Today I have a special guest post by author Michele Israel Harper in celebration of the release of her newest book, Silence the Siren! Michele is awesome, by the way. I've talked to her a couple of times at Realm Makers and was so disappointed that she wasn't there this year. I haven't had a chance to read her Beast Hunters series yet, but I loved her Zombie Takeover book.
Thank you so much for featuring me on your blog today, Jaye! I am so honored to be here.
So it’s no secret that the latest book in my Beast Hunters series, Silence the Siren, is a light reimagining of Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid.
I mentioned this in an earlier blog post on the tour (so I will only restate it briefly!), but I was raised on the Disney version of fairy tales. When I first read Andersen’s Little Mermaid, I threw my Kindle across the room.
(I mean, she didn’t get the prince, she died, and she turned into sea foam? Why, Hans, why?)
But that first read stuck with me so hard.
It kept circling in my head, the little mermaid’s sacrificial love and giving up what she wanted so the prince, and his new bride, could be happy.
Such different fare than my usual happily-ever-after must-reads.
Andersen loved his morals, loved telling his stories to children with an admonition to “be good” and to care for their eternal soul—a strong theme in his Little Mermaid tale—so different from the (dare I say it?) more selfish “I just have to wish hard enough and all my dreams will come true” stories I was raised on.
Don’t get me wrong. I adore those stories and absolutely think they have their place.
But this theme of sacrifice, of not always getting what you want, no matter how hard you work for it/wish for it—is this completely valid too?
I’ve struggled with it, wrestled with it, and finally had to write a story about it.
Now, I absolutely admit that I couldn’t do to my characters what Andersen did to his, but I played with the themes of love and sacrifice and happily ever after—and my characters explore what happens when things don’t quite go as planned.
Lest you think the story is a downer, let me assure you it isn’t! Silence the Siren is a high-seas adventure with pirates, sirens, swashbuckling, and heart, with just the slightest bit of sweet romance. (I grew up on HEAs, remember?)
But I had to explore self-sacrifice and putting others before one’s self.
I pray you enjoy the tale that was born out of that moment of throwing my Kindle!
Fun fact: There are quotes from the original story in both English and French throughout the book!
The Little Mermaid was first published in Danish in 1837, then translated into English in 1845. I wanted to use quotes from the original English version, but using stories in the public domain can be tricky. I had to find the original English version, pull five quotes (it was so hard to pick just five!), then translate them into French (oh my gosh, the tenses).
Those five measly little quotes took me two weeks to get just right. I don’t trust Google translate, so I had my French dictionaries spread around me, had three different French versions of the tale (and oh my word, each were significantly different), and conferred with a few of my French-speaking or French-nationality friends to get the phrasing just right.
So there you have it! I sweat blood and tears over those translations, friends. I hope you love them! (And any mistakes that got past those who knew what they were talking about were entirely my fault.)
Thank you, Jaye, for letting me ramble on about my story today! You are just the sweetest.