Title: Kingdom of Sirens and Monsters
Kingdom of Sirens and Monsters #1
Author: Tara Quinn
Genre: Fairytale Retelling
Cover Artist: Bianca at Moonpress Design
Release Date: January 5th 2022
Page count: 370
On the island of Odyssey Bay, a wedding day looms—and Coral will do anything to stop it.
Since their mother died, twin sisters Coral and Kendra were raised solely by their father. But since Melody came along, their father has been swept into a blinding, whirlwind romance that Coral fears will end in heartbreak and loss.
It feels like nobody but Coral can see Melody’s true nature—she’s wretched, power hungry, controlling, and clearly desires to obtain their island resort and family wealth. But Kendra adores Melody, and her father is smitten, leaving Coral the sole sceptic.
Then Coral meets Lysander—a mysterious, handsome stranger who returns her surfboard after it’s lost in a storm. Lysander knows things about Melody, about Coral’s dead best friend Maya, and about Coral’s mother.
When Melody’s true and terrifying nature is revealed, Coral has no choice but to escape to an unknown world beneath the sea—where ancient magic, family secrets, and power she didn’t know she possessed awaits…
A Snow White meets The Little Mermaid retelling.
My gaze turned head on, and to my shock, I saw that I was in a kind of throne room. An underwater throne room, with glass windows that spanned meters high in the air towards a dazzling, domed skylight. Glowing crystals grew from the walls, illuminating the space in all different colors, Schools of fish were visible swimming past from outside.
Five Songs I Listened To While Writing Kingdom of Sirens and Monsters
When it comes to writing, you get a lot of writers who need complete silence, and other writers who need background noise. I’m one of the latter.
I always listen to music either right before I write, or during my writing sessions. And usually, I have a specific playlist of songs for each book that speak directly to the scenes I’m trying to write.
Personally, I’m more drawn to how the song makes me feel than the lyrics, because I like to channel those feelings into my scenes. But it always helps if a small part of the song has lyrics that make sense for specific scenes I’m writing, just to really connect me to the experience.
If you’re curious, here are five songs I listened to while writing my upcoming novel, Kingdom of Sirens and Monsters, a dual retelling of Snow White and The Little Mermaid.
(Also, I apologise in advance for my super angsty taste in music!)
1) Maggie Lindermann – Knife Under My Pillow
“Sorry, I don’t mean to freak you out
But I hear someone inside my house
Heart racing, keepin’ me awake”
This song has a really fun beat and spirals into a crescendo of notes that make me feel like I’m actually travelling with my main character, Coral, from our regular world down into the Undersea (where she discovers a fantasy kingdom and spends most of the book.)
The lyrics I highlighted were helpful when writing scenes with the villain, because Coral is living with the villain for some time and has a constant sense of paranoia around that character.
2) Lemolo – High Tide
“Someone told me not to look so down and out
Someone said, “Your smile is freaking me out””
A lot of the feedback I’ve gotten on the novel is that the love interest, Lysander, seriously creeps people out! And that’s probably because THIS SONG really creeps me out too, but it was the perfect song to pair with him.
This is a very slow song, and it makes me really uncomfortable when I listen to it. But Lysander is not an ordinary character, and I really needed to tap into his unusual way of thinking to develop his storyline, so I got particularly hooked on the lyrics I highlighted above when writing his scenes.
3) PVRIS – Dead Weight
“Look what you started
You’re turning me heartless
I’m trying my hardest
If I’m being honest”
This is one of my favourite songs of all time (very rarely do I come across a song where I like the chorus, verses and bridges an equal amount the whole way through, and this is one of those songs.) So not only is it a joy to write to, but it really captured the essence of the relationship between Coral and Lysander.
Also, the lyrics highlighted are excellent because they are so LITERAL when translated to what’s actually happening in the book. There is, indeed, a heartless curse plaguing the royal family, and it’s one of Coral’s biggest threats as she navigates the storyline.
4) Breaking Benjamin – Evil Angel
“Don’t leave me to die here
Help me survive here alone”
I discovered this song halfway through the book, and it happened at just the right time as I was trying to navigate Coral’s complex emotions.
On one hand, she is developing trust towards her new, Undine friends, but on the other, she craves to return to the surface and save her family from her evil stepmother. So she’s constantly torn between where her loyalty should lie and the choices she should be making, and this song really captured that feeling.
5) Maggie Lindemann – Crash And Burn
“You picked him over me
And you left with no apology
Felt a knife in your back
Yeah, you thought I was the killer
You’re lookin’ in the mirror”
This song actually helped me more as I was writing the companion novella (Heart of Stone and Sea-foam) that goes with this series, but I was already thinking about the backstory of the villain (and referring to it regularly) so the novella was already in development in the back of my mind.
If you pick up the novella, you’ll discover a forbidden romance between The Evil Queen and Coral’s deceased mother that ends… well, poorly. And this song is the perfect match for that entire storyline (clues can be found in the lyrics highlighted above.)
Something you’ll discover I LOVE to do in my books is throw a 180 plot twist at the reader when they least expect it… and it’s usually tied to the villain. You might find that you go into this novella expecting one villain, but discovering another that you didn’t see coming.
I hope you enjoyed this insight into my writing process. I don’t often share my music tastes with people because I find it to be very intimate and personal, but I enjoyed writing this post and I hope it got you curious about Kingdom of Sirens and Monsters too!
About The Author:
Tara Quinn is a fairytale retelling author with a love of blending contemporary worlds with fantasy.
When Tara isn’t writing, she’s binging chocolate and The Office—neither in moderation—and fantasising about long train rides through the countryside and trips to Greece.
Connect with Tara on Instagram
One Reply to “Spotlight & Author Guest Post: Kingdom of Sirens and Monsters + Excerpt”
That’s a great cover.