This is wonderful hearing Merrie talk of her book Fathom. Really was a breath of fresh air with the Celtic legend mix to it and the selkies.
Telling a Story, Line by Line
By Merrie Destefano
First, I want to thank Melissa for featuring FATHOM today and for inviting me to write a post about some of my favorite lines from the book.
The interesting thing about writing a book is the fact that the story is told, line by line, concept by concept. Every book has a theme, even if the author didn’t consciously incorporate one. Line by line, a book should reinforce its central theme, it should drive the story forward, and it should reveal characters.
I have my five favorite lines from FATHOM listed below, as well as a brief description as to why these lines in particular mean so much to me and to the story.
Something startled me awake, some shifting of our house, beam against beam, old wood crying out in the damp sea breeze.
This line sets the stage for what will become the main conflict throughout the book: the fact that Kira is haunted by her past and what her mother did. Kira believes that she sees her mother’s ghost and this event triggers the deep emotions she will have to deal with on a daily basis.
When my grandmother’s voice rose and fell, her tongue thick from liquor, I imagined that I saw my sister and my mother standing just outside the circle of light cast by our windows onto the lawn.
Tragedy struck early in Kira Callahan’s life, when her sister was murdered by their mother who then committed suicide. In the line above, Kira is both mourning that loss and imagining a different ending to that incident. This loss helped shape Kira, making her a shy introvert and also making her a target for the mean girls at school. This on-going scenario will play into her coming of age when she is finally able to stand up against those girls, an act that will declare she is strong enough to fight her own battles and that she is different from her mother.
I ran my thumb along my chin and my lower lip, wondering what it would feel like to kiss him.
From the beginning, I wanted FATHOM to be a coming of age story, so certain elements had to be included. One of these is first love—this is the love that we’ll never forget, no matter how old we are, and it’s something most of us have in common. The line above comes from a scene where Kira realizes that her feelings for Sean, the boy next door, are no longer those of best friend.
COMING OF AGE:
The ocean was like heaven and the four of us, bobbing up and down, were like flesh and blood angels in our Calvin Klein briefs and bras.
Another key element in a coming of age story is a ritual that symbolizes the transition from childhood to adulthood. Although the main character is oblivious to what is coming, the line above is the beginning of a ritual that will change her forever and change the way she views the world. As a result, Kira will have to confront the demons from her past if she wants to grow and survive.
CONFRONTING YOUR DEMONS:
A sigh rushed up from the basement, carrying the scent of dust and cobwebs and mysteries unsolved.
At this point, Kira is starting to look for answers on her own, no longer depending on her father or grandfather to guide her. She’s striking out on her own, trying to uncover family secrets that will help her understand who she is and what really happened on that day when her sister and mother died. Discovering this hidden truth is something she must do if she hopes to survive and if she wants to protect her remaining family members from a dangerous curse.
CURRENTLY A FULL-TIME NOVELIST with HarperVoyager, Merrie Destefano’s second novel, FEAST: HARVEST OF DREAMS, released in June, 2011. In a previous life, she was the editor of Victorian Homes magazine, founding editor of Cottages & Bungalows magazine, and contributing editor of Romantic Homes magazine, and as such, she wrote for a combined circulation of approximately 250,000.
With 20 years experience in publishing, she worked for a variety of publishing/broadcasting companies that include Focus on the Family, The Word For Today, and PJS Publications (now Primedia). Besides editing and writing, her background includes print buying, writing/producing radio promos, directing photo shoots, developing new products, writing jacket copy for books, creating sales media packets and organizing direct mail campaigns.
Born in the Midwest, she currently lives in Southern California with her husband, two German shepherds, a Siamese cat and the occasional wandering possum. Her favorite hobbies are reading speculative fiction and watching old Star Trek episodes, and her incurable addiction is writing. She loves to camp in the mountains, walk on the beach, watch old movies, listen to alternative music—although rarely all at the same time.
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