{Interview} Jennifer Donnelly, Author of DEEP BLUE

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Jennifer Donnelly is the author of six novels - DEEP BLUE, REVOLUTION, A NORTHERN LIGHT, THE TEA ROSE, THE WINTER ROSE, and THE WILD ROSE - and HUMBLE PIE, a picture book for children. 

She grew up in New York State, in Lewis and Westchester counties, and attended the University of Rochester where she majored in English Literature and European History.

Jennifer lives in New York's Hudson Valley with her husband, daughter, and three rescue dogs.
Visit Jennifer on her website, Twitter and Facebook!

An interview with 
Jennifer Donnelly

What worldbuilding went into developing a quest for six unique merls, creating their world, and enriching everything with a unique mythology?

A ton! Worldbuilding was one of the most daunting aspects of this project. I’d never written a fantasy novel, nevermind one set under water, when I started DEEP BLUE – only historical novels, and to go from a genre with some pretty ironclad rules to one where you make up the rules was initially overwhelming. I quickly learned that a fantasy world isn’t a free for all, though. Logic, social order, effective government, laws of physics – these things matter in magical worlds, too. Once I had those basic frameworks down, and the mythology, it was great fun to imagine and layer in things like food, slang, fashion, dwellings, markets, ceremonies, and magical creatures.

Can you whisper any secrets about what to expect as the Waterfire Saga continues?

Well.....our brave mermaids learn a bit more about their adversary....there’s a lovely little romantic interlude (but I’m not saying who’s involved!) and there’s a scary-wrasse shipwreck ghost, too!

What is it about the water that draws you to incorporating elements of it in your various novels? Will you continue doing so in the future?

I think it’s the mystery of the oceans that draws me. We spend more money and time exploring space than we do our own oceans. Only 1% of the oceans have been explored so far—can you imagine what could be out there? They’re always finding new species and when they set out to debunk myths, they’re finding that myths are true—such as the giant squid! 
Ariel gave up her voice to become a human. What would you give up if offered the opportunity to be a mermaid?

That’s a hard one. Chocolate, maybe. I think I could give up chocolate. 
What is your favorite underwater novel or movie?

The Abyss.  Even just thinking about the drowning scene makes me break out in a cold sweat.

What is your favorite underwater novel or movie?
Since I’ve been writing mermaid novels for the past three years, I decided NOT to read anything similar because I didn’t want to subconsciously “lift” anything from other books. When I was a kid I loved to watch SPLASH, but now I kind of cringe at the plot (when you’re an author, you’re kind of cursed like that).

The Little Mermaid: Hans Christian Andersen or Disney?

Hans Christian Andersen was not a happy ending kind of guy, was he? I mean, have you ever read The Little Match Girl? The poor little thing is sent out to sell matches on a January night, and if she doesn’t sell any, her father will beat her....and then what happens? She dies! Thanks, Hans. Thanks a lot. Things don’t go much better for his little mermaid, either. There are aspects of both versions of the story that I love – Hans’ writing, Sebastian’s singing – but I have to say, I’m loving this new generation of mermaids Disney and I have created the most. They’re not pining for a life on land. They’re very happy where they are. They love their watery realms and the creatures who dwell in them – so much so, that they’ll risk everything, even their lives, to save those realms. That’s my kind of merl.    

O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Disney Hyperion

The first in a series of four epic tales set in the depths of the ocean, where six mermaids seek to protect and save their hidden world.
Deep in the ocean, in a world not so different from our own, live the merpeople. Their communities are spread throughout the oceans, seas, and freshwaters all over the globe.

When Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, awakens on the morning of her betrothal, her biggest worry should be winning the love of handsome Prince Mahdi. And yet Sera finds herself haunted by strange dreams that foretell the return of an ancient evil. Her dark premonitions are confirmed when an assassin's arrow poisons Sera's mother. Now, Serafina must embark on a quest to find the assassin's master and prevent a war between the Mer nations. Led only by her shadowy dreams, Sera searches for five other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas. Together, they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood and uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world's very existence.