A little more about me and Fire of the Sea

Fire of the Sea will be released by next week!! I am really excited. I recently started working on interviews for my upcoming blog tour, and I thought it might be fun to share some of my answers:

1. Tell us something unique about yourself.

I grew up riding horses. My best friend and I competed in show jumping, and we loved it. We spent every extra minute of our lives at the stables. But when my friend started dreaming of the two of us competing in the Olympics, I said, “I don’t have time for the Olympics—I have to go to college!” ?

2. What inspired you to become a writer?

I have always loved to write. For me, there is a constant creative drive, whether it’s writing, illustrating, painting, or designing. I have degrees in graphic design and creative writing. When I was younger I wrote and illustrated a lot of stories and poetry (when I wasn’t riding horses). Once I was older, I focused on graphic design for more than ten years. But over time the desire to write began to resurface again. So I decided to just give it a go!

3. What inspired your paranormal novel, Fire of the Sea? I had a dream, actually. I’ve always had really vivid, detailed dreams. One morning I woke up after dreaming that I was a mermaid. I had rescued a pilot who had fallen from his plane (he was being dragged under by his parachute). I was swimming through all of this billowing, white fabric. It was amazing. I woke up and had to type a rough draft of what would eventually become the second chapter in my book. (** for an excerpt from this chapter, see below)

4. What was it like to write Aeva and her inner battle between protecting her people and following her heart?

Aeva is the daughter of a king. She wears a heavy mantle. But her family was killed when she was young, and so she has been hidden away, preparing for her future under a veil of protection. I wanted to write a protagonist who had inherent power, but who was also realistic (you know, for a mermaid). I gave Aeva some challenges that I have had to face in my life during the transition from teenager to adult. She feels nervous about making really big decisions. She has some fear of the unknown. She sometimes makes rash decisions based purely on emotion. But unlike Aeva at the beginning of the book, I am able to look back on that point in my life and see the hand of providence. So I wanted fate to be at the heart of Aeva’s story and struggle. I really felt like Aeva could be true to her duty and people, while also following her heart. One of the major themes of the book is that choice and fate are intertwined. I honestly believe that if we listen to our inner truth and act on that, things have a marvelous way of working out.

5. What influenced you into writing about mythical creatures such as mermaids?

What kind of research did you do to build the backstory of your novel? I love fantasy. So when I had the idea for Fire of the Sea, I was really excited to find a new way to portray mermaids. My mermaids are unique in that they are Icelandic. I wanted to draw on Norse mythology for Fire of the Sea. An old copy of Scandinavian folk and fairy tales was probably my first inspiration. I did a ton of research. The book took me more than two years to write, partly because I was doing so much research. My mermaids are marine mammals. They have tails like dolphins. They breathe air. I read about arctic conditions, and how my mermaids’ skin could keep them warm (like a wetsuit). I read every book on mermaids I could get my hands on, and then created my own brand of mer culture. I did a lot of research on Iceland, ancient texts, runes and divination…the list goes on. Ultimately, I weave together elements from the Icelandic Sagas and other ancient texts, Norse mythology, a bit of Greek mythology, my race of merfolk, Selkies, and humans descended from Vikings, all set in modern-day Iceland. Whew!

6. Do you have any other books in the works? What are your future goals?

I am currently working on a dystopian YA novel that explores how we perceive beauty and power. I plan to finish that in the coming year. And in the mean time, I hope to have some more crazy vivid dreams!

7. What advice would you give an aspiring author?

Revise, edit, resubmit. Sending your book out into the world is like dating. It’s a rollercoaster ride. You think you’ve found “the one” in an agent or publisher, only to be let down, often repeatedly. Don’t spend your time worrying about the ones who don’t like you. Keep looking for love. You don’t need to worry about the 200 that say “no.” You just need one to say “yes.” So spiff yourself up and get back out there!

8. Where is your favorite place to write?

I write mostly in bed on my laptop. Maybe not my favorite place to write, but it’s the most practical. I have three little kiddos (my third was just born in February). So I tend to either write in bed at night, or carry my laptop around and find pockets of time to write during the day.

9. What is your favorite genre to read?

I don’t really have a favorite genre, although I do tend to gravitate towards fantasy. I also read a lot of young adult. Some of my favorites include Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliet, The Griffin and Sabine trilogy by Nick Bantock, The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, the Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray, and I could listen to all seven installments of Harry Potter on audio book on repeat, forever.

10. What is the best thing that ever happened to you?

My family. Having a husband and three amazing children has profoundly changed me. They all inspire me to see the beauty and magic in the world around me. Even on the tough days.

** Excerpt from Fire of the Sea by Lyndsay Johnson

Chapter Two: The Call

In the deepening blue, what appeared to be an enormous jellyfish was descending slowly and steadily. A white plume the size of a ship’s sail, with long trailing tentacles, hung in the agitated water. Part of it still clung to the surface.

I moved closer. Reaching out, my fingers felt the edges of the ghostly form. Fabric. I’d read of its tight weave used in human clothing. I’d never seen so much of it, much less touched it.

White strings were attached to the fabric, tangling down into the depths. My gold hair whirled in front of my face as I paused to make sense of what hovered before me. As I whipped my head around for clarity, I saw him.

Snared at the center of the mass was a young man. A human. What I had first thought to be a jellyfish was something else entirely. The human was attached to the now collapsing net of fabric and rope by a bundle strapped to his back and shoulders. He sank deeper and deeper in a slow-motion descent, as the last of the fabric slipped below the surface. His head was bowed, but his body wasn’t completely limp. He struggled sluggishly. Was he giving up? Why didn’t he remove the pack?

It took me a moment to tear myself away from my fascination. I managed to remember that humans couldn’t hold air in their lungs underwater for very long. They would lose strength in the sea, not gain it. He was drowning.

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