Tuesday, March 24, 2015

An Interview with Danielle E. Shipley

To celebrate the emergence of Danielle's latest book, I'm hosting her on my blog today to talk about some of the inspiration behind her latest book, The Surrogate Sea. Here's what she has to say about the inspiration behind the newest Wilderhark Tale:

           Do you know, I came close to drawing from The Little Mermaid for Book Three of The Wilderhark Tales? That is, when I was scrambling for excuses to write about the tailor with which I’d fallen in love in Book Two, I considered having him get kidnapped by some manner of sea maiden. Happily for everyone, the better idea of “The Seventh Spell” presented itself – an adventure that enchanted the cast of characters through time and up and down beanstalks, but nowhere near the sea.
            Fast forward to Book Six, where I found myself thinking on Beauty and the Beast.Again. I’d already used elements of it way back in Book One, and given that the Cupid and Psyche myth is archetypically similar, I’d used it again in Book Five. What can I say? Something about that one fairytale tugs at my imagination the way few, if any others, do.
            This time around, that something was an aspect from the tale left out of the Disney version: The part where, night after night, the Beast would ask the Beauty to marry him, and time and again, she’d refuse. Whichever section of my brain thought it would be fun to hold Edgwyn hostage in the middle of the ocean tried to convince me that someone would want a read a book in which Princess Liliavaine sat in a castle not wanting to be married to someone. Yeah, right. I mean, I can get into an arranged-marriage-type story just fine, but come on. These are the Wilderhark Tales. The characters need to move and do things. Besides, from what little I knew of Liliavaine, she wouldn’t stand for a stay-still plot.
            This is why I have a tendency to mix and match ideas when writing. Give me one spark of inspiration, and it’ll probably die out before I can figure out what to do with it. But give me two sparks or more, and they can feed off each other and stay hot long enough for me to get an actual story on paper.
            Lily needed a story where she could be Lily – which, in all frankness, meant a story where she could be selfish. And if there’s one Disneyfied fairytale that’s always struck me as a study in reckless selfishness, it’s The Little Mermaid. (Sell out all the oceans for the sake of stalking that admittedly cute guy, why don’t you, Ariel!)
            So, we were back to the sea – but not the sea I’d thought it was as recently as two stories ago.
            Book Five was a game-changer for The Wilderhark Tales. For the first four books, the magic the characters encountered was manmade – the spellwork of witch extremists or a wizard-fashioned flute. Then came “The Sun’s Rival”, and with it, a whole new layer of supernatural power. Not gonna lie: The fact that the world’s natural elements are people was as much a surprise to me as it was to Denebdeor’s royal family. It wouldn’t make a lick of sense to drop that bombshell on everyone and then go right back to life as we’d always known it. The formidable Sun, the mysterious Moon, the quartet of distinctive winds – and yes, the Great Sea – all these and more were a part of things, now, and Liliavaine and I agreed: Book Six was a perfect opportunity to further explore the part they played in the world.
            Little did we know at the start, though by the end we’d learned: Hearts in a love game of man vs. nature may soon be out of their depth.

Thanks for the insights, Danielle!

As of today THE SURROGATE SEA is available! Now that you've had a sneak peek, you can look for it on Amazon or Barns and Noble just by following these nifty links!!

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