FEAR THE DROWNING DEEP
I’ll always remember the first time I saw it: a goblin shark.
It was on the news because some fishermen had gotten one of these creatures stuck in their nets. It looked ancient and horrible, like it didn’t belong in the same oceans as dolphins and orcas—but maybe to appreciate what I mean, you need to see for yourselves.
They’re a rare species of deep sea shark, and Wikipedia calls them “living fossils.” After one look, I was fascinated. A little more research led me to articles and pictures of other deep sea creatures I didn’t know existed, and I started thinking about all the things that could be living way down in the ocean, unaware of us as we are of them.
Surely there are some that even dedicated marine scientists don’t know about yet. And after researching, it seemed to me like humanity spends a lot more time looking up—just think of all the recent achievements with space exploration, and the possibility of future colonization on Mars—and not much time wondering what could be lurking below.
For several days, I kept wondering: what secrets might be hiding in the ocean? And what would happen if someone was forced to confront those secrets, especially someone who was already terrified and suspicious of the water? Maybe even someone who couldn’t swim, but who’d lived on an island all her life…
And the idea for FEAR THE DROWNING DEEP was born!
I wish I had a cool story about how I decided to choose the Isle of Man as my setting, but the answer’s pretty simple: I looked at a map and found a little island with a rich history and tons of beautiful landscapes—a place that seemed to be full of magic.
I had so much fun researching the unique names, language, and history of the Isle of Man, but eventually, I had to dive in (pun intended) to drafting! And I loved every moment of it, especially as someone who spent summers growing up at the beach. Of course, the brooding sea surrounding the Isle of Man’s rocky cliffs was nothing like the flat, sandy North Carolina beaches where I played as a kid. I mean, aside from the time I swam through a nest of baby jellyfish that got stuck in my swimsuit, or the time a crab got ahold of my big toe, the denizens of the sea pretty much left me alone when I was playing in their “house.”
So I was surprised by how easily the voice of my main character, Bridey, came to me—not only because she lived over a hundred years ago, but also because she’s terrified of drowning and of everything to do with the ocean, when I’ve never known that fear. So, you can imagine how pleased I was when one of my earliest readers, who grew up with a fear of drowning, said Bridey’s character really resonated with her! (Here, Bridey would want me to note that she has good reason to fear the ocean: she watched her grandfather leap to the cliffs and drown with a smile on his face! And besides, you never know what might bite your ankles in there!).
FEAR took about four months from initial idea to finished book (pre-revision). During that time, I was still querying the ghost story that got me my agent, Christa Heschke of McIntosh & Otis. Luckily, Christa saw potential in all my books, and she asked to read the first couple chapters of my work in progress—FEAR—as we tried to decide which project to prepare for sub together first. We agreed there was something special about this one, and I wrote the second half of FEAR knowing it would be my first book on submission and, hopefully, my debut! So I finished it up, we did a couple rounds of revisions, and after traveling down the often-rocky road of submissions (which is a story for another post!) I’m so happy to say that the book found a wonderful, happy home with Sky Pony Press!
Thanks so much for reading. I can’t wait to share FEAR THE DROWNING DEEP with you. It will be available in September, 2016. Yay!