Monday, September 26, 2011

Interview With TANGLED TIDES Author Karen Amanda Hooper!

Karen Amanda Hooper is the incredibly awesome author of the upcoming book, Tangled Tides, Book 1 of the Sea Monster Memoirs and which features a dazzling array of supernatural sea creatures, including mermaids! Check out my interview with Karen below!

How did you get the idea for Tangled Tides?

This may seem crazy but the idea was sparked while I was walking my dogs and came across a neighbor’s sidewalk covered with dead worms. Yup, that’s right, worms. I kept thinking how sad it was that they looked like they were trying to cross to the grass but didn’t make it. That moment combined with my childhood love of mermaids sparked the basic idea of my story: sea creatures trying to make it back to their realm before they die in ours. (And yes, I incorporated the odd worm connection through a scene in the book. I’m weird like that.)

I’ve been frequently checking out your blog for a couple of years now, it seems. And congratulations on finally getting to see the novel be published. What was the whole process of getting published like?

Thank you! And big hugs for reading my blog!
Honestly, getting published was an unexpected surprise. I queried the manuscript a couple years ago and then shelved it after I didn’t get any offers of representation from agents. I was querying a totally different project when USA Today published an article about mermaids being the next big trend. A few writer friends emailed me suggesting that I self-publish my mermaid story. I took it as a sign from the universe, asked a couple author friends about their experiences with self-publishing, and one of those friends suggested I submit it to her publisher. I did and viola! A couple months later Rhemalda offered me a contract. A perfect example of how the universe works in mysterious and unexpected ways. And that the universe knows what it’s doing because I couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out.

Tangled Tides features a colorful diversity of mythological sea creatures: merfolk, selkies, sirens, and gorgons. Did you do any research to find all these creatures, or did you automatically know they would play a role in the story?

I knew they’d all play a part, I just wasn’t sure how. I don’t outline or plot ahead, so my characters and details of my stories develop and change as I write (and as my critique partners make suggestions). The merfolk and selkies were the easiest to develop. I had a pretty clear idea of what they’d be like from the start, but the sirens surprised me. They turned out more sultry and sinister than I originally intended. I researched birds quite a bit to develop their gestures and habits. My odd affinity for gorgons developed when I was a kid. I loved the original Clash of the Titans movie, but I was always felt sorry for Medusa when Perseus killed him. I hooked her up with a much better role in my story.

Which character did you have most fun writing about?

Oh, it’s so hard to choose just one. Let me think…
Okay, seriously, I vacuumed and made coffee and gave it A LOT of thought and I can’t choose just one. Please don’t make me! Yara, Treygan, and Rownan were so important they each got their own voice and POV, but I had so much fun creating Nixie, Pango, Koraline and Delmar…and Jack. And Kai. And Otabia. And Kimber. See, I love all of them.

I love the names in your story (Yara, Treygan, Rownan, etc.) And I actually looked up the meaning of Yara (it means “seagull.” How fitting!) Did you find all the names, or make some of them up on your own?

Can I just say how much I love that you looked up Yara’s name? *huge grin*
I did a lot of research on the name Yara. Yes, in some cultures it means seagull—which was so fitting, but depending on the language Yara also means: Mermaid of the river, the song of love and death, one who guides or teaches, and the line that separates the stars from the ocean. Really, she has the perfect name for her.
And Treygan. *sigh*
I put a lot of research into his name too. One of the things I found that fit him perfectly was this: the name Treygan creates the urge to be reliable and responsible, it causes an emotional intensity that is hard to control…driven with a strong inner urge to be of service in some way that would uplift humanity as a whole…a tendency to assume too heavy a burden of responsibility for others.
Once you read the book you’ll totally get it.
The rest of the names I just randomly picked and/or made up, or they’re already established characters in mythology like Medusa and her sisters.

Since sea monsters abound in Tangled Tides, what sea creature - mythical or not - is your favorite?

In real life I adore the honu (the Hawaiian sea turtle). I had experiences swimming with them in the wild in Hawaii and I totally fell in love.
Mythical, I’d want to be Yara. She’s a breed all her own. *wink wink*

How do you feel about the rise in popularity mermaids have recently gotten?

I wrote a whole post about this but I’ll try to summarize my feelings. I’ve loved merfolk since I was two years old, so I’m excited to be part of the trend, and to read all the other mermaid stories. (I waited until mine was done so I didn’t accidentally copy any ideas.) At the same time I worry that my story will get lost in the crowded sea of mer books (pun intended).

What do you hope readers will take away from Tangled Tides after reading it?

In my story there’s a reoccurring theme of love. Love of self, family, friends, soul mates, even love of knowledge and life in general. I’m a big believer in loving with everything you’ve got. I hope Tangled Tides reminds readers how important and powerful love is.

Can we expect more Sea Monster Memoirs to come in the future?

Yes indeedy. I’m working on book 2 right now.

And lastly, are there any other projects you’re currently working on?
I have a YA reincarnation manuscript that a few agents and a publisher have had since before I pulled Tangled Tides out of the drawer. Also, I started writing a few scenes for a whole different YA paranormal. All I can say about that one is that it’s much colder than any of my other stories. *mischievous smile*

Thanks so much for interviewing me, Garrett. I loved these questions. Discussing my sea peeps always makes me happy.

To find out more about Karen Amanda Hooper's debut novel Tangled Tides, swim on over to Goodreads, where you can also enter a giveaway for the book!


  1. Great interview! I can't wait for all the sea creature fans to get their hands on TANGLED TIDES. :)

  2. Thank so much for pimping out me and my sea peeps, Garrett! I am eternally grateful. <3

  3. This is an awesome interview! I already wanted to read your book, Karen, but now I am DYING!!! :-)

  4. Can't get enough of Karen! Thanks for the opportunity to learn more. :)

  5. Shannon, YAY! Can't wait for to read it and hear what you think.

    DL, thanks for wanting to learn more. :)

  6. Great questions and as blog host you did a lot of research too. Fun interview!!! :O)

  7. Great interview. Can't wait to read this one.

  8. That was a fantastic interview, you two. I love Karen's passion about the sea and its creatures. She's definitely not writing to a trend, and I look forward to reading TANGLED TIDES.

  9. I love reading about this journey, and I'm so glad the universe and you are giving us Tangled Tides. Can't wait.

  10. Aww, thanks everyone! These comments made smile. Big smiles. <3

  11. Great interview!!! I love finding more cool stuff out about Karen. :)

  12. Very nice interview Karen and Garrett! Congratulations. I like that the names of your characters mean something. That is always a nice touch in a story.

  13. What a great interview! Karen is the best. I can't wait for Tangled Tides.

  14. What an exciting interview! I love the names you chose, Karen, and think their means are fabulous. Here's to love! (and lots of sales!!) :-)