Q: What’s with all the World War II stuff in Urban Mermaid? Doesn’t the story take place in the 21st century?
A: Up until that time in the Island’s history, the merfolk thought of themselves as being apart from the humans on the mainland. The fact that Christophorus Kolidakis swam to Greece in order to fight with the resistance served as a wake-up call for the residents of Colony Island. They loved their island home and knew that their way of life there was history if the Axis powers triumphed.
In the months following Pearl Harbour, the merfolk decided to stand shoulder to shoulder with their human neighbours. Many of the mermen enlisted in the armed forces while mermaids trained to be Red Cross nurses. Not all of them came home.
The fishing fleet did their part during the war by capturing a German sub during Operation Drumbeat and the town received a Presidential citation for their valour. The fleet was also responsible for sinking a 2nd sub but kept it quiet as the depth and how the charges were placed would have raised too many questions and endangered their secret.
For the first time in the town’s history, the merfolk felt themselves to be equal to the humans on the mainland. It was their finest hour.
Believe it or not, I’m at work on book # 2. In it, we’ll learn more about Amy and her family, including a feral cousin who shows up unexpectedly. Here are some notes from her character sketch:
About mid-way through the 2nd book – Xmas? – one of Amy’s feral cousins shows up w/ her 5 year-old son in tow. Her mate is still at sea.
She came to Colony Island for her son to be educated. Thinks it’ll only take a year, three at the most. Amy disabuses her of this notion.
She moves in with Amy & her mother. Amy has to hide her from Billy King, Peter’s college roomie who’s giving Amy some voice lessons. The cousin is outraged that they let humans into her house and is baffled that Penelope married a human.
She is more talkative than the average feral. Females tend to be, esp. among family or friends.
She Learns about life on land or at least, life on Colony Island. I’ll use this to tell the reader more about Feraltown.
She has problems w/ the following parts of speech:
Articles (a, an, the)
Verbs (are, is)
She sounds almost like the stereotypical Russian immigrant.
Son’s Name: Nikathlos
New Mate’s Name: Kharisthenês
Old Mate’s Name: Pistidas
She doesn’t understand why she needs a new name on land, or the need for a 1st and last name.
Pistidas was not the most attentive mate. Their mer-baby was a girl named ??. Pistadis was supposed to be watching the baby while Kulla gathered kelp for dinner. Pistadis was more interested in talking with his buddy. Then the baby became a snack for a Tiger shark.
Kulla was heartbroken. At least things were over pretty quickly for the baby. She immediately told Pistadis she didn’t want him to protect her anymore. (He wasn’t doing much of a job to begin with.)
Pistadis became an outcast. No females wanted anything to do with him. Mermen didn’t want to associate with him. Even the buddy who he’d been talking to distanced himself. Pistadis subsequently left the pod & disappeared into the sea.
Kulla chose another mate quickly. (She was besieged with offers from unchosen males.) This time she made a much better choice. Kharisthenês was everything Pistadis should have been. Kulla decides that Amy may not have been so wrong about living on land after all. Kharisthenês agrees that their son should be educated like Kulla’s cousin Amy.
There’s, of course, more to Kulla’s story but I’ve got to save something for the book.
Some authors will release a playlist of music which inspired their novel or which was simply some tunes they listened to whilst pounding their keyboard. There are a number of works referenced in Urban Mermaid, all of which are available on iTunes as well as other fine vendors.
Urban Mermaid Playlist
Can’t Help Falling in Love with You – Elvis, et al.
If I Loved You – Rodgers and Hammerstien from the musical, Carousel
I Loved You Once In Silence – Lerner and Lowe from the musical, Camelot
Coronation Anthem No. 1 – Handel. Note – Peter is looking at the mosaics in the lobby Colony Island’s town hall. The tutti forte entrance of the choir coincides with Peter looking up at the ceiling.
Truly, Madly, Deeply – Savage Garden
Canon and Gigue in D – Pachelbel
Minuet # 2 from Music for the Royal Fireworks HWV 351 – Handel. (I used the arrangement by The Royal Promenade Chamber Orchestra)
Rondeau – Mouret
Macpherson’s Rant – Robert Burns, traditional
Highland Cathedral – Ulrich Roever and Michael Korb
I’m Calm – Steven Sondheim. From the musical, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.
Sea of Love – the 80’s version by The Honeydrippers. (This is not referenced in the story but I included it as inspiration.)
Leagues, leagues over the sea I sail
Couched on a wallowing dolphin’s tail.
The sky is on fire, the waves a-sheen,
I dabble my foot in the billows green.
In a sea-weed hat on the rocks I sit,
where tern and sea-mew glide and beat,
and where dark shadows the cormorants meet.
In caverns cool when the tide’s a wash,
I sound my conch to the watery splash.
From out their grottos at evenings beam,
the mermaids swim with locks agleam.
– Walter De La Mare –
Q: Why did you kill off Peter’s Parents?
A: Well, it was certainly not done out of malice. I did it as a sort of plot ‘de-complicator’. When I was first outlining the story, I decided I was going to have enough on my hands dealing with Penelope, her family and the other merfolk on Colony Island not to mention all the mer lore and customs. Not having to deal with his mother and father in the story not only made things a lot easier, but it did so much for Peter’s character and also allowed Ilene’s character to really blossom.
In a future installment of the Colony Island story, a human will fall in love with another mermaid and his parents will not only be alive but also the kind that like to come and visit – quite often – and bring their daughters along as well. I can’t say in which book this will happen, though. Only time will tell.
Well, the cover for Urban Mermaid is available for all to see . . . even though it was revealed 25 hours behind schedule. I was called in to work early Sunday evening and there just wasn’t enough time to put the cover on the Welcome Page and get myself ready for a fun-filled evening. I doubt that very many were disappointed by the delay.
Because of production schedules and the need for a few tweaks, the release date has been pushed back to late October. Some things just can’t be helped.
On other fronts, we’re having a few issues with the domain name – ColonyIsland.com – pointing to the right place. We’re hosted on GoDaddy.com and all too often, their documentation doesn’t always keep up with changes to their user interface. If you try to pay us a visit and discover that nobody’s home, don’t worry. We haven’t really gone anywhere and will be open for business again in short order.
Q: An extensive background check has revealed that Penelope’s last name – Tench – is the same as your mother’s maiden name. What gives? Is there some kind of hidden message here?
A: My mother’s family name comes from a game fish found in the United Kingdom. The Tench fish (Tinca Tinca) has been exported to other countries including the U.S. Since most of the residents of of Colony Island have piscene or aquatic names, Tench was a “gimmie” I could not pass up.
And before you bring it up, Penelope’s cousin – Lindsey Tench – has my mother’s middle and family name. This was intentional and meant to be a shout-out to my late mother.
Q: I’ve noticed the description for Peter’s coat of arms looks suspiciously like your own at howardparsons.info. Isn’t this a bit self-serving?
A: The chapter where this occurs mentioned only Peter’s crest. My editor wanted a bit more descriptive language. This left me with a bit of a dilemma. I could always devise fictitious MacPherson arms for Peter and hope that I was not trespassing upon the armorial rights of my cousins or indeed, any other armiger. My other choice was to use my own arms as a stand-in for Peter’s & try to convince readers that Peter is in no way an extension of myself.
How successful I’ll be, remains to be seen.
Now, before you start carping about the colour combinations and layout of the theme, keep in mind that we’re in the experimental stages here and it will be a while before everything is looking the way we want it. Our launch date is Labour Day weekend.
Come back on Labour Day to see if we’ve gotten it right.