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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Ten Tantalizing Questions for L.K. Madigan, Author of The Mermaid's Mirror

Have you ever wanted to learn more about your favorite authors?
Ten Tantalizing Questions is designed not only to showcase exciting new books on the horizon, but to also provide a glimpse into the personalities of the authors behind them.

"There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen and writes." ~William Makepeace Thackeray

Up this week-

Hardcover, 336 pages
Published October 4th 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

Lena has lived her whole life near the beach—walking for miles up and down the shore and breathing the salty air, swimming in the cold water, and watching the surfers rule the waves—the problem is, she’s spent her whole life just watching.

As her sixteenth birthday approaches, Lena vows she will no longer watch from the sand: she will learn to surf.

But her father – a former surfer himself – refuses to allow her to take lessons. After a near drowning in his past, he can’t bear to let Lena take up the risky sport.

Yet something lures Lena to the water … an ancient, powerful magic. One morning Lena catches sight of this magic: a beautiful woman—with a silvery tail.

Nothing will keep Lena from seeking the mermaid, not even the dangerous waves at Magic Crescent Cove.

And soon … what she sees in the mermaid’s mirror will change her life … 
1. The Mermaid’s Mirror is a story about Lena, a girl whose life changes when she catches sight of a beautiful woman with a silvery tale among the dangerous waves of Magic Crescent Cove. Can you tell us a little more about the book, and perhaps share with us a teaser from the book?

Lena lives in Diamond Bay, a town famous for surfing, yet her father will not allow her to surf. He nearly died in a surfing accident when he was young, so he’s adamant that his daughter will not take up the risky sport. But Lena is determined to surf … and once she catches sight of a mermaid in the water, nothing will stop her. She becomes obsessed with finding the mysterious creature.

Here’s a teaser from the opening lines of the prologue:

“Lena woke up on the beach.

She knew she should feel afraid – sleepwalking to the beach in the middle of the night could not be a sane thing to do – but the salt scent and roar of the ocean calmed her. The moon shone down on the waves, making them glitter like thousands of tiny lights flickering just beneath the surface, rolling over and over.”

2. What three words best describe The Mermaid’s Mirror?

Family, memory, strength.

3. Do you have anything in common with Lena’s character in your novel? Do you ever base your characters on people you know?

Lena is strong-willed … some might even use the word “stubborn.” Of course, no one has ever accused me of stubbornness. And that’s a lie.

The character Ani, who teaches Lena to surf, is loosely based on my sister Michelle, and in fact the character was named Michelle in the early drafts. Now she’s named after my sister’s daughter. :-) Michelle used to live in northern California and surf the cold waters there, so I set the book in that region. I relied heavily on her for my surfing research.

My son was obsessed with football as early as five years old, so I passed that trait on to Lena’s little brother, Cole.

I prefer to write about entirely fictional people – it’s much easier to make them do what you want! – but certain mannerisms and physical traits of people I know sometimes find their way into my writing.

4. Do you remember the first words you ever wrote for The Mermaid’s Mirror and if so, are they still in the novel today?

That’s a great question! I wrote the first draft of The Mermaid’s Mirror in late 2001. It went through many revisions over the years, but I still remember the first line:

“Lena began to feel uneasy the moment she saw the building.”

Interestingly, that line did survive; it is now the opening sentence to Chapter Two.

5. What were you like as a teenager? If your teenage self was to read The Mermaid’s Mirror, what do you think she’d say?

I was an average teenager, I think. A little moody and insecure, fiercely loyal to my friends, unsure how to act around the boys I liked (I was fine around the guys who were “just friends”), and uncommunicative with my parents.

I loved to read and write, I studied dance and drama (but wasn’t very good at either one), and spent hours on the phone with my friends. My teenage self would have loved the moody, mysterious world of The Mermaid’s Mirror.

6.  If The Mermaid’s Mirror was to be made into a movie, do you have certain actors you envision in the lead roles or do you think unknowns would be best suited to play them?

Oooooh, so many possibilities!

Lena is blonde with gray eyes. Bridgit Mendler (“Good Luck, Charlie,” “Wizards of Waverly Place”) seems like a pretty close match for her.


Lena’s best friend Pem is a dark beauty, originally from Guatemala. Shay Mitchell (“Pretty Little Liars”) is a good choice for her.


Kai is the quintessential blond surfer boy, so maybe a younger, scruffier Hunter Parrish (“Weeds”).


7. There seems to be an ever increasing demand for books centered around mermaids in Young Adult Fiction. Why do you think people love mythological creatures so much, even in today‘s modern times?

The possibility of magic is a timeless desire.

8. What types of feedback do you receive from readers? Is there one comment in particular that really affected you?

I love hearing from readers! And happily, no one has written to me to complain about my books yet.  Also, I’m not so well-known that I receive more emails than I can personally answer. I appreciate all the letters for different reasons.

Here’s an excerpt from one sent to me by a high school freshman girl that I especially loved:

“I just got your book, Flash Burnout, at the library this morning on a whim, I was looking for something else. I started reading and I just couldn't stop. I read it in less than 5 hours! Your book affected me so much, it made me feel happy and sad and so many other things all at the same time. Simply, all I can say is that I loved it and it really made me think about things.”

When I was writing Flash Burnout, I felt “happy and sad and so many other things,” too. Knowing the book touched readers the same way feels like a cyber-hug.

9. If you could inhabit the life of one literary character and dive into their world for just one day, who would you choose and why? 

Hmm … well, I’m extremely fond of indoor plumbing, so I won’t be choosing any Austen heroines! I’m also fond of modern conveniences like washing machines and air conditioning, so maybe I’d better stick to a character whose story takes place within the past few decades. (Sorry, Anne of Green Gables!)

I think it would be TONS OF FUN to inhabit Hermione Granger’s world for a day … after the threat of mortal danger has passed, of course.

10. What can we look forward to reading from you next? Any upcoming projects or new series in the works?

I’ve just finished another realistic contemporary YA novel, similar in tone to Flash Burnout, with a teen boy narrator. But no contract for it yet!

I also have lots of ideas for a sequel to The Mermaid’s Mirror. I think there are many more stories still to be told in that world, so I will probably start writing that next.

Thanks for hosting me, Kim!

Books by L.K. Madigan

 Flash BurnoutThe Mermaid's Mirror

L.K. Madigan lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband, son, two big black dogs, hundreds of books ... and quite a few items of mermaid memorabilia.

To learn more about L.K. Madigan and her books, visit her Official Website.


Mrs. DeRaps said...

Great interview. I love, love, love Hunter Parrish and would watch anything that he's in. I grew up near the ocean and love stories that involve a deep connection to the sea. Thanks for this great interview!

Cass (Words on Paper) said...

I like her picks for the movie. I think they really do suit, having read the novel, myself. It was a few months ago, but I still remember the most of what happens, so... but anyway.

Great interview.

Audra said...

Great interview -- Ms Madigan's thoughts on who she'd 'inhabit' was marvelous -- very funny!

Pamk said...

great interview and book sounds very good. My YA would love it.

Orchid said...

Awesome interview. I hadn';t heard of The Mermaid's Mirror, but now I'd really like to read it (and see if my library has any of her other books). ^_^

Jessi E. (The Elliott Review) said...

I loved this interview. I think it's cool that the first words in the story survived and are still there. I love hearing about the writing process that published authors have to go through.


hammiexoxo said...

Awesome interview! I am really interested in this book now! :) I have loved mermaids since I was a little girl and this book sounds like it would just feed to my obession! ;)

brandileigh2003 said...

Hermione is a great choice!

jpetroroy said...

This sounds fascinating. And I'd definitely live in Hermione's world, too!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the great interview. Loved the author's responses to the questions. Sounds like a great read.

Melissa said...

Oah can't wait till i can get my hands on both books! they sound great
thx for the awesome interview

Nicole Zoltack said...

Great interview. Sounds like a wonderful read.

k_sunshine1977 said...

this sounds like a wonderful story....i can't wait to read it!

k_sunshine1977 at yahoo dot com

Tribute Books Mama said...

Thanks! for sharing, great review!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Man, you ask great interview questions, my friend... Wow.

I've posted about this at Win a Book.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Great actor choices!

Book Loving Mommy said...

Hi there! There is a blog award waiting for you on my blog!


Lauren M (365 Days of Reading) said...

Thanks for the interview! Great questions, great answers. I completely agree about magic being fascinating no matter what!

I'm really looking forward to The Mermaid's Mirror and the upcoming project mentioned! :)

Lora1967 said...

Wow what a great inview. Real fun to read thanks for sharing

Jo Ann said...

Loved the interview. Thanks for sharing. Looks like a great read.


jecca said...

Great interview! hunter parish is such a hottie :).

cristal94 said...

Great interview! I really want to read this book now! I love mermaids and this story seems really interesting!

linaramz said...

I really want to read this one! Thanks for the great interview!

RW said...

great interview - thanks.

Jessy said...

I think I would have to choose Hermione as well. Who wouldn't want to live in that world for just one day?

clenna said...

This book sounds good. I like the info on the writing process and I loved the actors she picked to play the characters.

clenna at aol dot com

Vivien said...

Great interview, love all the information!!


Soultified said...

I want to read this book =).