I’m happy to welcome paramedic and author L. T. Getty. Today, she shares her creative journey and recent release, The Mermaid and the Unicorns.
What was your inspiration for this book?
I wanted to write a book for my niece, who was just starting into chapter books. I aimed it for a little older than she was, now she’s in High School but that’s kind of how it goes in the publishing world. I basically wrote a book that I would have liked to read at the age of 8, but catered it towards things she enjoyed.
What’s the best part of being an author? The worst?
I love being creative. To me, writing is about making sense of the ideas in your head, and giving them form and structure, and making a product that can be enjoyed by others. In particular for this project, I made something for someone else, even if she technically outgrew it before I decided to go ahead and publish it. You have no idea how happy she and my other nieces were when they saw their names in the dedication.
The worst for me is the elitism and the sense that some stuff is worthy, other stuff is rubbish and some people are real authors and writers, and then there’s us plebs. Don’t get me wrong: There’s plenty of product that doesn’t appeal to me and I’m very likely to talk about the quality of the writing of something I’ve read, but I’m not someone who is going to pretend that anyone’s intrinsic value is more than anyone else’s. My work can speak for itself and it’s also not for everyone. I’d rather ask you what you like to read, and steer you to another table then sell you a book I suspect you won’t enjoy.
Describe your writing space.
I have my own office, but 90% of my writing takes place at my kitchen table on my main floor when the sun’s out. At night, I’m likely to go upstairs and write. I love the natural light in my house, plus I’m in close proximity to the tea pot so I don’t have to run down the stairs for a top up.
What is your favorite quote?
I’ll give you my favourite from a book, then a favourite just in general.
From “Till We Have Faces” by CS Lewis
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
I’d like to be able to fly.
Any advice for aspiring writers?
Usually when you’re starting out you have really good taste but you don’t have the skill level to pull off what you want to do. There are exceptions, but even if you are very gifted in writing I’m sure by the time you’re on your third or fourth title, you’re looking back at your first one going, “I really should have…” that’s normal.
My general rule is write the best you can, and get feedback from people who know what they’re talking about. When you’re starting out, generally speaking you’ll get feedback from whoever, and sometimes that’s great, but I find that different people want to focus on different things in a book. Usually great advice may be out of place for certain types of genres; for instance the general rule is “Show, don’t tell” the audience. If you’re writing a very technical science fiction novel and you have an audience who actually would like to know, it’s a rule you can break but I think it also needs to be broke with caution.
I’m not saying you can’t take advice from someone who writes very different than you, but I think if you and I are both writing an intermediate middle grade book, we should find someone who’s more familiar with the market and audience expectations then someone who has been writing for a very intellectual adult audience. I think lots of people can offer different insight and can help you grow the book, but what might be a deal breaker for say, someone who likes contemporary fiction might be a great plot twist for someone who reads science fiction.
If you want to write a certain genre or length, read that genre or length. One of my problems was acknowledging that most publishers were scared of books much longer than 100k, and I was regularly reading books in the 150k+ range and meanwhile I was trying to write a short story without really reading them. I’m not saying know market trends, I’m saying learn how they pace their books and hey, if you’re hung up on an issue – let’s say, you’re not certain how to communicate how mermaids speak under water – see what other people have done and how they’ve dealt with the same issue. Most people are okay wih Aquaman talking below the sea without any explanation, but a certain audience may want specifics.
What are you working on next?
I signed the second book of the Rogue Healer series with Champagne, and they have the third book under consideration but I have work to with the editor on book 2. I’ve technically started work on book 4, but really the plan is to really go at it for NaNoWriMo. I am finishing up a YA novel that’s about the Puppeteers from The Mermaid and the Unicorns, but it needs to percolate and I’ll send it to my niece/creative consultant and get her to tell me what she likes, what she doesn’t. I also have to pick a project that’s written to edit for self-publishing for next year; there’s no rush and I’ve narrowed it down but I lack commitment at this time.
Daphne’s a typical mermaid, and at least according to her, that’s a problem. She’s courageous and has a beautiful singing voice, but lacks the power of an elemental, the ability to command water with the sound of her voice. Jealous of her best friend, she makes a deal with a sea-witch, only to be betrayed, in place of her beautiful tail and flukes Daphne’s left beached with a pair of human legs. The spell keeping Daphne looking human will become permanent, unless Daphne can hunt down and bring the scheming Lorelei a unicorn horn before the next full moon.
Unable to reach her friends and family for help, Daphne doesn’t know how to walk, much less where to find a unicorn or how to catch one. Even if she’s successful, Daphne’s still not sure if she can trust Lorelei and her pint-sized kraken to keep their end of the bargain and let her return to the sea.
“What’s wrong?”Esperanza asked as Daphne went to retrieve the arrow.
“Nothing,” Daphne said, unstringing the bow. “Not like I’m ever going need to use this skill. Let’s just pack up and go.”
“What are you talking about?” Esperanza asked. “You’re already better than I am. Here, let me have a try and I’ll show you.”
“I’ve already unstrung it,” Daphne snapped.
“Fine,” Esperanza said, matching Daphne’s tone. Esperanza went to go get more water from the river with the large buckets to boil so that they could wash their dishes.
“I’ll do that. Water’s heavy,” Sean said, ignoring Daphne as she struggled to take their tent down.
“Here, let me help you,” Esperanza said to Daphne once Sean started towards the river.
“Sure—let’s send the person with the tallest reach to the river, great plan,” Daphne muttered, climbing onto the wagon to reach the tip of the tent as Sean descended towards the river.
“What’s your problem?” Esperanza demanded as soon as Sean was out of earshot. “We’re helping you get to Taralee. Sean didn’t have to come all this way, you know.”
“He didn’t come for me, Espy. If it was just me who wanted to go, he wouldn’t care that I had to walk the whole way. What do you want, me to kiss your feet and sing your praises? Wait, I forgot—you’re the better singer, you should sing your own praises. I might not do it good enough without a four-stringed harp and a cat to squeeze for background noise.”
“Our voices are different. Neither one is really better than the other.”
“It’s just… do you know what it’s like to be overlooked?”
“All the time,” Esperanza said. She looked away, towards the river. “Hey, wait… be quiet for a minute.”
“Don’t you tell me what to do—” Daphne became mildly insulted when Esperanza put a hand over her mouth.
They heard singing. A beautiful, high pitched and soft melody, barely audible above the breeze. The sound had a haunting quality. “Doesn’t sound like it’s Sean’s range,” Daphne muttered, but then really heard it. She ran, and got the arrow and the quiver as well as Sean’s knife and axe. She quickly strung the bow before heading towards the river bank.
“What are you doing?” Esperanza asked, following after Daphne.
“Stay with the wagon!” Daphne ordered.
***********NOTE: The e-book is only $0.99***********
Author Bio and Links
L.T. Getty is a rural paramedic from Manitoba. She enjoys writing science fiction and fantasy and generally being creative.
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L.T. Getty will be awarding a $20 Amazon/Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.
Follow the author on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.
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Sounds like a great read.
Thank you for hosting!
Thank you for sharing your interview, bio and book details, I have enjoyed reading about you and your work and my granddaughters and I are looking forward to reading The Mermaid and the Unicorns! If given a choice, would you like to see your story made into a film or an animated movie?
Good question! I am an animation nerd so I would pick animated, but I would want to see concept art. I’d want it to look different than Disney’s The Little Mermaid; not because I don’t like the art style I just would want it to be different.
Traditional 2D, very vibrant colors and with really pretty backgrounds for the target audience. If I go on I’ll ask if Don Bluth is available to do character design…
Thank you so much for responding to my query!
It must be tough when you judge your own work. The book sounds incredible! Thank you for sharing more about writing
Thanks for hosting!