Six months late, I finally finished and put up for sale via KDP my first novelette, Sea Monster Daughters. It was originally inspired by my fondness for the first Pirates of the Caribbean, but centered on a story I thought should be told, and one that did not glamorize and romanticize colonialization. I also wanted to fuse the idea with the Little Mermaid so that it would be an interspecies love story about two women from two different places in two different, yet similar, circumstances. I always thought that Ursula got the short end of the stick, and in the beginning, the monster character was very clearly inspired by Disney until the story matured and grew into its own.
At first, the entire beginning (which happens off screen in the final version), was the primary focus of the plot. The part where the two become friendly with each other was a hasty denouement that has now become the primary focus of the narrative.
Strangely enough, I was also heavily inspired by the Odyssey. I wanted a sprawling (well, not perhaps sprawling as I don’t do sprawling it’s not my strong suit) sea adventure about coming home, and I wanted to do it in a story that would have appealed to me as a youngster stuck in English class reading the Odyssey and wishing that I was as in love with it as my teachers were.
Since its inspiring sources were primarily action adventures (with a hint of romance), action used to be the driving factor of this novelette. The bulk of its pages were action: escape, revenge, and terrible, terrible hunger stained the pages red and bloodied the mouths of both major characters. However, action has never been that appealing to me and when I asked myself why I was writing a genre that was not even something I found particularly appealing, I realized that i had more work to do. I eventually scrapped the entire thing and focused on the element that I knew wanted to remain: the relationship between these two women from different parts and corners of the world.
All told, I am planning six or seven novelettes of roughly the same size that will follow both characters as they adventure on the high seas. The next novelette will focus on the perspective of Rani, the human character, as her relationship with Aelia, the sea monster, develops and becomes complicated. On the horizon are other monsters (from both land and sea), witches, and lost sisters, oh my. I’m hoping that the next volume, which I’ve begun drafting, will be available in September.
The cover art was created by the talented Sasha Reneau!