Interview: The Amazing Tera Lynn Childs

As previously stated I just read Tera Lynn Child’s new book, Fins Are Forever.  In addition to letting me have a sneak peak of her book, Tera allowed me interview her. The interview follows bellow:

1) Your books involve heavy elements of Greek mythology. For example, Lily’s world was created with help from the sea god, Poseidon. What interested you in mythology? How did using the Greek myths help/challenge you when you wrote Lily’s story?
I’ve always loved Greek mythology, ever since I was a little girl. Because it is a major source for the development of Western culture, I feel like it’s an important part of my personal culture. In Forgive My Fins I never intended to use mythology as the foundation for my mermaid world. Only, when I got to the part where I was writing about the source of mer powers, it felt like a perfect fit for them to have originate back with the god of the sea.

2) Your world building skills are amazing, how did you come up with the idea of Thalassinia?

When describing Lily’s underwater kingdom, I wanted to make it as believable as possible. The overall structure of Thalassinia is not that different from our own cities, with suburbs, a commercial/industrial core, and the most important building–the palace–in the center. From the outside, the buildings look like the rock and plant and coral seascape you might actually see if you were snorkeling in the Bahamas. I wanted it to be completely plausible that this mer kingdom existed beneath the sea without us even knowing. It was in the smaller details of mer life–what they eat, where they sleep, how they decorate their rooms–where I let my imagination go wild.

3) In Fins Are Forever, we see more of Lily’s human life. What made you decide to focus on this aspect of her life rather than focusing in on some new big sea adventure?

When I first got the idea for Forgive My Fins back in 2006, I also thought up two companion stories starring other mer characters. One of those was the story of Lily’s bratty cousin Dosinia doing something really awful that got her exiled onto land. It was supposed to be about Doe struggling to figure out life on land, learning not to hate humans. My publisher wanted a sequel to Forgive My Fins rather than a companion book, so I decided to take Doe’s story idea and tell it from Lily’s POV. Because the story hinges on Doe being exiled from the sea, it naturally had to focus on Lily’s life on land.

4) I see from your website that during the prewriting process you engage in making character collages, can explain how this process works and helps?

Here’s how the start of a book usually goes for me. First, I get the idea and I’m so excited about it. Second, I brainstorm a bunch, thinking, daydreaming, making notes. Third, I start writing in a very linear fashion, from chapter one. About 15-30 pages in I get stuck. My writing stalls and I feel like I can’t move forward. That’s usually when I make my collages. I go through a bunch of magazines (Teen Vogue, Lucky, Nylon, People) and tear out images of people, objects, places that remind me of characters in my book. Usually I make collages for each of the main and secondary characters. I’m not sure if it’s the visual interpretation of my story or if it’s my subconscious working as I procrastinate, but either way by the time my collages are done I’m ready to write again.

 

5) Fins Are Forever starts out with an earthquake. I thought it was interesting that this book discussed the ramifications that natural disasters have on ocean and land. What made you interested in writing on this subject matter and did current events influence the writing of this story?
The worst thing was that I turned in the first draft of Fins Are Forever about two weeks after the devastating earthquake in Haiti. I am heartbroken by all the loss and suffering in the wake of these natural disasters–my mom always says that every so often Mother Nature has to show us she’s still in charge–but my use of the earthquake was more for plot development than to address current events in my book. I can’t reveal why exactly without giving a big spoiler, but it became an essential part of the story.

6) Will we be seeing a third book involving Lily?
Oh I hope so. I still have that other companion story to tell from Lily’s POV. Fingers crossed that the Forgive My Fins paperback and Fins Are Forever sell really well so my publisher wants more.

7) What’s next for you?  

This fall I start a brand new trilogy about triplet monster-hunting descendants of Medusa. The first book, Sweet Venom, will be out September 6th.

Thanks once again, Tera.  

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