HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TANGLED TIDES!!
Be prepared folks, it's gonna be a LOOONG post.:)
I've read the eARC of TANGLED TIDES a few days ago and I loved it so much! So, today, on this beautiful book's release day, I've decided to do a character interview with its lead female cast, Yara Jones, and an excerpt of TT's first chapter!
But firstly, let me introduce to you TT's wonderful creator:
Karen Amanda Hooper!
Karen was born and bred in Baltimore, frolicked and froze in Colorado for a couple of years and is currently sunning and splashing around Florida with her two beloved dogs. She's addicted to coffee, chocolate and complicated happily-ever-afters.
Karen has been making up stories for as long as she can remember. In high school she discovered her passion for putting her thoughts onto paper, but it wasn’t until her late twenties that she wrote her first novel. Due to her strong Disney upbringing, she still believes in fairytales and will forever sprinkle magic throughout all of her novels.
And the birthday book:
Yara Jones doesn’t believe in sea monsters—until she becomes one.
When a hurricane hits her island home and she wakes up with fins, Yara finds herself tangled up in an underwater world of mysterious merfolk and secretive selkies. Both sides believe Yara can save them by fulfilling a broken promise and opening the sealed gateway to their realm, but they are battling over how it should be done. The selkies want to take her life. The merfolk want something far more precious.
Treygan, the stormy-eyed merman who turned Yara mer, will stop at nothing and sacrifice everything to protect his people—until he falls for Yara. The tides turn as Yara fights to save herself, hundreds of sea creatures, and the merman who has her heart. She could lose her soul in the process—or she might open the gateway to a love that’s deeper than the oceans.
Young Adult fans of Mermaids, Selkies, Sirens and Gorgons will love this tale of the sacrifice one makes for genuine love. Love that could be lost at any moment to the ever-changing tides.
I was sitting at the nearby coffee shop waiting for Ms Jones when a few minutes after the pre-arranged time...
*runs into the coffee shop frazzled and fumbling to put her wet hair into a ponytail*
Hi, Cyp! Sorry I'm late. I was dealing with a water sprite crisis.
Haha, nah, it's fine. Anyway, hi Yara, thanks for coming!
Thanks so much for having me. It's nice to be back in the human realm.
Ok, have a sit.
I've heard SO MUCH about you, Yara! From your book, from websites, from Karen's blog... Could you describe yourself and your story in 1 sentence? So that readers can understand you better.
Oh gosh, how do I make all of my craziness fit into one sentence? Umm, I used to be a boring old human girl that lived a quiet life on a small island, but my destiny was to become a mermaid and try to save a whole race of sea creatures.
Your big debut's today, right? What's it like knowing other people would read about your story and about your secret moments with your sweetheart, Treygan?
It's a bit terrifying actually, but also exciting. Some people don't like merfolk or selkies no matter what, some people won't like that the story is told by me, Treygan and Rownan *coughs and raises brow while looking at CYP and smiling* (*cringe* guilty!><) but we are who we are and this was how it all went down. Treygan and Rownan insisted they tell their own version of what occurred--especially Rownan. He's always whining about how he's so misunderstood. Our tale isn't for everyone, but if we make ocean lovers out of a few people then we'll consider ourselves a success.
Yep, you've officially Turned me. That makes one. So technically, it's a success already. Haha. What was your life like before Treygan turned you into a mermaid?
Quiet, and not much stress. But now that I've seen what exists beyond the human realm, my old life was very boring.
Yeah, I know what you mean. At least you get to try out the "high life", if you get what I mean. But if you knew Treygan was going to turn you then, and get sucked into so much mess and trouble, would you have willingly gone with him to that "safe place" he talked about?
Honestly, I don't know. That's why I can't be angry at him for making me go with him. Everything happened for a reason and if one thing had gone differently then the results could have been tragic.
So, did you regret what Treygan did?
No way. He did what he had to do. He really is a hero (and my personal hero) in so many ways.
Haha, yeah, he's cool. What do you like most about being a mermaid?
So many things! Obviously, I love all the new powers and abilities I have, but also, I love being below the surface. I'm surrounded by so much beauty underwater: plants, sea life, etc. When I'm stressed I swim with giant sea turtles or play with dolphins and manatees. They make me forget all my problems.
That's so unfair! I wish dolphins can swim in the air or something so I can "swim" and play with them here on land as well.:( Lol, but what was the hardest obstacle you've faced in your big adventure?
Leaving Treygan and Uncle Lloyd. That broke my heart.
Damn, that part was a real heartbreaker. I was so afraid for you and Trey! So now, what do you think of Treygan?
Well, Treygan means the world to me. I can't imagine my life without him in it.
Rownan really is misunderstood. I tried telling him that he should've showed his emotions a little more in Tangled Tides, but he was worried readers would think he was a pansy. But wait until you read book 2 of The Sea Monster Memoirs. Readers are going to learn a lot more about Rownan and Treygan.
HAH, he? A pansy? Psh, that's like the last thing I would think of. What he did, he did it for V *ahem* ienna *ahem*. No offense. What did you and Rownan do together when you were together together last time?
*Treygan enters the coffee shop and Yara waves him over*
Umm, let's talk about something else.
Ok....What do you and Treygan do when you're together, then?
*Treygan says hello to me and apologizes for interrupting, but tells Yara that Nixie is demanding they come back to Rathe right away.*
Okay, give me two minutes, Trey.
*Treygan nods and goes off to order a coffee*
This is what we do. We spend time running around and putting out fires most of the time. Don't be fooled by the end of Tangled Tides. We had to deal with a whole lot of drama, and we're still feeling the ripple effects. It's kind of exhausting. We really need a vacation.
I wouldn't want to think that your trouble's over, actually. If not, then I won't have any more mermaid books to read! Haha, no offense.^^" Any parting words for the readers?
Yes, thanks so much for all the love and support. It means the worlds to us.
Fire random questions:
M&Ns or Belgium Chocs?
I've never had Belgium chocolates, so I guess M&M's.
Since I was turned mer, I feel kind of guilty about eating seafood, but I do love me some seaweed salad.
Favourite TV show?
It's been so long since I've watched TV, but I used to love Grey's Anatomy. I totally related to the episode where Meredith almost drowned to death.
Thanks for taking time for this interview, Yara!
Thanks so much for meeting with me! If you ever wanna come hang out with us on Eden's Hammock, just let me know. We love having guests visit the island. *hugs*
Chapter One of Tangled Tides Excerpt:
I needed to choose between the angel and the mermaid.
“Alright, ladies, which one of you are willing to sacrifice yourself?” I asked.
The angel’s lips looked serious. The mermaid wore a mischievous smile.
Uncle Lloyd loved his hand-carved wall panels of mythical creatures, but the six-foot rectangular slabs of teak were the only things big and strong enough to protect the living room window. We used all the plywood we had as window coverings during the last hurricane. My uncle said he would replace it, but he must have forgotten. Poseidon was my first choice. He looked all tough, holding his trident high above his head, but the sea angel and mermaid were closest to the front door.
The wind howled outside. I said another prayer that my uncle would be safe. He was stuck on the mainland, but at least he had the shelter of a hospital, and hopefully they had given him his dialysis treatment.
I peered out the window to make sure the lighthouse was still shining strong. If any boaters were caught in this sudden storm they would see the steady beacon of light and take Karen Amanda Hooper
shelter here until it passed. They were my favorite kind of visitors. Sea dwellers always had such interesting and exciting stories to tell.
Mother Nature nudged me to choose between the wall panels by throwing a palm frond against the window.
The fronds slapping against the glass made me jump. The downpour of rain sounded like pebbles pelting the roof and porch. Only one thing left to do.
I chose the mermaid.
She would have to take one for the team while the angel watched over me and the house.
After some serious struggling I lifted the heavy panel of wood off the wall. It thudded against the floor, missing my toes by a hair. I gripped the edge and began pushing it along the tile floor.
“Good grief, you’re heavy,” I grunted.
I needed to get the mermaid outside to block the window, but when I opened the front door the wind knocked me sideways.
Thick, low-hanging clouds moved quickly, breaking apart then swirling together, forming constantly changing ink splotches in the sky. Rownan was out there somewhere, hopefully safe in the Keys. Part of me wished we could have been stormed in together, listening to the wind and rain while cuddling on the couch by candlelight.
No time to daydream, though. I had a home to protect. I slid the wooden panel a few more inches then stopped when it hit the doorsill.
“Come on,” I groaned, leaning into it with all my weight.
My flip-flops squeaked across the damp tile. My feet walked in place as I pushed, but the mermaid wouldn’t budge. Between my groans and the wailing wind I thought I imagined a voice outside—until I heard it again.
“Would you like help with that?”
I jerked my head up to see a guy standing on the porch wearing nothing but a pair of shorts, the wind whipping his long, dark hair around his face.
“Who are you? Where did—get in here!” I urged as a rumble of thunder shook the house.
He squeezed between the door and the mermaid panel, glancing at it as he smoothed back his wet hair.
I didn’t see any boats arrive. Did I read the reservation log wrong? Did my uncle rent out one of the cottages this weekend?
“Are you a guest?” I asked.
His cobalt eyes met mine for the first time. He looked familiar, but I couldn’t place him. Maybe his family vacationed here before. He looked about twenty, not much older than me.
“A guest?” he questioned.
“You’re vacationing on the island, right?”
“No. I’m not.” He nodded at the slab of wood beside us.
“Any reason you’re pushing that outside during a hurricane?”
“I need to get it on the porch to protect that.” I pointed at the living room window. “More importantly, who are you and why are you here?”
He stepped close to me and I backed up against the wall, thinking he was about to touch me. Instead, he grabbed the top of the panel and rocked it up on one corner. His wet forearms, biceps and back muscles bulged and flexed as he maneuvered the panel over the doorsill and pushed it onto the porch.
I’m not sure why I stood there watching like a helpless mute. Maybe it was the shock of seeing someone else on the island, in my uncle’s house, no less. The guy’s shorts were soaked and hanging dangerously low on his hips. Rownan would so not approve of my gawking. By the time I snapped out of it, Mr. Mysterious had slid the panel in front of the window, blanketing the living room in darkness. He walked through the open doorway, backlit by storm clouds.
“My name is Treygan. Do you need help with anything else?”
How did this guy end up at Eden’s Hammock during a hurricane? Should I be scared of him? If he wanted to hurt me or rob my uncle, he wouldn’t help me with manual labor first, right?
“No, that’s it,” I replied. “Everything is boarded up.” We just stood there looking at each other until I noticed the puddle forming at his feet. “Be right back.”
I left him dripping in the entryway while I ran into the bathroom and grabbed a towel.
“Didn’t you hear the hurricane warning?” I called over my shoulder. I raced back with the towel, but when I reached him I slipped on the wet tiles. He caught me by the arm and I blushed. I tried to cover my embarrassment by handing him the towel, but he just held it, not drying off or wrapping it around himself like I expected. He stood there silently.
“Um, you’ll be safe here if you need a place to stay during the storm.” I glanced around, pulling my damp hair into a ponytail and trying not to stare at his half-naked body. “If you need to, you could borrow some clothes from my—”
“Yara,” he quietly interrupted.
I stiffened. I could’ve sworn his blue eyes darkened and teal lightning flashed around his pupils. “How do you know my name?”
“I need you to trust me.” His voice was like a soothing rumble of thunder. “Let me take you someplace safe.”
Again, teal lightning bolts streaked across his irises.
I couldn’t stop staring at them. My head felt hazy and disconnected from my neck, but I nodded.
He took my hands in his and I didn’t resist. I should have, but I couldn’t. His words stretched through the space between us like warm taffy. “If you want me to take you someplace safe, you have to say that’s your wish.”
I had no control of the words that came out of my mouth.
My lips felt fuzzy as I spoke. “I wish for you to take me someplace safe.”
An invisible ribbon that felt like velvet wrapped around us, pulling us close and tying us together. The house and everything in it fell away. We began floating through a mesmerizing silver fog.
Were we dancing? We glided and twirled in different directions. The steady beat of his heart pounded against mine.
A scent of honey mixed with salty ocean air kissed my nose, evoking muddled memories from my childhood. Rain drops tickled my skin as the sound of howling winds and crashing waves grew louder yet more melodic. I held Treygan tighter, never wanting whatever this was to end.
Water caressed my legs, like I was sinking into a warm, inviting bath. I felt calm, peaceful, and safe. Treygan’s tranquil voice echoed inside my cloud of euphoria.
“Take a deep breath,” he whispered into my ear.
So I did.
Karen and some other awesome readers are having this underwater web war on Twitter TODAY. Which I think is a little into the day cause Singapore time's earlier than US. You can go to Karen's blog to find out more. (Link's down there)
For your convenience, here's the quick rundown:
Karen’s story contains battling merfolk, selkies, sirens and gorgons. She says she loves all of them, but she wants everyone else to choose a side.
So basically, you just have to choose a side and, well, side with them. So, I'm gonna go with:
Anyway, I love the merfolks. They're nice and kind and enchanting.. Just like me! LOL, ok I should cut with the crap.
Karen is giving away a signed copy of her book and some other sea creature themed prizes. To enter, join the underwater web war on Twitter. Tweet which sea creatures you’re rooting for and why. Include the hashtag #TangledTides and you could win.
Karen will be on Twitter all day celebrating and answering questions, so stop by and say hello. @Karen_Hooper
“Tangled Tides is a delightful, smartly plotted tale of adventure, family secrets, and sizzling romance. I couldn’t put it down!”
~Rae Carson, THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS
“Tangled Tides includes a delicious romance that even the most dispassionate soul can’t refuse. I absolutely adored Yara and her strength in all things, including love. And Treygan? I seriously want in on that merman action. Blue has never been so sexy. Hooper has created a believable underwater world that will leave readers wishing for a tail instead of legs.”
~Elana Johnson, POSSESSION
“I adored this tales of sea monsters and forbidden love. Full of deception, romance, and intrigue, Tangled Tides is a story best savored but impossible to put down.”
~P.J. Hoover, SOLSTICE
If you're interested to find out more about Yara or Karen, you can find them at:
Karen's Website | Blog | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter
Or, you can preorder it at:
Rhemalda Publishing | Amazon | Barnes and Noble
And you can see my review of TT over HERE.
I loved TANGLED TIDES with all my heart, and it's really rare to see a mermaid novel nowadays. PLUS, it has a gorgeous cover, don't you think?;)
It's been a long post, and I thank anyone who had the patience to have read this far.XP Haha, have a nice day, and happy belated Thanksgiving!