“Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be.” ~ George Sheehan
Daisy Harris has an upcoming "Ocean Shifters" series of erotic books being released in late 2010 through early 2011: Mere Temptations, Mere Passion, and Shark Bait.
Tell us about your Ocean Shifters series. What is it about and where will it be available?
The Ocean Shifters world is concept I came up with when I first started writing fiction. Mere Temptation was my first ever stab at fiction writing, though it began as a very different story and got re-working a thousand times.
First and foremost, the Ocean Shifters world is post-colonial. The sea dragons are the oceans' superpower and used to have colonies in almost every mere (mer-people) colony on the planet. Dragons can live among humans, and mere must live close to water. Dragons, in general, are wealthy and priviledged whereas mere lived under semi-slavery and in many cases still do.
Shark-shifters cannot live on land at all and historically survived as scavengers or smugglers. They often terrorized mere colonies, stealing from impoverished and unprotected mere.
A central focus of all the Ocean Shifter books is power dynamics in a changing world and how that effects inter-species relationships.
Much as the dragons are in some ways my "bad guys" they play a big role in every book. They are the species changing the fastest, and able to learn and grow the most.
But enough about my world!
The first book, Mere Temptation, is available as an e-book through the Bookstrand storefront (http://www.bookstrand.com/) as of November 3rd, 2010. Mere Passion will be available in December 2010, and Shark Bait will be available in January 2011. Each book will available a few months after its Siren/Bookstrand release through a wide range of storefronts including Amazon and Barnes and Noble. If sales go well, they'll all be available in print-on-demand approximately six months after their e-release.
What were your inspirations for Ocean Shifters? What sorts of thing inspire you as a writer in general?
My inspiration for the world came from several places, but mostly from my own background. Mere Temptation is a coming home story in which a mermaid named Isa, who's been living among humans, flees back to her home habitat. There she runs into to ex-boyfriend, a sea dragon, and temptation ensues.
Isa's journey was a homecoming of sorts for me because although I grew up in New York, and my family lives in Long Island (where the story begins), I was born in Florida, where the story ends. I've lived the majority of my life within a mile of the water, co-incidentally the maximum distance from the ocean a mere can survive. Sea-side towns are often rife with power dynamics between townies and tourists, colonists and colonized.
Although I write erotic romance, a lot of what inspires me is social and interpersonal dynamics. Sometimes I worry that my stories have a "come for the sex, stay for the social commentary" vibe. Mostly I aim to entertain, but I like my conflicts to reflect real-world conflicts and issues people face everyday.
Let's talk about your process. How do you approach a story, do you start with outlines or something else? Where did you work when writing Ocean Shifters? Do you think is the optimal writing environment for you?
There's no question that the optimal writing environment is Ohmwriter for Mac! Baring that, there's a French restaurant a couple blocks from my house that's a great place to work so long as I get there at five, before the dinner crowd. I love writing first thing in the morning too, but I'm usually busy making my kids breakfast and packing lunches at that time of day.
How I approach a story depends largely on whether it's the first or a continuation of a series. If it's the start of a new world, I spend a lot of time figuring out the different groups, the stakes, and the power dynamics. There's always a kernal of boy-meets-girl, but in order to understand the hero and heroine, I need to know about the context and circumstances they're in.
Once I know the world, the characters bubble to life. I do a thin sketch of an outline, including end of first, second, and third acts, black moment, etc. Then I pants my way through. After I fast draft I have a very involved revision method in which I dissect and analyze the whole thing within an inch of its life before essentially pansting a one (or two) pass revision.
I'm a big fan of the plan-then-pants method.
Tell us about your "story of getting published."
It was pretty simple, really. I submitted Mere Temptation to a handful of publishing houses, and got a full request, but also several rejections. So, pessimist that I am, I figured it would be rejected completely and when I was done writing Mere Passion I sent it out to a few more publishing houses. I got full requests everywhere I sent Mere Passion, and Siren offerred to publish it before I heard back on Mere Temptation.
So I submitted Mere Temptation to Siren after I'd already agreed to give them Mere Passion.
Siren was really great about my newby mistake of submitting the second book in the series before the first. In all honesty, I think I just hadn't heard of Siren at the time I submitted Mere Temptation! When they accepted it, they gave me a release date ahead of Mere Passion, which was great.
What are the publicity plans you have coming up?
You're looking at it! (Just kidding.)
Honestly, I don't have a whole lot of plans. I have a few blogs that want to interview me. Siren sends every book to a variety of review sites. I'll probably send it to two or three more reviewers as well.
I've signed on with an agent, Saritza Hernandez of the L. Perkins Agency, and she'll probably have more ideas for me, but I'm going to spread out my publicity over time since the books will be released through third party distribution at a later date. I want to be sure that when I promo books readers can actually access them!
Another big part of my promotion plan is to continue writing in the Ocean Shifters and other worlds. I've started on a new world filled with Steins, zombie-robot hybrids. I hope that each new story I write draws in more readers and encourages folks who buy my newer books to try out the earlier ones.
After all, writing great stories is the best advertising I can think of!