"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
bestselling author Virginia Kantra
credits her love for strong heroes and courageous heroines to a
childhood spent devouring fairy tales.
An Interview with Virginia Kantra
PNR: Welcome Virginia, I’m excited to have the opportunity to talk with you about the Children of the Sea series, and your work.
Virginia K.: Thanks so much for having me!
PNR: Can you tell us a little about how you started writing; was it something you have always wanted to do?
Virginia K.: Pretty much. Most kids create elaborate rules and worlds in their games, don’t they? I just wrote mine down. I used to adapt plays for the neighborhood kids to perform on the porch across the street and make up fairy tales to bribe my younger cousins to go to bed.
PNR: Are you able to write as much as you would like? Could you tell us about your writing schedule? What do you enjoy doing when not writing?
Virginia K.: I’m very lucky because writing is my day job. Of course, that officially makes it “work,” which is something I’m good at avoiding. In the morning, when I’m most productive, I try to write at least several pages in long hand. Then I move down to the computer to edit or do research or mess around on-line.
I like to walk. I love the beach. Walking on the beach with my husband is one of my favorite non-writing activities.
PNR: Most writers are avid readers, is this true for you? What titles would we see in your TBR pile?
Virginia K.: I read as much as I can and less than I would like. At the moment, I have Liz Carlyle’s Never Deceive a Duke, Suz Brockmann’s Into the Fire, and Sarah Addison Allen’s Garden Spells on my shelf waiting to be read.
PNR: What do you feel are the essential elements of a great story?
Virginia K.: Fabulous characters, competent storytelling, and a sense of hope. Even in a great tragedy, where hope is defeated, you need to wish and believe that things might have worked out differently—that this time Juliet might wake up in time, that Romeo won’t stab himself.
But of course my favorite stories all have happy endings.
PNR: Congratulations, readers are excited about the August 2008 release of SEA FEVER from Berkley Sensation; this is the third story, second full length book in your Children of the Sea series. Could you tell us what inspired this fantasy series and a little about your vision for the project? What direction will the series be taking?
Virginia K.: Thank you! For Sea Witch, I had an idea for what I first imagined as another straightforward contemporary romantic suspense: police chief on a remote island off the coast of Maine discovers a naked woman who’s been attacked on the beach.
And then I thought . . . What if she wasn’t human?
It was that juxtaposition, that tension between land and sea, between the contemporary, pragmatic, police procedural world of my hero and the timeless, sensual, magical world of my heroine, that totally hooked me into the first story and into the series.
These first three books—Sea Witch, Sea Fever, and Sea Lord—are the stories of the three Hunter siblings, very loosely based on an early 18th century Irish sea shanty: “My father was the keeper of the Eddystone light / And he slept with a mermaid one fine night / Out of this union there came three . . .”
Dylan, the hero of Sea Fever, is the oldest of the three, and must choose between the freedom of his mother’s kind and the bonds of human love.
PNR: You have been complimented on your magical world building. Tell us about the challenges you face in world building with paranormal elements in a contemporary setting and making it work with the ideas you have in mind for the progression of your characters and the series? How much research is involved?
Virginia K.: You need to make the story credible on every level. The characters of the Children of the Sea are firmly grounded in this world, and the magic is very organic. So working out the real life, real law implications of some of the paranormal events is tricky. You never want to do a “so then magic happens and everything’s better” resolution. The attacks in Sea Witch and Sea Fever had to be solved both as human crimes and as part of an ongoing mythic struggle. Not only because the hero and heroine must each contribute to defeating the antagonist, but because I want the reader to believe Caleb and Margred, Dylan and Regina, can go on to make a life together after the story.
It’s not easy. But it’s fun. I’ve never had so much fun.
PNR: Your stories take place on World’s End, a little island off the coast of Maine; what made you choose this setting, is there a personal connection with the area?
Virginia K.: I visited Maine as a kid and it’s always been part of the landscape of my imagination. My husband and I went back last summer to research the books. I chose the setting because of the Celtic connection. Before the continents separated, the Appalachian Mountains and the Highlands of Scotland were one great mountain range. In its bones, the land is the same. It attracted the same settlers. And a lot of the Scottish legends and ballads survive along the Appalachian Trail, in the wild, quiet, isolated places of North Carolina and the Northeast coast.
PNR: Along with the paranormal elements your series also has a fair amount of mystery and suspense. Do you feel your writing is character driven or plot driven? How do you balance these two elements?
Virginia K.: For me, the story is the characters. The beginning of the book, when I’m getting to know them, is always very slow, because I’m still learning how they’re going to react to things and what choices they’ll make that will drive the story. I’m doing research, too, about law or police procedure or whatever, to see what’s possible within the logical structure of the story. Once I get near the climax, the action becomes inevitable and much easier to write.
PNR: Your stories feature wonderfully complex alpha heroes and strong heroines that readers really connect to; could you tell us about their development? What was your inspiration for these characters? Who has been your favorite to write?
Virginia K.: Well, I had the hardest time letting go of Caleb Hunter from Sea Witch. . . which is why he makes appearances in all the books! Regina Barone is another favorite, because she’s so completely human and yet larger than life in her courage and her devotion to her child and her willingness to say things we all wish we could say.
PNR: How would you describe the sensuality level of your books; do you find it challenging to write love/sex scenes?
Virginia K.: My books are usually described as “hot.” But my editor once told me that I “didn’t have to shock to thrill,” which I took as a lovely compliment. It’s that thrill I’m going for, the emotional jolt as well as the physical rush. Sex changes things, so I take it very seriously . . . even if sometimes my characters don’t yet! I love writing love scenes. There’s always this wonderful tension between intimacy and control. The characters are so exposed, both literally and figuratively.
PNR: Stories of shapeshifters have long captured the imagination of readers. Why do you feel that characters with the ability to morph, selkies in particular, are such a popular theme with readers? As a writer, what is it about this genre that captures your imagination?
Virginia K.: From Orkney to Cornwall, there are folk tales about the selkie, shape-shifters who take the form of seals in the ocean and cast off their pelts—get naked—to come ashore as beautiful men and women who have sex with humans. The stories were created out of very human needs: the lonely sailor, the woman who loses her love to the sea, the farmer searching for a wife beyond the local girls he knows, the unmarried village girl who can’t or won’t name her baby’s father. Even in the stylized language of the original ballads, you can feel the poignant conflict between the characters’ longings and their day-to-day experience. I think that’s what grabbed me.
Well, that and the “beautiful naked men in the surf” bit.
PNR: Just for fun; if you could shapeshift into any creature, what would it be?
Virginia K.: If you mean for a day or a week, I’d love to be a whale.
PNR: You have written in the romantic suspense, fantasy and paranormal genres, which has been your favorite? Is there a genre you haven’t written but would like to try?
Virginia K.: I love what I’m doing right now. I did enjoy writing the novella for Shifter, which was my first historical—sort of Anne of Green Gables sails on the Titanic, but with hot sex.
PNR: Could you tell us about your current projects, what can readers expect to see in the coming months?
Virginia K.: Sea Lord is up next! In May. This is the story of the youngest sibling, Lucy.
Lucy is finally making some kind of life for herself when she attracts the attention of Conn ap Llyr, prince of the selkie and lord of the sea. There’s a Hades/Persephone thing going on with them which is really fun to write. So the tension that was in the first two books between land and sea, between the exotic, sensual merfolk and the down-to-earth islanders of World’s End, is back in spades.
In the series, the “elementals”—children of earth, air, sea, and fire—co-exist in an uneasy peace with humankind. Throughout the books, that balance is shifting, so in addition to the human drama, you can definitely expect more of the elementals’ struggle for power and even survival.
PNR: Thank you, Virginia, for taking time out to talk to us. Where can readers find out what’s new and how can they contact you?
Virginia K.: I love to hear from readers! They can email me through my website,
There’s a complete booklist, excerpts, appearances, and a link to my Yahoo group newsletter there.
I’m also on MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/virginiakantra
So they can message or friend me.
I’m off to the RWA National Conference in the morning, but this has been a fun visit. See you when I get back!
August 5, 2008
Children of the Sea: Book 3
heat cannot be quenched...
A denial of
A danger to both... Neither Regina nor Dylan can control their attraction to each other - or foresee its disastrous consequences. But their destiny has been foretold, and their fate will be decided in the stormy tides of water and fire, where only love can save them - and the world!~~
July 1, 2008
Children of the Sea: Book 2
Her spell cannot be broken...
To each other... Their passion is undeniable. Irresistible. But when a murderer begins targeting women in World's End, Caleb must face the terrible possibility that the killings are somehow connected to the mysterious Margred - and that the power of their love may change the fate of human kind...
March 6, 2008
Contains the novella:
Sea Crossing by Virginia Kantra
Something happens when the beast within is tempted...
~~Featured in this issue: ~Shapeshifter Romance ~Immortals Contest Interviews with: C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp Selena Blake Kendra Leigh Castle Virginia Kantra Noelle Mack Terry Spear Hot Spot Jacquelyn Frank
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