Monday, July 22, 2013

Blogger Book Fair - Interview with Katie O'Sullivan, Author of Son of a Mermaid

Shea MacNamara's life just got complicated.

After a freak tornado devastates his Oklahoma farm, the fifteen-year-old orphan moves to Cape Cod to live with a grandmother he's never met. Struggling to make sense of his new surroundings, he meets a girl along the shore who changes his life forever.

Kae belongs to an undersea world hidden from drylanders. The daughter of royal servants, she knows the planned marriage of her Princess to the foreign King should put an end to the war between the clans. Two things stand in the way of lasting peace: an ambitious Regent and rumors of a half-human child who will save the oceans.

Sparks fly when she meets Shea, but could the cute drylander really be the Son of a Mermaid?


It’s a pleasure to have Katie O’Sullivan here with us today to talk about her book Son of a Mermaid.   I read it recently and truly enjoyed the story. 

-         Tell us a little bit about your book.  What inspired your choice of the storyline, characters, setting, etc.?

SON OF A MERMAID is a coming of age story with a paranormal twist, in that the main character didn’t know his mother was a mermaid. When a freak tornado devastates his Oklahoma farm, 15-year-old Shea MacNamara moves to Cape Cod to live with his grandmother, and discovers that his roots – and his destiny – lie far below the cool waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

My family lives on Cape Cod year round, and we walk along the beach daily with our dogs. One day my middle child and I found an unusual stone on the beach with a strange hole cut through the middle. He and I spent the rest of the walk making up stories about the mermaid who must have lost it… and the novel grew from there.

-         Tell us about yourself and your journey to become a writer

I’ve always loved books and reading, and dreamed of being an author from an early age. In fact, I wrote my first mystery in third grade and my aunt “published” it for me. Now a recovering English major, I’ve worked over the years as both a reporter and editor. When my third child started full-day kindergarten, I started writing my first manuscript and decided I really want to be an author when I grow up. With three published books and a fourth in production, I think I’m getting there.

-         I notice from your author page that you have three kids and two dogs.  How do you balance your time with family and your writing time?  It’s often difficult to find time to even think as a mom, let alone write a novel.

Actually, we now have three dogs… and yes, it’s a tough balancing act, but one that all moms struggle with in some form or another. I try to do the majority of my creative writing while the kids are in school, but I also get up very early in the morning to get things done like answering emails and posting on my blog. When I first started writing, I could write after they went off to bed, but now they all stay up later than I do!

-         Can you describe your favorite scene in the book without spoiling the book for readers?

It’s not a spoiler to say that my main character, Shea, discovers that his mother is really a mermaid – it’s in the title of the book, lol. I loved writing the underwater scenes, and imagining what mermaid life would feel like to Shea.

One of my favorite scenes is when he falls into the saltwater by accident and almost drowns, in an eerily similar scenario to the nightmares that have been haunting him – except that when he finally gives in and releases the breath he’s been holding, he finds he can “breathe” the water! Another of my favorite scenes occurs when Shea is first learning to use the transformational magick that will turn his two legs into one tail. It’s like a scene straight out of one of his drowning dreams, except this time he’s not afraid.

-         Describe your target audience.  Who did you write Son of a Mermaid for?

SON OF A MERMAID is young YA, aimed at middle grade readers who are looking for something more. I usually say the age range is 9-14, but it’s a good read-together book for younger readers and I’ve received emails and reviews from adult readers who have loved the story as well.

-         Son of a Mermaid is your third novel.  What have you learned over the years that might be helpful to other authors just starting out?

Patience is the most important item in an author’s toolbox. I thought finishing a manuscript was the end of the journey, but then I found it’s really only the beginning. Have patience. Do your homework. And always act like a professional. Even though our stories and characters are personal, writing is a business, and the faster you learn that, the easier it is to deal with the inevitable rejections.

-         Every author has a different goal in writing a story, some want to express things they’ve experienced in life in story form, some merely want to entertain, some hope to teach through their stories.  What were your goals in writing your story?

Reading has always played a huge role in my own life. I love the idea of connecting with young readers, and helping them develop a life-long love of reading. I also love that the current YA genre has exploded into such a vibrant and disparate collection of authors and book topics. Young readers today have so many great choices!

-         I know in writing Guiamo, Marshall has had to decide how to explain the magic in his stories in a way that it is believable.  He often has “aha” moments when he figures out how to incorporate certain elements into the story.  Can you share an “aha” moment you had while writing Son of a Mermaid?

Well, I’m not sure if this is what you mean, but I had a kind of “aha” moment about writing YA, in terms of Point of View. Lots of YA books are written in first person POV, but I prefer writing in third person with a definite viewpoint. My “aha” was when I realized I couldn’t use any adult POVs, and needed to tell the story as Shea and Kae, the main characters, were experiencing it. That cut out a lot of backstory and side schemes, but it drove the storyline to be all the more immediate. Now the reader discovers things at the same time as Shea does, which makes for a stronger story.

-         Do you have another story in the works?  What’s next?

A sequel to SON OF A MERMAID is already in production with the same publisher, Crescent Moon Press. The working title of the second book is “Blood of a Mermaid” and the blurb reads like this:

At fifteen, Shea McNamara discovered he’s the heir to an undersea kingdom. And even more important, he fell in love…with a mermaid. Big life changers for a farmboy from Oklahoma.

Seventeen-year-old Zan commands powerful magick, and owes his allegiance to Prince Demyan. Kidnapping the heir’s girlfriend is just another step in Demyan’s twisted plans for world domination. But Zan has never met anyone like the beautiful mermaid Kae. She makes him feel things that he never thought he deserved, and he makes promises that put both their lives at risk.

Kae is torn between two mermen battling not only for her affections, but also for the future of the undersea world they inhabit. In the clashes between good and evil, the lines are not always clearly drawn. Especially when love is involved.

Thanks for having me as your guest during Blogger Book Fair! It’s been fun!


Find Katie online:
Check out her website at
My Review
     I thoroughly enjoyed Son of a Mermaid.  It was a light hearted read and one I'm sure many young people will enjoy.  I would have liked to see a little more development of the story at the beginning.  The sudden change in Shae's life seemed like it could have had a little more development.  After that I felt the story flowed well.  I wished for more at the end but am thrilled to hear that a sequel is already in the works. 
I was provided a free copy for this review.



1 comment:

  1. Thanks for hosting me today as part of Blogger Book Fair. It was great *meeting* you through the fair!

    And thanks for the nice review as well! Glad you enjoyed my book!


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