Sunday, January 23, 2011

TSR Welcomes Daisy Harris

Let's give a warm TSR welcome to Daisy Harris!

TSR:Tell us about your Ocean Shifters books.

Daisy:I wanted to tell a stories set by the water because Mere Temptation was aboutcoming home to the crazy place you grew up. Since I was born in Miami and lived the first few years of my life in a little house across the street from a harbor, that place to come home to, for me, was the seaside.

Oceanside communities are so complex- there's always a vacation crowd, the townies, the people who make a living from the water, the drifters, etc. I created the mere, the dragon empire, the shark-shifters all as part of that landscape- different peoples with shared and often contentious histories.

So the Ocean shifters world contains a myriad of politics, power dynamics, and changing economic landscapes. And how that plays out depends largely on where the story is set. Mere Temptation took place in the Caribbean, Mere Passion the Arctic, Shark Bait was set mostly on the water, in dories, yachts, and old rusted fishing boats that went from north of Scotland all the way to Panama City.

TSR:Mermaids are pretty common, but you go way beyond that. How are your mermaids different from what people expect?

Daisy:Well first off, my mere are half dolphin, not half-fish. That's an important distinction in my world because to call a mere a "fish" is a racial slur. Mere are marine mammals, and very proud of that fact. My mere are also shape-shifting, growing legs in human form.

The most important aspect of my mere is that the females can become fully human. If a mere female looses her virginity to a human, she becomes human. If she looses it to a dragon, shark, or mere she becomes mere. And though adult mere can take human form, they can't survive very far from the water, so their prospects are limited. (That was a big part of my plot in Mere Temptation, the first book in the series.)

TSR:It cracks me up that Mere Passion has an ‘interracial’ tag, yet there’s nothing for interspecies. What surprised you most about the publishing process?

Daisy:Yeah, I laughed about that! It is a very interracial story- the races being dragons and mere. They have tons of bad blood between them. Dragons are very dark-skinned, and mere are very pale, so they look different in human form, but the interracial tag did amuse me. I hope none of my readers were let down!

Otherwise, it's hard to say what surprised me most. This whole past year of writing has been one big whirlwind, so everything is new and surprising!

TSR:I noticed you departed from your ‘Mere’ title pattern. I did this as well with one of my series. How do you decide on titles?

Daisy:I knew nothing about choosing titles back when I chose Mere Temptation and MerePassion! I was so new to the world, and in retrospect might have chosen something less inter-changeable. I've noticed people getting much more excited about Shark Bait than my Mere books. Part of that is because people lovesharks. smile But I think it's also a stronger, more memorable name.

Moving forward, I'm going to put more effort into naming. It's the first thing a reader sees, after all!

TSR:Most people put pieces of themselves in their characters. What favorite pieceof yourself have you put into which character?

Daisy:Hmmmm…. That's tough. I loved channeling my trash-talking, tough-girl self into Alara from Mere Passion, but I also loved playing up my pushover, geeky self for Sophia in Shark Bait. I'd probably have to go with Sophia though.

What I love about her story is that she's an inherently submissive, waifish, nerd, and that she doesn't need to stop being that way for a man to love her. She (a dragon)comes from a race where boldness and strength are valued above all, but Raider (the shark-shifter) loves her not only despite her weakness, but also because of it.

As women, we're so often told that we'll never succeed if we don't do blah, blah, blah, or become blah, blah, blah. But there's a place for everyone and someone who'll love you just as you are. That's the most romantic thing I can imagine!

TSR: When you’re not writing, what’s your favorite thing to do?

Daisy:I love reading. I'm also totally addicted to Twitter. Other than that? Hanging out with my kids, going out for wine and cheese, bike riding.

TSR: What’s next for you?

Daisy:I have a Valentine's Day story coming out as part of an anthology with Sizzler Editions. I also have a zombie-robot hybrid story that should go out forsubmission soon. And I'm writing a centaur short story. I love writing unusual types of characters, and putting new spins on old stories.

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