Today I have a stop for the NA/YA Fantasy Arms of the Ocean. The writers stopped by to talk about their writing process, their experience co-writing, how they approach worldbuilding, and gave some tips for beginning writers!
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Arms of the Ocean
Jamie Webster, M. Dalto
Published by: Parliament House
Publication date: July 7th 2020
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult, Young Adult
Nineteen-year-old Tristaine lived a life of bitterness. When her mother abandoned her family, and her father began drinking, Tris discovered the only thing that truly brought her happiness: the sea.
It called to her like a lover and flowed through her like a life force. When her only peace is threatened to be taken away, Tris realizes there is nothing she wouldn’t do to remain with the ocean.
Even if it means taking her own life to do so.
But the sea isn’t done with her -not yet- and Tris soon finds herself submerged in a world where love, betrayal, and honor stand stronger than any other force of nature.
Interview with Authors Jamie Webster and M. Dalto
- Are you plotters or pantsers? Any tips on that area?
Jamie: I’m a hybrid. I need to have a basic plot/idea to get started. I tend to get hung up if I don’t at least have a basic outline. On that same note, once I get writing, sometimes things just show up. For example: Nyx was not a planned character. I don’t have a problem deviating from that outline though if something springs to mind.
MB: I am a panster so bad, it hurts. I may think about how I want a story to end-- I may even go so far as to write the ending first, but getting there is where the fun is. I always find outlines too restrictive, especially when very often my characters tend to take the lead...
- How do you approach worldbuilding?
Jamie: Again it’s kind of a planster approach for me. I get a basic idea and as I write, I let the story flow and add that information to the world. For AotO, M and I had a google doc that we brainstormed ideas about Inara and the Realm.
MB: AOTO was different for me because it had a lot more planning than I was normally used to, but that’s part of the process when co-authoring, I feel. Otherwise, I love fantasy because it lets me mold and shape the world as I go, and my pantsing allows me to go back and fix what I need to.
- I also love the sea and writing about it. Was there any personal inspiration that led you to include it in this novel?
Jamie: I had recently watched Song of the Sea which that was so rich in the selkie folklore and it made me want to write a story about selkies. Of course it would be hard to write about selkies and not also write about the sea. I reached out to M and told her I wanted to collaborate and write with her and that I had a basic idea to write about selkies and their lore. The rest was magic.
- Do you like going to the beach? Can you tell us about your favorite beach?
Jamie: I love Kennebunk Beach. I spent so much time there as a kid and even though it tends to be ridiculously crowded the feelings of nostalgia that I get when I’m there warms my heart. I don’t mind going to the beach but I’m definitely more of a read on the sand person or look at tidal pools vs a go in the water person. True story: I don’t like water. I hate that wet feeling.
MB: I’m actually not much of a beach person at all, and I think it might be because where I live a 20-minute drive can get us there, no problem. Plus, sand gets everywhere and swimming in the ocean freaks me out. Just give me the sun and a good book, though, and I can go to whichever beach you want!
- What did you like most about writing Arms of the Ocean?
Jamie: The collaboration was the best part. M and I wrote in different colors in the google doc and it was so much fun to see each other adding to each other’s writing. We were constantly messaging each other all excited and motivated about the book. It was just such a fantastic experience.
- Were there any books (or movies or TV shows) that might have influenced Arms of the Ocean?
Jamie: I have always loved selkies. I had recently watched the movie Song of the Sea and had recently read the first two books in ACOTAR when I approached M about a selkie story collaboration
MB: I feel Sarah J. Maas is constantly influencing my writing.
- What advice would you give to someone who's just starting to write?
Jamie: Just write. Write for you. Write from that place inside your soul where stories reside and need to be told. That’s where the best stories come from.
MB: That’s exactly what I tell everyone as well. You have to write for yourself because if you can’t even do that, like if you can’t even put your heart into your own work, how can you expect anyone else to?
- What kind of reader do you think will enjoy Arms of the Ocean?
Jamie: I think readers who love Sarah J Maas will enjoy Tris’s journey and discovery of the selkies and other Fae living in Inara.
MB: Holly Black fans, too!
Jamie Webster is an Adult Fantasy writer who recalls writing stories as early as ten. She first began writing fanfiction, though she typically created an original character to follow. In high school, she began to create her own fantasy worlds and roleplayed on Yahoo Groups and AIM. In her adult years, she has completed four books as well as written for several publications including a blog, Trials and Tribulations, for her local newspaper as well as articles on writing and book reviews for Fantasy-Faction.
Jamie received her B.A. in English with a focus in Creative Writing from UMaine and an MFA in Creative Writing from Full Sail University. She does most of her drafting during NaNoWriMo and fancies herself as the hybrid plantser. Her passion is reading, writing, crocheting and playing video games. She currently lives in Maine with her three children, Corgi, Mini Aussie, and a plethora of other animals that she’d rather not admit to.
M. Dalto is a bestselling New Adult author of adventurous romantic fantasy stories, having won a Watty award for excellence in digital storytelling for her debut novel, Two Thousand Years, in 2016. She spends her days as a full-time residential real estate paralegal, using her evenings to pursue her literary agenda, and when she’s not writing, she enjoys reading fantasy novels, playing video games, and drinking coffee. She currently lives in Massachusetts with her husband, their daughter, and their corgi named Loki.
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