Many apologies for this amazing interview being late today, but I promise it was worth the wait! It’s not every day you get to interview an author who has ridden dolphins and may secretly be a mermaid (okay, she didn’t confess that, but I still think she may be one). Not only may she be a mermaid, but she has beautiful blue hair (yeah, are you getting some vibes that she may really be one?)!
Before I introduce our lovely guest this morning, I have to mention that I strongly recommend her book, Breakwater. It was inspiring and very though-provoking. Plus, the world-building was so beautiful (it’s not every book you get to “see” a fish swim by).
With that said, grab a blanket and a few pillows for my fun chat with the lovely Catherine Jones Payne about traveling, coffee, and of course, mermaids.
But first! Take a look at her awesome debut below and let me know what you think in the comments. Sound intriguing?
A red tide is rising.
As the daughter of one of the mer-king’s trusted advisors, seventeen-year-old Jade has great responsibilities. When her fiancé murders a naiad, plunging the underwater city of Thessalonike into uproar, tensions surge between the mer and the naiads. Jade learns too late that the choices she makes ripple further than she’d ever imagined. And as she fights against the tide of anger in a city that lives for scandal, she discovers danger lurking in every canal, imperiling her family and shattering the ocean’s fragile peace.
Can the city’s divisions be mended before the upwelling of hate rips apart everything Jade loves?
– Hi Catherine! I am SO excited to have you on the blog! For those who don’t know you, can you share three words to describe yourself?
Thanks so much for having me, Laura! I’m thrilled to be here. Three words that describe me are dreamer, workaholic, and adventurer.
– Ooo a fellow adventurer! I noticed on your blog that you love international travel. What places have you traveled to? Which place was probably your favorite?
I love seeing new places! So far, I’ve been to Mexico, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Cayman, Ireland, the UK, France, Italy, and Thailand. Soon I’ll add Australia and New Zealand to this list, and my mom is trying to convince me to go to Tonga with her to snorkel with humpback whales.
Fun fact: I grew up three hours from the Canadian border, but even though I’ll soon have been to five continents, I’ve never been to Canada.
It’s so hard to pick a favorite place—I love each and every one of these countries. But I got engaged in an Irish castle and lived in the UK for six months in college, so I’ll go with Ireland and the UK.
– Wow! That sounds so fun and amazing, especially getting engaged in an Irish castle! Can you say dreamy? (Excuse me while I let out a dreamy sigh.) I also noticed you love good coffee. Do you have a favorite brand? Any special way you have to have it?
For me, ethical production is the most important factor when picking a coffee. Recently I’ve been drinking a lot of Eco Café because it seems like they treat their farmers really well, and there aren’t many fair-trade options at my local grocery store. It’s a pretty good coffee, although it tends to brew a little on the weak side. I can drink good coffee black, but I prefer it with milk or cream, or with some more bitter coffees (I’m looking at you, Starbucks), I can even need sweetener of some kind.
But my very favorite cup of coffee in the whole world is a cappuccino from this little espresso place in the Cannaregio neighborhood of Venice. I don’t remember the name of the shop, but it’s a couple doors down from Hotel Arcadia. It is exquisite.
– I love that! Let’s take a moment to talk about Breakwater. It was such a fascinating read and one I enjoyed! When writing, did you ever have a hard time transitioning from the sea world to the real world? (I was so captivated by the occasional fish swimming by and hair floating in the water. Also, I can’t forget just the coolness of being surrounded by mermaids!)
I definitely resent gravity sometimes when I’m writing about living in the ocean! Swimming is almost like flying, and after spending time in a mermaid’s head, I don’t like being stuck on the ground.
– How interesting! I haven’t heard someone make the comparison of swimming being like flying. However, I have heard on numerous occasions that most authors can’t choose a favorite character, BUT I am curious about who you would want to hang out with for a day. Who’s the lucky character to hang out with you? What would you guys do?
Pippa, for sure. It’d be tons of fun to go swimming with someone who could form water currents with her hands.
– Yes! I totally second this! In general, which you rather be: a mermaid or a naiad? Why?
That’s a really hard question! I love the naiads and the way they can wield and manipulate water, but I’ve been a fan of mermaids my whole life. I think I’m going to have to go with mermaids on this one.
– Yeah, I was sort of unsure which I would want to be too. 🙂 In your acknowledgements, I remember you sharing about swimming with dolphins. What was that experience like?
My whole family went swimming with dolphins about a year ago when we were on vacation together. Dolphins are so sweet and intelligent, which makes them really fun to interact with. Even the two-year-old loved it! The opening scene of Breakwater, where Jade grabs Kiki’s dorsal fin and rides through the water, came straight from my own experiences swimming with dolphins.
– That is so incredibly cool and sounds like such fun! I might need to figure out a way to do that soon. Thanks so much for stopping by Catherine and chatting with me!
About the Author
Catherine Jones Payne is a Seattle native who loves the written word, international travel, crashing waves, and good coffee. Her earliest memory involves pulling up a rolling chair to her parents’ old DOS computer—while wearing a tiara, naturally—and tapping out a story of kidnapped princesses. By day she’s the managing editor of Quill Pen Editorial and the editor of Splickety Magazine. She lives in Waco, TX with her historian husband and their cats, Mildred and Minerva.