Friday, May 6, 2011
Interview With FORBIDDEN SEA Author Sheila A. Nielson!
I recently caught up with author Sheila A. Nielson to talk about her debut novel The Forbidden Sea which is about...wait for it...mermaids! Check out the interview below and don't forget to add Forbidden Sea to your to-read pile!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I'm a children's librarian, a published author and an illustrator. I never could make up my mind which one I wanted to be so I'm all three! Besides those things I also love to horseback ride, create jewelry, and collected anything miniature, such as dolls and dollhouses.
What inspired you to write The Forbidden Sea?
As a librarian I noticed that we had a lot of kids coming in and asking for mermaid chapter books but there were so few available for them to check out at that time. These kids had read everything we had and would ask me if we had anything new. I felt awful every time I had to tell them no. I thought to myself one day, someone needs to write more mermaid stories. Why couldn't that someone be me? I loved mermaids when I was young. I made up so many stories in my mind as a child about what merfolk would be like and how they looked. When it came time to create the merfolk in my book, I found myself going back to those early imaginings--which was a lot of fun.
Which character do you relate to most?
That's a tough question, because usually when you think of relating to someone, it's supposed to be a character most like yourself. The truth is, the character I came to understand the most as I wrote Forbidden Sea, is the one I liked the least. Auntie Minnah was a difficult character write. Getting into her skin was not a pleasant experience. Because of that, she is the one I really came to know and understand the best. I had to explore why someone would become such a bitter, cranky, and unhappy creature who is determined to bring down everyone around them. What personal choices lead someone down that kind of path? What kind of pain does a person like that carry around inside them where no one can see? Auntie Minnah taught me to see beyond the surface when I look at people. Because of that, I feel she was the character I came to relate to the most.
How do you feel about all this sudden attention mermaids are getting in the media?
I say, it's about time! As a child I always felt there were never enough mermaid books and movies to satisfy me. I'm glad we are finally getting a chance to explore and enjoy the fantastical merworld thanks to the media! I hope there is plenty more to come in the future.
Will we see more adventures set in the Forbidden Sea world?
I actually have a sequel to Forbidden Sea completed. But my publisher wants to see how Forbidden Sea does in sales before making a decision about whether or not to publish the second book. So if you liked Forbidden Sea go out and tell all your friends about it and spread the word so we can get that sequel published someday. For those of you who desperately wanted to know more about the elusive Sea Prince in Forbidden Sea--the sequel is full of him! In the second book we also get to meet, the frighteningly powerful Sea Queen herself.
What do you hope readers will take away from your story after reading it?
When I read books as a child, I looked for stories that pulled me into a new world, utterly and completely, and made me feel like I knew the characters so well they had become my friends by the end of the novel. I want readers to come away from Forbidden Sea with a whole bunch of new best friends that they can carry in their heart wherever they go.
Finally, what other projects are you working on?
Now that the sequel to Forbidden Sea is complete I've been working hard on my next book, which is a YA ghost story--very moody and creepy. *shiver*