In my tale, HEART OF THE SEA, which is featured in the Be My Everything, 2016 Valentine Collection, my research consisted of reading about some of the legends regarding the merfolk. Who knew there were so many different legends? Some of the merfolk were vicious creatures and yet some were gentle and even wanted to live among the humans. However, one thing seemed to be a factor: The merman or mermaid always wanted to return to the sea, as if the call was too strong to ignore.
The Merrow tribe is the merfolk of my story...
Irish Folklore describes Merrows as being a gentle race of merfolk. The word is from the Gaelic muiroighe. Muir means sea and oigh means young woman. The male of the species would be referred to as murúch. Merrow lore is similar to the typical mermaid legends, where when the Merrow is in the water, he or she possesses a beautiful human torso and a fishtail for the lower half of the body.
The Merrows also possess an unusual trait. They have a cohuleen druith, a magical red hat that gives them the ability to live beneath the sea. If they lose the red hat, they cannot return to their underwater world. Though most of the stories never paint the Merrows as malicious creatures, they have been known to take humans and bring them to their underwater world to become like them. The legends state these humans turned Merrow live happily ever after in their new existence.
The inspiration for the Smuggler's Den in Grimm Nitch
Like all stories the characters must live somewhere. Though Grimm Nitch is not a real seaside villagemy inspiration for the place came from a day trip my husband and I took.
We visited La Jolla, California where we came across the historic Cave Store, where tourists can make their way down 145 steps to the fascinating Sunny Jim Sea Cave. Frank Baum, the author of The Wizard of Oz, is saidto have named the cave for the cartoon character Sunny Jim who was the 1920s mascot for the British Force Wheat cereal products. It's one of seven ocean-carved caves one can visit, but Sunny Jim Sea Cave is the only one that can be accessed without renting a kayak.
I hope you enjoyed the behind the scenes look at Heart of the Sea. If you like mermaids and mermen, look for Tears of the Sea (Summer 2016), a full length mer-tale of murder and mystery in the quaint seaside village of Echo Cove.
What legends do you know about the mer-folk? Were you a fan of The Little Mermaid? If so, which tale did you like most, the Disney version or The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen (1836)? Or maybe you preferred the mermaids in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
About the Author
Karen Michelle Nutt resides in California with her husband, three fascinating children, and houseful of demanding pets. Jack, her Chorkie, is her writing buddy and sits long hours with her at the computer.
When she's not time traveling, fighting outlaws, or otherworldly creatures, she creates pre-made book covers to order at Gillian's Book Covers, "Judge Your Book By Its Cover". You can also check out her published cover art designs at Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery and Highland Press.
Whether your reading fancy is paranormal, historical or time travel, all her stories capture the rich array of emotions that accompany the most fabulous human phenomena—falling in love.
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