This week on the blog, I’m very lucky to have the award winning author Kathryn Lasky. Her latest book, The Crossing, is the final book in her Daughters of the Sea series, and it comes out on April 28th. This blog post is full of goodies related to the series. Not only did Kathryn Lasky answer some of my questions about the books, she also provided a small excerpt, AND she is offering to send signed copies of the three previous books to one lucky winner. (See the bottom of this post of more information about the giveaway.)
Question 1: You write a lot of series, and in a recent blogpost, you talk a little bit about why. When you started this series, did you know how long it would be?
Kathryn Lasky: Hannah, May and Lucy—three sisters—triplets actually so that although they look identical they are not. But the one thing they share in common is a longing to belong and to be loved. It might seem that a three book series would do it. But their lives become complicated when they fall in love with three very different young men, Hannah falls for one of America’s most distinguished portrait painters. May falls in love with a Harvard educated astronomer and Lucy with a young Maine ship designer. I knew it would take not three but at least four books for each girl had to resolve whether they would become creatures of the sea or creatures of the land—and that could not happen until the fourth book. Because of their entanglements of love, leaving land forever was a daunting idea. The clock is ticking on how long they could remain inhabitants of two worlds.
Q2: You have written many books, and one of your series was even turned into a movie. Do you ever feel pressure to live up to your own success?
KL: No. I mean the movie was such a freak episode in my writing life. This happens in very few authors’ experiences. And a movie in my mind by no means determines success. There are so many books that I would love see turned into movies but Hollywood ignores them. And as for pressure to live up to success—well, the only pressure I feel is to keep doing books that I really care about and not respond to trends or fads, or—and my publishers would hate me saying this—but even sales figures. It is such a privilege to do what you want to do with passion. I have said it before: I get to get up each morning and re-invent the world.
Q3: The Daughters of the Sea series ties together mermaids with the history of New England. What was the most fascinating piece of history you uncovered while doing research for these novels?
KL: That there are people who actually believe mermaids exist!!!! There is a whole little contingent out there ready to believe it and trying to prove it through pseudo science, sort of like people who don’t believe in evolution or think dinosaurs and human beings existed at the same time. In 2012 Animal Planet aired a ‘documentary’ claiming to show evidence that mermaids were real. Turns out they had actors were playing the parts of “scientists”. I am really fascinated by pseudo scientists in general. I mean I guess that’s why we have climate change deniers. But rest assured I did not use any of the “findings” from Animal Planet in my book. My fantasy was way better than theirs!
Q4: This series has 3 main characters—mermaid sisters Hannah, Lucy, and May. Did you have a strategy for finding unique voices for each of them?
KL: There was no intended strategy. All three came from very different backgounds. So finding distinct voices was not hard at all. Lucy is the most uppercrust of the girls and she comes from New York. Hannah is a scullery maid in a very wealthy Boston family and May lived in a lighthouse on an isolated island off the coast of Maine. So the voices with their accents, cadences and language came very easily to me.
Thank you Kathryn Lasky for your wonderful answers to my questions! For more information about the author, please check out her newly redesigned website.
Now, here is an excerpt from Daughters of the Sea: The Crossing by Kathryn Lasky:
It was a shock that night when she first slid into the water. It took her legs forever to fuse into the long, powerful tail. She had to pull with her arms as she never had before. Her two legs seemed to flail until finally she stopped trying to use them for fear she would splash too much and attract attention from shore. So she dived, but found she could no longer hold her breath as easily under the water. She had barely made it out of the channel before she had to come up for air. There was, of course, the slime and refuse of a busy city harbor. Then she turned right, dived deep, and swam straight out into the harbor as her legs finally fused. She was careful to avoid the sweep of the Boston Harbor Light. That first night she did not have the strength to swim very far. But by the second night she felt much stronger and took a course south by southeast to the Stellwagen Banks. She had avoided a pod of dolphins. Normally, she would have swum with them for a few miles. They loved to play with her, especially when they had new pups. She often helped with pups, herding them along so as to keep them close to their mothers if a shark was in the vicinity, or often just tumbling with them through the currents. But she was not feeling particularly sociable tonight. She would often have qualms when Stannish went away, such as now on his trip to New York concerning a new commission. She knew that it was a glittering world that he entered, filled with glamorous women and extravagant parties. It was nothing like Boston. He would come back with reports of the grande dames of the city and the latest fashion. But he would always return and fold her in his arms and say that not one could come close to her beauty. Those moments of his return were wonderful. She tucked them away like precious jewels, stringing them together like pearls on a necklace that proved their love. By the time she had swum back it was close to dawn and a slight drizzle had begun to fall. The Old Custom House Tower rose like a flinty schoolmaster over the old port city. The hands on the clock of its east-facing side pointed at five.
Exciting, right? To find out what happens next, you’ll have to read the rest of the book!
As promised, here is the the giveaway. a Rafflecopter giveaway
General Giveaway Rules: No Purchase Necessary. This giveaway is only open to residents of the United States who are 18 years of age or older, so kids please ask an adult to enter for you. The winner will be randomly chosen using Rafflecopter and contacted via email for their mailing address. The winner will have 72 hours to respond to my email. I will then forward your mailing address to the author, and she will arrange for the books to be sent to your address.