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07 February 2013

Interview with Erika Marks

 The Mermaid Collector 

More than a century ago, lighthouse keeper Linus Harris left his beloved wife and waded into the ocean with three other men to reunite with their mermaid lovers. The mysterious Mermaid Mutiny of 1888 has become legend for the residents of Cradle Harbor, Maine, honored by the town’s Mermaid Festival every August, when wind chimes are hung from seaside porches to drown out the alluring sound of mermaid song.

For thirty-five-year-old Tess Patterson, the legend is more than folklore; it’s proof of life’s magic. A hopeless romantic who is profoundly connected to the ocean in which she lost her mother, Tess ekes out a living as a wood-carver and longs to find a love as mystical as the sea. But when she’s hired to carve the commemorative mermaid sculpture for the coming festival, a chance to win the town’s elusive acceptance might finally be in her grasp.

For Tom Grace, life’s magic was lost at eighteen, when the death of his parents left him to care for his reckless brother, Dean. Now thirty-five and the new owner of Cradle Harbor’s prized lightkeeper’s house, Tom hopes the quiet town will calm Dean’s self-destructive ways. But when Tom discovers Tess working on her sculpture, an unlikely and passionate affair ignites between them that just might be the stuff of legend itself—even as it brings to the surface a long-buried secret that could tear everything apart.  


Thank you Ms. Marks for this honor your answers were beautiful I'm glad that some great authors have their roots in our country!

1) How and why have you started to write? Were there something or someone that gave you an impulse?
I have been writing fiction for over 25 years and tried submitting manuscripts for nearly 20 years before I got my first book contract--so it was definitely something I always knew I wanted to do. I find my stories in many different ways. Sometimes it's from personal experience--other times it may be something as small as a photograph or a conversation I overhear standing in line at the grocery store!:)

 2) Tell me something about your sequel book The Mermaid Collector.
The Mermaid Collector is a story of the magic that exists in life--and how far we are willing to go to find it and to hold on to it. On the eve of a small town's annual Mermaid Festival, a stranger arrives mysteriously to take over the historic lightkeeper's house and his arrival brings about the reveal of many secrets--including what really happened to four men in 1888 who walked into the ocean to be reunited with their mermaid lovers and were never seen again.

3) While youre writing, have you discovered a character that you where developing feelings of love for? And was there a character that gave you headaches?
I love this question because there are always certain characters that come to the page naturally and others who seem to come kicking and screaming! For this novel, I loved so many of the characters--especially Tom Grace who has such a good heart but carries the weight of tragedy with him. As well, I loved the characters of Lydia, the lightkeeper's loving but doomed wife, and Angus, the lightkeeper's assistant who loves her from afar--until one day when he steps in to provide her rescue in the aftermath of her husband's disappearance. By contrast, the character of Tess, a passionate wood carver who falls in love with Tom Grace, eluded me for a while--I knew I wanted her to be fiercely independent but also very emotional and very needy on some level. Finding her balance was a challenge but in the end, I finally did!

 4) How have you done your research for this novel?
For this novel, I did a great deal of research on mermaid lore and was fascinated to find how many mermaid legends there are in the world and how it seems every culture has its own mermaid legend. Since some of the novel takes place in 1887, I also researched details of that period to enhance the setting which was great fun--as was learning about our obsession with mermaids!

5) Is there a book that inspired your writings?
Oh, such a hard question! I have so many favorite authors--but I would say Alice Hoffman was, in particular, a huge inspiration for this novel. She is so gifted at finding the magic and mystery in ordinary life and our every day routines.

6) In the end, would you like say some words to your fans from Romania?
Simona, this is such a joy for me because my father's side of the family is from Romania so I feel a special connection in knowing my novel is with you all. Thank you so much for inviting me to talk a bit about my story!

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