Monday, May 2, 2011
Interview With THE SECRET OF THE EMERALD SEA Author Heather Matthews!
I recently caught up with Heather Matthews, an author whose latest novel, The Secret of the Emerald Sea is about a favorite subject of ours: mermaids! Here's an interview I did with Heather where you'll learn more about herself, her work, as well as plenty of mermaid-y goodness!
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Heather Matthews. I live in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. I work full-time as a freelance writer. Many of my most popular articles, such as Top Ten Tortured Artists and Top Ten Cults, appear at www.toptenz.net. I also do plenty of corporate writing to pay the bills! I write novels in my free time. I have a son named Jeremy – he’s amazing. I love motherhood, poetry, alternative rock music, and art.
What can you tell us about The Secret of the Emerald Sea?
This mermaid novel tells the story of Jane…she’s a young girl with a secret lineage – one that even she isn’t aware of. Her urge to visit the sea (which she has been forbidden to go to) and to sink into its depths begins to take over her life. One night, she can no longer resist. When she enters the glimmering waters of the Emerald Sea, she begins a magical adventure that moves to the land - and sky. Certain characters from Roman mythology make an appearance to spice things up!
Where did you get the idea for The Secret of the Emerald Sea?
I was working full-time in an office while I wrote this book. I would work on it during my lunch hour – I typed up at least half of the novel on my office PC! I suppose the book was inspired by all of the novels I loved to read as a girl – Alice in Wonderland and The Mists Of Avalon are a couple of beloved favorites.
I’m a Pisces, so I’m drawn to the water – I think it’s beautiful. It made sense for me to set the story there and to describe all the wonders of the underwater world. I had always read mythology, as well as novels, and I used to marvel at the rash and capricious acts of the gods and goddesses. I thought it would be fun to put a new spin on the classic tales of Roman mythology.
My characters became very real to me while I was writing the book – I even dreamed about one character - a mysterious little cherub named Cupid. He is probably my favorite character.
Have you always loved mermaids?
I grew up in the 80’s, when movies like Splash were very popular. That wonderful film was probably a catalyst for my interest in mermaids – in a subconscious way. To be honest, the story sort of wrote itself – apparently mermaids were a part of my imagination – an element I hadn’t really explored in depth until I wrote the novel.
Which character do you identify most with?
As is the case with most of my novels, I identify with the heroines and villains. I know that I am good and bad. There can be valuable self-examination when you’re creating characters, because they are a part of you. So I would say I identify the most with Jane, the heroine, and her nemesis – an old crone named Liesel.
How do you feel about all this sudden attention mermaids are getting in the media lately?
I think it’s wonderful. Mythology and symbolism are important parts of our culture. The beauty of fantasy - and pretending – should not be underestimated. I think there is a part of all of us that longs for some element of otherworldliness…some deeper meaning or magic. People are very complex, and seeking out fantasy characters from mythology can be an excellent way to fuel a person’s imagination. For centuries, mermaids have inspired art, poetry, music…they are classic symbols that will always have power in the modern world.
If you were a mermaid, what color tail/magical powers would you like to have?
I would go for an aquamarine and emerald green design – just like my heroine Jane’s mermaid tail. Swimming as one with the creatures of the sea would be magical enough for me – I wouldn’t need the tail to have any extra powers.
What do you hope readers will take away from The Secret of the Emerald Sea after reading it?
This book has romantic elements – there is a love story, or love triangle, that drives three of the characters. My heroine is becoming a woman, and she is overwhelmed with all sorts of emotions and the turmoil that they bring. In the end, she does make a choice – a romantic one – one that is right for her. I would like readers to enjoy this sense of innocent romance. I want them to feel the emotions of my characters.
Finally, what other projects --if you're at liberty to say--are you currently working on?
I’ve been researching Celtic mythology for some time – I’m working on a project set in the early middle ages, in Ireland. I don’t want to say too much more about it right now ;)
Thank you SO much for agreeing to do this interview, Heather! I deeply appreciate it! :)
I really enjoyed it, and I hope readers enjoy the novel, too. Thanks :)