I hope you are having a great day. We are going aquatic with our theme today, as we meet fantasy author Errins Stevens, creator of the Mer Chronicles.
PB: Hi Errin! Welcome to pjbermanbooks.com. Tell us a bit about your background.
ES: I write paranormal romantic suspense and have created a world of ‘mermaids among us’ with a trilogy out: Updrift (#1) and Breakwater (#2), and Outrush (#3). I’d describe my style as warm, intimate and a little funny.
PB: What made you decide to become an author?
ES: Reading is what turned me into a writer… and I really can’t stress enough what an insurrectionist, rabid reader I was growing up. I was that stereotypical kid sneak-reading under the bed covers with a flashlight when I was supposed to be asleep, and I read everything I could get my hands on whether it was age-appropriate or not. I remember going bonkers over The Thorn Birds and Bloodline when I was twelve, even though I know now I didn’t have the maturity to really understand the character intricacies.
In terms of writers I admire, there are so, so many. On the literary side, I’m most enamored with Ian McEwan (way loved Sweet Tooth), Ann Patchett (Bel Canto is a book I recommend again and again) and about a dozen others. Commercially, I’ve enjoyed a pretty broad spectrum, from Kresley Cole (I want to be Regin the Radiant when I grow up…) and J.R. Ward to Lisa Kleypas and Susan Elizabeth Phillips – who is so seriously funny and talented, I think every genre writer should read her as a matter of course. I could go on for pages, but I’ll take pity on you and stop here.
PB: Haha! When did you first start writing?
ES: I’ve written various things all my life – from journals as a kid to trade articles and 10K and 10Q reports after college – not scintillating, as you can imagine! I didn’t start taking a serious run at creative writing until I was about 35, though. As in other areas, I’m a late bloomer…
PB: What was the first story that you can remember writing?
ES: It was about a family Thanksgiving dinner, and it was such crap. Seriously, even 9-year-old me knew it was bad. I literally burned it.
PB: I certainly cringe when I think of my first attempts at writing too. When you begin writing a new story, do you always know the ending?
ES: I wish! Nope, I always have an idea, but what drives the first part out of my head is a character or character interactions. The rest I stumble around on until I hit on something that makes at least a little sense. Then I write a loose outline… and often deviate from it. Yep.
PB: If you could meet any of your characters, who would you meet?
ES: Peter Loughlin. He is tortured and beautiful and so gifted, and he commits his whole self to his endeavors, even his follies.
PB: Tell us about the Mer Chronicles trilogy.
ES: It’s a series of romantic suspense stories for adults, focusing on a mysterious beach family and the humans they fall for. I’ve added in a couple of kidnappings and criminally insane folks to spice things up… and a little comedy, too. I aim to take y’all on an adventure with each edition; and my hope is that you come away feeling loved. And maybe better about humanity in general.
PB: Where did the idea come from?
ES: I can answer that! This is the letter to readers I wrote to front Updrift:
'Updrift likely began in my girlhood—I’m thinking 1976—when the mythology of Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid sunk its teeth into me and ate me whole. I honestly wonder at our decision to shelve fairy tales in the children’s section when so many of them are these brutal, brutal tragedies… and “Little Mermaid” is no different. Seriously, read The Little Match Girl or The Red Shoes at your local library and just try to walk away undevastated!
I remained captivated with TLM’s mythology throughout my twenties, when the story simmered beneath my struggles to finish college, establish myself in a career, run the modern dating gauntlet and try to look breezy and confident during it all, which I did NOT accomplish. A husband and child and three jobs later, I finally sat down to try and make sense of modern life and modern womanhood; and Andersen’s fable helped me write it out. In this sense, Updrift was a way for me to knit up my own coming of age via a kind of corollary post-mortem.
But Updrift is not an autobiography, and neither is it the Little Mermaid retold, although I’d love for you to see a reflection of the original in my book. Can you guess who most closely mimics Andersen’s heroine? When you’ve finished the novel, think back on who was most compelled to abandon friends and family for love, who in the end preferred his own destruction to that of his beloved. It’s twisted, I know, but hopefully in the right way.
Happy reading, everyone.'
PB: Of all your achievements, which are you most proud of?
ES: Being a mother. During the 14 years I spent home with our son, I wrote the Mer Chronicles and volunteered at his school and tried to stay a couple of steps ahead of him with academic support and coaching so he would could move forward… and he’s just the best kind of human being. It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever, ever done, mothering; but getting to know and help a child grow and thrive? It’s our highest calling as parents, and our richest reward, to be able to know and share this life with them.
PB: What is your favourite book series to read and why?
ES: This is a cruel, cruel question, Peter! I legit cannot answer it! There are so many great series out there, as well as stand-alones I covet and reread like a starved person with a banquet on offer. I love almost any good story (except for horror) from a person who has invested him- or herself assiduously in their narrative, who has done the hard work of refining their voice, and then used it like a scalpel to create something that envelops me, takes me clean away.
PB: I am very cruel to ask that. Choosing a favourite book was much easier for me when I was a young and hadn't read many. Answering that question now would be another matter! Look at me. I'm digressing! What are your long term ambitions with regards to writing?
ES: You can be the first to know: I’m going to write a few books I will distribute only on my web site. The idea of a more personal offering to those seeking my version of storytelling seems like a good and kind next move, and I’m going to do it. I’m also drafting a fourth in the Mer Chronicles series, parts of which you can peek at on my blog if you’re interested, errinstevens.com.
PB: If you weren’t an author, what career would you be in?
ES: I think at this point I would run a community garden and maybe make soup for people. As you might guess from my answer to number 11, I increasingly want one-on-one human interactions, not so much the “big” attempts (arguments?) we engage in or get fed every day all day. I believe if we are all kind to each other individually, if we act with integrity in our dealings with one another, the bigger problems won’t exist.
PB: I couldn't agree more. What’s the next target for you?
ES: Professionally, I wish I could write faster and publish more often. But I really can’t. Anyway, I will continue to dream up stories and bring them forth; and I will continue to hope my novels reach people and nurture them. I’m relieved to think I’ll have something I can do when I’m old, something fulfilling and hopefully meaningful to my readers.
PB: Tell us a random fact about yourself.
ES: I’m afraid of the ocean! Isn’t that nuts?!?? I mean, I like looking at it, boating close to shore, and imagining lots about it. But I don’t enjoy swimming in it and I don’t like being without sight of land. How’s that for a girl who writes about sea creatures?
PB: Haha! It certainly is surprising!
ES: Peter, thank you for having me on your blog and for taking the time to interview me. If anyone has any other questions, please know you can reach out to me at any time.
PB: Anytime! It's been a pleasure.
Thank you so much to Errin Stevens for speaking to us today. If you would like to try out her work for yourself, you can do so via the links below:
Updrift Purchase Links:
Breakwater Purchase Links:
Outrush Purchase Links:
Three Book eBook Set:
Until next time, happy reading everyone!