I’m often asked if any of my characters are based on people I know in real life, or if their situations ever mimic any of my own. The short answer is yes. I’ve definitely used my knowledge of the aquatic environment to describe the scenery, and there have been several characters whose traits I may have adopted from a few unsuspecting humans. So I decided to write a Top Ten list of things that my characters or their situations have in common with me and my life.
10. Daniel - I love Daniel’s character and I will admit that he was loosely based on a friend of mine from high school. He shall remain nameless, but he had a wonderful personality that always set my mind at ease whether it were his jokes or the way he handled everything life threw at him.
9. Brendan’s College Degree and Job - It’s no secret that my degree is in biology, just like Brendan’s. What people may not know is that we also had similar occupations. I interned at the National Aquarium in Baltimore while I was in college and when I came home, I smelled like the fresh fish, squid, and other goodies that I had to chop up three times a day for the fish, dolphins, and seals. And even though it was a messy job, it was great and I know that I loved it every bit as much as Brendan enjoyed his work.
8. Abhainn’s Accent - I am absolutely in love with Scottish accents and often try to speak with one much to the dismay of my husband. So when I get the opportunity to hear the real thing, I just sit back and take it all in. Abhainn got his Scottish accent thanks to two people I work with whose voices are magical and who I now listen to very intently at our budget meetings!
7. Travels - I’ve already mentioned that I used my research experience under the water to make sure that the scenery and animals are accurate for their locations. I’ve also tried to write in locations that I’m familiar with such as the Florida Keys, Virginia, Maryland, Seattle (Betrayal), Mexico and the Bahamas (Arise).
6. Kain’s Song - One of the best parts about Kain is his voice. Like their ancestors, my merfolk have the innate ability to calm and seduce with their singing. When Kain tries to soothe Eviana on the plane (see #2) he sings a song that I have enjoyed since I was a kid. My sister and I used to belt it out in the back of the car on our way to dance class (not voice lessons) and to this day, I still remember every word of Baby Beluga.
5. Birthday Suits - How can I put this delicately…I’m not a huge fan of clothes. So all of the nakedness that comes along with the world of The Syrenka Series, is inevitably a way for me to live out a little part of that dream. Growing up in a dance studio where it wasn’t uncommon or uncomfortable to strip down in front of everyone, helped me write characters who were at ease with nudity. Of course, when you are a shape shifter, you would have to be okay in your birthday suit! Maybe there’s a little bit of shifter in me…
4. Coffee - In Promises, Eviana has an aversion to coffee. I love the smell of fresh brewing coffee, but can’t stand the taste. And although Eviana changes her mind by Betrayal, I don’t think I’ll be ordering a latte anytime soon.
3. Marisol - I’ve mentioned this in other interviews, but one of the first things my mom asked me when she finished Promises was if my sister had anything to do with Marisol’s personality. I had to laugh, because, yes she did in a way. My sister is now a wonderful mother, but there were some annoying teenage characteristics and issues in our relationship that made their way into the Eviana-Marisol dynamic.
2. Fear of Flying - Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that my fear of flying is out of control and a bit ridiculous. Dying in a plane crash is not the way I want to leave this world. So it was very easy (and somewhat therapeutic) to give Eviana this fear and describe exactly how we feel each time we board a plane.
1. Underwater Dreams - I’ve wanted to be marine biologist since I was ten. I also wanted to live in the water my entire life. My mother always told me the story about how I was swimming underwater on my own by nine months old. I would beg my parents to take us to a pool/lake/pond every day, I was a lifeguard for many years, and now I enjoy SCUBA diving. So when I wrote The Syrenka Series, it gave me the opportunity to explore the water in a way my human body wouldn’t allow me to. I have to admit…I am envious of the mermaids, selkies, and sprites and their underwater abilities. Perhaps someday I will create those human gills I always wanted to so that I can join them in the sea.