Bad Mermaids are back!
4th Jul 18

Bad Mermaids are back!

Greedy humans, water witches and a sweet-eating magical mermaid are some of the characters you'll come across in SIBEAL POUNDER's new book, BAD MERMAIDS: ON THE ROCKS. Here, author SIBEAL POUNDER tells us more!

In this adventure, mermaids Mimi, Zelda and Beattie - and the talking seahorse Steve - discover a new world, Crocodile Kingdom, which lies beyond their hidden mermaid home.

But something fishy is afoot in the Crocodile Kingdom and a human called Paris is the key to helping the mermaids save their world from the greed of humans.... We asked author Sibeal Pounder to tell us more about BAD MERMAIDS: ON THE ROCKS!

Q: Your mermaids in Bad Mermaids are pretty cool - did you ever go through a 'mermaid phase' when you were a child?

A: I don't remember ever going through a mermaid phase, although I did adore the Little Mermaid. I did go through a shark phase though (if that's a thing). I wanted to be a shark, which is probably why Hammerhead Heights exists in my books - it's a huge city filled with sharks and a restaurant called Jawellas, which is inside a shark.

In book two, Bad Mermaids: On The Rocks, we meet Paris. She's a human who finds an old, magical mermaid necklace and with it she can morph into a mermaid and various other sea creatures, including a shark! I want to be her.

Q: You also wrote the fabulous WITCH WARS series. So, to put you on the spot - Mermaids or Witches?

A: Can I choose water witches? A combination of the two! They feature in On the Rocks and are mermaids who perform magic with potions. Although, unlike witches who can make magic happen themselves, most water witches have to rely on potions, which can only be bought from Maritza Mist's Water Witch catalogue.

Q: Were you pleased to revisit the world of the mermaids for this second book, Bad Mermaids on the Rocks?

A: Yes! I love the world of the mermaids, and it was fun to expand it beyond the Hidden Lagoon in the Pacific Ocean and visit other hidden cities. I really enjoy world building so it was fun to build mermaid places all over the world. And I love writing Mimi, Beattie and Zelda - and Steve the talking seahorse, of course!

Q: Which of all the places in the Bad Mermaids books did you enjoy creating the most?

A: I love the mermaid world and in book two we get a glimpse of what the world mermaid map looks like - from the Crocodile Kingdom (where book two takes place) in the Atlantic Ocean and Pinkly Lagoon in the Mediterranean to Frostopia near Antarctica. I loved establishing the Crocodile Kingdom in book two and introducing Mimi, Beattie and Zelda to new characters, like Gronnyupple, the water witch. In the Crocodile Kingdom they have an underground subway-style system called The Chomp. I enjoyed writing that.

Q: We met a human character, Paris (and her mum!), in the first Bad Mermaids book, and she has a large part to play in this book. Did you always know you'd be revisiting her?

A: Yes, she was always destined to have a bigger role later on. I liked dropping her in subtly at the very beginning of the first book. My readers are really clever and often know when I drop someone in that they'll come back later. It's fun to add in details like that and see if anyone notices.

Q: There are some great supporting characters too, did any stand out for you?

A: I love Gronnyupple and she will be back for book three, along with Paris and her amazing morphing skills. But my favourite new supporting character has to be Jelly, the ancient mermaid who runs the whale bus. It's a bus that picks up mermaids in the Upper Realms, which is what the mermaids call the areas outside of their hidden cities. It's human territory, which is considered dangerous.

Jelly is responsible for getting the mermaids back home. Her whale bus is always full of characters - like the old couple who keep sneaking onto land and sliding around the place in a shopping trolly. I also love how Jason illustrated her - he really captured her perfectly!

Q: Do you have a favourite moment in the latest book?

I love the scenes with Gronnyupple and Steve and the running joke about the Seahorse Surprise sweets. She constantly eats little jelly sweets shaped like seahorses, and is always almost eating Steve. I love when she says how unfortunate it is that he's shaped like a sweet.

Q: You take human places and things and twist them for the mermaid world, like the bubble-blowing 'telephone' fish. Which of the 'twists' did you have the most fun creating?

A: I loved creating the telephone fish - the mermaids speak into the phone receiver and a little fish pops out and delivers the message. When Paris points out that it's not how human phones work, the mermaids say "yes it is, only they don't use fish, they use spiders." It's fun to make jokes around how mermaids think human things work and how they get it so wrong!

My favourite invention is probably the clam cars - I really want one.

Q: There are lots of different spells and potions described in Maritza Mist's Water Witch Catalogue - which one would you buy?

A: I think I'd buy Tiny It and make myself really small for a while. Or maybe I'd make my cat, Galligan, tiny so I could carry her around in my pocket for the day!

Q: You have said there will be three Bad Mermaids books - so what next for Beattie, Zelda and Mimi?

A: Next they're off to find Maritza Mist in Frostopia, the frozen mermaid kingdom! They think she might be in danger, so they're going to try to find her. The problem is, the Frostopia mermaids don't let anyone into their world, and two sinister mermaids have escaped from Viperview Prison and are also heading to Frostopia - they've used Maritza Mist's magic Immortality Paste, which makes them unstoppable...

Q: Where do you write Bad Mermaids?

A: I tend to write in my office, which is a very boring answer, although I sometimes escape to a cafe. I wrote a lot of the outlines and plans for Bad Mermaids in a cool cafe in Kyoto when I was on holiday. It was underground with rocky walls and seaweed-like plants hanging from the ceiling. It felt like I was in an underwater cave and was very inspiring!

Q: Any bad writing habits?

A: In terms of bad writing habits, I can sometimes spend a day writing a joke, finding the whole thing hilarious, and then realise it doesn't fit into the plot at all and it would be indulgent to use it. I do that a lot - I know I'm wasting time but can't help myself. I do save everything though, in case it comes in useful further down the line! I have a whole Steve conversation with one of my characters from another book, for example. Entirely useless! Or is it...

Q: Where do you go to escape mermaids, and writing?

A: I'm imagining my mermaid characters flopping after me waving my latest manuscript! Such an interesting question, I suppose in a way I never escape them or writing because even when I'm taking a break all the ideas are forming in my head. Sometimes the ideas can soak in there for years before they are good enough to work on.

In terms of escaping to places I often escape to Dublin or Scotland as I have a lot of family there. My favourite places in Scotland are Broughty Ferry (excellent ice-cream at a cafe called Visocchis, plus a mermaid-worthy beach), beautiful Skye, St Andrews (also excellent ice-cream at a place called Jannettas - I recommend the Irn Bru sorbet), and a tiny town called Knockando which sits on the river Spey. Although, I did write most of Bad Mermaids next to that river. This is a good question, I don't seem to have a proper answer for it!

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