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M.W. Rowe

M.W. Rowe

Welcome to the second in our series of 20 Question interviews with authors of Young Adult Fiction here on The Parsons’ Rant. We have at least three other authors lined up to follow today’s guest. If you know of an author of Young Adult Fiction who has written or is planning to write a book or a series in the “Merfolk” sub-genre, please let me know.

Today’s guest is British author, M.W. Rowe who released the first book in his Mermaid Memoirs series in June of 2012. Whilst this  interview was in the works, Mr. Rowe released the 2nd book, Queen of the Ocean at the very end of December, 2012, and is presently in our Review Queue. He is also the author of three other novels, Alphawing, Dreaming Nightmares and Fallen From Grace.

Our interview with M.W. Rowe consists of 23 Questions and Answers so let’s get to it.

Small Q Mermaid Memoirs is not your first book. How did you get started as an author?
Small A I initially started writing when I was thirteen years old and I actually still have a copy of the book that I wrote, although it was not very good and will probably never be released.I got back into it about two years ago when I had the idea for my first novel, Fallen From Grace. After that I could not stop writing and now have five published books.
 Small Q What would you say the target audience is for  Mermaid Memoirs?
 Small A Mermaid Memoirs is definitely aimed at a young adult audience although it is accessible to anybody. A lot of the issues dealt with in Mermaid Memoirs are applicable to young adults for example bullying but it is not unrelateable to those slightly older.
 Small Q  There’s been a surge in Urban fantasy novels in recent years and a wave of these stories deal with Mer-folk. Any thoughts about this?
 Small A  I think that a lot of this has to do with the now popular Kindle publishing platform and because of this, a lot of urban fantasy novels that were previously being rejected by mainstream publishers are now able to get out into the world and have their voice. Just because a book does not fall into a certain popular genre does not mean that it should not be published.
 Small Q  Your books are self-published. What has that experience been like?
 Small A It is exciting but a lot of hard work. I like that I am in total control of what goes on with my books but it does mean relentless work on websites and such things when I
could otherwise be spending my time writing. I do recommend it to anybody that I can though as it gives people a chance to have their work read.
 Small Q  What led you to write Mermaid Memoirs?
 Small A I initially got the idea for Mermaid Memoirs when I was swimming, I know, cheesy or what. It just struck me as I was striving to swim a mile one morning that the recent upsurge in vampire and werewolf books could possibly be leaving a large hole in the readers fantasy market that relates to mermaids. I felt like it was something that was not widely published and I do like to do things that are not entirely the norm.
 Small Q  How did you conceive the basic plot?
 Small A  My basic plotting of any novel is always the same. It involves post it notes all over a large piece of wall space. It starts out with one post it note with my initial idea on, in this case it was “Macy- born on land?” After that, every time that a question or an answer comes into my head it gets put on a post it note and placed on the wall somewhere. This process can take anywhere up to a month to complete as I try to get every single idea out of my head and onto a post it note. Then I spend an afternoon trying to come up with some sort of order for these notes to follow. That is my process.The idea itself came from the thought of dealing with some major issue and I seen bullying in young adults as a way to do this.
 Small Q  Let’s talk about the characters. Were there any particular literary characters or people who influenced your development of the main characters?
 Small A  No, not at all. Every single one of my characters is thought of from scratch. There may be small personality traits or habits in there that I stole from something I see or read but there is no main influence there.
 Small Q  Sara and Jude are Macey’s parents and at the beginning of the story not everything seems to be quite right with them. Is that a fair assertaion?
 Small A  Yes, I believe that is fair to say. I wanted Macy to become the factor that drove the two apart but I did not want her to be the cause of their problems. She had to deal with the fact that her mother did not want her and that was a big enough issue to tackle without making it entirely her fault.
 Small Q  Why do you think that Jude is so keen to keep Macy and Sara is so keen to give her up?
 Small A  Jude is the doting dad in this instance and Macy is definitely a daddy’s girl. Sara, on the other hand, is a proud woman who is slightly embarrassed of the child that she has created. She wants to keep her dignity but cannot do that with Macy as her daughter.
 Small Q  What can you tell us about Macy’s character?
 Small A Macy is kind-hearted and loving, she hates to be alone and she becomes attached to people easily. She forms bonds quickly and these bonds are hard to break, this is how she and Makeo come to be so close even right in the beginning, the same also holds true for her and Anya’s friendship.
 Small Q Another theme appears to be that of unconditional love. Jude has been in Macy’s corner since the beginning and soldiers on after her mother leaves. Any thoughts on this?
 Small A Just that Jude is the father who will do anything to care for his daughter, he knows that it is hard work looking after her with this so-called disability but he will not give up on her. She is his daughter and he will stand by her.
 Small Q Makeo is an unsung hero through all of this isn’t he? He stands by Macy from the time she enters school on land until she goes to live with the merfolk and even beyond that.
 Small A Makeo shares a lot of his traits with Jude. They are both proud and loyal men who will stand up for what is right in a world filled with wrong. They both believe that Macy should not be treated differently and they both stand up for her. He continues to be a little bit of background hero through into the second book.
 Small Q  Macy’s new home seems to be a sub-aquatic version of your average English village. Was that intentional?
 Small A A little, I did not want the mermaids to seem too technologically advanced and the only way to go about showing this was through their location. I used an idyllic English village as the setting to demonstrate the mermaids sense of community and closeness.
 Small Q  Here’s another example of rejection. Although Macy is obviously a mermaid, the merfolk treat her as an outsider; something alien to them. Why do you think things turn out this way?
 Small A Macy was not treated right on the land because she was different from all of the other human children. This continues into the ocean when the merfolk also see her as something different to them, Macy finds it difficult to be accepted anywhere as no matter where she goes she feels like she does not belong.
 Small Q  A third theme in the story is that of bullying. Macy is bullied by her fellow students on land and subsequently by the villagers in her new home. Is it fair to say that the merfolk are just as bad if not worse than humans with regard to this?
 Small A I would say that they are just as bad, Macy was not accepted by them because of the differences that she posed. She was not welcomed anywhere and it just goes to show that for every bad person on the land there is also a bad mermaid or merman.
 Small Q Let’s talk about Anya who becomes Macy’s only friend below the surface. What should the reader know about her?
 Small A  Anya is a lot deeper than she is first made out to be when she is the instigator of the bullying when Macy first arrives. She soon becomes the closest thing to a friend that Macy has in the ocean and she becomes her rock. Macy and Anya will be inseparable for the rest of their lives and will always be there for each other.
 Small Q  Jeal – Anya’s sister – seems to have had an agenda all her own from the beginning. Can you tell us about that and where Jeal lands herself by the end of the story?
 Small A  Jeal is a wicked young mermaid who plays on others’ weaknesses and always has her own agenda. However I am not going to give too much away about her as Mermaid Memoirs 2 goes into the story of Jeal a lot more.
 Small Q  I’ve mentioned three underlying themes in your story. Are there any others?
 Small A  No. You’ve covered them all.
 Small Q  How has Mermaid Memoirs been received?
 Small A Mermaid Memoirs has been received exceptionally well. It is my bestselling novel to date and has also ranked in the Amazon bestselling charts on several occasions. I get a lot of feedback about the ending of the book but the tension at the end of the book just sets up perfectly for book number 2.
 Small Q  Will we ever learn how Macey came to be born on land instead of the sea?
 Small A  Yes, but you have to watch out for book three on this one. Family is a recurring theme throughout the trilogy and it will become more apparent where this may lead in book two.
 Small Q Now that Book 2, Queen of the Ocean, has been released, can you give us a few hints as to where the story goes.
 Small A  The story centres around Jeal mainly and the fact that she wants to unite all of the mer-folk communities under the ocean together. She wants it to be one community rather than thousands of small communities. Macy is dead against the idea in the beginning but it does not take long before it is obvious that Jeal is not as sly as she appears to be.
 Small Q Does Macy’s mother ever return or is she gone for good?
 Small A I have no plans to bring her mother back at any point, however, I am always open to it if the need occurs.
 Small Q  Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
 Small A  Just that Mermaid Memoirs 2: Queen of the Ocean is due for release on the 23rd December 2012 and will be available at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mermaid-Memoirs-Queen-Ocean-ebook/dp/B00APP1V94 in the UK and at http://www.amazon.com/Mermaid-Memoirs-Queen-Ocean-ebook/dp/B00APP1V94 in the US.Also that if anybody has any questions about any of my books feel free to email me at admin@mwrowe.com

Mr. Rowe, it has been a pleasure having you join us here on The Parsons’ Rant and feel free to come back when Book 3 is about to be released. You’ve given every one something to look forward to. I do want to mention, though, that Amazon will not permit readers in the US to buy e-books from their UK website, Amazon.co.uk. Instead, US  readers will have to  purchase both e-books via the Amazon.com site. I’m not sure if it works the same way in reverse, though.

Be sure to have a look at [intlink id=”4619″ type=”page”]our review of Mermaid Memoirs[/intlink]. Queen of the Ocean will be reviewed as soon as time permits.

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