Find out the latest indie author news. For FREE.

Formats
Ebook Details
  • 05/2014
  • 1499114257 B00KIQGG6S
  • 316 pages
  • $1.99
Ebook Details
  • 05/2014
  • 1499114257 B00KIQGG6S
  • 316 pages
  • $1.99
Paperback Book Details
  • 05/2014
  • 9781499114256 B0178EN0BQ
  • 316 pages
  • $11.99
Heather Rigney
Author, Illustrator
Waking the Merrow
In 1772, angry Rhode Island colonists set fire to a British ship, sparking the American Revolution. Taxation without representation was a motivator. So was the vengeful, man-eating mermaid who had it out for the commanding officer. That was then. This is now. Mermaids, or merrow, still hunt in Narragansett Bay, but these days they keep a lower profile. At night, centuries-old Nomia seduces smutty frat boys, lures them into icy waters, and feeds them to her voracious kin. By day, she and her half-breed daughter attempt to blend in at the coastal Village Playground. But Nomia slips up. She makes a friend. Then she makes that friend disappear, and someone notices. Thirty-something Evie McFagan just wants to make it through working motherhood. But she’s a blistering stew of issues—snarky alcoholic and a friendless funeral director who just witnessed Nomia dismembering a guy at the nearby yacht club. When Evie believes a mermaid stole her baby, who will help? The merrow of Ireland? Or maybe anti-hero Evie will surprise everyone, including herself, and summon the strength to save her own family. Intertwining the stories of two primordial families with the colonial history of Narragansett Bay, Waking the Merrow is a dark historical fantasy.
Reviews
A prickly and memorable protagonist fights to protect her family from wily merfolk in this promising debut contemporary fantasy. Evie McFagan is a barely functioning alcoholic with an 18-month-old daughter and a husband who’s running out of patience. Evie’s troubles are annoyingly public in the Narragansett Bay shore town of Pawtuxet Village, R.I., but the spotlight shifts when gorgeous Nomia arrives. With Nomia comes the creepy sound of voices in Evie’s head, and a string of mysterious disappearances. Little do the villagers know that Nomia is a centuries-old merrow who’s able to change into human form, and the leader of a rapacious merrow clan. Evie struggles to stay sober and learn the truth about Nomia; when the merrow targets her family, Evie has to find new strength. Rigney’s protagonist is appealingly stubborn and vulnerable, but the other characters remain thinly drawn. Scenes set in the town’s colonial past tend to slow the story rather than enriching it. With the foundations laid, it will be interesting to see where Rigney takes her warring merfolk next. (BookLife)
Bobby Forand, Motif Magazine Book Reviews

Native Rhode Islander Heather Rigney puts a fantasy twist on Rhode Island in her debut novel Waking the Merrow

There have been surges of popular, old-school monsters lately. Vampires were all the rage thanks to Twilight and zombies became popular due to The Walking Dead, though it should be said that zombies have always been awesome. If author Heather Rigney has her say, mermaids (or merrow) could blow up into the next big thing, with her new novel, Waking the Merrow, leading the charge.  Besides The Little Mermaid and one episode of “Futurama” that featured a mermaid, I’ve put little to no thought into the half human, half fish creatures that lurk in the sea. But Waking the Merrow piqued my interest, and soon had me searching for more information about mermaids.

Mermaids, or merrow, as they like to be called, have been around for hundreds of years. There are good and bad merrow and Nomia and her crew, who call Narragansett Bay their home, are the bad ones. Using their beauty to lure men to their death, they feast on the flesh, bones, blood and every other part of their victims. In the story, Nomia is responsible for enraging Rhode Islanders enough to burn the Gaspee after the captain used her for sex with no intentions of taking her back to England with him, and this is actually the most tame of her actions.

Evie McFagan is an overweight, alcoholic mortician in her late 30s  living in Pawtuxet Village with a husband she adores, though doesn’t exactly show it, and a young daughter. She meets Nomia, and the two eventually settle into a nicely developing feud that becomes both terrifying and humorous, especially told through the first person eyes of Evie. Their rift becomes so bad that it turns into an epic battle between a clan of nicer mermen from Ireland and Ronan, Keeper of Narragansett Bay, who watches over Evie and her family from the water, and the man-eating mermaids.

I was amazed at how accurately Rigney describes the Pawtuxet Village area. The directions and locations are so clear I could almost map out the area, and I enjoy traveling by different landmarks she speaks of, such as Rhodes on the Pawtuxet, the bridge or the rocks near the water. The Village is described so beautifully that I’m expecting to see her words used in a future brochure.

Rigney has struck gold with her first novel. It’s humorous — hysterical at times — descriptive and has a nice flow to it. Going back and forth between Evie in the present and Nomia’s past exploits, with a few chapters dedicated to explaining their connection and how merrow migrated to Rhode Island from Ireland, there’s not a boring moment in these pages. I love the flawed likableness of Evie and the intrigued hatred I felt for the malevolent Nomia. Rigney is able to show the great chemistry that the two have, especially for being newfound enemies. They are both relentless, with the other characters either helping out or bearing the brunt of their actions.

This is the first book in The Merrow Trilogy, so I assumed the book would have a somewhat “safe” ending, with no major characters getting killed off. While my assumption did take away some of the suspense, it didn’t decrease my enjoyment of the story whatsoever. This book did a great job of setting up what promises to be a three-book thrill ride. The setup for book two had me salivating, immediately wanting to read it, knowing that I’ll have to be patient.

I spoke with Heather Rigney and asked her a few questions about her book.

Bobby Forand: Where did you get the inspiration for Waking the Merrow?

Heather Rigney: Two things inspired my debut novel — Pawtuxet Village and an Irish folktale. Pawtuxet Village has been my home since 2003. I love the people, the history, the community and our access to Narragansett Bay. My novel is my homage to both the Village and Rhode Island. I’m proud to be a Villager and a Rhode Islander. We are a tiny, weird state, but we have a lot to offer.

The Irish folktale “Flory Cantillon’s Funeral” by T. Crofton Croker was another crucial inspiration. I discovered Croker’s short story in the anthology Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry, edited and selected by W.B. Yeats. It’s a strange, comical tale that alludes to inter-species marriage between land-dwellers and sea-creatures. I read it when I was a teenager, and it has always stayed with me.

BF: Describe your writing process. Do you find it more difficult to write the story or edit?

HR: Editing is a beast. A demanding, meticulous, ugly beast. Writing is all about creativity and flow. In sharp contrast, editing is all about refinement and perfection. It takes a lot out of me to push for perfection. I prefer the creative flow part. Both aspects of the craft are rewarding in their own ways, but I find writing so much more relaxing.

BF: How much research went into Waking the Merrow?

HR: Quite a bit. Knowing that I was leaving the realm of reality by introducing a man-eating aquatic monster to my readers, I wanted them to feel grounded and safe. If I’m going to hold out my hand and say … Come with me, dear reader. I want to show you strange and wonderful things … I need the reader to feel as if they are on familiar ground. The fantasy illusion won’t work if the writer does not include relatable elements for the reader, so I dug around and found as many historical, nautical accounts as I could. Then I warped what I researched and re-wrote history. For example, in my world, the burning of The H.M.S. Gaspee had a far more sinister stimulant than just angry, bullied colonists. In my world, a jilted merrow instigated the mob that burned a British ship and shot the commanding officer.

BF: What impact has growing up in Rhode Island had on this book?

HR: Everything. In my teenage angst, I thought, “I hate this state. I’m leaving as soon as possible.” Then, in my 20s, after I graduated from RISD, I secured an amazing teaching job with Warwick Public Schools, and, as time went on, I moved to Pawtuxet Village and started my family. Looking around, I’ve come to realize that Rhode Island is wonderful and quirky. We’ve come a long way. I remember being terrified of downtown Providence when I would go to shows in the early ’90s. Now, I’m so proud of what Providence has become. Buddy Cianci had a vision for us, and it is blossoming. We are a blooming state. I wanted to embrace all of our history, our mixed cultures, our kinship with the sea, and even our strange, rich sayings like, taking a heart attack. My Pennsylvania-born editor went round and round with me on that one. She thought it was a typo. No, I told her. We take heart attacks. I don’t know where we take them — but we take them.

BF: What was your motivation behind writing a trilogy?

HR: My alcohol-fueled, protagonist Evie (rhymes with heavy) McFagan and her evil merrow nemesis Nomia have more tales to tell. I didn’t want to limit them to just one book, so a trilogy sounded like a good idea.

BF: How did you get hooked up with Cycling Mermaid Press?

HR: I’m self-published. Cycling Mermaid Press is my company. I’m very happy on my bicycle, and my art has always included mermaids. Now, my writing is mer-based. So yes, that’s me, the cycling mermaid.

BF: Rhode Island seems to have a growing community of writers.  Can you discuss that?  How did you get involved in the local writing scene?

HR: Friends persuaded me to take a children’s book writing class through the continuing education department at RISD. In that class, I met two other writers. When the class ended, we didn’t want to stop interacting, so we met on our own. We invited others to join, and we had a few good years of monthly critiques. We’ve since drifted apart but still support one another. Recently, one of my old critique partners invited me to join ARIA (Association of Rhode Island Authors). This is a wonderful community under the enthusiastic direction of Steven Porter. It’s been a pleasure to be part of this association, and I encourage other writers to join ARIA.

BF: What do you hope readers get out of Waking the Merrow?

HR: My main character, Evie, is an anti-hero. She’s fundamentally flawed, but I tried to make her likeable. I don’t know anyone who is not flawed. There is beauty and honesty in our imperfections. Our purpose in life is to both accept, and then work with, these personality defects. Our ugliness is our superpower, in a way. Much like Evie, we might be a lot happier if we could just harness these superpowers. But—achieving self-acceptance is a process. A long, grueling process. I just hope my novel makes the journey a bit more enjoyable.

Nicole Hill, Barnes and Noble Book Blog

Waking the Merrow, by Heather Rigney
Sebastian was wrong: the seaweed is not always greener in somebody else’s lake. In Narragansett Bay, it’s made of peril. You know what’s great about Rigney’s horror-ific (that’s horror-filled and terrific), hysterical debut novel? Besides the bloodthirsty merfolk, our antihero protagonist is an overweight, drunk, subpar mother, who also happens to be a funeral director. I can’t even describe the premise of this book without getting giddy, because how many times does a plot involve both vicious mermaids and Rhode Island colonists?

Formats
Ebook Details
  • 05/2014
  • 1499114257 B00KIQGG6S
  • 316 pages
  • $1.99
Ebook Details
  • 05/2014
  • 1499114257 B00KIQGG6S
  • 316 pages
  • $1.99
Paperback Book Details
  • 05/2014
  • 9781499114256 B0178EN0BQ
  • 316 pages
  • $11.99

Loading...