About the Book:
Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences.
Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.
1.) Could you please describe Monstrous Beauty using only nouns?
Ghosts. Sea folk. Layers. History. Sacrifice. Family. Tragedy. Hope.
2.) If your novel had a theme song (or does) which would it be?
I can't work to music, so I didn't have one in mind while writing. But now I'm going to have to go for "My Dream Girl is a Monster."It's by my favorite band, Secabest Bestabed--a "band" that is really my eighteen-year-old son. (You all should totally download the whole album. Heck, it's free
3.) What is one thing that readers will not know about Monstrous Beauty, even after reading the novel?
They won't know why Syrenka longs to leave her undersea home. They won't know whether the sea witch, Noo'kas, is pure evil or has a wounded past that makes her the way she is. Luckily, they'll be able to get a hint at both topics in a special graphic novella called Treasure Game that will be on the MacTeens site soon!
4.) Was there any sort of "Ah-Ha!" moment when writing the book? A scene that clicked, a character's name, a fun fact, etc?
There were so many moments like that. I remember when I took Pastor McKee to the shore and he leaned over a boulder to peer into the water and suddenly I realized that his flask fell out of his waistcoat pocket. Of course it did! (By the way, Pastor McKee's name came to me because I felt that he held the key to Hester's mystery.) Also--I hope this isn't spoilery--there's surprise late in the book. It's a surprise because the information is forgotten to the reader, and I had forgotten it myself while I was writing. Rediscovering it made my heart pound, as I hope it does for the reader!
5.) Do you and your main character share any favorites? Favorite ice cream flavor, candle scent, color, weather, etc?
I think we share a love of history and biology as subjects in school. And we definitely share a fondness for thick British novels on rainy days. As far as dislikes, we're both reluctant to go to loud parties. But I do think Hester would like the raucous dinner table conversation at my house.
6.) Thank you so much for doing this somewhat silly interview with me. Is there anything you'd like to add?
Just that these questions were so fun, I could have answered ten more. Thank you for hosting me, Britta!