and scary sea creatures give this one a try.
- I enjoyed that this book had plenty of mystery and suspense. The book opens with a chilling scene recollecting the night of the murder suicide. Then Kira starts experiencing some strange new sensations, such as an insatiable appetite for fish. Her grandmother begins to eye her suspiciously and you just know that something strange is coming. I was not disappointed at all with the twists, turns and revelations in this one. I could honestly not predict where the story was going and I was pleased that it kept me guessing as I followed the trail of clues until the end.
- I was pleased that this one didn't cross the line into the love triangle territory. Though it flirted dangerously close with entering into the dreaded love triangle, it never went there. Kira seemed content with maintaing a friendship with one of the boys, even though she was fiercely attracted to him, while she fell in love with her best friend. I am hoping that in the next book that the story will continue to stay away from the love triangle.
- My favorite character was Kira's grandmother. She is somewhat of a witch and she is educated on all types of myths and legends and she is able to help Kira with her problem. I just wished that she had a bigger role as I found her fascinating.
- I was satisfied with the ending. While it might come across as a bit of a cliffhanger to some, I didn't see it that way. Instead it draws to a satisfactory conclusion, a happy ending for the most part, except for one haunting story line that will be continued in the next book. I am anxious to see what happens.
- I was enthralled with the gorgeous writing. Ms. Destefano definitely knows how to write. Her book is brimming with lovely descriptions and beautiful metaphors. I am always a fan of beautiful writing, and this one certainly didn't disappoint.
And The Not So Much:
- I wanted more detail on the Selkies. I never had a complete grasp on their makeup, what they looked like and so forth. The explanations are scant and I was left to fill in the pieces. I was a bit lost since I don't really know anything about Selkies and the legends behind them. Incorporating a bit more explanatory information on Selkies would have enhanced the read for me.
- The familiars were also a bit underdeveloped. How is a familiar chosen? What are their duties toward the Selkies? What do the familiars get out of the relationship? Are the familiar and Selkie bonds for life? Can a familiar and Selkie mate? I had many unanswered questions when it came to the Selkie/familiar bond.
- The world of the Selkies is a underdeveloped as well. There was little discussion on their lives, do they live primarily in the ocean? Why is the race in danger? Why must they take the journey to mate? Do they mate with humans on a regular basis? I am hoping for more information on the Selkie world in the next book.
Fathom was an entertaining read and it provided me with something unique in the paranormal genre. This book has a suspenseful and entertaining story line that will keep you guessing until the final pages. It refrains from love triangles and cliffhangers as well. So if you are needing something different I recommend you give this one a try.
"While he was gone, Gram would get out her Irish whiskey. She'd start by pouring a draft into her cup of coffee, but soon enough, it would be whiskey in her cup and she'd be adding a drop or two of coffee for flavor.
"Just before he headed outside, he turned and gave me another half-smile, another flash of sunshine."
"A poem started to blossom inside me, a thick pool of words pressing against my skin, making me want to grab a pen and let it all out. Metaphors and similes tumbled around inside my head, all in a rugged fast meter where nothing rhymed, the words flowing like river water over my tongue."
"Instead I could see myself with no parents. Our house, even more empty than it was now. Rooms with echoes of people that had been stolen."
"That's what love is, baby girl. The ability to see past what's on the surface, beyond all the stuff that everybody else sees."
"sometimes, if you really pay attention, every moment in the day is a little bit like dying. If it's beautiful, then it's over too soon. If it's awful, then it seems to last forever. And when you line up all those moments, they lead right to your very last breath."
I won a copy of this book. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.