Into the Deep
by Missy Fleming
Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published October 23rd 2013
by Fire and Ice Young Adult Books
No one understands the fury of the ocean like Zoey.
Ten years ago, she lost her leg in a freak shark attack. The night after her sixteenth birthday, she has yet to accept her awkward prosthetic limb or the fact she will always be different. Wary of the sea, and its hidden threats, she ventures to a bonfire at the beach. She’s mesmerized by its awesome power, wondering what she ever had to fear, until a rogue wave sweeps her into the cool, salty water.
Zoey believed mermaids were creatures of legend, characters in silly children’s stories, but it’s hard to ignore the captivating tail that’s suddenly appeared, or the sense of finally being whole. She abandons her life on land in search of answers about who she really is and where she came from.
What she discovers is a kingdom full of intrigue and danger, as well as a royal father she never knew existed. Settling into her role as a mermaid princess, she learns her family is under attack, both on land and in the water. Raging storms swell up, threatening coastal cities, and sea levels rise practically overnight, endangering the lives of everyone she loves. Determined to stop the strange phenomena, Zoey becomes caught up in the race to track down what, or who, is responsible for the catastrophic events.
But, Zoey possesses another secret, one born of legend and more powerful than any mer or human can imagine.
Why mermaids? Why fantasy?
Mermaids and fantasy often go hand in hand. One can’t exist without the other. As much as the Discovery Channel may try to convince us otherwise, mermaids are creatures of legend, of myth, as captivating and mystifying as the waters they call home. Before writing this blog post, I struggled to remember where the idea for Into the Deep even came from. The Little Mermaid is one of my favorite Disney movies, always has been, but like so many of those stories, Ariel’s motivations were all rooted in romance, true love. I didn’t want to do anything like that. I wanted a true coming of age story, a glimpse at a girl who has a legitimate reason to fear the sea and to experience the realization that it can make her whole again. Of course there’s a boy, as well as complications. He hates humans, despises what they’ve done to the ocean.
That’s another subject I wanted to bring to the surface…no pun intended…humankind’s constant, uncaring neglect on the thing that gives us life. Whether unintentional or not, no one can deny what we’ve done. Whales hunted to the brink of extinction, fish populations decimated by overfishing, poisoned fish finding their way onto our dinner plates. Fukisima, in Japan, the nuclear reactor affected by the tsunami and earthquake, is dumping tons of radioactive water into the sea every day. Who knows what effect that will have on us in future generations? But I’m NOT going to get preachy! I promise. My point here is what if the ocean one day decides to rise against us? What if the creatures we’ve harmed decide to turn against us? And what if the only one who can save both worlds is a brand new mermaid princess?
So why fantasy? Why do I enjoy writing about things and places that don’t exist? The same reason I like reading about them…escapism. Not to mention, I find it easier to set my stories in a made up land. To date, I have five completed novels—all young/new adult and every single one of them either fantasy or paranormal or science fiction. For some reason, every time I sit down to try and finish one of my contemporary romances or women’s fiction, I fail. Writing about the real world? Not as exciting! Diving into a post-apocalyptic world where demons rule? Yes please! I don’t think I’m alone either. Why else have vampires and werewolves, fairy tale retellings, become so popular?
I have a trick I learned from a writing partner of mine. Look at your plot. What can you do to make it unique, different from every other fantasy/vampire/mermaid book out there? See. That’s the best part of writing fantasy. It’s okay to go a little overboard. You cares if you mess with a typical myth, give it tweaks to fit your story. Fantasy gives a writer true creative flexibility. When I first started thinking I might probably give this author thing a shot, I saw fantasy as this unattainable genre. So I stuck to what I knew, the real world. I thought I’d never be able to write about goblins, demons, aliens, or mermaid princesses. The first young adult novel I wrote was published earlier this year. It’s about a girl who’s a sensitive, who sees ghosts, and has some terrifying encounters with them, kind of a ghost version of Cinderella. That book was the test, dipping my toes into genres that I’d never considered. And guess what? It worked! Into the Deep will always hold a special place in my heart because it was the first book I ever colored outside the lines with, the first of many.
Now I say, “Lines? Who needs lines?”
About Missy Fleming
lives and writes in beautiful Bozeman, Montana where her love of the outdoors often interferes with her love of writing. Into the Deep is her second published novel. She loves music and movies, spending time with her family, especially her three year old nephew. Traveling is one of her biggest loves as well as photography. Even with the holidays coming up, her favorite time of year, she is hard at work on her next novel.