Tell us a little about yourself.
How hard could it be?
The school day ended in mid-afternoon, and I had twelve weeks of holiday time. That would give me plenty of time to devote to my true passion—writing.
That was the dream.
The reality was very different.
Even though I had many satisfying moments, I found the teaching profession to be a very challenging and demanding one. I never had the time and energy to start a writing practice.
In 2008, I took advantage of early retirement. I filled my days with workshops, seminars and online courses. Slowly, a writing practice emerged and my articles and book reviews started appearing in newspapers, magazines and online.
On a whim, I took a workshop offered by dark fantasy and horror writer Sarah Totton. At first, I focused only on the writing advice, but later toyed with the idea of writing fantasy for boomer women. My debut novel, Between Land and Sea, was released by Soul Mate Publishing on September 18, 2013.
Tell us about your new book, Between Land and Sea.
This contemporary version of The Little Mermaid offers hope and inspiration to anyone who has been dumped, deceived or demoted.
After giving up her tail for an international banker, Isabella of the Mediterranean kingdom is aged beyond recognition. The horrified banker abandons her on the fog-drenched shores of southwest England, leaving her to face a difficult human journey as a plain and practically destitute fifty-three-year-old woman.
With the help of a magic tablet and online mermaid support, Isabella evolves into the persona of Barbara Davies. Along the way, she encounters a cast of unforgettable characters, among them former mermaids, supportive and not-so-supportive women, deserving and undeserving men, and several New Agers.
Where does the story take place? Why did you choose that location?
After Isabella is abandoned in England, she is whisked across the ocean to Carden, Ontario (a fictitious town 40 miles west of Toronto). I wanted Isabella to fully experience the contrast between the life she had been promised by the international banker—large, glittering cities across the globe—and the life she faced—a small town with limited possibilities. Only then, would she be motivated to improve her circumstances. Had I placed her in Toronto or Chicago (where she eventually ends up), she would not have experienced as much personal growth.
What was the most challenging aspect of writing Between Land and Sea?Having read very few books I did enjoy in the genre, I found it challenging to create one that would contain enough fantasy elements and still satisfy fans of contemporary women’s fiction. Using a tablet with online mermaid support helped solve that problem. I was careful, however, not to use too much technical jargon.
BlurbShe picked up the tablet and pressed the green button. Lisa738 appeared. “Greetings, Isa— Barbara. What can I do for you today?”
“I’m giving my first dinner party and I’m not certain—”
Lisa738 interrupted, “You need a Specialist Skills button. No problem, but I think you should know that you are only entitled to two more of these buttons during the coming year.”
Barbara made a mental note to ask Gillian for more information regarding the tablet. “Of course. What will I be able to do with this button?”
“You will be able to whip up any dish in any cuisine. You will also have an extensive knowledge of the ingredients and nutritional value of any meal you create.”
“Like Martha Stewart?”
Lisa738 laughed. “Martha Stewart. Rachel Ray. Nigella Lawson. You will be able to hold your own with any of them.” She pointed to the new button that appeared below the screen.
Barbara picked up the button, peeled off the coating, applied it to her left temple, and waited for the unsettling sensation. This time, the experience was more intense. Barbara lost her balance and had to hold on to a nearby chair for support.
Lisa738 winced. “I forgot to warn you about the power of the Specialist Skills buttons. You may need to lie down for an hour or so. Are you planning a large dinner party?”
YouTube (Trailer #1): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xipZ6quZDOs
YouTube (Trailer #2): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfiKOQe_yuU