The Novel Approach welcomes Shira Anthony today, on the Running with the Wind blog tour. Shira talks a bit about the world building in the Mermen of Ea series, and is also offering the chance to win some great prizes on this tour. Just click on the Rafflecopter Widget below to enter for the chance at one of the following:
*December Diamonds Wedding Mermen Ornament (or a free download of the audiobook version of Stealing the Wind for non-U.S. Residents)
*Geneva Nautical Wrap Watch (or an e-copy of a backlist title for non-U.S. Residents **excl. Running with the Wind)
*Anchor Cord Bracelet (or an e-copy of a backlist title for non-U.S. Residents **excl. Running with the Wind)
Welcome back to The Novel Approach. I’d love to chat a bit with you about the world building in this series.
- Was there quite a bit of research involved when you began building the foundation of the series?
Part of the inspiration for the series was when my husband and I got certified for open water scuba diving. So I had thoughts and images from those dives in my mind when I created the underwater universe in the Mermen of Ea Series. He and I also own a 35 foot catamaran sailboat, so I had some knowledge of sailing ships. That knowledge, however, didn’t extend to the sailing ships I used to model the Sea Witch and the Phantom. I spent a lot of time reviewing diagrams of the old square riggers used in the Age of Sail. I also spent hours discussing marine battle tactics with my husband, who has read more books than I can count on the subject.
I also researched dolphins and dolphin mating in order to create the sex scenes in shifted form. You’d be surprised how many dolphin sex vids there are on Youtube! Half of them feature embarrassed parents filming as their little kids ask what the dolphins in the tank at the aquarium are doing to each other. I had a blast taking those and creating an Ea mating dance, complete with Ea heartsong. The rest of the Ea universe, however, was purely based on my experiences traveling in the Caribbean and my overactive imagination.
- Did you learn some new things about merpeople and their legends that you hadn’t known before? If so, what are some of those things?
I read up on merfolk legends when I was writing the first book, Stealing the Wind. What I discovered was that the earliest merfolk stories seem to come from the myths of Enki, a.k.a. “Ea,” the Sumarian god who was not only the god of mischief, but of creation, intelligence, and of course, water. Enki is often portrayed as half man, half fish. The Ea/Enki myth was a great jumping off point, and became the name of the mershifters’ people. Even better, there are other Sumarian gods, including Anuki, the god of the heavens. But I won’t spoil it and tell those who haven’t read the story yet how that might factor into the plot!
- What are some things that make your merfolk a bit different than those in stories we’re familiar with?
I honestly hadn’t read any other merfolk stories other than The Little Mermaid when I started to write the series, so that’s a tough one to answer. I can say that my merfolk are true shifters who can exist on land in human form, and in the water in their Ea form. They also have magical powers that allow them to see the past, to manipulate the elements, and to sense others’ feelings. They communicate telepathically under the water, and while in their merforms, they experience sex differently than in their human forms.
- Did you ever get to a point where you feared there was too much attention to detail? How do you know where to draw that line between too much and not enough?
That’s always a tough call when creating an entirely new universe. I relied on my beta readers and my editors to help guide me, since there’s definitely a risk of a forest for the trees sort of thing in writing fantasy. Ultimately, it’s a tough call, and “enough” and “too much” becomes a subjective analysis. You can throw much more detailed worldbuilding at those readers who are used to reading fantasy with significant worldbuilding, as opposed to those new to the genre. Having beta readers and editors who aren’t big fantasy readers can really help in figuring out how to strike that balance.
For me the proof that we got it right is in the comments and reviews from readers who felt there was enough to immerse themselves in my new universe, but didn’t complain about being overwhelmed. I did learn, however, that writing fantasy is much more difficult than writing contemporary romance in the sense that you need to sprinkle the unique elements of the universe over the entire story so that you don’t lose your readers! I consider myself very fortunate that many of my contemporary romance readers were willing to try this series and most of them have enjoyed it.
- Thanks for stopping by today, Shira, it’s always great to have you here with us!
Blurb: With the final confrontation between the island and mainland Ea factions looming, Taren and Ian sail with Odhrán to investigate a lost colony of merfolk in the Eastern Lands. Upon their arrival, the King of Astenya welcomes them as friends. Odhrán, however, isn’t so quick to trust the descendent of the man who held him prisoner for nearly a decade, especially now that he has someone to cherish and protect—the mysterious winged boy he rescued from the depths.
Armed with the knowledge he believes will save the Ea, Taren returns to the mainland. With Ian at his side, Taren convinces Vurin that their people must unite with their island brethren before it’s too late. When Seria and his men attack, Taren must call upon the ancient power of the rune stone to protect his comrades. But using stone’s immeasurable power commands a hefty price—and Ian fears that price is Taren’s life.
About the Author: In her last incarnation, Shira was a professional opera singer, performing roles in such operas as “Tosca,” “i Pagliacci,” and “La Traviata,” among others. She’s given up TV for evenings spent with her laptop, and she never goes anywhere without a pile of unread M/M romance on her Kindle.
Shira is married with two children and two insane dogs, and when she’s not writing she is usually in a courtroom trying to make the world safer for children. When she’s not working, she can be found aboard a 36’ catamaran at the Carolina coast with her favorite sexy captain at the wheel.
Tour Dates & Stops:
1-Jun: Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings | 2-Jun: Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words | 3-Jun: My Fiction Nook | 4-Jun: Amanda C. Stone | 5-Jun: Carly’s Book Reviews | 8-Jun: Bayou Book Junkie | 9-Jun: Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews | 10-Jun: Decadent Delights | 11-Jun: MM Good Book Reviews | 12-Jun: Inked Rainbow Reads | 15-Jun: Divine Magazine | 16-Jun: Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves | 17-Jun: BFD Book Blog | 18-Jun: The Novel Approach | 19-Jun: Because Two Men Are Better Than One | 22-Jun: Kimi-Chan Happily Ever Chapter | 23-Jun: Prism Book Alliance | 24-Jun: Cate Ashwood | 25-Jun: Love Bytes | 26-Jun: Molly Lolly