October 31, 2012

Interview & Giveaway with author of FATHOM, Merrie Destefano!


Q. Tell us a little about yourself and your latest/upcoming release.

A. First, thank you so much for inviting me here today! Now on to your first question… I have an extensive background in publishing, having worked in the field for more than 20 years. I've been a graphic designer, illustrator, publisher, book editor, magazine editor and author. Before Fathom—which self- published and is the first in a two-book series called The Chronicles of Crescent Moon Bay—I wrote 2 books which were published by Harper Voyager. Those are Afterlife and Feast.

Fathom is my latest release and it’s a mysterious, paranormal young adult novel. I’m not very good at describing my books, so here’s the synopsis:

Turning sixteen can be hell, especially if everyone in town thinks your mother killed herself and your sister. All Kira Callahan wants to do is swim, hang out with her best friend, Sean, and ignore the kids who torment her at school. That is, until one day when she gets invited to a party. For three minutes her life is wonderful—she even kisses Sean. Then somebody spikes her drink  and some girls from out of town lure her into the ocean and hold her underwater. 

Kira soon discovers that the group of wild teenagers who have come to visit Crescent Moon Bay are not as innocent as they seem. In fact, nothing is as it seems—not the mysterious deaths of her sister and mother, not her heritage, not even her best friend. And everything seems to hinge on the ancient Celtic legends that her mother used to tell her as a child. 

Q. Do you find it hard to kill off your characters?

A. Surprisingly, no. I don't kill very many of my main characters and I usually cry when I do, but if a character needs to die, I'm willing to do it.

Q. Describe your main character in six words.

A. In Fathom, that would be Kira Callahan, so here goes: strong, loyal, curious, intelligent, creative, shy

Q. Who would you cast for a movie/TV series as your main characters if given the chance?

A. Kira: Blake Lively, with dark hair.
Sean: Stephen R. McQueen
Caleb: Liam Hemsworth or Connor Jessup
Riley: Alexis Knapp, with short hair.

Q. What do you normally like to read when not writing?

A. I love young adult, something with lyrical prose, deep characters, amazing world building. The last thing I read that fit this category was IRONSKIN by Tina Connolly.

Q. Describe yourself in 3 words

A: Driven, creative, introverted

Q. Who designed your cover?

A: I did. I used to be a graphic designer and illustrator, before I developed carpal tunnel. I love getting the opportunity to do design work from time to time, although I can't do it as a full-time job anymore.

Q. How much of the characters are based on your traits or someone you know personally?

A. Probably quite a bit, although it's never intentional. I didn't realize until I was almost done writing FATHOM how similar Kira's grandmother was to my mother.

Q. Can you share a teaser of FATHOM with our readers?

A. Of course! Here’s a snippet of the first chapter.

Chapter 1


I never believed in ghosts. 

Until I saw one, face to face, when I was twelve.

It was the middle of the summer, one of those nights when the wind scratched tree branches against my window and the Pacific roared so loud I thought it was going to sweep me away. Something startled me awake, some shifting of our house, beam against beam, old wood crying out in the damp sea breeze.

Almost instantly a chill shiver ran down my arms.

I got out of bed, the wooden floor cool and welcome against my bare feet. I paused in the hallway, noticed the fragrance of freshly cut hawthorn in the air. I used to love that smell.

Not anymore.

Then I saw something in a pool of moonlight—spots of water on the floor.

Like tiny lakes. Each one perfectly formed and separate.

Watery footprints.

Leading toward my father’s door.

I couldn’t breathe or move. Part of me wanted to disappear. Another part of me hoped that maybe the past could be erased and rewritten. 

That was when I saw her. My mother.

I have her photo on my nightstand—me, my sister and her—all in a huddle of green leaves. Her dark hair twined with Katie’s and my own like the three of us were one person. We were up in our tree house. My father must have taken that picture. And here she was right in front of me, tall and slender and silver in the pale moonlight, her long dark hair swirling in the muggy summer breeze, looking like a mermaid, her skin glistening as if she had just risen from her briny home.

Dark lips parted and a small gasp came out when she saw me.

It only lasted a moment, but in that amount of time I saw too much.

Her fingers stained with fresh blood, her eyes the color of the ocean, her skin so pale it looked as if she hadn’t been in the sun for years.

“Mom,” a whisper cry came from my lips. 

She came nearer then, this wraith from the past, until she could press a slender finger against my lips. She shook her head. We both knew the rules. I grew up on the Celtic legends; they were all my family talked about during the long winter nights, when the fire crackled and spit and our bellies were full.

But for now, silence filled the hallway, just long enough for me to hear the air coming in and out of my mother’s mouth, as if she had run a great distance to get here. Perhaps the gates to the Underworld were farther away than I thought. Or perhaps she had climbed the great cliff our house sat upon, all the way up from the ocean floor, to get here. Finally—when neither of us could bear the quiet any longer and I’m sure both of us would have started weeping, when words would have gushed like streams from our mouths and we would have broken every rule that protected the living from the dead—at that point, she brushed past me down the narrow hallway, toward the back door.

I turned and watched her run, across the yard through the thicket of trees and overgrown thorny bushes, toward the cliff. The same path she took seven years ago.

The night she killed my sister and then threw her tiny body in the ocean.

The very same night that my mother killed herself.

 A little more about Merrie Destefano....

This is or That

Cat or Dog?

Ice cream or Sorbet?
Ice cream. (Really, I like frozen yogurt best.)

Heels or flats?
Flats! All the time.

Knives or sword?
Yikes! Um, knives.

Coffee or Tea?

Iced tea or hot tea?

Snow or rain?

Movies at home or Movie Theater?
I love to go to the theater. It's such an event, especially when it's a movie I've been waiting for.

Soda or Juice?
Neither. I drink water most of the time.

Twitter or Facebook?
Both. I really enjoy both communities. They're different, but right when I think I like one of them better, the other one surprises me and steals my heart.

Actual book or eReader?
I'm starting to like my eReader best (Kindle app on my iPad.)

Actual book or Audiobook?
Actual book. I'm visual, not auditory.

Spring or Summer?

Fall or winter?
Both are actually nice where I live—in Southern California. I guess I like our winters best, because they're like spring back in the Midwest, where I grew up.

Long Sleeves or Short Sleeves?
Short sleeves.

Young Adult or New Adult?
Definitely young adult.

Vampires or Werewolves?
Oh, these next 2 questions are so tough. Vampires, although I think werewolf legends are more romantic.

Ghost or Zombies?
Again, tough question. I think I'll got for zombies.

Action movies or Chick flicks?
Action movies.

Horror movies or Mystery movies?
Mystery. Sometimes horror movies are way too creepy for me!

Mountain views or Ocean views?
Mountain, definitely. I adore trees.

Find Merrie Destefano...

Fanthom Buy Links

Merrie Destefano is giving away a copy of Fanthom to one lucky commenter. Just leave a meaningful comment below with your e-mail addres (or any way for us to contact you if you win). 

This giveaway is open INTERNATIONAL. Good luck!  


  1. I love mysteries and this book sounds pretty awesome. Thanks for sharing and for the giveaway.


  2. Well, after that first chapter, I'm just hooked. I need the rest!! I've read excellent reviews for this book. Now I'm jealous and need to read it all!

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  3. This is one creepy sounding book. Loved the blurb and the excerpt. Would love to read it!

  4. This one looks SO good! I can't wait to see what Celtic myth elements she brings into it (and I love that it's set in Crescent Moon Bay, which my brain keeps seeing as Half Moon Bay, a town near San Francisco). :)
    Thanks for putting this on my radar, and hosting the giveaway!

  5. You bet -- count me in! I'm a long-time Destefano fan and look forward to reading Fathom, whether I win it or buy it.


    amccanta at cox dot net

  6. Oh man... there's always the character(s) who helps the main character see the light or figure out that they aren't who they think they are... and I can already tell I'm going to hate those girls that hold her underwater from the summary. It's one thing if they did it on purpose and they actually are mean people with their own intentions, but it seems like they're going to be on her side. Now I have to read it and find out!


    Thanks for the giveway, and Happy Halloween!

  7. I am a mountain person too! I recently moved to Colorado and get to see them everyday. This novel sounds really great! Thanks for sharing.

  8. I forgot my email address!


    drinkshrunkentears at gmail dot com

  9. This one has 2 things I love. Mystery and Celtic myth. Sounds pretty good.
    Thanks for the giveway!

    fairydotmorgaine at gmail dot com

  10. All I can say is ... WOW!!! That excerpt grabbed me like a fist! Seriously, Merrie sure knows how to write and I cannot wait to get to read Fathom!

    As a weird tidbit, true story - one night I had a dream and I was reading a page full of symbols. The dream was vivid and my recollection good enough that I was able to *remember* and copy down several of the symbols the next morning. Well, I kept the paper with the drawings, and later showed it to a history buff who said those symbols were an early form of the Celtic language! Wild, huh?! O-o

    Thank you for the fantastic giveaway <3
    Mary DeBorde (M.A.D.)
    zenrei57 (at) hotmail dot com

  11. Love the premise of this book and that cover is kind of haunting. Great excerpt, too!

  12. I would love to read this book. It sound very good. Love a good mystery. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

  13. Wow, loved the description and the excerpt, this sounds like a fantastic story. I'm dying to find out the mystery of Kira's mother.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  14. Sounds like an interesting read.

    bookaholicholly at gmail . com

  15. The book sounds nice!

    Ooo she's a flats person! Lol. And likes rain more than snow. Interesting. I'd have picked snow since I've never seen or touched it before.

    Thanks for this

    reviewsbyabby at gmail dot com

  16. I find I'm reading more & more YA. Thank you for the snippet. I look forward to reading FATHOM.



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