Wednesday, November 23, 2016

2017 Most Anticipated - Sea Witch

The next pick for my 2017 Most Anticipated Event should surprise nobody. It's no secret that I love fairytale retellings, and villain origin stories in particular.

When someone mentions the sea witch who grants the curious little mermaid legs most of us think of the amazing Disney  version.

Ursula is great. She's iconic for a reason. However, the Hans Christian Anderson version of the sea witch is extremely different. The next book included in my feature, Sea Witch by Sarah Henning, will offer an origin story for the Hans Christian Anderson version of this villainess.

While not much is known about this novel (as it doesn't come out until Fall 2017) this brief Goodreads teaser is enough to make me want to read this ASAP!
Pitched as the never-before-told origin story of the sea witch from Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid" told in the vein of Wicked – from the villainess's point of view
I am in love with this trend of turning a fairytale on its head by offering it as a prequel from the villain's point of view. I am sure this one is going to be a worthy addition to the collection and I cannot wait to learn more about it. I, fortunately,  got to ask Sarah a few questions about Sea Witch and she spilled a few secrets.

1 Describe Sea Witch using three words.

Friendship. Sacrifice. Magic.

2 If someone were to make a signature ice cream in honour of your book, what might be included?

I'd say "pickled herring" but that isn’t exactly appetizing even if it is in Sea Witch often. Let’s go with another food that appears a ton: blackberries—sweet, a bit sour, juicy and dark enough to leave a stain.

3 This is the origin story of the sea witch from The Little Mermaid tale. What about her inspired you to write this story?

Honestly, I devoured Gregory Maguire’s Wicked books a few years ago and completely admire what he was able to achieve with that storyline. It was a fresh way to look at the idea that a villain is the hero of his or her own story. That said, I actually don’t think my sea witch is a villain—but maybe that’s why she and I get along so well.

4 Is your character inspired more by Disney's version or the one in the classic Hans Christian Andersen tale?

My sea witch is most definitely from the original Hans Christian Andersen tale—she’s not Ursula. Ursula is a fabulous character whom I LOVE (who doesn’t?), but what I wanted to explore with this story was the character Andersen devised. In his version, the witch is much more neutral. Her role is really to question the mermaid’s motives—are you sure you want to leave your family and friends for a boy? I wanted to explore what sort of background could create Andersen’s sea witch and cause her to help the mermaid despite deep reservations.

5 Name a song you listened to for inspiration while writing this novel.

I don’t listen to music while writing but I do create playlists in honor of my manuscripts and listen to them around my writing time. At first, the two songs that characterized Sea Witch were Annie Lennox’s “Walking on Broken Glass” for the dramatics and Of Monsters and Men’s “Little Talks” for its Nordic flare. But during revision I became aware of Troye Sivan’s “Youth” and it absolutely became the song for Sea Witch. I love the theme of it—that we give our youth to those with whom we choose to spend it. At its heart, Sea Witch is a friendship book about what you’ll sacrifice for those you love—even in your youth.

6 If you could travel to anywhere, in any time period, when and where would you want travel?

Holy wow. Um, let’s see. I’ve always been slightly obsessed with the ancient Mayans and I would love to see their cities at their peak. I find Mayan culture beautiful, terrifying and fascinating.

7 What 2017 release are you most anticipating?

Oh, geez. What a painful question! I can’t wait to continue the series from Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir, and to start a new series from Renee Ahdieh. That said if we’re talking a 2017 debut, I’m going to have to go with the crowd and say Stephanie Garber’s Caraval. I mean…AMAZING.

8 If not too spoilery, can you share the first line of Sea Witch.

Of course! It’s probably my favorite line in the whole book.

The sea is a fickle witch.  

I am in awe that Sarah did that entire interview without spilling the name of her sea witch. I kind of love that. I, also,  love that friendship seems to be a major theme for this one. I am not kidding myself that this is going to be a happily ever after kind of novel because we know what becomes of her story, but I think that is why I am drawn to novels like this.

I don't know if we'll meet a certain mermaid who trades her voice for legs, but I anticipate we might get a glimpse of her. I hope so anyways. Not enough to overshadow the sea witch, but a nod to where fate is bringing both of them would be wonderful.

Sea Witch releases sometime in Fall 2017 so it'll be an agonizing wait for this one, but one that I predict will be worth it.

Sadly, pre-order links are not available just yet. Be sure to add it to your Goodreads which will have them as they come available.
You can also follow Sarah on Twitter to keep up to date on all things Sea Witch, visit her website, and keep an eye on the publisher website for more information to come.

Are you a fan of fairytale retellings? In particular, those that offer up a look at the villain before they became the villain we love to hate? Let me know in the comments!

I cannot be the only one still hoping for a hot prince

Be sure to stop by tomorrow to find out the next book that made this year's list!

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