Rise of the Sea Witch (Unfortunate Souls Chronicles Book 1)
By: Stacey Rourke
Publisher: Anchor Group Publishing
Publication Date: June 19th, 2017
Details of the sea witch’s banishment have been exaggerated. The body count that preempted it was not. Once an illustrious princess, her hands and tentacles were stained with the blood of thousands. No one could comprehend how the hooks of madness dragged her down from her life of privilege.
Born Princess Vanessa of Atlantica, the ambitious young royal was one of two children born to the great King Poseidon. She and her brother, Triton, were groomed from birth to rule. Yet only one would ascend that coveted throne. While carefree Triton flits through his training with a cavalier demeanor and beguiling charm, Vanessa’s hunger for her father’s acceptance drives her to push herself to the limits of magic, and combat to become a leader worthy of her people.
When war against the humans ravages their once regal kingdom, political sides are chosen. Factions from the seven seas challenge the existing leadership, pitting Vanessa against her brother in a vicious battle for the crown. Traitors are exposed, dark family secrets revealed, and a once strong sibling bond is strained to its breaking point.
Only when the ink black waters from the ultimate betrayal rescind, will the truth be known of how the villainous sea witch rose with one name on her vengeful lips–Triton.
Rise of the Sea Witch was my eleventh book, and by far the most elaborate to research and develop. There is so much we take for granted when everything is out of the sea, and characters have … what do you call them? Oh, yeah. Feet. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) In all seriousness, I wanted every aspect of the merworld to ring true. That meant creating Atlantica from the ground up. In the book, the Kingdom of Atlantica is surrounded by living quarters belonging to delegates and representatives from the factions of the Seven Seas. Each area is unique to the culture of merfolk that resides there. The Artic Mer are recognizable by their white hair and skin. They have sharply angled bone structure, and a harsh, unforgiving nature. Caribbean mer have the sun-kissed skin and lightened hair you would expect from the tropical climate they are indigenous to. They decorate their flowing locks with shells and braids, but do not have the laid-back persona you might expect. They are power-hungry and ambitious … sometimes to a fault. Indian Sea merfolk are all business. They are the innovators of the ocean, always looking for new and improved ways to advance the way of life beneath the waves. The Mediterranean mer are the passionate, loving, wild beauties. What they believe, they believe ferociously. The mer from the Atlantic Sea are all about creative expression. They use ink, reeds, and sea flowers to change their hair color and markings with their mood. With the mermaids and mermen in the Gulf of Mexico you find a community of people that root their entire belief system in nature, tradition, and history. Finally, we have the Pacific Sea merfolk. The majority of Atlantica’s soldiers come from this faction because they are trained from youth to fight. They see self-mutilation as beauty; imbedding bones and sharks teeth in their skin, and tattooing their tails and flesh. All factions are different, yet they must work together to honor their king and protect Atlantica.
Their cultures established, I then had to develop under sea equivalents to basic essentials my merfolk would need. I mentioned earlier having soldiers. No way would the armor we know work for them. Pushing aside how they would get ahold of it, it would rust and weigh them down. What they wore had to be made or organic materials they would have access to, which would give them ease of movement and protection. To create such a thing, I had to call upon my nonexistent drawing skills. The sketch I created was of a breast plate made of the shoulder bones of a humpback whale. Attached to that with thick braided reeds are walrus ribs lined along the outside with row after row of sharks’ teeth. Their helmets are the hollowed-out skull of male walrus, the thick tusks allowing facial protection during battle. The weapon they brandish is the skull of a swordfish. The eye socket is removed, and the cheek bone whittled down to create an ideal grip.
I could go on and on about the bioluminescent plankton they use for lighting, their giant shell beds, quilted sea weed bedding, or more, but this spotlight would end up being a book all its own. Instead, I invite readers to check out Rise of the Sea Witch, and feel free to contact me if you would like more insight into the million other elements that created this under sea adventure. Thanks so much for having me!
RONE Award Winner for Best YA Paranormal Work of 2012 for Embrace, a Gryphon Series Novel
Young Adult and Teen Reader voted Author of the Year 2012
Turning Pages Magazine Winner for Best YA book of 2013 & Best Teen Book of 2013
Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal Winner for Crane 2015Stacey Rourke is the author of the award winning YA Gryphon Series, the chillingly suspenseful Legends Saga, and the romantic comedy Reel Romance Series. She lives in Michigan with her husband, two beautiful daughters, and two giant dogs. She loves to travel, has an unhealthy shoe addiction, and considers herself blessed to make a career out of talking to the imaginary people that live in her head.
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