I am very excited to welcome Erika Marks to my blog today! Earlier this month I read and reviewed her sophomore novel, The Mermaid Collector. I hope you enjoy what she has to say about her connection to the ocean, and that you will enter to win a copy of The Mermaid Collector for your book collection!
Growing up near the coast in Maine, I grew attached to the ocean at a young age and it is a relationship that continues to shape my life and my moods. I need only be within sniffing distance of the water, catch a tangy whiff of the tide, and my spirits are lifted, no matter what heaviness might be weighing on my heart.
For every character in THE MERMAID COLLECTOR, the ocean plays a pivotal role in shaping their identity. For Tess Patterson, the twenty-five year old wood carver who dreams of finding true love as mysterious as the mermaids who were believed to have lured four townsmen into the sea in 1888, the ocean is a place of wonder. But it is also the place where her mother took her own life when Tess was just sixteen, so its influence over Tess is complicated.
For Tom Grace, the ocean is a chance at new beginnings. Arriving in Cradle Harbor on the eve of the town’s annual Mermaid Festival, Tom is certain that moving in to the town’s historic lightkeeper’s house will be just the fresh start that he and his younger brother Dean need to move on from the tragedy of their youth. That is, until Tom stumbles upon Tess working on a mermaid sculpture in her studio, and their fierce attraction to one another quickly washes his plan for order out to sea.
But not all of the characters in THE MERMAID COLLECTOR embrace the magic of the ocean. For Lydia Harris, the young wife of lightkeeper Linus Harris, the man believed to have been the leader of the legendary Mermaid Mutiny of 1888, the ocean is a terrifying place. When she arrives with Linus in the spring of 1887 to Cradle Harbor, it is her devotion to her husband that forces her to put away her long-standing fear of the water in the hopes of starting the family they have always wanted.
But most of all, it is the story’s most elusive characters who keep THE MERMAID COLLECTOR tied to its watery setting. Did mermaids in fact lure four men to their doom in 1888? Whether they did or not, the residents of Cradle Harbor are far too attached to their lore to do anything but celebrate its power over them. Like the coastline that embraces their town, the legend of The Mermaid Mutiny is every bit as mysterious and full of unknowns.
For those of us who are near the water, the ocean can mean many things. It can inspire and overwhelm, comfort and confound. It can be both a source of livelihood and a source of wonder, its tides a constant rhythm in a changing world.
What are your ties to the sea?