Q. What inspired you to write Lost Voices?
There were several sources of inspiration for Lost Voices. I used to have dreams of being a mermaid that were set in a gritty urban industrial area. I would be swimming very fast under abandoned piers and warehouses; those dreams have always stayed with me and I never forgot them. Another source of inspiration was a walk on the beach with a friend, where we took turns making up a story about a punk mermaid who was sort of an outcast. And in grad school I wrote a story about mermaids who could swim through the ground as well as the ocean, and who would steal girls from their families and recruit them. So I guess Lost Voices evolved into a novel from bits and pieces of these dreams and stories that I was creating over time.
Q. What would you like teens to learn from Lost Voices? Being independent-minded, creative, and persevering is what it's really all about for Luce. She’s talented but not really that much more talented than a lot of other mermaids. What’s special about her is that she pushes herself and takes that talent in in new directions. She keeps pushing her own boundaries and experimenting and that's how she grows as a singer. Her willingness to keep trying is what makes her the hero; it’s not that she has some incredible gift that no one else can share. So keep practicing, trying new things, and maintain your freedom of spirit and intellect.
Q. Who is your favorite author? Who motivates you to keep on writing? What was the best book you ever read?
Growing up I loved Katherine Paterson's Bridge to Terabithia, and I also enjoyed reading lots of the classic Russian fairytales, Virginia Woolf and Faulkner. As for what motivates me to keep writing, well, at this point I couldn’t imagine ever stopping. Writing and books just mean too much to me.
Q. What can we expect from the next book in this trilogy?
Without giving too much away, in the next book Luce starts to learn to relate to other people in a much closer way than she has before. She starts to say what she really thinks and feels, and to stand up for herself. I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say that she finds both love and a truly intimate friendship for the first time. The challenges she faces just keep getting bigger, and she has to get stronger to meet them!