Saturday, May 3, 2014

Disney Blog Tour, Interview, & Giveaway: Deep Blue (Jennifer Donnelly)

Displaying Deep Blue Blog Tour Banner FINAL.jpg

Deep Blue (Waterfire Saga, #1)Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: May 6th 2014 by Disney Hyperion

The first in a series of four epic tales set in the depths of the ocean, where six mermaids seek to protect and save their hidden world.
Deep in the ocean, in a world not so different from our own, live the merpeople. Their communities are spread throughout the oceans, seas, and freshwaters all over the globe.
When Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, awakens on the morning of her betrothal, her biggest worry should be winning the love of handsome Prince Mahdi. And yet Sera finds herself haunted by strange dreams that foretell the return of an ancient evil. Her dark premonitions are confirmed when an assassin's arrow poisons Sera's mother. Now, Serafina must embark on a quest to find the assassin's master and prevent a war between the Mer nations. Led only by her shadowy dreams, Sera searches for five other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas. Together, they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood and uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world's very existence. 

Pre-Order Links:

Jennifer Donnelly
Jennifer Donnelly is the author of five novels - Revolution, A Northern Light, The Tea Rose, The Winter Rose and The Wild Rose - and Humble Pie, a picture book for children. She grew up in New York State, in Lewis and Westchester counties, and attended the University of Rochester where she majored in English Literature and European History. 
Jennifer’s first novel, The Tea Rose, an epic historical novel set in London and New York in the late 19th century, was called “exquisite” by Booklist, “so much fun” by the Washington Post, a “guilty pleasure” by People and was named a Top Pick by the Romantic Times.

Her second novel, A Northern Light, set in the Adirondacks of 1906, against the backdrop of an infamous murder, won the Carnegie Medal, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Borders Original Voices Award, and was named a Printz Honor book. Described as “rich and true” by The New York Times, the book was named to the Best Book lists of The Times (London), The Irish Times, The Financial Times, Publishers Weekly, Booklist and the School Library Journal.

Revolution was named a Best Book by Amazon, Kirkus, School Library Journal, and the Chicago Public Library, and was nominated for a Carnegie Medal. The audio edition was awarded an Odyssey Honor for Excellence.
Jennifer lives in New York's Hudson Valley with her husband, daughter, and three rescue dogs.

Q: Your first novel, Tea Rose, is adult historical fiction—part of a trilogy that’s put you on the New York Times bestseller list. But your second was written for young adults—A Northern Light has won numerous accolades and awards, among them Britain’s Carnegie Medal. What sparked you to write young adult fiction—what circumstances do we have to thank for that?

JD: We have Grace Brown, a teenage girl who lived at the turn of the last century, to thank. I owe her a lot. It was her story, and a packet of letters she’d written, that led to A Northern Light.Grace died at the age of nineteen, but her death gives the book’s fictional heroine, Mattie Gokey, the courage she needs to truly live her life. I wanted to speak directly to young adults with that book—to tell them: You must find your own path in life, and follow it, no matter how much other people want you to take theirs. I write for teens to show them a glimpse of the complicated world they will soon be entering. And I write for adults to give them a few hours escape from that world!

Q: Your writing career seems to follow a pattern: each time you write an adult novel, a young adult book follows. A Northern Light followed Tea Rose. Then came Winter Rose—a New York Times bestseller—followed by Revolution, which was long-listed for a Carnegie. You finished your adult trilogy with Wild Rose in 2011. A young adult novel seemed almost inevitable!

JD: That’s an interesting pattern you point out, but not a conscious one! I don’t plan all that much. Maybe I should. It’s emotion that catches hold of me and leads me – the strong feelings that come with an idea for a story or a glimpse of a character. And then I’m off, chasing after that story. After finishing Wild Rose, I had no idea what would come next, what character would come to me, and where that would lead.

Q: So how did Deep Blue come about?

JD: I was casting about for new ideas and coming up dry, which is very scary for a writer. Looking for inspiration, I went to the Met in New York City. It was staging a retrospective of Alexander McQueen’s work, and as I walked through his collections, I felt like I was walking through a dark fairytale. In some rooms, music played. In others, the wind howled and wolves cried. And the dresses—they were so beautiful and fierce, made with antlers and skulls, thorns, flowers, feathers. And emotion. Love, longing, desire, and regret were bound into every stitch. And then I came to the collections inspired by the sea. There were dresses that looked as if they’d been cut from white waves or fashioned from seaweed. There was the sound of water lapping, and overhead—on a large screen—there was a video of a young woman sinking slowly through the water, her dress billowing around her. Who was she? I was spellbound. I knew then and there that I had to write a story about this world. But what that story would be, I still had no idea.
Q: Enter Disney?

JD: It was a tremendous coincidence. I left the museum in a daze and took the train home. When I walked in the door, my husband said, “Call your agent. Tonight.” I called him and he said, “Hey, Jennifer, I have this project from Disney that involves mermaids. And the sea.” I was speechless. To this day, I believe Alexander McQueen sent me a gift from the great catwalk in the sky.

Q: Inspiration works in mysterious ways!  Growing up, what inspired you?  Were there any stories or books that made you think: I want to do that—I want to write?

JD: I was very fortunate to have a storytelling family. My childhood was filled with stories and books. Books were everything to me. They inspired, delighted, and comforted me. They made me smarter. They helped me understand myself and the world. I needed them like I needed air and food. I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series, Nancy Drew, and when I got a bit older, Stephen King. I was given classics in high school but I didn’t fully appreciate them until I went to college. I had wonderful teachers there who introduced me to Shakespeare, Joyce, and other great writers, and I felt as though I had been given the keys to the kingdom.

Q: Young adult fiction seems to have become a crossover market lately, with adults picking up YA books for themselves. Do you read young adult fiction?

JD: Oh yes. I love The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Some of my other favorites are Feed and Octavian Nothing by M.T. Anderson; Meg Rosoff’s How I Live Now. Just finished, Hades: Lord of the Dead, a graphic novel by George O’Connor, that really intrigued me with its new take on the myth. Also Markus Zuzak’s books … the list is very long.

Q: Last question: What’s it like to work with Disney?

JD: It’s the first time I’ve developed a story so collaboratively with other types of creative people – in this case, the visual artists at Disney – and it’s incredible.  To have this kind of talent at your fingertips and to be able to evolve something and make it better and better all the time…it’s exhilarating. Disney sent me early art for some of the characters and their environments and I immediately fell in love.  The illustrations were inspired by real sea creatures and were so beautiful and mysterious. They also sent this comprehensive  “bible” for the project. It was so broad and international in its scope, and it gave me the ability to bring in different cultures, languages, music, and food. It also outlined the six main characters, all teenagers, and they leapt off the pages for me.They’re magical creatures, yes, but still so similar to us. They hope and dream and love, just as we do, and they struggle to understand themselves and their role in the world. I love these characters and working with Disney has been an incredible experience.I’m lucky that every book I write feels like the best project of my career, and this one is no different.  But there’s something unique about working with Disney.  There’s a breadth of talent there that spans so many areas and it helped make Deep Blue and the Waterfire Series rich, vivid, and exciting. We’re working together right now on the next books in the series and I’m loving it!  

US & Canada ONLY

Thank you so much to Disney for offering such an awesome giveaway for the tour!!!

Tour Schedule

 Tuesday, April 29: Not Yet Read

 Wednesday, April 30: Word Spelunking

 Thursday, May 1: Finding Bliss in Books

 Friday, May 2: IceyBooks

 Saturday, May 3: Curling Up With A Good Book

 Monday, May 5: Mundie Moms


  1. Thank you so much Jennifer Donnelly and Disney for this amazing giveaway!!! I really want to read it! Nice interview!

  2. Thank you so much for this giveaway!! I am crazy crazy excited for this book!!!

  3. Many thanks to Jennifer Donnelly and Disney for collaborating with Curling Up With A Good Book on this super-awesome giveaway! I've been looking forward to reading DEEP BLUE and certainly would be thrilled were I to win a copy!