Hello, everyone! Lady Marion Hood, here, to lead a new and exciting venture that entered Danielle’s imagination when she meant to be working on something else – because isn’t that just how the creative mind works?
Any readers who’ve kept up with the Ever On Word blog for a few years – (or who’ve explored the blog’s pages on a whim) – may recall a somewhat short-lived feature called the Stranger Than Truth Club, in which Danielle, Tirzah, and a variable number of their respective fictional friends came together to talk at each other until the authors found something quotable. The posts were good fun to create, but too much of a collaborative effort to keep up with any regularity. So since the club name has gone so long out of use, I am stealing it (in true outlaw fashion) for a same-but-different sort of club. In specific, the Stranger-Than-True Book Club! A collection of Deshipley characters come to converse on, in today’s case, Danielle’s soon-to-be-released #KrakenBook, “Deathsong of the Deep”.
First, the book’s summary:
Nineteen-year-old tavern girl Molly Worth needs a way out of the lackluster future she’s sure awaits in her small portside town. A miraculous living ship needs an ally willing to steal her away from what she’s sure will be her doom. It seems like a match ordained by the mystical Sea Queen herself, but the darkest power below has other plans for those who brave the deep.
Taken under the wing of a creature of myth, and absorbed into the uncommon crew commanded by one rakish Captain Crow, Molly begins to make her way toward the life she wants for herself, only to lose it all in an epic venture gone wrong. Now to regain what the monstrous Kraken destroyed requires that she weigh life against life, and life against death with the unnatural creature who sings to her soul.
From the author of fairytale saga “The Wilderhark Tales”, the “Outlaws of Avalon” legend, and “Inspired” love letters to the heart of creation, comes a high-seas fantasy of faith and doubt; of honor and love; and of tentacles.
Second, a brief introduction to the members of the club. Will everyone please state your name, your story world, and your role within it? Starting with you, Your Highness, then going ‘round clockwise.
Lar: Oh! As you like. Hello, I’m Laraspur, from the Wilderhark Tales – daughter of Queen Rosalba and King Edgwyn Wyle of Denebdeor, protagonist of “The Sun’s Rival”, and … something of a literal star of the heavens, by the end of things.
U: The literal end of things. Been there. What up, I’m Uri from the “Inspired” novels. Skater girl, avenging angel, occasional clique leader of amateur author Annabelle Iole Gray’s character crew, when this guy’s not there to call the shots.
Luc: ‘This guy’ being me – Lucianíel, elemental of light, principle muse to Annabelle, and co-guardian of our precious fictional children.
N: Heya, I’m Nicky Ellenbogen-Jones, aka Xtra-Medium, from Danielle’s recent paranormal publication, “So Super Dead”. Mutant teen from the moon. Pronouns, s/he and himmer. Superpower, talking to dead people; in, like, a therapeutic way.
M: And once again, I’m Marion, of Robin Hood’s Merry Men from Avalon Faire. I basically smile and try to keep the band from falling apart. Not always easy, that.
M: Now then! Onto the book discussion. First impressions of “Deathsong of the Deep”. Go!
N: Cool title! The death part. Like, is that a thing, with Danielle? Books full of death?
U: I mean, she did kill off my original author in the first few pages of “Inspired”. Not to mention the whole “Manta and the Mask” sub-story therein.
Lar: There’s not as much death to be found in the Wilderhark stories. But then, it’s a fairytale world. And on the other hand, the last book of the series was… Never mind. Death is everywhere.
Luc: Coming back to your opening question, Marion, I would call “Deathsong” an unusual book, even for Danielle. For one thing, she built the world herself, as opposed to her favored method of piggybacking off of established fairy tales, legends, or her own life. Even “So Super Dead” took place largely in a world like hers, just add vampires, werecats, superhuman moon colony, etc. “Deathsong” has its own geography and mythology, only borrowing fantasy creature types from various cultures to populate a wild new sea. It’s a different sort of creativity, for her, and the end result is… perhaps slightly profound.
U: I’m not a huge fan of her making up a sea goddess for it, but I get it. She was going through some stuff. Depression, exhaustion, theological disappointment. If she needed a bogus deity to help unpack and illustrate her dark night of the soul, I guess that’s what art is for.
M: Favorite characters, anyone?
Lar: Molly Worth is a treat! Sort of solemn but witty at the same time. Indomitable, and so deeply caring. She’d make a worthy princess, if she didn’t live on such a different story path.
Luc: I’d say a number of the characters exhibit a complexity I like. Each member of Captain Crow’s crew has a face they show and a passion they carry closer. Some of the passions get explored in text more thoroughly than others, but one can tell we’re dealing with people, not one-dimensional caricatures. If anything, I’m most intrigued by Anafrid, simply because we know the least about her.
U: I like Jessica. Not that I would probably want to spend much time with her, but I appreciate her heart’s devotion.
N: I— um, is it weird that I wanna say Kraken? ‘Cause, like, I get that he’s a monster, but…
U: But that’s your type.
N: I don’t have a type! I just… Part of him is dead, right? His humanity died. So he’d maybe eat me, but I’d wanna talk to him first.
M: I, for one, am here for Murdoch. Fun, friendly…
Lar: Plus-size positive!
M: …That! And a woman of color, to boot. If the crew of the Painted Lady were the Merry Men, Murdoch would easily be the Marion.
N: Ooh, ooh, who would everybody else be?
U: Anafrid = Little John, no contest.
M: They are both second-in-command and tall. Anafrid talks more than Little John, but then, who doesn’t? As for Captain Crow… not sure. He’s in charge like Robin, and has a not entirely dissimilar charm, but then he flashes that flirtatious smile that hides a tortured mind and hurting heart, and all you can think is ‘Will Scarlet’.
Lar: Father would love to design his coats. The style skews feminine, and womenswear has long been a favorite of the famed tailor-king.
N: Do we have an Allyn-a-Dale?
U: That would be Gracie – the mystery pulled in from out of nowhere who isn’t more than they seem, just more than anyone can name for certain, for a while. Also, blue.
N: Oh, yeah. That’d actually be blatant, if she’d done it on purpose.
Luc: Danielle has certainly done her share of blatant character copying. That is, as she’s readily admitted, the deliberate conceit behind the cast of “Inspired”. And if anything, Captain Crow is as much begotten of Wilderhark’s Gant-o’-the-Lute as am I. Blue Gracie, however, was based predominately on her author.
N: And I’m not seeing a match at all for Semsen.
U: Semsen doesn’t have half enough ‘merry’ in him for the Sherwood crowd. He wouldn’t make the worst knight in Camelot, though.
M: Well, this discussion is delightful, but also running long. What do you think, fellows? Should we break off and make it a two-parter? Come back next week?
N: I’m for that!
U: Why, is there more to say?
Lar: Is there! We haven’t even touched upon all the relationships! Or the locations, the magical creatures, the plot! We certainly must come back for that, if Danielle’s willing to host us again.
Luc: And why would she not be? Her characters posting in her stead is her favorite way to blog.
M: Then it’s settled. Characters, take five. And readers, take seven days. The Stranger-Than-True Book Club will return with further insights on “Deathsong of the Deep”. Stay tuned! Leave comments! And farewell!