So. Many. Sea. Monsters.
THE DEEPEST BLUE is a standalone epic fantasy for adults, published by Harper Voyager. Mayara, a fearless oyster diver, is about to marry the love of her life when an unnatural storm hits her island, and wild spirits from the sea ravage her village. To save her loved ones, Mayara reveals a dangerous secret: she has the power to control the spirits.
When the storm ends, she is taken into custody by the queen's soldiers and imprisoned with other women like her. They are sent to an island filled with bloodthirsty nature spirits, and left without food, water, shelter, or any tools except their own instincts and magic. Whoever survives the Island of Testing will be declared heirs to the queen. But no matter if she wins or loses, Mayara knows that the life she dreamed of is gone.
If you're interested, more information can be found on my website, including the first three chapters: www.sarahbethdurst.com/DeepestBlue.htm
THE DEEPEST BLUE is set in the same world as my Queens of Renthia trilogy, but you don't have to have read the trilogy first -- it's a new story with new characters. (If you have read the Queens books, though, there will be one familiar face!)
When I first created Renthia, I drew a map. I could see it all so clearly: A world with out-of-control nature spirits would be a world of extreme natural beauty, as well as danger. Lothlorien-like forests with cities nestled in the branches. Mountains so high they pierced the clouds. Endless glaciers. And an ocean filled with sea monsters. In the Queens of Renthia trilogy (which starts with THE QUEEN OF BLOOD, continues with THE RELUCTANT QUEEN, and concludes with THE QUEEN OF SORROW), I got the chance to explore the forests of Aratay and the mountains of Semo.
But I wanted more.
I wanted to know what was happening on those islands I'd doodled to the south. How did the people there live? How did they survive the spirits and the sea?
I got my answer when I jotted down what became the first sentence of THE DEEPEST BLUE:
"On the dawn of her wedding day, Mayara knotted her diving belt around her waist and climbed the skull of a long-dead sea monster."
Mayara is fueled by the love in her life -- the love of her husband, her family, and her friends. And that is what enables her to face the krakens, sea dragons, and other monsters of her world.
Even though I'd never dive through the eye socket of a leviathan's skull, I am fueled by those same things. So I'd like to take this moment to say thank you to my friends, my family, and my readers for giving me strength and for being so wonderful!
And as always, thanks for reading!