When people ask me where I got the idea for LIES BENEATH, a YA novel about murderous mermaids on Lake Superior, I tell them that the initial image came to me in a dream, which is the truth. But the inspiration–the thing that fueled the novel–was Victorian poetry.
LIES BENEATH (the first book in the trilogy) is the story of Calder White, a merman, who falls in love with Lily Hancock, a human girl whose family has a history with monsters in the lake. The novel was inspired by three Victorian poems about beauty, love, and death, all written by Alfred, Lord Tennyson: “The Merman,” “The Mermaid,” and “The Lady of Shalott.”
Both Lily and the Lady put on white dresses, board a boat, and seek an end to their family curse. One of them is successful. The other pays the ultimate price. But can we say they did not both achieve their goal?
Some argue that YA paranormal romance sets a bad example of love for teens. I disagree. I would suggest that argument is looking at the genre through the wrong set of lenses. Rather, if considered through the lens of poetry, the reader quickly realizes that paranormal romance–like so many Victorian-era poems before it–presents a metaphor for sacrificial love. And, in the end, isn’t that the greatest love of all?
Anne Greenwood Brown is the author of Lies Beneath (Random House/Delacorte June 12, 2012), Deep Betrayal (Random House/Delacorte March 12, 2013), and Promise Bound (Random House/Delacorte spring 2014). She lives in Minnesota with her amazingly patient husband and their three above-average children. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.