Author Interview: Tracy Deebs & Giveaway

Tracy Deebs


  • Tempest Rising
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Tempest Maguire wants nothing more than to surf the killer waves near her California home; continue her steady relationship with her boyfriend, Mark; and take care of her brothers and surfer dad. But Tempest is half mermaid, and as her seventeenth birthday approaches, she will have to decide whether to remain on land or give herself to the ocean like her mother. The pull of the water becomes as insistent as her attraction to Kai, a gorgeous surfer whose uncanny abilities hint at an otherworldly identity as well. And when Tempest does finally give in to the water’s temptation and enters a fantastical underwater world, she finds that a larger destiny awaits her—and that the entire ocean’s future hangs in the balance.

Describe Tempest Rising in three words.

Mermaids, surfing, love triangle (I know, that’s four words, sorry)

What was it like writing your first YA novel?
Honestly, it was a blast! I taught junior high and high school while I went to graduate school and I always wanted to write books for that age group. Tempest’s voice came to me almost immediately—as soon as I’d decided I wanted to write a YA, in fact—and the story came with her. Tempest is my first first person narrator and I loved, loved, loved exploring the form. I’m in the middle of writing my second YA, a modern retelling of the Pandora myth, except my Pandora opens an attachment instead of a box and hearkens technological Armageddon. Her voice is very different than Tempest’s but the first person narrator makes it just as fun.

I love mythical sea creatures! Why mermaids?

I love mermaids. Love, love, love mermaids. When I was very young (about three or so) my father brought home a VHS tape of Hans Christian Andersen’s version of The Little Mermaid (long before Disney made a version). Though it was really dark and ended with the little mermaid becoming sea foam instead of living HEA with her prince, I fell in love with the story the first time I saw it. From then on, I was all about mermaids. I watched the movie every day (and I mean every day) for three years. My mom swears to this day that she can recite the dialogue word for word. While I eventually outgrew my obsession with mermaids, when I sat down to write my first YA and was still undecided about what paranormal creature I wanted to tackle, my agent asked, “How do you feel about mermaids?” Instantly, I was right back where I started all those years ago and knew I wasn’t going to be happy writing about anything else.

Do you enjoy any other undersea creatures of myth?

I’m a huge fan of selkies, actually, which is why they show up in this book as well. And I researched a lot of Aztec, Mayan and Babylonian water mythology while writing the book (that’s where Tiamat comes from, in fact) and found a lot of really cool creatures. Tiamat is said to have created eleven different water monsters and it is in their slaying, and her own, that the world as we know it was created. This myth, and the creatures in it, is something I really want to explore more of.

If you could be a mermaid for a day, what ocean would you want to “live” in and why?

Oh, definitely the Pacific Ocean, which is why I sent Tempest Rising there. I was raised along the California coast (San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego) and I love everything about the Pacific. I swam and surfed it—in California and Hawaii—when I was a teen-ager and though I’ve swam in the Atlantic and Indian oceans, and the Mediterranean Sea, the Pacific will always be my favorite. It’s home.

What books are in your summer reading pile?

Oh, so, so, so many. I just finished Divergent, which was amazing, btw. But I still need to read Flawless by Lara Chapman, Die for Me by Amy Plum, and I’m waiting with bated breath for the new Rachel Caine Morganville Vampires and the new Elizabeth Scott. On the adult front, I’ve got a ton of paranormal and urban fantasy books I want to get through, along with some fun contemporaries. It’ll be a busy summer!

Thanks so much for having me—what’s in your summer reading pile?

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