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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sheep Interview: Merrie Destefano giveaway/review

Today we have author Merrie Destefano in the torture interview chair. Her debut YA paranormal romance Fathom just released and we wanted to talk with her about things like military men wrestling in mud vs jello. You know, important stuff like that. We did ask a little about the book and she even talks about the unusual mythology she used. 
ATTENTION: Merrie does name the type of creature she uses and this might be considered spoilerish to some since the exact nature of them aren't revealed till a little later in the story. I don't think it will ruin the story to know and none of the other BIG secrets are revealed here.

Welcome back! We interviewed you over a year ago when you released Feast. Anything earth shattering happened since we last talked?
Merrie: Hey, it's great to be back! Thanks so much for inviting me. *pushing everyone over on the couch, reaching for the bowl of popcorn* Earth-shattering? *batts eyelashes* No. But I have written two books since then (one of which is Fathom), and I don't have an agent now. Hence the somewhat unexpected decision to indie publish my first YA book. I have two YA completed novels, one of which I'm still looking for an agent to represent. That book, titled Valiant, is sci-fi. Fathom, on the other hand is a paranormal romance, which I didn't really think about when I was writing it. I just thought, oh, I'm writing a fantasy about mythological creatures.

Sharon: You have dipped your toes into the YA pool for your latest release Fathom. Can you tell us a little about it?
Merrie: I've been reading a lot of YA for the past several years, but it actually surprised me when I suddenly came up with the character and story for Fathom. Kira, the main character just came out of nowhere. I was working on Feast and I had to put it down for a few days to scribble down the first chapter of Fathom. The first chapter is still almost exactly like it was when I first wrote it. I had to set that story aside though, to finish Feast.

At its heart, Fathom is a mystery. Much of Kira's past has been hidden from her and it begins to unravel when she turns sixteen. Her little sister was murdered by their mother, who then killed herself, and Kira has grown up in a small community with this stigma of being branded as the daughter of a murderer. It's like everyone is waiting for her to turn out like her mother.
Katie: Dang! She should walk around with a sharp knife and say “You talkin to me?!”. That’s what I would do anyway…
Merrie: Ha ha! Maybe she WILL in the sequel.

Sharon: Can you tell us why you chose the title Fathom?
Merrie: Good question! Originally the title was River Deep, but that didn't work when I had to move the story from the Midwest to the West Coast. Then the title was The Seas Lament. But when it came time to design the cover—I designed the cover myself—I knew it would be a stronger design with a one-word title. Fathom was the only word that fit. For one reason, Kira is constantly trying to "fathom" what is going on, always trying to solve the puzzle of her past. And it also fits because so much of the story revolves around the ocean.

Sharon: can you say why it moved from river to ocean?
Merrie: The Selkie legend just didn't work for me there. I had this whole metaphor for River Deep and I loved it, but having Selkies and seals in rivers? Not so much. I tried putting the setting close to the Great Lakes too, but the story still wasn't working. It wasn't until I moved it to the West Coast that everything started to click.

Katie: How far do you see this new series going? Is there an end book?
Merrie: I can definitely see at least one more book. I want to tell Riley's story—so much has happened to her and the reader doesn't know what it is, not even at the end of Fathom. And I could see a third book too. Each book would have the same main characters, but would probably introduce some more characters too. Plus each book would have a different romance at its center. I won't say who the romance is between in Fathom (that would be giving too much away!), but my intention is for every character, good or bad, to have their own HEA. I'm a strong believer in redemption and I also believe that we all have a dark side, so we all have a need for a happy ending, whether we deserve it or not.
Sharon: Riley is mean and spiteful… it will take lot to redeem her <G>.
(is it okay to mention this?)—YES!
Merrie: You gotta love Riley. Or maybe I mean, you gotta hate her. LOL. I think once everyone hears her story, they’ll understand why she is the way she is.
Sharon: I am sure Riley *cough* bitch*cough* has her reasons <G>

Sharon: You choose a mythical creature for Fathom that isn't used very often. Can you tell us why?
Merrie: Well, part of me would like to keep it a secret, but another part of me loves these creatures so much and I've been dying to talk about them, so...yes, some of the mythical creatures in the book are Selkies. I created a new folklore for them, though. But they've always had this beautiful, tragic mythology. They're not like mermaids—they never hurt humans. They love humans. They may or may not look like seals, although mine don't. They often fall in love with humans, but leave them in the end to return to the sea. Almost always, there's a sadness at the end of their tale.

Selkie by Rachel Badeau
I tried to remain true to the flavor of these old legends, while offering a bit of hope, instead of pathos. My Selkies are quite different from the typical stories, almost as if mine have taken a step farther in their evolution, becoming more like the creatures they most admire— humans. And my Selkies are attracted to the stories we tell. It's what caused them to come out of the water in the first place. They wanted to hear us telling stories.

I was trying to create a symbiotic relationship between the legendary creatures and the ones who tell the legends. My Selkies left the seas around Ireland and migrated to those areas where the Irish still live. In this book, that would be Crescent Moon Bay, with its predominantly Irish Catholic population.

Sharon: In our last interview you mentioned your German Shepherds strong armed you into putting them in your other titles: Afterlife and Feast, but in this book there is a cat…what happened? 
Katie: The cat took over!
Merrie: Ha ha! Yes, I had to have an animal, but a dog didn't work. A dog would have been too protective and Kira needed to do things on her own. Plus a cat fit the tone of the book better, with its paranormal, ghostlike elements and the creepy gothic flavor. And I love cats! Although in this book, the cat is probably closer to Kira's grandmother than to Kira.
Katie: Is it a black cat?
Merrie: Yes, this is a black kitty. How did you know? =)

Sharon: Your other two books are single releases, but Fathom ends with the possibility of a sequel. What are your plans for this story and do you prefer writing single titles to series?  
Merrie: I'd still like to write a sequel to Feast someday, but that's another story. In my heart, I'm a stand-alone book kind of girl. It's what I read and it's what I tend to write. But when it came to Fathom, there was so much backstory that I knew it would probably be at least two books. Like I mentioned earlier, the reader never learns too much about Riley. And I can't say too much about the other characters without giving away the story. (Eeek!)
Sharon: your secret is safe with me <G> 
Merrie: Ha ha! So many secrets in this book!!

Sharon:  If you were a clone and didn't know it, but I did.  Would you want to know?
Merrie: Tell me, tell me, tell me! Do you know something I don't?
Sharon: *awkward pause. Whispers in Merrie’s ear*
Merrie: shocked expression That could NOT be true. Wait. There was that time, back when…

* we interrupt this interview while Merrie has a moment*

Have a moon pie
*we now return you to the interview and don't forget to wipe your got some crumbs right...there...*  

Katie: If you could marry any Disney prince, who would it be?
Merrie: A Disney prince. Wow, I wish this was a multiple choice question. (I must cheat and do some research.) Okay, research done...Flynn Rider from Tangled! He isn't a prince in the beginning, but becomes one through marriage and he's my favorite. Although, I really like John Smith (again, not a real prince) from Pocahontas too.
Sharon: I kind of like the rags to riches princes too.
Katie: Yes, the ones who have to fight for it are the funnest!
Merrie: I totally agree!

Sharon: If you were sent back to the Wild West, what would you want to do/see?
Merrie: The West and the 1800s are probably my least favorite time period, so I would want to see a time machine! LOL. (Which is ironic, since I was the editor of Victorian Homes magazine for three years and was constantly immersed in that time period.)
Sharon: any particular reason why you don’t like it?
Merrie: That’s such a tough question. It’s almost like, why don’t you like broccoli? But I guess it’s just that I’m super fascinated by ancient history and the Middle Ages, so by the time I get to the 1800s I’m kinda, “Meh.” I love history that still needs to be discovered (ancient cultures) and history that feels almost alien, because the way of life is so different from ours. I guess I look at the 1800s like today, but without modern conveniences, which is a bit gross. Bad hair, bad stinky clothes, lots of work in uncomfortable hot long dresses, very little equality for women or children, rampant illnesses, short life spans, all the downsides of city life with none of the benefits, long journeys across vast prairies to end up living in the middle of nowhere. I don’t find the 1800s interesting until the very end of the century, when there are so many new inventions and civil rights leaders, when people started actively caring about the rights of children and orphans (like Thomas JohnBernardo and Amy Carmichael.)
Sharon: I hate broccoli because it stinks, just saying...

Time for the Rapid Fire. You've done this before Merrie so put on your safety goggles (steampunk ones of course)

Sharon: Basket of Great Danes or Basket of Tea Cup Poodles?
Merrie: Tough question! Probably Great Danes, but they would need to find homes when they got bigger!

Katie: Straight or Curly?
Merrie: Straight. Unfortunately.
Katie: You can pick curly if you want Merrie!
Merrie: Curly, curly, curly! So love curly hair. Sigh.

Sharon: Call of the wild or Call of the mall?
Merrie: Definitely, call of the wild! I hate malls. And I love being in the woods.

Katie: Sexy Cops or Sexy Military?
Merrie: Um, um, um, thinking. Military. Unless they look scary. Then cops.
Katie: I think Sexy Military says it all. YUM!
Merrie: As long as they’re not scary. Scary is the opposite of sexy. It’s like, “Whoa, run the other way and HIDE!”

Sharon: gimme fries with that or side salad please?
Merrie: Well, I actually do like salads. Hard to believe, I know.

Katie: Lemonade or Tea?
Merrie: Passion fruit iced tea or black pekoe tea, definitely tea.
Sharon: I like to get sweet iced tea and ask them to put a dash of lemonade in it.
Merrie: Is that cheating? Because it it’s not, I’ll take one of those, please. Frosty glass. Lots of ice.
*hands Merrie a frosty glass of Tea + lemonade cause we are classy sheep*

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos
Sharon: Digital or Analog?
Merrie: Analog.

Katie: Jell-o fight or Mud fight?
Merrie: Ewwwww. This means I'd get sticky or dirty. Or wait, can I just watch? In which case, mud fight.
Sharon: Katie definitely meant watch and most certainly sexy cops and military men.
Katie: Sharon knows me so well!
Merrie: Such a different perspective then! LOL. I thought I had to fight and I KNEW I was gonna lose. Mud. Definitely mud.

Sharon: Youth or Wisdom?
Merrie: Hmmm. I'd hate to be young and stupid, so I choose wisdom.

Sharon: Thanks for visiting us again. Anything you want to add before you get stamped? (we stamp your forehead with either the “I’ve been Flocked” or the “Official Flock Member” stamp)
Katie: Oh. I thought we were doing the tattoos now?
Merrie: Tattoos? I LOVE tattoos! Thanks so much for inviting me here. You two are the best—seriously. I Smell Sheep is like a second home to me. Best blog hang out ever. (I don’t have leave yet, do I?)
Sharon: *hides duct tape* You mean you want to stay...voluntarily? Katie, put the clean Sheep sheets in the dungeon guest room!

Everything is changing . . .

Turning sixteen can be hell, especially if everyone in town thinks your mother killed herself and your sister. All Kira Callahan wants to do is swim, hang out with her best friend, Sean, and ignore the kids who torment her at school. That is, until one day when she gets invited to a party. For three minutes her life is wonderful—she even kisses Sean. Then somebody spikes her drink and some girls from out of town lure her into the ocean and hold her underwater. 

Kira soon discovers that the group of wild teenagers who have come to visit Crescent Moon Bay are not as innocent as they seem. In fact, nothing is as it seems—not the mysterious deaths of her sister or her mother, not her heritage, not even her best friend. And everything seems to hinge on the ancient Celtic legends that her mother used to tell her as a child.

About the author:
With twenty years’ experience in publishing, Merrie Destefano left a 9-to-5 desk job as the editor of Victorian Homes magazine to become a full-time novelist. Her first two novels, Afterlife: The Resurrection Chronicles and Feast: Harvest of Dreams were published by HarperVoyager. Fathom is both her first YA novel and her first indie published novel. When not writing, she loves to camp in the mountains, walk on the beach, watch old movies and listen to alternative music—although rarely all at the same time. Born in the Midwest, she now lives in Southern California with her husband, their two German shepherds and a Siamese cat.

Fathom Tour Dates 
SEPT. 27 I Am Alive Blog Review of Fathom 
SEPT. 28 Book Hounds Author Interview 
SEPT. 28 The Book Pushers Guest Post: When Imaginary People Take Over 
SEPT. 30 Becky’s Barmy Book Blog Fathom Promo 
OCT. 1 I Smell Sheep Fathom Launch Party 
OCT. 2 Books N Kisses Guest Post: Romance is a lot like Chocolate 
OCT. 3 Sara's Urban Fantasy Blog Guest Post: Is it Paranormal or Is it Fantasy? giveaway
OCT. 4 My Bookish Ways Guest Post: Creating a New Monster 
OCT. 5 I Am A Reader, Not A Writer Author Interview & Giveaway 
OCT. 6 Saturday Spotlight For What It’s Worth Guest Post: Making Tough Decisions 
OCT. 8 A Backwards Story Review of Fathom 
OCT. 9 I Smell Sheep Author Interview 
OCT. 11 Book and Things Guest Post: Walking on the Dark Side Giveaway 
Oct. Black N Gold Girl's Book Spot Guest Post: The Scarier, The Better 
Oct. Midnyte Reader Guest Post: The Magic of Halloween 

Merrie is being super duper generous! She is giving away 3 e-book copies of Fathom and a $25 gift certificate.
talk to the raffledude

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Great interview ladies, thank you! I guess Merrie is really feeling at home! The last Selkie stories I read are the Powers that Be series by anne McCaffrey (and sequels). Loved those.

    I do prefer sweet water.

  2. This is one I think my daughter would love--shoot, I might too!

  3. Hmmmm, I would love a salt water lake. The ocean is too cold.

  4. Fresh water because salt water dries out my skin. Although, views of the ocean are might be worth the dry skin.

    I absolutely love books by Merrie Destefano!

    saphsbookblog at gmail dot com

  5. I prefer fresh water. I have seen the ocean once and loved and would love to see it again soon.

  6. fresh water!!!! Except in stagnant lakes in the south where they have the brain eating amoebas.

  7. Any Disney prince would be nice to marry. Great interview :)
    I like fresh water.

  8. Saltwater oceans are gorgeous, but I don't think I could stand to live in them forever. Instead, I choose small freshwater streams! :D

    Ana @ BookSpark

  9. Salt water oceans are really pretty but I'd prefer freshwater.
    Thank you for this awesome giveaway! :D

  10. I love Salt Water and the Oceans

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  11. Definitely fresh water. Saltwater, blech. Leaves a weird feel on the skin.

    Thanks for the giveaway :)

  12. Salt water! I always go on vacation to the coast, so... :D

    Thanks for the awesome giveaway! ♥

  13. Definitely fresh. Not a fan of the salty water.

  14. Great post! I prefer fresh water.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  15. Never been to a ocean so im going to say fresh water:)
    Great post, thank you for sharing

  16. I love salt water....there is just something about the doesn't smell as bad as say a pond or something :)


  17. I have never actually been in saltwater but I do love freshwater.

  18. fresh water.. at least i can drink it..:D

  19. fresh water... Book sounds great !

  20. Fresh Water Thanks for the giveaway