Welcome to Author Merrie Destefano
With twenty years’ experience in publishing, Merrie Destefano left a 9-to-5 desk job as the editor of Victorian Homes magazine to become a full-time novelist. Her first two novels, Afterlife: The Resurrection Chronicles and Feast: Harvest of Dreams were published by HarperVoyager. Fathom is both her first YA novel and her first indie published novel. When not writing, she loves to camp in the mountains, walk on the beach, watch old movies and listen to alternative music—although rarely all at the same time. Born in the Midwest, she now lives in Southern California with her husband, their two German shepherds and a Siamese cat.
Author’s HarperCollins micro author site
If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
Definitely the future. I’ve always been curious about what it might be like. What new inventions will we have, what will our society be like. My list of what could be different is endless.
If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
I’d love to be able to fly. Superman has always been always my favorite superhero!
If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose?
My father. He passed away when I was sixteen and I would love to have another chance to let him know how much I love him.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
Fathom is more than just a paranormal romance—it’s a mystery where Kira, a sixteen year old girl, discovers that nothing about her past or her family is as it seems.
Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
I have at least three other current projects. Besides Fathom, I’ve got a second YA manuscript finished—it’s more sci-fi than fantasy. I’m also working on a third YA novel and an apocalyptic adult novel.
What is your dream cast for your book?
Kira Callahan would be played by Vanessa Hudgens (with blue eyes); her best friend, Sean O’Brien, would be played by Steven R. McQueen (Jeremy on the Vampire Diaries); Caleb would be played be Liam Hemsworth (Gale in The Hunger Games); and Riley would be played by Blake Lively (with dark hair).
What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
I loved Red Planet by Robert Heinlein, and The Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and anything by Ray Bradbury or Edgar Allan Poe. And, of course, I loved The Hobbit—as a teenager, all my friends were reading it and staying up late, talking about a world filled with elves as if everything Tolkien wrote were true. Later, one of my friends even named his son Thorin after Thorin Oakenshield. That was such a magical time, when my friends and I shared an almost mystical experience because we all read the same books. Reading transported us all into another world.
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Study the craft. Take classes, listen to tapes, go to writer’s conferences to learn how to become a better writer. Write, write, write, and when you’re not writing, read excellent books. Don’t just read best-sellers, however. Read books that are critically acclaimed and win awards too. Read books outside your genre. Read both commercial and literary books.
What is your favorite Quote?
“I dream my painting, and then I paint my dream.”—by Vincent Van Gogh. Such an accurate and succinct description of what the creative life is like.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?
I wanted to be an artist. And I succeeded in fulfilling that dream. I studied fine art in college and for the first half of my career I worked as a graphic designer and illustrator. In my free time, I entered paintings in local contests and won a handful of awards. I always loved writing too, but didn’t pursue it diligently until I developed carpal tunnel in my 30s and had to switch careers.
Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
Absolutely. I think I peel off strips of my own skin to build my characters. There’s a lot of me in Kira, the main character in Fathom. Snippets of me in Maddie, a character in Feast. I can even see a dim reflection of myself in Chaz, the main character of Afterlife. I try to give my characters their own lives, though. I don’t want them to be carbon copies of me, so I make sure they have their own dreams and fears and challenges.
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Regarding writing: A speaker at a conference once said to just make a 1% improvement. It was so incredibly freeing! At that time, I was working full time, still looking for an agent, and getting a book published felt overwhelming. I was trying to do everything all the “experts” said and it was exhausting. But I realized that I could at least make a 1% improvement, so I aimed at that.
If you could have a signed copy of any novel what would it be and why?
I would adore a signed copy of The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson! It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read and is a wonderful example of young adult literature.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
Well, my good friends already know this, but I was a very wild and rebellious teenager. I ran away from home, got thrown in Juvenile (more than once!), and barely graduated from high school. Being a teenager was really hard for me. I think that’s one reason why I can identify with YA so much—I remember the pain and joy of being sixteen like it was yesterday.
Everything is changing . . .
Turning sixteen can be hell, especially if everyone in town thinks your mother killed herself and your sister. All Kira Callahan wants to do is swim, hang out with her best friend, Sean, and ignore the kids who torment her at school. That is, until one day when she gets invited to a party. For three minutes her life is wonderful—she even kisses Sean. Then somebody spikes her drink and some girls from out of town lure her into the ocean and hold her underwater.
Kira soon discovers that the group of wild teenagers who have come to visit Crescent Moon Bay are not as innocent as they seem. In fact, nothing is as it seems—not the mysterious deaths of her sister or her mother, not her heritage, not even her best friend. And everything seems to hinge on the ancient Celtic legends that her mother used to tell her as a child.
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