I’ve just come back from a mini-break in Melbourne and I’m ready to get back into my writing.
Lately, I’ve been keeping a list of what I need to research or experience for the structural edits of my mermaid book. I’ve already got a few things that I’d like to do (attempt a surfing lesson and scuba diving etc) but after visiting the Melbourne zoo and aquarium my research list has doubled.
My trip reminded me how many gorgeous sea creatures there are, as well as how many hideous and dangerous ones are lurking in the depths. Below are a few favourites from my photo collection.
Starfish: Tim Burton style.
I’m not sure if you can see it, but these fish are completely transparent so you can see their full skeletons.
I’ve always had a fascination for sea creatures that produce their own light.
I loved standing in the aquarium and watching the stingrays and sharks swim over my head (that’s probably the only time I’ll say that) and my visit reminded me just how much I hate eels (they are evil!). Just wandering around and looking at these creatures reminded me just how much of a struggle it is to stay alive undersea. Every species of fish or coral seems to have a mechanism to keep them alive, whether it’s a toxin, camouflage or spiked barbs.
I always wanted my mermaid world to be beautiful but deadly, and the aquarium has made me even more excited about that. I think there’s been a lot of children’s films and books where life undersea is great fun unless you swim into the bad guys – which are usually sharks – but this isn’t something I ever wanted in my story. I love the image of an elegant, ghost-like jellyfish that can kill a human within minutes and the small eyes of a stingray that has buried itself under the sand.
So, there will be no singing and dancing fish, crabs or merpeople in my book. It’s going to be a survival of the fittest and my characters are going to hate me for it.