Today, I have author Alice Renaud in the interview chair. She’s here to talk about her latest release Mermaids Marry in Green, book three in the Sea of Love series. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.
1. Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
Alice: I am half-French and half-British, I grew up in Brittany, western France, in a village by the sea. I always loved stories, especially myths, legends, fantasy… anything with adventure and monsters! I spent my childhood holidays at my grandparents’ in Wales, and absorbed all the Welsh stories about mermen and mermaids, King Arthur, the giant cat of Anglesey, the Water Horse and torrent spectres. After reading The Lord of the Rings aged 12, I decided I wanted to write my own stories. It took me 23 years to get my first short story published in a magazine. It was a straightforward contemporary romance story. I discovered I enjoyed writing romance, but I still loved fantasy. In 2019 my first fantasy romance book was published by BVS: “A Merman’s Choice”, the first novel in my Sea of Love series.
2. What are some of your pet peeves?
Alice: I go mad when I see people driving dangerously, not stopping at pedestrian crossings, using their phone at the wheel… You’re in charge of a dangerous weapon, people! Pay attention! Also, I hate it when people drop litter. Sometimes there’s a bin just a couple metres away! I spent part of the lockdown in my local area clearing up rubbish from my local park.
3. If you knew you’d die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
Alice: By the sea, eating and drinking with my friends and family. And praying in my church. I’d have to do a bit of travelling as my church is in London – but hey that’s what taxis are for, right? Or maybe I’d hire a limo and travel to the seaside with friends and family. Drinking champagne all the way.
4. What kind of world ruler would you be?
Alice: A stressed one. I wouldn’t want to rule anyone. Power has never attracted me and I would worry far too much about everything and everyone.
5. What do you do to unwind and relax?
Alice: I love to walk and sit in green spaces – my local park, my garden at a push. I’ve just come back from a short break in a rural location and really enjoyed ambling along the river and sitting under the trees. I love watching birds, too. The other things I do to unwind are reading and watching TV with my husband, especially fantasy, historical and sci-fi shows.
6. How do you find time to write as a parent?
Alice: With difficulty… I am fortunate that my husband is at home full time and looks after our 11 year old son. But I work full time, so finding time to write is always a challenge. I write mostly at the week end and during my holidays.
7. When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Alice: When my first story was published in a magazine. I’ll never forget the thrill of seeing my words in print for the first time.
8. Do you have a favourite movie?
Alice: Casablanca. The romance! The noble sacrifice! The two men walking away into the desert, bereft of love but with their new, beautiful friendship! AAAaaaaah.
9. Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
Alice: All of them.
10. What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
Alice: I visited the area, near the UK city of Birmingham, where JRR Tolkien grew up. He spent his early childhood in an idyllic rural village, and we saw an old mill, by a river, which clearly inspired the descriptions of the Shire. Later Tolkien moved to an industrialized area of the city, and when we saw the two tall towers that once belched out black fumes, we understood straight away where the idea for the Two Towers came from. It was fascinating to see how landscapes and buildings can find their way into a book, transformed into wonderful, evocative locations.
11. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Alice: I used to say “a blue tit.” Now I think “a crow.” They’re the smartest of all the birds, devoted to their friends and family, and tough!
Title: Mermaids Marry in Green
Series: Sea of Love Book 3
Author: Alice Renaud
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Caltha the fierce shape shifting mermaid has no time for romance… but Jonty the warlock has a few tricks up his sleeve!
Blurb: Caltha Dooran is the toughest, fiercest shape-shifting mermaid in the western seas. She has three Clans to rule, and no time for romance. But when a warlock, Jonty, turns up and asks her to come with him to London to capture a water monster, she can’t say no. In London, away from her duties, her attraction for Jonty grows… and they soon fall under each other’s spell. But will his past and her responsibilities pull them apart, or can they find the only true magic, the one that binds two souls together?
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Jonty’s head hit the pavement with a thud and searing pain lanced through his skull. He kicked, hard, and connected with one assailant’s groin. The man yelped and rolled off him, but the other attacker stamped on Jonty’s wrist. The bone-crunching torment made him gasp and open his hand. The thug picked up his gun and pointed it at him.
“I’d stay still if I were you.”
The incantation formed on his lips, almost without any intervention from his brain. Power crackled through him, then doubt sneaked in. He hadn’t used a fighting spell for a year and a half, not since that terrible night when he and Jackie had taken on the hags—and lost. Because he wasn’t as good as he’d believed. Because the spell hadn’t worked. Because he’d over-reached himself. And Jackie had paid the price for it. Grief crushed his chest, a feeling far more excruciating than the throbbing in his head and wrist. The magic in his body fizzled out. Once, he’d practised the spell so many times, he could have recited it in his sleep. But now he couldn’t have performed it even if he’d wanted to.
The hoodlum sneered. “You’re not much of a threat.”
“But I am.” Caltha’s sweet voice came from behind the man, and Jonty saw his expression change, his features contract in pain.
“Of course, you could shoot my friend,” Caltha carried on, conversationally. “But then you’ll be dead. See, if I turn the knife just a little bit to the right, it gets close to your artery, and—”
The thug gasped. “Stop!”
Jonty, numb with surprise, saw Caltha’s small white hand appear under the man’s chin, holding a long and very sharp knife. The other attacker was lying on the ground, unconscious. Shock gave way to wonder. He’d thought Caltha needed protecting. But he was the one lying helpless on the ground, whereas she’d knocked this man down like a bowling pin.
“You have a choice,” she said to the thug, in the same pleasant tone. “You can shoot, and then it will get very messy. Especially for you and your friend over there. I haven’t killed him—yet—but I can change my mind. I’m fickle like that.”
She pressed the tip of the knife against the man’s throat, and a drop of blood appeared, as bright and red as a ruby. The thug grew very pale and beads of sweat glinted on his forehead.
“Or you could drop the gun and run away, and we’ll all live! Wouldn’t that be nice?”
The man let the gun clatter to the ground. Jonty scrambled to his feet and picked it up. Caltha removed the knife from the thug’s throat. He turned and ran, without a second glance at his inert companion.
Caltha slid the knife into the lining of her boot and turned to Jonty. “Are you OK?”
Shame crept over him like lava. He’d been worse than useless. He’d put her in danger and then proven himself incapable of protecting her. “I’m sorry. I don’t know who these guys are, or why they went for us.”
Title: Music for a Merman
Series: Sea of Love Book 2
Author: Alice Renaud
Genre: Fantasy Romance
“Rob Regor knew that humans were trouble. All the shape-shifting mermen of the Morvann Islands knew it. And human women were double trouble, especially when they were lying on the road in front of a digger.”
Blurb: Rob has a mission. Go to the mainland. Work as a policeman. Find out as much as possible about the mainland humans. Report back to his father, the head of the Regor Clan. It should be easy.
Until he has to arrest Charlie. Rob can’t fight his attraction to the sexy eco-warrior, and it puts him on one hell of a collision course with his family and his Clan. Will he break the rules – or break her heart, and his?
Charlie clambered over the rocks and was soon looking down at the small cove, sparkling blue and gold under the descending sun. The haunting song grew louder the closer she got to the sea. Now it seemed to be outside her head, rising from the peaceful water below to weave its magic around her. The meaning shimmered, just beyond the edge of her comprehension. It was like trying to read words reflected in a mirror. If she could only break the surface of the glass, enter the other side, she’d understand it fully.
But in some obscure way, she knew that the melody spoke of love. Sexual, passionate love. And it was doing something to her. Heat was building up, deep inside her belly. She swore, in a vain attempt to let it out. “Bloody Rob!” He’d got her all worked up, and now she couldn’t calm down.
Cold water and exercise would help. She half-climbed, half-slid down the slippery rocks and hit the sand with a thud. The music sounded as though it was coming from the waves.
It couldn’t be. Maybe the stress of the past day had given her tinnitus. She’d read about it. People heard noises, or even melodies, in their head, and couldn’t get rid of them. She took off her shorts and T-shirt and placed them on a rock, weighing them down with her sandals. After a moment’s hesitation, she took off her swimsuit too. No one would see her, and she loved skinny-dipping. Nothing would come between her and the sea tonight.
The breeze glided across her body but failed to soothe the persistent thrumming at the apex of her thighs. She stepped into the surf, bracing herself for the usual Atlantic chill, but it didn’t come. The water was warm, almost like the Mediterranean. She immersed herself up to her neck. Joy broke through her gloom and lifted her mood just as a wave lifted her and bore her towards the small wooded island in the middle of the cove. A few lazy strokes were all she needed to stay afloat. The water enveloped her in its embrace, stroking her from her shoulders to her toes, as if the whole ocean wanted to make love to her.
The eerie song was growing louder and clearer by the minute. With an almighty jolt she understood that it was real. She wasn’t hallucinating. The enchanting melody was coming from the other side of the islet! Excitement surged, short-circuiting all other emotions. Something was there, just beyond her sight. Something beautiful and magical.
She swam up to the island and followed the sandy shore towards the heavenly sound. Some deep, mysterious instinct told her that she had nothing to fear from this being. It meant her no harm. Quite the contrary.
Luck was on her side. A fallen tree, half submerged in the water, provided the perfect cover. The anticipation blazed so high inside her, it made her mouth go dry. She grabbed the trunk and hauled herself up to peep through the branches.
A black, glistening animal swam in circles, just a few yards away. A porpoise? But the shape was wrong. A fin broke the surface. No, not a fin, an arm! Coal-black and muscular, it ended in a hand.
A webbed hand.
A merman! The old legends were true. Here was the Water Horse, the Selkie, the aquatic creature that could turn into a man.
Title: A Merman’s Choice
Series: Sea of Love Book 1
Author: Alice Renaud
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Blurb: For centuries the shape-shifting mermen of the Morvann Islands have lived incognito among humans. But one of them, Yann, has developed some bad habits. Like rescuing humans, even when doing so risks revealing his true nature. When he fishes Alex out of the sea, he doesn’t expect her to reappear eight months later, and turn his life upside down by asking him to be her guide.
Alex is determined to fulfill a promise to her dying grandmother, by gathering pictures and stories of the Morvanns. But she soon discovers that, on these remote Welsh islands, legends have a habit of becoming true!
Over the course of a few days, Yann and Alex grow close. But some mermen hate humans. Their hostility, and Yann’s secret, threaten to tear the couple apart just as they are discovering that they are soul mates. Can Yann overcome the obstacles in his path and make the right choice?
Alex tiptoed downstairs, settled her bill with the night manager, and slipped out. The salty air embraced her like a long-lost acquaintance. She’d loved that fresh smell, once. Just as she’d loved the slap of waves against her skin, the squish of sand between her toes, the cry of seagulls above her head. She’d dreamt of watching whales, or swimming with dolphins.
She pushed the sadness away. Maybe one day she’d learn to love those things again.
She reached the quay. The undulating black water, dull and menacing in the light of a street lamp, drew her eyes. That same water had almost swallowed her. The snakes in her belly twisted upwards, crawled into her throat. Focus on the boats! She read the names aloud, as fast as she could: “The Cormorant. Star of Wales. Gwilan.”
That last boat was the only one with its sails up, so it had to be hers. It was so tiny! The prospect of sailing in that thing, on the wild seas around the Morvanns, rubbed her nerves raw. She let out a loud sigh. “Oh, God. I’ll never make it.”
“Alex?” The deep baritone, from somewhere behind the mast, jolted her.
It’s only the captain, you muppet. She coughed the words out. “Yes. It’s me. Hello.”
A tall, broad silhouette stepped out of the gloom. “Alex! It really is you! I wasn’t expecting you so early.”
His enthusiasm took her aback. He was behaving as though she was a long-lost friend. Had they met before? She took a step forward for a closer look.
The light fell on his features. A young, handsome face, with a straight nose and square chin, crowned by a mop of glossy chestnut curls. No, she didn’t know him from Adam. Where was her grizzled, reassuring sea-dog? “You’re the captain?”
“That’s right. I’m Yann,” he said with a smile.
A captain barely in his twenties, and a titchy boat. The knots in her throat tightened. That thin wooden shell couldn’t contain more than two adults. Just like the boat that had been found on a Morvann beach three months ago, with its mast torn off and a massive tear in its hull. They’d never found the honeymooning couple that had sailed in it. She could taste the cold, salty water in her mouth, feel the tug of it on her legs, dragging her down. “You’re the captain, and also the only crew?”
His grin faded at her sharp tone. “Yes. Is that a problem, Alex?”
She felt like a right snotty bitch, finding fault with his boat before she’d even stepped on it. Yann seemed a nice guy. He’d left her no choice, though. He’d never mentioned he was a one-man band. He’d never told her how tiny his boat was, so tiny that one large wave could lift it and smash it against the rocks.
She shoved the answer out of her dry mouth. “I’m sorry, I have to cancel my trip.”
His eyebrows almost hit his tousled hair. “Because my boat is too small? It’s very seaworthy, I assure you.”
Her fear was thickening, smothering her. Her field of vision shrank, until all she could see was dark water, rising towards her. Its rushing noise filled her ears. This stranger had no idea what it was like for her, and she didn’t have the energy to explain. “I’m sorry,” she repeated, and turned away.
“Wait!” He jumped on the quay, with a lightness surprising for a man his size. “I can’t let you go like that, you’re as white as a sheet. Are you feeling OK?”
The concern in his voice reached through her anguish, stopped her in her tracks. The din in her eardrums receded. “I’m… I’m just scared of the sea.” She cringed because it sounded so lame.
Yet unlike her ex, Boris, and her father, Yann didn’t laugh at her. “Why, what happened?”
She’d never met him, and he seemed to care more than Boris ever had. That was sweet. Proof that nice, caring guys still existed. She owed him an explanation. “I had an accident in the Morvanns, last autumn. I nearly drowned.”
He sounded as though he meant it. The noose around her throat loosened, the words came more easily. “It’s not you, or the boat, it’s me. I’ve been afraid of water since the accident. Please don’t take it personally.”
His voice softened into a gentle rumble. “Why would I do that?”
He came closer, lifted a hand. She wondered if he was going to lay it on her shoulder. “I understand. And I’m sorry.”
His arm fell to his side, and she couldn’t help a minute prick of disappointment. What would it have felt like if he’d enveloped her in a bear hug? That broad chest was made for a girl to lay her head on.
Alice lives in London, UK, with her husband and son. By day she’s a compliance manager for a pharmaceutical company. By night she writes fantasy romance about shape shifting mermen, water monsters and time-travelling witches. Her first book, “A Merman’s Choice,” was published in January 2019 by Black Velvet Seductions. It is the first book in a fantasy romance trilogy inspired by the landscapes and legends of Brittany and Wales. The second book, “Music for a Merman,” is out now and the third, “Mermaids Marry in Green,” will be released on 1 November. Alice has also written a short story, “The Sweetest Magic of All,” included in the BVS “Mystic Desire” anthology, out now. Alice loves reading and writing stories, and sharing them with anyone who’s interested!
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