Author Spotlight: Tobie Easton

It’s MERMAID MONTH here, with all sorts of stuff fitting that theme. A couple months ago, I read (and gushed about) the wonderful new YA mermaid novel Emerge, so I’m absolutely thrilled to be spotlighting its author, Tobie Easton!

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Tobie Easton was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, where she’s grown from a little girl who dreamed about magic to a twenty-something who writes about it. A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Southern California, Tobie hosts book clubs for tweens and teens (so she’s lucky enough to spend her days gabbing about books). She and her very kissable husband enjoy traveling the globe and fostering packs of rescue puppies. Learn more about Tobie and her upcoming books on www.TobieEaston.com. Come say hi on Twitter and Instagram @TobieEaston.

Welcome to the blog, Tobie! Tell us all sorts of stuff about yourself and Emerge!

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Where did you get the inspiration for Emerge? Why mermaids?

In every bathtub and swimming pool I played in as a child, I pretended to be a mermaid. When I got older, other interests vied for attention, but mermaids always intrigued me. A few years ago, I was swimming laps (literally) when the idea for what would become Emerge struck—and it wouldn’t let go!

 

You recently did a mermaid photo shoot. What was it for? And what was it like being a mermaid?

I did—it was such a blast! Project Mermaids is a charitable endeavor aimed at raising awareness for ocean conservation by photographing celebrities dressed as mermaids. I was so excited when they invited me to work with them in support of such an important cause. The day itself couldn’t have been more fun or surreal. The photographer, makeup artist, and assistants were all so nice and so enthusiastic about Emerge. They even designed my makeup to match the book cover! People lined the Venice pier taking photos with their phones during the shoot—it was crazy! Of course, being transformed into a mermaid was an absolute dream moment. I was trying to be really professional, but the little-girl-Tobie inside me just couldn’t believe it was happening. You can see the behind-the-scenes video of our shoot here.

 

Which character(s) do you most identify with and why?

All my characters have at least some small piece of me (which I think is how I connect to each one of them and find their voices). Lia, the protagonist, is a lot like I was in high school in terms of the way she thinks and how she expresses herself. Her oldest sister Emeraldine is a lot like I am now. Both consider love invaluable. I also really relate to Caspian’s love of learning. And I wish I were as cool and witty as Lia’s twin sisters, Lapis and Lazuli.

 

What is your writing process like?

I’m definitely an outliner. Once I’ve let my ideas simmer for a while, I figure out all the major plot points (usually a lot of long baths spent staring at the ceiling are involved). When I have that basic outline, I write a scene by scene outline that sometimes includes description or bits of dialogue that come to me when I first think of the scene. The outline lets me know where the story is going and helps me fully grasp character arcs. Once the outline is done, I start writing. I leave blanks for research (mostly the names of different types of seashells!) that I fill in later. Then I have an editing checklist I work through. I take the editing as far as I can on my own, then send the manuscript to a few trusted critique partners before editing it again and sending it to my agent.

 

What do you snack on while you write?

Does green tea count as a snack? So much green tea! When I’m on a deadline, I also can’t resist cookie dough from The Cookie Dough Café (tubs of cookie dough meant to be eaten raw! BEST. THING. EVER.)

 

What are some of your favorite books?

For me, it’s a three-way tie between Prisoner of Azkaban, Deathly Hallows, and Pride and Prejudice. For years, the third Harry Potter book was my favorite because of the way that—over the course of just a few pages set in the Shrieking Shack—so many details clicked into place and suddenly, everything made sense in such an unexpected way. I remember devouring those pages. Then the seventh book came out, and it worked on so many levels and had so much to say that I soon loved it as much as the third book. Pride and Prejudice appeals to my love of history and my fascination with human behavior; plus, every time I read it, I get so immersed in that world and completely caught up in its romance.

 

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I absolutely LOVE traveling. I also find I get some of the best ideas for my writing when I’m travelling, even if I’m just on a weekend trip. Nothing leads to new ideas like seeing and experiencing new things.

 

Can you tell us anything about the sequel to Emerge?

I won’t give away any spoilers, but I will say we’ll learn more about the characters from Book 1 and we’ll see new, unexpected sides to them. There are also some new characters I can’t wait for readers to meet. Submerge really raises the stakes and the emotional tension of the series. And, of course, it includes my two favorite things: magic and kissing!

 

Any advice for aspiring young writers?

Read—a lot. And follow what intrigues you, no matter what anyone else says. That’s how you’ll find the stories only you can tell.

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Thanks for stopping by, Tobie!

You can connect with Tobie at her WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagram, or add her book at Goodreads.

The book is Emerge.

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 Available at AmazonBarnes & NobleChapters, and The Book Depository.

Lia Nautilus may be a Mermaid but she’s never lived in the ocean. War has ravaged the seven seas ever since the infamous Little Mermaid unleashed a curse that stripped Mer of their immortality. Lia has grown up in a secret community of land-dwelling Mer hidden among Malibu’s seaside mansions. Her biggest problems are surviving P.E. and keeping her feelings for Clay Ericson in check. Sure, he’s gorgeous in that cocky, leather jacket sort of way and makes her feel like there’s a school of fish swimming in her stomach, but getting involved with a human could put Lia’s entire community at risk. So it’s for the best that he’s dating that new girl, right?

That is, until Lia finds out she isn’t the only one at school keeping a potentially deadly secret. And this new girl? Her eyes are dead set on Clay, who doesn’t realize the danger he’s in. If Lia hopes to save him, she’ll have to get closer to Clay. Lia’s parents would totally flip if they found out she was falling for a human boy, but the more time she spends with him, the harder it is for her to deny her feelings. After making a horrible mistake, Lia will risk everything to stop Clay from falling in love with the wrong girl.

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