We are huge fans of Mindy McGinnis so you can imagine our excitement when we were asked to participate in the the Given to the Sea blog tour today! Today also happens to be the last stop of the tour, but we promise we’ve saved the best. Today, Mindy is on the blog to gives a little background about what inspired Given to the Sea.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Khosa is Given to the Sea, a girl born to be fed to the water, her flesh preventing a wave like the one that destroyed the Kingdom of Stille in days of old. But before she’s allowed to dance – an uncontrollable twitching of the limbs that will carry her to the shore in a frenzy – she must produce an heir. Yet the thought of human touch sends shudders down her spine that not even the sound of the tide can match.
Vincent is third in line to inherit his throne, royalty in a kingdom where the old linger and the young inherit only boredom. When Khosa arrives without an heir he knows his father will ensure she fulfills her duty, at whatever cost. Torn between protecting the throne he will someday fill, and the girl whose fate is tied to its very existence, Vincent’s loyalty is at odds with his heart.
Dara and Donil are the last of the Indiri, a native race whose dwindling magic grows weaker as the island country fades. Animals cease to bear young, creatures of the sea take to the land, and the Pietra – fierce fighters who destroyed the Indiri a generation before – are now marching from their stony shores for the twin’s adopted homeland, Stille.
Witt leads the Pietra, their army the only family he has ever known. The stone shores harbor a secret, a growing threat that will envelop the entire land – and he will conquer every speck of soil to ensure the survival of his people.
The tides are turning in Stille, where royals scheme, Pietrans march, and the rising sea calls for its Given.
Inspiration for books can come for just about anywhere, and GIVEN TO THE SEA is actually a mashup of many different woolgathering moments that have happened over the course of my life – starting when I was just a little kid in the 1980s.
A kernel for the idea of GIVEN TO THE SEA was planted a very long time ago when I was a child. I loved the TV movie of IVANHOE with Anthony Andrews. There’s an amazing scene with Sam Neill and Olivia Hussey where she’s locked in a tower and he comes to see her. She thinks he’s there to force himself upon her and she gets up in the window and says she’ll jump if he comes a step closer. He’s a decent guy who means her no harm, so he manages to talk her down but it’s a very powerful scene. It stuck with me (even though I didn’t understand all the implications until I was older). Elements from that scene have found their way into SEA at various levels – the girl who doesn’t want to be touched, a boy in a power position who *could* take advantage if he wanted, a girl whose pride is so strong she’ll die before she submits.
Part of the idea for Khosa’s pre-disposition to dance into the sea is based on a book I read about Huntington’s disease, which is what killed Woody Guthrie. It’s a hereditary disease that causes spasmodic movements that make it appear that the sufferer is dancing, however the movements are outside of their control.
The Indiri twins, Donil & Dara, are my favorite characters in the book. I know I’m showing my age here, but part of their creation comes from the dancing baby off Ally McBeal. I thought that was the creepiest thing I had ever seen in my life. But then I thought about a baby that could have that kind of body control, what it could learn early on about coordination and movement. That baby could become one heck of a fighter… and so a long time ago I had this idea in my head about a culture where babies are “born knowing” – able to speak, walk, process logic – all from birth. They don’t have to spend the first few years of their life learning how to feed themselves, or the alphabet. They’d be way ahead of everybody else.
All of these elements came together to form the world of GIVEN TO THE SEA, which I think is a wonderful testament to daydreaming! All of these random thoughts I’d had over my lifetime culminated into a novel that I don’t think I would have ever been able to sit down and sketch out on purpose – it took chance and a lifetime of wondering, what if?
CHECK OUT THE REST OF THE TOUR!