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Dreams of Other Realms: How Tide Came to Be

I always feel guilty saying this because I love all my books, I really do, but there's something special about Tide. It's my baby--which I know is what I say about all my books and all my characters but it is. It's the sort of colorful, magical adventure I love to write most and a very emotional story for me. So I thought I'd talk a little about how it got to be what it is now, because it was a long road.

When the tides roll in, death follows.

That is what eighteen-year-old Hania has been told all her life. For the depths of the sea hide the cruel and magical tidespeople, strange gods and creatures of the water who see human life as nothing more than a game. When they sweep her brother away with them, a new pet for their queen, she knows she has no option but to get him back. And her one hope is Aven, a lonely, imprisoned selkie desperate to return home. So she strikes a deal.

She will return his skin, and his power with it, and in exchange Aven will take her to the Realm of Tides.

But once there Hania finds a world unlike any she imagined. A world of beauty and danger, of magic beyond any the old tales could have prepared her for. The longer she finds herself there the more fear of the undersea realm turns to awe–and an uneasy alliance with Aven turns to something far more thrilling and far more damning. But here deadlier creatures than Aven lurk, eager to kill her, claim her, or break her.

Her brother’s capture is only the beginning of the game. A game of hearts and lives, loyalty and cunning. And to save them all she must be willing to play it and win–or die trying.

Tide really began years before I ever wrote a single word. In high school I had several dreams that have always stuck with me: a world underwater, with colorful, coral-like trees and strange creatures. While I still don't remember any plot from those dreams, the scenery has always been vivid to me and I knew it was a world I needed to write. I just needed to figure out what the story was. And in summer of 2017 I found that when a shy little character popped into my head asking me to write the story of how she survived a world that should have killed her. I can't really say what inspired the first inkling of her story; I just woke up one morning with the burning need to write it down. Hania was born, and quickly became one of my favorite main characters.

I knew I was going to write an adventure set in this world from my dreams, but the story itself went through a lot of changes while I was first working on it. At various points it was a Beauty and the Beast retelling, your classic fantasy rebellion, and an epic romance, and elements of all of those have certainly stuck around. But what created the Tide I finally wrote was something completely unrelated to any creative brainstorming. My life changed drastically right around the time I was beginning to play with the concept of Tide. I lost my home and some people I was very, very close to, all in one fell swoop. I felt lost at sea, drowning. Usually my characters are like their own people, and their stories belong to them entirely, but in this case a lot of my life came through. Don't call me crazy, but it felt like Hania knew exactly when I needed to work on her story. Tide became something of a mashup of the concept I started out with and a magic-infused version of my own struggles. Music in particular played a huge role during that time, and if you've read the book you'll probably be able to see the parallel to that in the characters Raeth and Kieras--sirens. The whole thing came together--loss, hope, and new adventures--with that world I used to dream about, and to this day writing Tide remains an experience unlike any other book I've worked on.

Now that I'm (slowly) working on the sequel (and huge apology to anybody who may have been waiting on that for the last year...I swear I'll get it done one day) I've found myself reflecting on everything that led to Tide and hoping I can pull off another book I'm just as proud of. Though doing it without all the unexpected losses would be nice. Wish me luck.

And if you haven't checked out Hania's adventure yet, buy Tide here!

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