October 30, 2011

Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore: Interview & Review

Today I have Jaclyn Dolamore, author of Between the Sea and Sky, on the blog for an interview. Also check out my review of this new release!

Interview with Jaclyn Dolamore:

How did you go about creating the world for BTSAS?

My first book, Magic Under Glass, was mostly confined to a gloomy manor house, so I wanted Between the Sea and Sky to be somewhat opposite--expansive and sunny. After poking around a bit I ended up basing the locale on Italy. It's still set in the same world as Magic Under Glass, just in a different time and place, so some of the groundwork for overall world building was already there.

Which came first the plot or the characters?

It was a bit of this and that. I wanted to do a mermaid story, but I had a lot of trouble figuring out both plot and characters, In my very first attempt, the story was about a mermaid captive in a court rather like 18th century Versailles. In my second attempt, the mermaid was named Millea and was masquerading as both a human and a boy so she could go to school. Both of these drafts only got a few pages of notes and a chapter or two in before I realized they weren't right. It was actually a sketch I drew of Alan, this winged boy wearing a cape and 1790s style top hat and holding a book, that made it start to click.

Why did you choose to write about mermaids?

I've always loved mermaids! When I was about ten my characters were mostly genies and mermaids (clearly Disney movies imprinted on my young mind) who lived in "New York City". I add the quotes because I didn't know a THING about New York City so it was very inaccurate, but I spent hours drawing mermaid fashions. My mom sewed me and my sister a mer tail to wear in the pool, and at the time it was like the coolest thing ever.

Growing up, what fantasy creatures were your favorite?

Growing up? Well, genies and mermaids. Winged people. Animated dolls/robots. I also had a lot of Nightmare Before Christmas type skeletons running around and some well preserved zombies. And warriors elves. Lots of those. I was really into fantasy creatures in general, actually, except for the horse-related ones, because I was never much into horses. But I did have "cattaurs" which were like centaurs, only cats instead? They never really clicked for me though. Probably for the best...

What is your writing space like?

Messy and cramped...

Do you tend to make your main characters more like you or completely different?

They certainly all have a bit of me. A lot of my girls are practical, verging on bossy, which is definitely me. Nimira is like that. Esmerine is more my dreamy side, she's bookish and creative.

If you had to live the life of any of your characters from any of your books who would it be and why?

Actually, I probably would pick Alander because he can FLY! And nothing HORRIBLE ever happens to him, which is better than I can say for a lot of my characters.

If you could cast your leads from BTSAS in a Hollywood movie who would you choose? Feel free to include pictures!

Aww. I wish I had a good answer for this, but I don't watch many movies! And when I do they usually aren't movies with a lot of teens in them. (Or twentysomethings playing teens.) I always always saw Between the Sea and Sky as a Studio Ghibli movie, and Esmerine as looking a lot like Sophie from Howl's Moving Castle (before she is turned into an old lady).

Thanks for stopping by Jaclyn!

Check out my review of Between the Sea and Sky:

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books (October 25, 2011)
eGalley: 240 Pages
Genre: YA Fantasy
Jaclyn Dolamore's Website | Blog | Twitter
From Goodreads. For as long as Esmerine can remember, she has longed to join her older sister, Dosinia, as a siren--the highest calling a mermaid can have. When Dosinia runs away to the mainland, Esmerine is sent to retrieve her. Using magic to transform her tail into legs, she makes her way unsteadily to the capital city. There she comes upon a friend she hasn't seen since childhood--a dashing young man named Alandare, who belongs to a winged race of people. As Esmerine and Alandare band together to search for Dosinia, they rekindle a friendship . . . and ignite the emotions for a love so great, it cannot be bound by sea, land, or air.

Review by Kate
BETWEEN THE SEA AND SKY, by Jaclyn Dolamore, is a wonderful new fantasy that explores the question what happens when a fish and a bird fall in love? Or more precisely a mermaid and a winged boy? Dolamore creates a fantastical world that spans from the deepest part of the ocean up to the skies.

I really enjoyed this book. I want to give Dolamore high praise for creating a story where I felt what life was like under the sea with Esmerine and practically felt the wind in my hair when Alandare soared through the sky. Her breathtaking words jumped right off the pages and into my heart. The first part of the book was a great introduction to the mer-creatures that lived under the sea. Esmerine had just been made a siren because of her fascination with humans that she shared with her siren-sister Dosinia. After Dosinia goes missing, Esmerine transforms her fin to legs and goes in search of her sister to make sure she was alright. On the main land, Esmerine stumbles upon her childhood friend, Alandare. They both take on the journey to find Dosinia and reconnect with their feelings for each other.

I loved the lore that Dolamore created for her story. Mer-people feared humans because in their tales they told of human men stealing the mermaids from the ocean and forcing them to marry them and never return. Esmerine and the other sirens were chosen for their jobs because they liked humans. Their tasks included collecting tribute from ships that entered their waters and crashing ships that didn't. Their voices lured human men to do what they wanted. Besides the mer-people and humans there were the winged-race of people. I enjoyed reading about Alan and his people and it was definitely unique. The animosity between the mer-people and winged people created a conflict between the young friends but just as they did as children, they chose to ignore it and work together to find Dosinia.

Overall, great fantasy story. There wasn't much in the way of actual conflict, more like a journey of discoveries. For anyone looking to read a sweet fantasy, definitely pick this one up!

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