Researching & Writing About Mermaids

For two weeks, come celebrate mermaids, whether it’s winter or summer where you live. Splash into Summer runs from June 28th to July 12th. There will be author interviews, guest posts, giveaways, reviews, and more! Now is the time to celebrate mermaids, especially with so many new novels about them coming out.

For today’s feature, I thought it would be fun to focus on mermaids through the eyes of a writer. Every Wednesday, I post a progress report about my WIP through my Word Count Wednesdays feature. I’m always honored whenever you guys cheer me on with your kind words. You’re the best!

What you might not know is that I’m also writing a mermaid novel. Sort of. Not actively, not right now. I started it a NaNoWriMo or two ago and didn’t get very far. Then, I got to meet Liz Kessler (author of the middle-grade EMILY WINDSNAP series) at a local B&N and she gave me some excellent advice regarding world building. For example, I should probably go scuba-diving or snorkeling first and see the world through a mermaid’s eyes. She also said that I should watch a lot of underwater documentaries, which I’d never considered before.

In the meantime, I’ve been collecting mermaid books whenever I can find them, from seashell encyclopedia to folklore books to novels and picture books. In this video, I’ll be sharing some of my mermaid loot with you. Let me know if you want more info about any of the books you see. I’m way too lazy to list out everything pictured!

Here's what I think every mermaid writer should have (or just any mermaid lover!):

YouTube Link

Oh, and fish! I bought a beautiful betta fish. She doesn't photograph well through the glass in her dark corner, though. But I love to watch her swim! She gives me fun ideas for my mermaid tale all the time. ^_^

Have you ever written about mermaids...or considered doing so? What are your personal tools of the trade?

What about readers? What are some of your favorite mermaid books (and heck, movies!)


  1. Well, I've never really had a gift for writing anything fiction. So, I can't say I've ever written anything mermaid -esche. But, we used to have Beta fish when the kids were growing up.

    My son's first one was named "Magic". He was blue. His second was a red one, the name escapes me at this momment (damn its no fun getting older). Anyways, what color is yours?

    My boy loved those fish so much he trained them to eat blood worms off a hemostat.

  2. Huh, I never would have thought about doing something like going scuba diving. Sounds like a good way to get in character.

  3. Great writing advice! I would love to hear the rest.

    I've never of the book that has the male mermaid. (the video cover image) I need that one in my collection. =)

  4. @Gina: Aria is sort of a cotton candy pink with a lot of silver sheen. She's really pretty! I'll have to try to get her to corporate for a picture :)

    @Small: I know, right? I never thought twice about scuba-diving. But when she said it, I was like, "Duh, of course!" So now I must...!

    @Flashlight: I hope the advice will be beneficial. It has been for me! The book with the male mermaid on the cover is NICHOLAS PIPE by Robert D. San Souci with illustrations by the awesome David Shannon. It's out of print, but you can buy used copies online! You do need it for your collection. I got it from the library once and liked it so much, I had to hunt down a used copy!

  5. PS: I forgot to mention, I of course have scuba dived. Its really amazing to be floating under the water. The fish aren't afraid of you at all. They are just curious. I've seen turtles, eels, nurse sharks and many varieties of fish close up. Its a grand experience.

  6. Gina, I really want to go scuba-diving! I know it's expensive, though, so I might settle for snorkeling. I haven't decided yet!

    *green with envy*

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  8. Hey Bonnie! Just stumbled across your blog while looking up info on The Mermaid's Mirror. Your post really touched me; and I haven't read the book yet (I plan to! Just as soon as I can get my hands on a copy) so reading your post has made me all the more excited to read it.
    I LOVE mermaids too. And in your video there's this stack of mermaid novels, so I was just wondering if you could tell me which books they are. :)


  9. @Jeanne: I'm so glad you found me through my mermaid posts! I really liked THE MERMAID'S MIRROR and hope you will, too!

    Yeah, I'll write a list for you this wknd. Just the novels?

  10. Yes please!!! :)
    I just finished Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs. I'm guessing you've already read that?

    What did you think of it? (I'm so tempted to go into one long monologue about the book. Haha)

    One thing that bugged me was the whole decision to be a mermaid/human issue. After reading it, I wondered (aside from the romantic interest, big bad villain and the prophecy problem) did her choosing the sea really matter? It sounds as though she will still be able to shapeshift, like her mother did. Or maybe I'm just overthinking it.

    Also thought there should have been a little more of the father and brother's opinion of having a mermaid for a wife/mother.

    Ok, so I did rant.

    I'm almost scared to read The Mermaid's Mirror actually. Attachment to characters and happy endings - which I've gathered there isn't.


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