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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Interview with Sarah Porter, author of Lost Voices

Joining us now we have Bonnie from A Backwards Story interviewing Sarah Porter, author of the 2011 debut Lost Voices.
Check it out!

Sara Porter’s debut novel, Lost Voices, is the first in a trilogy...about MERMAIDS. While not directly re-telling any single tale, Porter weaves together mermaid lore from several places while creating her own world. The most creative twist is the fact that mermaids were once human girls, reincarnated after “dying” and have siren-like tendencies. For a teaser of Lost Voices and to learn more about the novel, please visit A Backwards Story. A full review is scheduled to post on ABS June 21th to celebrate the first day of summer. Lost Voices comes out two weeks later on July 4, 2011, so please add it to Goodreads and your TBR now!

1) What were your favorite fairy tales growing up? What drew you to them?
I grew up with this old book of Russian fairy tales that someone gave my mom’s dad when he was a kid back in 1911, and I adored them. They were long and dark and complicated and painful, and I think they’re very true to life. A lot of them follow a storyline where the protagonist betrays his or her magical beloved and has to go through a long journey and a series of ordeals to win that lost love back. In fact many of us do have to undertake a long (emotional) journey before we’re ready to truly love.
Those stories are embedded in my mind. I still see life through the lens they revealed to me.

2) What made you decide to write Lost Voices? What brought everything together for you?
It’s hard for me to say where it all came from. One source was a talk I had with a friend on the beach, where we improvised a story about a punk mermaid who lived apart from the others. And I wrote an earlier story in graduate school that used some of the same ideas as Lost Voices. In it, mermaids were orphaned girls who could swim through the earth and steal other girl-children away. When I actually started writing Lost Voices, I was unemployed and stuck on another book, and the story just kind of picked me up and carried me. I wrote a draft in four months.

3) Was it hard coming up with your own lore when you began world-building? How did you bring everything together? The mermaids felt so real!
Thank you. They feel real to me, too. The mermaid lore actually develops a lot more in the second volume of the trilogy, Waking Storms, when my heroine Luce begins to learn about the history of the mermaids and why they’re so driven to kill.
But I wouldn’t say it’s hard to come up with the lore or the world. The hardest part of becoming a writer is getting yourself to the place where the stories come to you by themselves. Once you’re finally there, it’s all a lot easier. I knew from the beginning that the mermaids were the lost girls who’d flowed away to sea.

4) Can you tell us more about your overall goals for the trilogy?
That’s hard to do without giving too much away! But Luce has a long way to go, and things will get much worse for her before they can start to get better. The trilogy is really about a choice we all face: we can stay stuck in our pain and keep repeating the same reactions to that pain, the way the mermaids keep sinking ships. Or we can look for creative ways to break the cycle and move on. It’s an incredibly difficult thing to do, but ultimately that’s what Luce has to accomplish.

Lost Voices (Lost Voices (Trilogy))5) What other ideas are you working on right now?
I only work on one idea at a time, because I can only live in one imaginary world at a time! But I do have a novel for adults sitting around half-finished; it’s sort of a horror novel about sentient objects, called Boudoir, and as soon as I complete The Lost Voices Trilogy, I want to get back to it. And I’m playing with the idea of a young adult novel based on some of those old Russian fairy tales, too.

6) What are some of your favorite fairy tale inspired novels and/or authors?
Well, it’s not YA at all, but I really love Ingeborg Bachmann’s Malina. It starts out seeming realistic and then gets creepier and more fairy-talish as it goes along. The heroine’s boyfriend gives her a hairy black dress that eats into her skin, and that she can’t take it off. And Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell was fantastic and really captured the odd logic of the fairy world. That’s a book I think a lot of YA fans would adore! Most of my favorite books have kind of a fairy tale quality about them even if they’re not directly inspired.

7) If you could live out any fairy tale, what would it be and why?
Hmm. Maybe I’d like to be the Frog Princess. She’s such a badass.
In fact I think we all live out fairy tales all the time, whether we want to or not. Not necessarily the happily-ever-after parts, but the struggling-to-make-our-way-through-forces-that-are-bigger-than-we-are parts.

8) What's your favorite Disney rendition of a fairy tale? What makes it so special?
Dumbo doesn’t count, does it? Then I think I’ll go with “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” section of Fantasia. It conveys so much of the feeling of being overwhelmed by magic, caught up in a dream.

9) Rapunzel is named after lettuce; what odd thing would you be named after if you were in a fairy tale?
Sparrow. I totally identify with little hoppy, dust-colored birds.

Thanks so much for stopping by and chatting with us for Fairy Tale Fortnight, Sarah!   Everybody, make sure to check out Lost Voices, in stores in July!  :)


  1. This is a great interview! I can't wait to pick this one up. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great interview! I loved this book too. And I had no idea it was going to be a trilogy. :)

  3. Adding this to my TBR list! I need more novels about mermaids in my life! :)


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