I seriously apologize for the lateness of this post. As my readers know, I’ve been struggling the last few weeks with my back. Today has been one of the bad days and I hope that Karen forgives me for being late with it. You all know that I really hate it when I can’t bring you content on time like promised. I also know that I’m generally too hard on myself. I can’t help it! I do all this cool stuff and read all these cool books and I want nothing more than to share them all with you. So late is better than never right? I ask that authors and readers bear with me as I go through this and try to get myself right again. Thank you all for your support.
TTS: The Top Shelf would like to welcome Karen Hooper to the blog! Tell the readers a little bit about yourself and your book Tangled Tides.
Thanks for having me, Misty. I write young adult stories that blur the line between fantasy and paranormal. Tangled Tides is a story about a human girl turned into a mermaid who discovers she is the only soul who can save a world of sea creatures.
TTS: How did the idea for this book come about?
Well, I’ve always loved mermaids, and pretty much anything related to the ocean. I’ve had many ocean related stories brewing in my mind, but one day while on a walk with my mom, we saw a sidewalk covered with dead worms. Seriously, like a hundred dried up worms. I made a comment about how sad it was, and that they were probably trying to cross the sidewalk and get to safety. Poof! That sparked a major premise for my merfolk story. So, yes, oddly enough it started with worms.
TTS: I like to ask this question of every author I interview because I find character creation interesting. How did you name your characters and did you shape them after people you know in real life?
Most of my character names came from researching meanings of names. Treygan and Yara have a lot of cool meanings that fit their characters perfectly. Some of my secondary characters were just fun names, or they are real character names in mythology (Medusa, Stheno, etc.) As far as shaping them, some characteristics might resemble people I know in real life, but most of them are the result of my imagination.
TTS: Did you have the storyline all planned out when you sat down to write or did it take a life of its own beyond the initial paragraph?
I can never plan out my stories. They always evolve and change as I write. Almost all of the surprises and plot twists weren’t planned. They somehow kept magically unfolding and I just went with it.
TTS: When you sit down to write a story do you use an outline?
See above. Lol. Nope, I can’t outline. The very thought of it stops my creativity dead in its tracks.
TTS: Where there ever moments where the story didn’t go the way you planned or personally wanted it to go? How did you deal with that?
Lots of surprises popped up, and a few unexpected characters! For example, I never planned Pango as a character, but one night he just appeared in my mind and I began typing his thoughts. An hour later I was giggly and so excited about him that I emailed my writing buddies, saying I couldn’t wait for everyone to meet him. I had no idea what part he would play to the plot, but as always, it all worked out.
TTS: What led you to writing?
I’ve loved writing since somewhere around middle school. I mostly wrote poems back then, but throughout high school and college I loved creative writing classes, and worked on the school literary magazine. Eventually I had novel length story ideas that were kicking and screaming to be typed into reality. And here we are.
TTS: Are you planning on sticking to one genre or are you going to branch out into others?
I’ll probably always stay in the paranormal and fantasy genre because I love magic and supernatural stuff. However, I did start one manuscript that is older and will probably end up as adult. That’s way down the road though.
TTS: What do you like to read?
All kinds of stuff. Again, stories with magic or supernatural elements are my favorite, but I do enjoy a good contemporary or a literary novel once in a while. I’ve even been known to indulge in a good mystery or sci-fi novel.
TTS: What are you reading at the moment?
I just started The Secret of Spruce Knoll by Heather McCorkle. Also, an amazing manuscript by one of my critique partners. It’s a YA verse novel and I’ve read it three times already, but I can’t get enough of it.
TTS: Do you think what authors read influence what they write?
I think it depends on the person. I read many different types of books, but it doesn’t necessarily mean I will ever write some of those genres. However, I think we can all improve our craft by reading as many books as possible.
TTS: Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on right now if you’re working on anything at all?
I’m working on book 2 of The Sea Monster Memoirs, and I’m having a blast with it. I also have another series that I wrote before Tangled Tides. It’s a YA paranormal and reincarnation based story, and I hope to revise it, strengthen it, and release that one into the world someday in the somewhat near future.
TTS: Once again, I would like to thank Karen for taking the time to be here! I would love to have you back again sometime!
Thanks so much! It was my pleasure.
Karen was born and bred in Baltimore, frolicked and froze in Colorado for a couple of years and is currently sunning and splashing around Florida with her two beloved dogs. She’s addicted to coffee, chocolate and complicated happily-ever-afters.
Karen has been making up stories for as long as she can remember. In high school she discovered her passion for putting her thoughts onto paper, but it wasn’t until her late twenties that she wrote her first novel. Due to her strong Disney upbringing, she still believes in fairytales and will forever sprinkle magic throughout all of her novels.
Synopsis: Yara Jones doesn’t believe in sea monsters—until she becomes one.
When a hurricane hits her island home and she wakes up with fins, Yara finds herself tangled up in an underwater world of mysterious merfolk and secretive selkies. Both sides believe Yara can save them by fulfilling a broken promise and opening the sealed gateway to their realm, but they are battling over how it should be done. The selkies want to take her life. The merfolk want something far more precious.
Treygan, the stormy-eyed merman who turned Yara mer, will stop at nothing and sacrifice everything to protect his people—until he falls for Yara. The tides turn as Yara fights to save herself, hundreds of sea creatures, and the merman who has her heart. She could lose her soul in the process—or she might open the gateway to a love that’s deeper than the oceans.