1. Did you have any other names chosen for the title?
I originally wanted to call it Niemela.
2. How did you come up with the characters names?
I've always wanted to write a YA book with a redheaded girl named Florence. Beyond that, I tried to come up with names that were fantasy-imbued but not impossible to pronounce.
3. In four words, how would you describe your book?
Merpeople living amid darkness.
4. Who are your favorite authors?
That changes all the time. My current fave is Ricardo Pinto.
5. Is there anything that helps you, to get your story ideas?
I love watching nature documentaries. I find them inspiring because nature is often far more bizarre, outlandish, and remarkable than any fictional tale.
6. Favorite movie?
The Fifth Element by Luc Besson. Muuuultipass, please...
7. What is something about you that would surprise people if they found out?
That I'm a guy. Most people think I'm a girl.
8 Things to Do After You've Been Kidnapped by a Merman
So... you've just been kidnapped by a merman and brought down to the underwater world of Niemela. Don't worry. Things like this happen all the time. Well, not really... but relax. I'm here to help. Take a deep breath. Oh, wait! Stop! Forgot to ask: have you attached a breathing polyp to the back of your neck? You have? Okay... good, then let's get started.
I'm here to help you get the most out of your deep-sea adventure in Niemela. Just as danger and beauty go hand in hand in Niemela, so can sightseeing and self-preservation. Here are some things you should do in Niemela:
1) Meet the locals. The Niemelans speak a language called Meridian, which is highly similar to English. Therein, the mer are perfectly able to communicate with you. Whether they choose to do so is another matter, but why not say hi to a mermaid? No one ever forgets their first encounter with a mermaid. (She may or may not try to drown you, but this is normal behavior with regard to humans. Don't worry. You are not being singled out.)
2) Take a tour. The Niemelans will want to imprison you, for their Rules of Concord prohibit human and mer interaction. However, if you can wrangle your way out of prison, make sure to see the sights. Niemela is a giant coral dome surrounded by deep-sea volcanoes. Inside this dome are many caverns. Be sure to visit the Oceanarium, with its balconies of coral, and the Grove with its towers made from woven kelp.
3) Have dinner on a whale. I recommend having a meal on the back of a whale. The royal family frequently do so, seated on brain coral chairs positioned around a carved coral table. This meal will consist of kelp noodles, but you might want to practice eating sticky kelp before coming to dinner. Sea slugs may be used to secrete 'condiment rings' around the table. Make sure never to touch the slugs for they are poisonous and will induce psychedelic visions.
4) "Talk" with the animals. All animals in Niemela have been trained to respond to thought commands. This is how the Niemelans control the giant sea snails that plough the inner kelp fields. It would be useful if you learned how to use your brain to project thought commands. Get an animal to swim with you, guard you, and if possible... ask it not to eat you.
5) Watch the warriors fight a starfish. The Niemelans are at war with a force known as the Darkness. The Darkness is composed of hundreds of different monsters, from killer narwhals to giant serpents. One common threat are the Borgamont--giant starfish with poison darts and superfast reflexes. Peek outside the coral dome and watch the mermen fight a starfish. The mer tend to favor bone spears, but some warriors have special powers.
6) Go native. The Niemelans are a practical bunch. Money doesn't exist in their world, and merpeople rarely have bedrooms. To this end, Niemelans sleep amid the corals of the Grove. Sea ferns are planted here, and these ferns tie themselves around the mer while they sleep. Try not to fight the "binding", for these plants will only tighten whenever you struggle. (Which may or may not kill you).
7) Ride a stingray. Once you are skilled enough to project thought commands, ask a ray to swim next to you and climb atop its back. Bend your elbows, rest your belly over its back, and hook your fingers over the front edge of the ray. It's like riding a bodyboard, but please don't touch a ray's tail. Startling a stingray will often cause it to shoot its tail-spear at you. This will hurt. A lot. (And it just might kill you.)
8) Stay alive. Take in the wonder... but never forget that danger and beauty are synonyms in the world of Niemela. No one is truly who they seem to be, and nothing is what it seems like on the outside.
--- Copyright (c) 2012 by Ciye Cho ---
Seventeen-year-old Florence is out of her depth. Literally. Kidnapped and taken below the waves to the mer world of Niemela, she is the ultimate gift for merman Prince Kiren: a human familiar tied to his side. But nothing is what it seems in the war between the mer and the Darkness--a conflict that will push Florence between two brothers... and force her to find out where she belongs.
Book website: http://www.florence-books.com