{Interview} Amalie Howard, Author of WATERFELL

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I was lucky enough to meet Amalie at ALA Midwinter this past January and pick up a copy of WATERFELL thanks to Harlequin Teen! I just need to make time to read it. I didn't get as much reading in for Splash as I wanted to this year. ^^;; But there's always my A Twist in the Tail feature this fall, so look forward to my thoughts soon!

Alllllll the way back in January, I was already thinking about you guys and this year's Splash! I mentioned the event to Amalie, and she was more than eager to take part!

Take a peek at our fun interview!

AMALIE HOWARD grew up on a small Caribbean island where she spent most of her childhood with her nose buried in a book or being a tomboy running around barefoot, shimmying up mango trees and dreaming of adventure. 22 countries, surfing with sharks and several tattoos later, she has traded in bungee jumping in China for writing the adventures she imagines instead. She isn’t entirely convinced which takes more guts. She is the author of several young adult novels critically acclaimed by Kirkus, PW and Booklist, including WATERFELL, THE ALMOST GIRL, and ALPHA GODDESS, a Spring 2014 Kid’s INDIE NEXT title. Her debut novel, BLOODSPELL, was an Amazon best seller and a Seventeen Magazine Summer Read. She currently resides in New York with her husband and three children.
Visit Amalie on her website, Twitter and Facebook!

An interview with 
Amalie Howard

What kind of brainstorming went into developing the Aquarathi species? They're unlike any underwater creature I've seen!

Thanks! I’ve always wanted to write an ocean-themed novel, but mermaids have been done so many times that I knew the story had to be unique to stand out. So I came up with the idea of the Aquarathi. Basically, they are a fictional ocean species living in the deepest part of the earth’s oceans (the Aquarathi in WATERFELL and OCEANBORN live in the Mariana Trench). They’re large and beautiful with multicolored scales and fins. Think underwater dragons that can shape shift into human form. 

Growing up, I enjoyed many stories of giant sea monsters that consumed whole ships, and those stories (even the Loch Ness Monster) definitely played into the brainstorming for the Aquarathi. I built the species off of mosasaurs, which are extinct marine reptiles. But back in the day, they were the dominant marine predators. I wanted my version of the mosasaur to be scary-gorgeous, mysterious, and intelligent, and have the ability to shape shift. So it then evolved into them being an alien species fleeing from their polluted planet, Sana. I had a lot of fun coming up with how they looked, how they behaved, their culture, their environment, and their interactions with humans.

What research went into creating your underwater habitat?

I’ve always been fascinated with the oceans so I loved doing all the research. I lived near the sea. I grew up free diving 20-30 feet. So when James Cameron took his shuttle to the Mariana Trench, everything sort of fell into place. It’s the deepest point of the earth. We don’t actually know what down there … what if there was something else down there? So I made up a home world where the Aquarathi had come from, where mosasaurs hadn’t gone extinct as they had here here, where they had lived symbiotically with a humanoid species. That home world had to tie into a suitable environment here on earth. 

I did a lot of research on our earth’s oceans, including some of its deepest parts like the Mariana Trench. I had to know what could live down there—what kind of temperatures and pressure levels I was dealing with. Most normal life forms can’t exist in those conditions, so I had to make sure that my Aquarathi could survive and thrive there. In addition, since the Aquarathi were “real” sea creatures, I needed their habitat to be reflective of that. Their home couldn’t be a fairytale underwater castle. Instead, I opted for a series of mineral-lit caves within connected seamounts. 

In the books, I describe their home, Waterfell, as a type of archipelagic structure at the bottom of the ocean (kind of like a series of underwater islands). 

Ariel gave up her voice to become a human. What would you give up if offered the opportunity to be a mermaid?

Hmm, this is a good question. I don’t know if I could give up my voice to be Aquarathi. I like to talk way too much. I wouldn’t want to give up my eyesight either because I’d want to see everything down there.  Maybe my sense of taste? I can’t imagine hunting down live prey in Aquarathi form and eating it would be too much fun.

What is the best underwater treasure you own?

I have a collection of beautiful shells, sea glass, and rocks I’ve collected over the years at all the different beaches I’ve been to. They are all treasures to me. 

What is your favorite type of underwater creature?

I’m very partial to dolphins. Here is a pic of me kissing one!

Dolphin or Sea Lion?


Seashells or starfish?

Seashells! Starfish are cool to look at until you touch them. And at least with seashells you can always hear the sound of the ocean!

O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Amalie Howard
Release Date: Oct. 29, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen


Nerissa Marin hides among teens in her human form, waiting for the day she can claim her birthright—the undersea kingdom stolen from her the day her father was murdered. Blending in is her best weapon—until her father's betrayer confronts Nerissa and challenges her to a battle to the death on Nerissa's upcoming birthday—the day she comes of age.

Amid danger and the heartbreak of her missing mother, falling for a human boy is the last thing Nerissa should do. But Lo Seavon breaches her defenses and somehow becomes the only person she can count on to help her desperate search for her mother, a prisoner of Nerissa's mortal enemy. Is Lo the linchpin that might win Nerissa back her crown? Or will this mortal boy become the weakness that destroys her?


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