Today I'm pleased to bring you Marissa Doyle and her latest release Skin Deep.
Hi L.A. Thanks for having me here. Writers are always exhorted to “write what you know.” Do we always take that advice? Heck, no! That’s what research is for. If writers only wrote what they knew, there wouldn’t be any paranormal or science fiction or even historical novels out there. And what fun would that be?
But rather to my surprise, I wrote a book that was—well, full of stuff I know. Like Cape Cod, which I’ve lived near my whole life, and quilting, which is what I like to do when I’m not actually writing, and selkies, which I’ve been obsessed with since childhood. Of course there are things in Skin Deep I didn’t know about and had to research, since I’ve never been divorced or attacked by ancient evil entities (thank goodness!) or noticed that my quilts can do a lot more than just look pretty draped over the end of the bed.
Will I stop writing about things I’ve never experienced and stick to what I know? Nope—because research is fun and I love writing historicals and fantasies. But writing a book drawn so heavily from my own life experience was fun too. I hope reading Skin Deep will be as much fun for readers!
Garland’s knees felt like they’d been turned to water, and it was all she could do to keep standing. A thin voice in her head was screaming Ohmygodohmygod adeadbodydeadbodydead—
Another gull landed next to the first two and joined in the examination, creeping closer to what she realized was the figure’s face. Abruptly, strength returned to her legs.
“Go away!” she shouted, and ran at them. The birds leapt into the air in an explosion of wings, one muttering what sounded like “Aw, jeez, lady!” in Seagull.
Garland knelt by the body. It was a child, probably no more than three or four years old, with shaggy light brown hair partly obscuring its face. How had a child ended up out here and in this condition? A network of deep cuts, purple with bruising and caked with dried blood and sand, crisscrossed its back.
She brushed the hair aside and pressed her fingertips to its throat. A faint but steady pulse beat there. Not dead! She scrambled out of her vest and took off her appliquéd flannel shirt, then turned the child over…and gasped in horror. More cuts, punctuated with a few deeper gashes, covered his torso. She wrapped her shirt around him then rose and looked around wildly at the empty beach, sweating though she now only wore a turtleneck and jeans. The seals were still there, watching her. She hoped for an irrational second that they’d swim into shore, take off their skins, and help her deal with this. She knelt again, slipped her arms under him, and picked him up. He felt light and insubstantial as she cradled him against her, like a child made of air.
“Poor baby,” she crooned. “You’re going to be all right. We’ll get you—”
“No!” a hoarse voice shouted.
Garland nearly dropped the boy as she whirled around. Twenty feet up the beach a man, equally naked and battered-looking, was climbing to his feet. She’d been so concerned about the boy that she hadn’t even seen him.
The man stood for a second, swaying, then staggered toward her, grimacing as if in pain. The wind blew his hair, just like the boy’s, around his face. “Give me back my son,” he growled, reaching for the child.
“I’m sorry—I d-didn’t see—I was just trying to help him,” Garland stammered. His son! What had happened to the two of them? How had they ended up on her beach in this condition? The man’s muscular body was cut and gashed in the same horrible pattern as the boy’s, and patches of dried blood on his upper lip hinted at a freshly broken nose.
The man ignored her, his eyes narrowed fiercely above the purple bruises on his high cheekbones. But when his hands touched the flannel of her shirt wrapped around the boy’s frail form he froze. A look of wonder replaced his anger, and his eyes opened wide as he stared at her so that she could see they were a light, almost golden brown, and unnaturally bright, as if he were feverish.
“What are you?” he whispered.
After a painful divorce, Garland Durrell looks forward to settling into her home on Cape Cod to make the quilts that are her passion. On the first morning of her new life she finds a man and a small boy washed up on the beach, both badly wounded. Since the town chief of police is strangely reluctant to help, Garland takes on the care of the mysterious pair who don't seem to remember what happened to them--and feels her own heart begin to heal.
Alasdair does remember. He and his son Conn are the last of the ruling family of selkies from the waters around the Cape, locked in a decades-long struggle with an evil that threatens all, selkie and human. He’s not sure if he can trust the lovely, blue-eyed woman who takes them in until he touches one of her quilts and feels the magic she’s sewn into it...and the emotions that he never thought he’d feel again.
But the evil entity that stole Alasdair’s sealskin and left him for dead quickly senses both his presence and Garland’s magic, and is determined to destroy one and possess the other. Only Garland and her quilts, made with a power she barely believes she has, can save them all from destruction—if she can avoid being destroyed first.
Marissa Doyle graduated from Bryn Mawr College and went on to graduate schoolintending to be an archaeologist, but somehow got distracted. Eventually she figured out what she was really supposed to be doing and started writing. She’s channeled her inner history geekiness into a successful young adult historical fantasy series, and is now also happily writing contemporary romantic fantasy.
She lives in her native Massachusetts with her family, including a pair of bossy but adorable pet rabbits, and loves quilting, gardening, and collecting antiques. Oh, and coffee. Please visit her at her website, www.marissadoyle.com, and at her teen history blog http://nineteenteen.com.