I researched a slew of mythological creatures and myths from different religions. I spent hours watching videos of the ocean, listened to whale calls so I knew how to describe them, learned more about dolphins and sharks than I really needed to, and had a friend who lived on the west coast send me tons of pictures of the beach that the story took place at. Hell, I even came up with my own freaking mermaid language! I spent a few hours at my local library going through Welsh, Latin, French, and Greek dictionaries to come up with the perfect combination of languages to make up Mermish.
That being said, a LOT went into Beyond the Sea. It is (so far) the only book I've written in 3rd person and it is the only book (so far) that I've written with more than one main character. The POV changes between Peter, Melia, and Jamie throughout the book. It was really, really fun to write.
When I started the book, I had one goal in mind: start a book that seems like an innocent human-mermaid love story and then throw in as many creepy-ass underwater creatures as possible. The idea unfolded beautifully and I ended the book feeling the novel was dark and creepy. I wanted it to throw readers for a loop. Anything that can live underwater just kinda creeps me out anyway. I have a fear of being pulled underwater by something-anything-if I'm in a body of water large enough to inhibit me from seeing the bottom. So thinking of demonic underwater creatures really freaks me out. *shudders*
NA wasn't really a thing when I wrote this book. Books were either adult or YA. The middle ground hadn't been explored too much yet. As a total noobie author, that scared me. What would people think of this book I had spent so much time writing? Would anyone even like it? It wasn't adult but it wasn't really YA. There was sex and murder and lots of violence. And I ended up taking out a lot of the darker parts of BtS to make it more readable to a YA crowd. Yes, I regret that now. And yes, it's more work going back and adding things. Again.
I'm staying positive by having the attitude that I've become a better writer now and can make the book stronger anyway, so a change was coming regardless. I really love everything about this book from the setting (both on land and off) and the characters. I've been thinking about it a lot again lately thanks to another dream and a BtS revamp is happening. Soon. I just need to finish a few other books first LOL.
And I've been asked (many times) if I plan on writing more in this series. The answer is YES. I already have a rough outline for the second book Red Skies at Night and I am very excited because this book will have mermaid zombie. Yes, I said it.
Freaking mermaid zombies.
It is much, much cooler than it sounds, I promise. This book will also have the dark, creepy-ness to it that I loved so much from the start. It picks up a couple months after the BtS ended, with the main characters just starting college. But that is still a long time off…I have many other books lined up before I can even think about RSaN!
I've become slightly obsessed with creating Pinterest boards for my novels. This one is for Beyond the Sea :)