Hey Hey Hey Royal Court! We are blessed to have the AMAZING Karen Amanda Hooper joining me in The Royal Courtyard for a sip of sweet tea and some juicy gossiping…us Southerners LOVE a good story…in this case we are gossiping about some people quite close to her heart…the characters of her latest novel Dangerous Depths. Before we jump into book two in her Sea Monsters trilogy, lets make sure everyone knows our darling guest!
So Karen, welcome, welcome, it is always a pleasure to have a friend stop by for a visit.
Karen Amanda Hooper (KAH): Thanks so much for having me! *sips tea* This is delicious.
The Southern Princess (TSP): I have been extremely blessed to have ‘known’ you around the blogosphere for quite some time now. Your love of all things Disney has on many previous occasions linked quite well to my own love of the Happiest Place on Earth. Of all the things we share in common, this one has always been my favorite: people watching at Disney. When I lived in Orlando it was the best location for character research and development. Do you often catch yourself building characters based off of those you encounter in and around the Disney parks? If so, is there a favorite place in particular in the parks that you enjoy people watching the most?
KAH: Oh, yes. Epcot is my favorite park and there’s a pretty pathway along that water near the back entrance/exit of the World Showcase. It’s awesome for people watching, especially during Food & Wine Festival right after Illuminations when people are leaving the park. You’ll see some real sights after people have been drinking all day. So far I haven’t based any characters off anyone I’ve seen at a Disney park, but it’s bound to happen someday.
Also, my fav spot for relaxing is a hammock on the beach at the Polynesian resort. I can hear many of the sounds from Magic Kingdom as I drift to sleep while swaying in the breeze.
TSP: I mean, honey, if you tell me you saw Treygan wandering near the entrance to the Jungle Cruise, my hubs might not let me go back down there alone…ever.
KAH: *Karen giggles* I did see a guy who resembled Treygan one time on the monorail. I tried to snap a pic with my phone but I wasn’t quick enough. He was fast like Treygan too!
TSP: As for favorite ‘watching’ spots I am pleasantly surprised and thrilled to know that we share the same spot! There at the Gateway to the Worlds (the Boardwalk/Epcot entrance) I also have sat upon benches/low concrete walls that are shaded by the trees in the heat but allow an interesting viewpoint into those traveling between the worlds. You are so right about the drinkers…France and England being right around the bend means wine, champagne and beer…oh how fun it can be! I know those hammocks too, you are right they are lovely.
TSP: I recently was posed a question by my young niece; she asked me “What was your very first book you loved when you were little?” I extend that question to you…
KAH: The first books that I can really remember (and don’t laugh) were my Teddy Ruxpin books. They each came with a cassette tape so Teddy could read me the story, but I preferred the books. The Wooly Whatsit book was one of my favs because of the fobs and Rainbow Falls. *cough* What? Coincidence that I have a rainbow waterfall in my books too? Yes, total coincidence. ;) And yes, I still have Teddy stored away in my closet. And some of the books. And my Wooly stuffed animal. And Grubby. *blushes* Next question!
TSP: Lol! I love it…you and my hubs share a love of Teddy Ruxpin (don’t kill me my love)
TSP: Okay before we jump into Dangerous Depths, here is a Random Royal Question from a member of the Royal Court– What character from any movie (any franchise/production company) would best describe your personality & why?
KAH: This is a tough one. Maybe Hannah (Emma Stone) from Crazy, Stupid, Love. We look nothing alike, but her personality in that movie is similar to mine. That awkward but sexy scene between her and Ryan Gosling when she’s no longer bold and confident, but becomes a nervous, rambling mess, that’s so me. Or maybe I just really wish I could make out with Ryan Gosling. ;)
TSP: Ah…yes, that scene is awesome. I always thought he was cute, but that movie did me in – he is hot.
TSP: So, now we are settling in, the cool Southern fall is all around us and we are ready to talk hunky mermen, brooding selkies and the amazing land they all call home.
TSP: There are SO many characters to love in your stories. I really just connected with Yara and everyone she surrounds herself with. Pango is a lot like some of my Southern family. His vernacular, his mannerisms, his demeanor has a pleasant Southern hospitality feeling every time he is in a scene. Is he modeled after anyone in particular?
KAH: I love Pango. And yes, he was inspired by a friend of mine who has a larger-than-life personality. My friend is Cuban and I haven’t seen him in years because we live hundreds of miles apart, but he was such a sweet, warm, bubbly personality that I will never ever forget him.
TSP: In Tangled Tides I really enjoyed the various POVs. Did you find it difficult to add in yet another with Nixie’s POV replacing Treygan’s?
KAH: It wasn’t hard to add Nixie, but it was tough to NOT write Treygan’s POV. Many scenes were itching to be told from his POV, but I knew 4 POVs would be overdoing it.
TSP: This journey that the characters are on is so much more intense than the first (and it was crazy intense in Tangled Tides) for me. I was more on pins and needles with this one. I won’t give anything big away for those who are just now starting this series, but I have to say in Tangled Tides their purpose was a valiant and worthwhile goal – it was perfect, especially for Yara just discovering her lineage. In this story, with the characters more settled in their ‘skin’, they are facing even more tragic and terrifying unknowns, their faith in each other and the bond of love comes into question more than once. How difficult was it to transition into this darker territory where the losses have the possibility of being fewer but might have a greater impact?
KAH: I actually had nightmares! lol. I dream vividly, so while it was fun to write those Harte scenes, it was not fun to experience them in dreams. Especially because one particular nightmare, no one survived. And their deaths were horrific. I actually woke up in tears with my heart racing. It’s much easier for me (and easier on my state of mind) to write the happy, rainbows and butterflies scenes.
TSP: The best theme in the world is love. Here you have it in spades. The love between Treygan and Yara is beautiful. The yearning Rownan has for Vienna transcends time, but it is the familial bond between Treygan and Rownan; Yara and Nixie; and Lloyd with his two boys and Yara that I loved the most in this one. They are all connected in very different ways and yet they love each other as though there is no difference between them – no selkie vs mer vs siren vs gorgon/human vs Yara’s mottled genetics. It is a pleasurable thing to witness this kind of love. Is there a relationship from your own personal experience that helped to really tap into this type of connection? If so, would you mind elaborating?
KAH: I think everyone I come in contact with, or even just observe (professional people watcher that I am) has the potential to influence my stories and characters. I’ve had some really great relationships and some really bad ones, and while I wasn’t consciously using any of my own relationships to write Tangled Tides or Dangerous Depths, I’m sure bits and pieces snuck their way in. To sum it up, I’ll use a quote by Chuck Palahniuk... “Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everybody I've ever known.”
TSP: I am a sucker for quotes! That one is a keeper…
TSP: Okay, here is the reader in me itching to know about what’s yet to come…Are you able to see an ending for this series? Is it something you already know in your gut? If so, are you happy with what you see? (mind you these Q’s are cryptic in their own way – I in no way want any details, the writer in me knows the sacred vows when it comes to our work, the reader in me is hoping to enjoy this world for as long as possible)
KAH: I’m pretty sure that book 3, Sacred Seas, will be the end of Yara and Treygan’s story. I’ve had a few requests to write a sexy adult spin-off series about the kraken, but I’m not sure where I’d find the time. I have a half dozen other story ideas waiting in line for their turn to be written.
TSP: that is the perfect answer for both versions of me! Lol I love that this will tie up their story but also love that you not only have more offers, but that you have more stories. As a writer there is nothing better than to be flooded with the ideas in our minds and get to explore them. I happily wait for book 3 and the many other exciting things yet to come!
TSP: One last question, if you were Yara, what gift/ability would be your most treasured from her various genetic blessings?
KAH: I can’t choose just one! That’s why I gifted her with so many. lol. I mean, how awesome would it be to be able to breathe and communicate underwater and even see clearly? But then there’s also the awesome ability to fly. And then the whole experiencing other people’s memories as your own? That would be amazing too. I’d treasure all of them.
TSP: I cannot express how fabulous it has been to have you here in the Kingdom! I am so happy to share in this exciting time for you and cannot wait to read book 3! I hope that you enjoyed this little gossip fest and that you are having a blast visiting everyone’s sites. We are all honored to share in this adventure. It was a pleasure chatting with you. You are welcome in my Southern Kingdom of Gift any time!
KAH: It has been absolutely fabulous being here. Thanks so much for inviting me to the Kingdom. I had a wonderful time. Let’s meet at Epcot soon for people watching! :)
TSP: Yes! We must! It is a small world and as you told me, we might have sat right near one another, watching people unknowing of each other. Hopefully we will get to do it side by side one day and really enjoy the view!
Okay guys, as you can probably tell I LOVE this series. There is not enough to say about the world Karen has created.
My official review:
Dangerous Depths by Karen Amanda Hooper will take you on an adventure that might change your entire view of the world around you. Set within the magical worlds of Rathe, Harte and yes our lovely Earth; Treygan and Yara are thrust into yet another life changing, mind boggling journey. This time they are surrounded by the magical sirens, mer people, gorgons and the scariest villains you may ever encounter between the sheets of paper – these villains hit you where it hurts, they attack without mercy and they take you down in really the worst way possible: from the inside out.
With souls on the line, a love that transcends time, new families, mythology and beautiful scenery Karen carries you beyond the simple sand beach of Eden’s Hammock and directly into Harte, a hell that no one should ever have to encounter. Rownan is determined to bring his wife Vienna back from Harte. It sounds simple, go there, find her and bring her back. But Harte is not your ordinary scary realm. Sure there are monstrous animals, black lakes, no stars, but it is the toll on your soul that makes this journey one that only one other has ever taken & returned. Treygan and Yara could just stay back, let Rownan go, hope for the best and relax enjoying their triumphs, but no. The love exposed in this adventure, the deep bonds of brotherhood, the idea that through faith in one another & hope we can change everything fills each page. Even in their darkest hours, trust me there are dark ones, you hope for them to make it through. This book is worth reading, it will make you laugh, you will chew your fingernails off, have nightmares of Harte, smile at love that is so powerful it can feed the soul and discover whether or not your favorite makes it home or if the whole group stumbles into a darkness where light seems impossible.
Get your hands on this one. Find out if they make it out. Find out if love prevails. Find out what kind of strength can help you conquer your worst fears. Find out if the tide will be your guide...
Okay Royal Court Here are all the important links to make your adventure begin...
Okay, Okay, I know now you are wondering where do you find this book?
Well here are the online links to purchase:
Amazon UK - http://tinyurl.com/l4fpmuf
BUT Can I share a Royal secret...? Karen, amazing as always, is GIVING away some copies!!!! You read that right, like as in, you can WIN this fabulous prize package:
~ Signed paperback of Tangled Tides & Dangerous Depths
~ Two Beautifully Disney nail polishes
(Ocean Mist--sparkly green, and Diva of the Deep--sparkly purple.)
~ A box of assorted yummy "sprite" treats from Fairy Tale Brownies