Welcome! This year I’m sharing a week-long virtual tour with a few other authors and artists who share my fondness for denizens of the deep. We’ll be sharing stories, artwork, and lore about the mythology of merfolk. I hope you’ll stick around, and maybe learn a few things about merfolk! Who knows, it may save your life – the depths of the ocean can be a scary place!
So let’s take the plunge!
Which historical myths did you draw from when creating your stories?
Merfolk mythology is highly varied from region to region, with some being benevolent and others a harbinger of doom (or in some cases the actual instrument of doom, wrecking ships and dragging humans to their deaths in the inky depths.) I took elements from various myths for the merfolk on my world of Arvia – they can be either instruments of doom, sinking ships and devouring sailors, or protectors, escorting ships past other hazardous sea monsters. But the one thing I definitely adopted was the idea that mermaids or mermen have a highly seductive persona. Not only are they physically attractive, but they have a sweet voice, impeccable manners, and refined speech. They are likely to greet you with polite, often seductive salutations. And thereafter may engage in further civil discourse, or sink your ship and devour you. Capricious as the sea itself! As a final note, one of the Japanese mermaid legends is a creature of giant proportions, much like the merfolk on Arvia.
Do you have any personal connection to any particular body of water?
I’ve loved the ocean since I was a child, and have a connection with many bodies of water, from the Pacific Ocean, to the Mediterranean Sea. In high school my nickname was ‘aquaman,’ because I spent more time in the water than a crocodile (according to my friends. I never verified the statistics, but I thought it was a cool nickname. Two of the most memorable aquatic experiences I had were the time I was boogie-boarding in San Diego, and a pod of dolphins swam past. Though they were a ways off, when I ducked my head underwater, I could hear their clicking calls. More recently when free-diving in Bonaire, I swam through a school of shad. A school of several thousand of them swam around me, literally surrounding me on all sides – it was a surreal experience looking up, down, side to side and seeing nothing but tiny fish. Note – the video doesn’t do the experience justice – neither camera nor photographer were very good.
And finally, let’s hear about my mermaid novella, Love, Death, or Mermaid!
I’ve had both mermaids and mermen as side characters in Tales of Arvia, but I really wanted to tell a true nautical adventure story. This one features a mermaid, with the character Loredona tending toward the benevolent side of things. However, after being cheated by another character in the story, she becomes rather less charitable, and the humans of the story get placed squarely on her menu. I had a great time with all of her dialog, being sweet, charming, with almost aristocratic speech patterns, while at the same time demanding human sacrifices. And I drew upon my personal experiences regarding a ship wreck chapter, of what it’s like being tossed about in the surf, feeling helpless against the power of the sea, not knowing which way is up or down. Three chapters are free here, though unfortunately Loredona doesn’t come on the scene until chapter five. Sorry! (But they’re still great chapters!)
Hope you’ll join these other fine authors and artists to learn why merfolk inspire them and their work!