We’re so pleased to welcome author Kay Berrisford to TNA today to chat with us about legends, mermen, and the origins of her characters in her new Landlocked Heart series.
When I discovered I wanted to write again after a three-year hiatus, I didn’t plan a story about mermen. A merman, however, came along and enchanted me.
My original novel idea was a response to a submission call for stories about knights at Less Than Three Press. I dreamed up a fun, snarky character called Lyle—a “new money” merchant in an invented medieval society on the cusp of modernity. Lyle fell for an elfin knight, who represented the old-fashioned world Lyle abhorred, and I even started writing the story. But then I began researching folklore to inspire my world-building, and everything went horribly wrong. Or possibly, right.
It wasn’t ocean lore that dragged me in a wildly different direction. My reading first wandered into my old woodland stomping ground of elves, mischievous “Puck” characters, and faery enchantresses. I couldn’t resist the lure of the forest. But still, I wanted to do something fresh in the woodland realm—or at least, new for me. So my interest turned to water spirits and mermen, who are rarer than their seductive female counterparts, and often characterised as unpleasant and “ugly.” A typical example from English lore is the Wild Man of Orford, a hairy beast-like creature, who was washed up on a beach and mistreated by the medieval villagers who found him.
Somehow, from this whirl of legend, snarky Lyle was reborn as a beautiful, tortured, yet mischievous merman, who is cursed to be landlocked in the middle of a forest. Yes, I desired the best of all worlds! Lyle’s story is set in the present day and his would-be lover, Ben, is a normal twenty-first century guy. However, as well as being inspired by a mishmash of mythology, Lyle’s tale nods to the world-building in my previous story, “The Merman and the Barbarian Pirate.” In fact, my “Landlocked Heart” series—the saga that evolved—is set in the same universe as “The Merman and the Barbarian Pirate” several centuries later, although there’s no need to read that book as well. I didn’t even figure out the connection myself until I was writing book 3… which shows the mad, organic nature of even the best-laid story plans.
I hope you enjoy my new series as much as I enjoyed creating it. Landlocked Heart (book 1): The Lonely Merman is out NOW, and Landlocked Heart (book 2): Lyles Story is out September 27th. Book 3 is out later this year, and Book 4, my current WIP, is due in 2018.
About The Lonely Merman
It’s Friday afternoon, and the last thing Ben wants to be doing is trudging through a wet forest in search of a public hazard. But duty calls, and turns out more exciting than Ben imagined when he encounters a magical ruin, an enchanted pool, and Lyle—a merman who’s cursed to be landlocked many miles from the sea.
Lyle is flamboyant and exciting—he’s got tentacles, for goodness sake!—and Ben falls hard. But Lyle’s been hurt before and finds trust difficult, refusing even to reveal how to break the curse that imprisons him. Ben’s just an ordinary guy, and can’t help wondering if he can ever be the hero Lyle needs… let alone survive the endless camping trip in the woods.
About the Author
Although I am a bit of a social media recluse (sorry!) I love to connect with readers. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I do lurk on twitter a little – I can be found at @kayberrisford.
I recently started writing again after a two-and-a-half year hiatus. I write for myself these days. In the past, I tried very hard to please other people. I’m really proud of my back catalogue and I was lucky enough to work with amazing editors and publishers who always did their best for me. But in the end, I lost the plot, basically. I felt disconnected from who I’d become as a writer, and my creativity dried up. I honestly thought I’d never wish to create fiction again. Then in late 2016, the itch returned. I gave writing another shot, aiming to fulfil my own fantasies once more, and remembered just how much fun writing could be.
I’m now having a fabulous time, and a BIG THANK YOU to anybody who buys my books and takes a chance on me.