Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Blog Tour + Interview + Giveaway - Shadow in the Sea by Sheila A. Nielson

Find the tour schedule here.

Shadow in the Sea by Sheila A. Nielson
Publication date: July 15th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult


When sixteen-year-old Sadelyn Hanson washes up on the shores of Windwaithe Island, her beauty and the strange marks on her wrist make superstitious locals suspect she is a mermaid. Feigning amnesia, Sade hides a far worse secret: she was sailing to her own murder trial when she was thrown overboard by the real killer, the cunning and cruel Captain Westwood.

Sade’s quiet effort to rebuild her life on the island is threatened when she meets an actual young merman. Unable to speak his language, Sade still longs for the warm companionship he offers, despite the locals’ dire legends about merfolk and their dark magic. But her confused feelings for the impossible boy become the least of her problems when Captain Westwood’s ship docks at Windwaithe. With nowhere to escape, Sade must trust in the one person who doesn’t fear the merfolk. A woman who had dealings with them herself—years ago.


When did you start writing?

The first real story I wrote was in sixth grade. However, I’d been making up and drawing pictures of stories long before that.  I used to be afraid of the dark when I was very small. To stop myself from thinking about the monsters hiding out under my bed—I would think up stories as I fell to sleep instead.  I never wrote any of those early stories down, but they were the reason I came to love storytelling so much. 

What makes you want to write?

Creating stories is a part of who I am. If I can’t find time to write during the day, I’ll find myself dreaming stories while I sleep instead.  I literally cannot stop them from coming. These tales are meant to be shared. There is nothing worse than a good story that goes untold. That is what makes me write. I am desperate to bring to life and share the magical worlds I see.

Do you ever get writer’s block and what do you do to get over it?

I have several ways of getting the creative juices flowing again.  One of the things I do is make up a playlist of music that helps me get in the mood to write.
 I was also an art major in college. Sometimes I’ll dust off those old skills and draw pictures or sculpt likenesses of my characters in order to get the creative juices flowing again.
 I once wrote a novel about a haunted doll. I decided to find a real doll that looked like the one in my story and then hired a friend to help me sew and recreate a late 1800s style wedding suit for it—just like the one in the book. I then animated a very short stop motion film of the doll which is still currently posted on YouTube.
 Projects like that keep the story fresh for me and help the plot feel more exciting and real as I write. 

Do you have a special way of going about writing?

Every writer has a different writing process. What works for me, might not work for someone else. I don’t allow myself to begin working on a story unless I have the whole novel plotted in a chapter by chapter summary. This helps me to know about how many chapters long the book will be.  One of the things I like about outlining everything first, is the freedom it gives me to write any chapter in the book I want.  If I really hate the way chapter three is going, I can skip over it for now and come back to it later. This keeps me from getting frustrated with the whole story and quitting.  If I’m really excited to write a later chapter—I go and write it. I also don’t let myself edit while writing my first draft. I could spend a year just fiddling with chapter one—but then my book would never get finished. I give myself the freedom to write complete garbage the first time around. I’m only allowed to come back and polish everything up after the whole book is complete. This gives me incentive to finish.

Do you have any works in progress?

I always have lots of books in various stages of creation. I currently have one book that is in the final draft stage and really close to being complete. I’m hoping to send it off to my agent within the next month. Another book is currently in the first draft stage and has a lot of work left to go on it.  I have a third book that I’m prepping to begin work on as soon as the first book is finished and sent off to my agent.   

What are your hobbies?

I am an avid dollhouse collector and miniature artist. I have twelve complete dollhouses of various sizes as well as many room boxes and miniature vignettes.  I even create some of the miniatures myself.  I also like to create jewelry with miniature scenes inside them. Visit my blog to see photos of a small part of my collection.

How did you choose the character names for Shadow in the Sea?

Baby name books and websites are the best when trying to pick a name for a character. Jendayi is a real name I got off of a baby name website—I didn’t make it up.  But I’ve also been known (when I hear a cool name) to write it down for later. My list of awesome names is getting pretty big.  I’m not sure I will ever write enough books to use them all at this point.

Who is your favorite character in Shadow in the Sea?

The Sea Prince, Araedyn, is my favorite character in this book. Because he speaks only merlanguage, I had to find other ways to communicate what he was thinking and feeling in each scene he was in. This made him a fascinatingly complicated character to write.  It also made him much more enigmatic , as you can never be sure if you’re interpreting him properly. Is his really what he seems—or is he hiding something behind his actions? The reader must keep reading in order to find out.

How did you get the idea for Shadow in the Sea?

Shadow in the Sea is a standalone book—but it takes place in the same world as my first book, Forbidden Sea.  After the first book was published, I had a lot of fans writing and asking me to tell them more about the mysterious Sea Prince in my book. Shadow in the Sea was born from all those questions.

What was your favorite part of writing Shadow in the Sea?

In the first book, Forbidden Sea, we only catch a small glimpse of the merworld. Shadow in the Sea gave me a chance to explore the merfolk and the way they lived in much more detail. I also loved getting to show what happened to all the characters from the first book. But most of all—I finally got to introduce the all-powerful (and somewhat frightening) Sea Queen—who was only mentioned in the first book. 

What are you currently reading?

Dolls of Hope by Shirley Parenteau.  It is a lovely historical novel about thousands of friendship dolls that were exchanged between the children of America and Japan back in 1920s. I would highly recommend the book.

What is your favorite book?

I’m a librarian. I have far too many favorite books to choose just one anymore. But my favorite books while growing up were the Emily of New Moon series by L. M. Montgomery.

Who is your favorite author?

I couldn’t possibly choose just one. 

What is your favorite film?

The Lord of the Rings series—which is kind of funny since I never really liked the books. It’s usually the other way around. The book is always better.

What is your favorite TV show?

Person of Interest.

Quick­fire questions:

Chocolate or ice cream? Ice Cream!
Paperback or ebook?  Librarian here—paperback all the way!
Dogs or cats? Dogs.
Go out or stay in? Go out.
Summer or winter? I’m a California girl. Eternal summer for me


Sheila never did figure out what she wanted to be when she grew up. She graduated from college with a BFA in illustration, has worked as a children's librarian for over eighteen years, and would eventually like to be a full-time author. Why pick one career when you can have many? Sheila lives with her two pets, a goffin cockatoo and a tiny toy poodle. She was born and raised in California but has come to also love her adopted home in Utah where she currently resides.

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