Today I'm pleased to welcome Sarah Armstrong-Garner to the blog. She's currently on tour with Sinking, the first in a new mermaid-themed YA fantasy trilogy. So let me hand you straight over to Sarah to tell you a bit about the research that went into the novel ...
Thank you so much, AFE, for having me on your blog today!
When I began writing Sinking, I had seen The Little Mermaid, been to an aquarium, read Jane Austen’s novels, and had read a history book or two. This would be enough to write an entire book, right? Man, was I wrong. Once I began researching Jocelyn’s world, below the water and above, I fell in love with the ocean and Ireland.
The ocean covers seventy percent of the earth, and we have only explored roughly five percent. Wow. When I read this, I was blown away. I began to think, what about the other unexplored ninety-five percent? What could exist? Cities? Cultures? Mermaids? I grabbed every book and article I could get my hands on to research mermaids.
I discovered sightings of these mystical creatures have been recorded as early as 580AD, all over the world. A lot of these sightings were from sailors who spoke of women from the sea singing to them, which in most cases turned out to be a bad thing. Most of the lore was how they would lure men to the bottom of the ocean, either by singing on fog-covered rocks to sink their ships, or by pulling the men overboard as they reached out to the sea creatures.
Mermaids were not the only mystical creatures I came upon during my research. Selkies are seals that shed their skins to come on land as humans. Part of the legend is if their skin is hidden from them, they cannot return to the sea. This fascinated me, and when writing Sinking, I kept going back to mermaids needing something to transform them to humans, like a selkie’s skin. This is how the medallion on the cover was created.
Mermaids and selkies are a huge part of Ireland’s culture and folklore, making it the best place to have Jocelyn wash ashore. Eighteenth century Ireland was an enchanting place to read about. Most of the land was taken over by English men who governed their land from afar as a deep hatred for them blistered in the locals. This tension was a perfect place to begin Sinking.
Researching this novel brought me back in time and under the water, giving me the tools to not only pull from the past, but to create a new world.
I hope you enjoy reading Sinking as much as I have enjoyed writing it.
About the book
Jocelyn washes up on the shore of eighteenth century Ireland, alone, naked, and missing all of her memories. Taken in by a lonely old woman full of plots and schemes for the lovely yet enigmatic creature, Jocelyn knows only one thing. She longs for the sea with every ounce of her being. Yet it tried to kill her.
Aidan Boyd loves two things. His ship and the sea. When Jocelyn is thrust upon his vessel in the midst of his superstitious crew, he finds himself intoxicated by her—willing to give up everything for her. He soon finds he cannot live without her.
But something holds Jocelyn back. The whisper of another's love. The embrace of water. Does she belong to this world? Or could Jocelyn possibly be from the sea?
Sinking is available to preorder now in paperback and ebook format:
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Kobo
About the author
Sarah Armstrong-Garner lives in Northern California with her husband and three children, and get this. Not only is she an author, screenwriter, and photographer, she also shoots indie films with her husband. Sinking is her debut novel. You can visit SarahArmstrongGarner.com to learn more about her and her upcoming releases, or find her on social media:
About the blog tour
Tomorrow (Friday) the blog tour stops for an interview at lifeofanerdishmum.blogspot.com, so don't forget to check that out.
And the tour culminates with a release party on Facebook. Two good reasons to join in: (1) there will be lots of giveaways including copies of Sinking, gift cards and other books; and (2) it's on 25 February, which also happens to be my birthday. Hurrah!