Writing Urban Mermaid

How All This Came to Be

I’m not quite sure how or when I “discovered”mermaids. I remember “knowing” about them in kindergarten — Hopewell School of Childhood, Class of 1958 — and there’s not much to go on before that. Let us say that I loved the idea of mermaids at an early age.

Over the intervening years and decades, mermaids have always been a sort of mental playground for me. When I wanted to take a break from the tedious everyday world, I would escape to where I could mentally devise intricate social structures, undersea civilisations, and ponder why there were almost no mermen in the stories and legends. It was by no means an obsession. Just a fun thing to think about on occasion.

Another thing I did in my childhood was to make up adventures – stuff having to do with rockets, planes, spaceships – and tell myself stories as a way of going to sleep. Over five decades later, little has changed and it is still how I send myself off to sleep.

My interest in sea maidens was reawakened a number of years ago when I ran across a story on the internet. After the first chapter or two, I said “Hey, this is really great.” After a few more chapters, I said “Hey, this really stinks. I could write s better story than this.” And so, I set about doing just that. I built a story using elements and themes from the one on the internet and it sent me off to sleep on many an evening.

After countless tinkering and revisions, I kept winding up in the same place and it was one that I did not particularly like. One evening I decided to toss the whole thing and “write” something from scratch. Something that I really liked. After a couple of tries, I came up with a boy meets mermaid tale. However, instead of being a “perky, nautical cheerleader”, as Heather Rigney likes to describe them, mine was a smart-ass, intent on winding the boy up as a way of killing time on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Lo and behold, the story of Penelope and Peter was born.

Once I had devised a detailed outline of the story, I discovered that I had  more – much more – material than would fit in one novel and thus the series, Tails from Colony Island, was born. It was still just something to remain in my head – where it belonged – until my wife pestered me into putting it down on paper, or at least into bits and bytes.. Thanks to help and inspiration from terrific authors like S.K. Munt, Emm Cole, Heather Rigney, and a number of others Urban Mermaid is now a reality.

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