I am so excited to be part of the ARC tour for Fins Are Forever by Tera Lynn Childs. I had a blast–or was it a splash–being part of the Splash Team for Forgive My Fins when it released last summer. Fans of Princess Waterlily will not be disappointed as her adventures continue with the release of the sequel June 28.
Lily is back on land, living with Aunt Rachel, hanging out with her best friend Shannon, and dreaming of her best guy. Now that she’s made her decision, she has decidedly more human concerns to worry about–mainly getting into a college–any college that will take her. Just when it all appears to be smooth sailing, her bratty cousin Dosinia shows up on the doorstep.
Whatever Dosinia’s done this time, it must be bad because she is banished from the sea to live with Lily. Dosinia is not what Lily needs. She hates humans and loves stirring up trouble. Now she’s even flirting with Lily’s old crush Brody. Nothing good can come from this. Just when it all seems ready to blow apart, a merboy from Lily’s past shows up with an urgent request. Will Lily choose love or duty as she plots her future?
I thought Fins Are Forever lived up to my expectations. Lily still has a knack getting caught up in the middle of turmoil, but she is learning to see past the surface of people who drive her crazy–like her cousin Dosinia. Dosinia adds conflict and humor as she adapts to the human world she hates. Maybe, just maybe, her heart is in the right place after all.
In addition to writing great books, Tera Lynn Childs graciously answered these questions from my students for a brief blog interview. Her books have been among the top circulated books in our school library. I have a hard time keeping them on my classroom shelves as well. My students are eagerly waiting for Fins Are Forever!
Ariana: Why did you write Forgive My Fins?
Growing up I always wanted to be a mermaid. I was a water baby and a competitive swimmer, so my dream was to be in the water full time. I got the idea for Forgive My Fins when I was in Florida for the summer and spending a lot of time on the beach. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if a merman walked out of the Gulf and bestowed his magical powers on me with a kiss?” I knew right away it was a great book idea, especially if I created conflict when my mergirl accidentally kisses the wrong boy.
Audrey: Why do you write fantasy?
I write fantasy because normal, everyday life is pretty dull. I already live in the real world, with stubbed toes and spilled soy milk and nights in front of the TV, so I’m not really excited to write about that. I love writing about things that couldn’t really be possible in our world, and making them seem plausible.
What do you plan on writing in the future?
Oh, I have a bajillion ideas for books and stories. Who knows how many of them I’ll actually get around to writing. But for now I’m working on my new trilogy about triplet monster-hunting descendants of Medusa. The first book, Sweet Venom, will be out in September.
Charity: Why did you become a writer?
I never planned to become a writer. Growing up and through graduate school I wanted to be: teacher, veterinarian, architect, lawyer, biologist, doctor, actress, scenic artist, set designer, historic preservationist, muralist… You name a career and it was probably on my list at some point. After grad school, though, I ended up back home with my parents who were traveling for work a lot. I was basically house sitting their place in the country and I started reading. A lot. It got to the point where I wanted characters to act differently or to say different things. I finally decided that if I wrote a story they would do and say whatever I wanted.
Who do you look up to?
In life, my parents of course. But as for writers, I have changing tastes. My favorites right now are Suzanne Collins, Susan Beth Pfeffer, E. Lockhart, and Jaclyn Moriarty. I also love classics like Jane Austen, Shakespeare, and Greek plays.
Courtney: Where did you come up with these ideas?
I get my ideas from everywhere. Oh. My. Gods. and Goddess Boot Camp came from playing around with reality TV show titles. Forgive My Fins and Fins Are Forever stem from my lifelong obsessions with mermaids. I got the initial idea for Sweet Venom from a fashion magazine spread about snaked-themed accessories. I just keep my eyes and my mind open to seeing ideas in the world around me.
Anna: How often do you write?
That depends on how close I am to deadline. As much as I feel like I should write every day, there are days (maybe even weeks) when I don’t write at all. But as I get closer to deadline, I write every single day and for more and more time each day.
How do you plan your books before you start writing?
I’d rather not plan them at all. I would rather get my idea spark, brainstorm some characters who might wind up in that world/situation, and then start writing from scene one. My editor sometimes has other plans and I have to write a synopsis first. (I stink at synopsis writing, btw.) When that happens, I try to use a basic plot structure, like Michael Hauge’s Six Stage Plot Structure, as a road map for story action. Somewhere early in the process I like to make character collages, too, to give me a visual picture of who my characters are.
What is it like to have written your own book?
It’s an amazing feeling, like reaching the top of a mountain. And, like climbing a mountain, getting to the top is only half the trip. Once the first draft is finished, there are so many other things to do. Revise it. Revise it again. Get an agent. Sell to a publisher. Revise it again and again. Proofread it. Wait for it to get printed and go on sale. Hope that it does well and lots of people buy it so your publisher wants to buy more books. But the bottom line is that finishing a book is one of the hardest and most rewarding things I’ve ever done.
Who is your favorite character in the Forgive My Fins series?
Oh come on, I’m not allowed to have favorites. But I do have a special place in my heart for my bad girl characters. Dosinia might be a total brat, but I know there are reasons underneath, in her past, that have made her that way. We get to learn more about that in Fins Are Forever and I hope readers realize she’s more than what she seems.
Mrs. McGriff: Thanks for writing books my students are excited to read!
Thank you all for the fun and thoughtful questions!