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Friday, September 27, 2013


Joanne Guidoccio taught mathematics, computer science, business and co-operative education courses in secondary schools throughout Ontario until taking early retirement and switching career paths a few years ago. Her debut novel, Between Land and Sea, is a September release. Learn more about Joanne at her website. – AP

A Different Kind of Mermaid

I am probably one of the few people on this planet who couldn’t read past Chapter 1 of the first Harry Potter book. As for vampires, werewolves, witches, zombies and other such creatures, well, let’s just say I prefer to keep my distance. Instead, I like to curl up with historical and contemporary women’s fiction, psychological thrillers, cozy mysteries and memoirs.

So, I surprised myself and everyone in my circle when I signed up for a series of creative writing workshops with science fiction author Sarah Totton. While I hadn’t read any of her short stories or novels, I was inspired by her work ethic and persistence. Sarah entered the Writers of the Future Contest seventeen times before finally winning the grand prize. As I took notes and participated in the exercises, I observed the rapt attention and fascination on the faces of my fellow students. Unlike me, they were not feverishly writing or asking questions about literary techniques; they were mentally plotting paranormal romances and young adult dystopian novels.

And then the wheels started turning.

Could I write fantasy?

While driving home one evening, I thought back to my favorite fairy tale, The Little Mermaid. The sad ending of the original version stayed with me, and to this day I still feel sorry for the mute ex-mermaid who could only smile when the handsome prince married someone else. All the while, knowing that the prince’s wedding morning would only bring heartbreak and seal her fate as “foam on the crest of waves.”

As for being a daughter of the air...

 “You, poor little mermaid, have tried with your whole heart to do as we are doing; you have suffered and endured and raised yourself to the spirit-world by your good deeds; and now, by striving for three hundred years in the same way, you may obtain an immortal soul.”(Hans Christian Andersen, 1836)

Good deeds. Striving for three hundred years. And maybe, just maybe, she might obtain an immortal soul!

I wanted the little mermaid to marry the prince and live happily ever after. But when the Disney version was released, I still wasn’t happy with the ending. I realize now that I wanted to read about a different kind of mermaid, one who could lead a happy and successful life, with or without the prince. And maybe one who wasn’t quite so young or so beautiful.

Keeping this vision of an older and wiser mermaid firmly in mind, I wrote Between Land and Sea, the first book in the Mediterranean trilogy.

Between Land and Sea
After giving up her tail for an international banker, Isabella of the Mediterranean kingdom is aged beyond recognition. The horrified banker abandons her on the fog-drenched shores of southwest England, leaving her to face a difficult human journey as a plain and practically destitute fifty-three-year-old woman. 

With the help of a magic tablet and online mermaid support, Isabella evolves into the persona of Barbara Davies. Along the way, she encounters a cast of unforgettable characters, among them former mermaids, supportive and not-so-supportive women, deserving and undeserving men, and several New Agers.


Barbara Monajem said...

What a lovely story concept. It intrigued me so much that I bought a copy for my Kindle. :~)

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Hi Barbara,
What a great start to the day! Thank you so much. Happy reading!
Joanne :)

Unknown said...

I nominated you for the Liebster Blog. http://andreareadsandreviews.blogspot.com/2013/09/liebster-nomination.html

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Hi Andrea,
Thanks! I'll check it out.
Joanne :)

CJ Burright said...

I usually never say this aloud for fear of angry mobs and pitchforks, but...I couldn't get into Harry Potter, either. Blasphemy, I know! And I loved the heart-wrenching original The Little Mermaid and wanted a happy ending there too. Can't wait to read between Land and Sea!

Cindy Carroll said...

I will raise a hand too then and say I've never read any of the Harry Potter books.

Joanne, I loved hearing about this book during meetings and I'm so happy for you. I snapped up my copy earlier this week. Glad to hear it's going to be a trilogy. Can't wait to hear about book two.

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Dear C.J.
I'm so glad you came forward! For a while, I was keeping quiet about my feelings about the Harry Potter series.
Having said that, I have the greatest admiration for J.K. Rowling and I would love to read her memoirs.
Thanks for dropping by and hope you enjoy reading Between Land and Sea.

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Dear Cindy,

Another one!! We need to start a club.
Speaking of clubs...I have enjoyed all the Guelph Write Now meet-ups. To be truthful, I don't think I would have written and launched Between Land and Sea without all your support.
Molte grazie!
Joanne :)

Cindy Carroll said...

That's so sweet of you to say. You bring a lot to the table at those meetups and I'm glad you attend whenever you can. I'm glad you enjoy them. I'm glad you did write it. The world needs a different mermaid story.

We missed you Tuesday!

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Thank you, Cindy. So many wonderful compliments...I'm blushing.
BTW...I also missed Tuesday's dinner. Sounds like it was quite the reunion.

Renee Field said...

Can't wait to read this story. I love the entire premise. Then again I am partial to Sirens.

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Happy reading Renee! Thanks for dropping by ;)