Like with every story, there was a seed of inspiration. I think it came to me as I was sorting through my photos of Crete – I’d been there in May of this year, visiting with family. I was looking at the venetian harbor of the town I’d visited (Chania) and the beaches, and the mountains, and it all clicked when I thought: what if some people here had dealings with sea magic?
Sea magic. The sea *is* magic, in my opinion. I grew up by the seaand I’ve always felt like I belonged in the waves. The mediterranean sea is quite safe, warm and clear – but it can have sudden storms that wreck boats, and violent currents that cause people to drown. I knew from past research that sea deities were widely worshipped on Crete, goddesses brought from the near east with each immigration wave in ancient times.
‘What if’ is a dangerous question. It gives birth to stories.
So I said to myself, what if there was a young man, from Crete, whose family has been cursed to be tied to the sea, unable to escape? What if the people of the area believe it, and he believes it, and this belief doesn’t let him break free?
And what if a girl arrives, not believing in magic, who tries to save him?
Thus was the story of Kai and Olivia born: A sea curse, traumatic pasts, well-meaning family and friends against a background of ancient olive trees and dramatic cliffs over the sea.
I think knowing the place so well, as I’d been there a couple of times, and the culture – since I’m Greek – helped me get excited about this story. I think it’s my only story so far with so many personal elements in it. Olivia studies English literature – as I have. She’s been studying in Germany, as I have. Her thoughts, her issues – many have been mine as well. I feel very close to her, closer than any other heroine I’ve written. Maybe I needed to get some things off my chest, I don’t know.
But one thing I do know: I’m happy with how it turned out. 🙂
About Chrystalla Thoma:
Chrystalla is Greek Cypriot (hence the strange name) and likes writing about bratty, angsty boys and spunky girls in fantasy and science-fiction worlds. She writes mainly for a young adult public but not only (heed the warnings!)
She’s currently preparing a non-fiction book about dragons, because the truth must out, and is juggling two series (“Elei’s Chronicles” and “Boreal and John Grey”).
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