Q: How did you come up with the idea for How to Meet a Mermaid?
A: I have always loved the water, especially the ocean. It’s one of the reasons I’ve always lived near a coast. I often imagined what it would be like to live in the water, have gills, etc. I’m sure The Little Mermaid story influenced this thinking. Plus, it is always so peaceful underwater. I think it would be nice to live there.
Q: What do you think accounts for people's fascination--going back 5,000 years, as you note in the book--with mermaids?
A: Personally, I’ve always been intrigued by fantastical creatures. The ocean is just so enormous, and there’s so much we don’t know about its creatures still. And to think how much less was known 5,000 years ago, it’s no wonder when someone saw something in the water they couldn’t explain, their mind went to magical beings.
So, why not? Why couldn’t there be a such thing as mermaids? A world where mermaids exist sounds way more interesting!
Q: What first got you interested in writing children's books?
A: I’d been writing all my life, but it wasn’t until I had a child of my own and I was reading him stacks of picture books that it occurred to me to try writing one. Thankfully, I had a children’s librarian living across the street from me who pointed me in all the right directions!
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I’m about to start revisions on a nonfiction picture book story about a marine biologist. Ask me about dolphins and plankton…I’ve learned a ton about whales recently. Pun intended. I also just finished what I hope to be a third in a series of picture books. I’m sending it to my agent today, so we’ll see if the publisher is interested in the next few weeks. Fingers crossed!
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: That’s a loaded question, Deborah! My high school senior finished his college applications, I managed to create a quick holiday card to send out, and I recently saw the movie Love and Monsters, which I really enjoyed. Oh, did you mean about books?
I’m working on the book trailer for my January book, How to Help a Cupid, that pubs 1/5/21 (trailer at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bRiLwYQvyk), and getting ready to promote Sadie Sprocket Builds a Rocket, which pubs 2/1/21.
Also, I just learned that my book The Bug Book, which was selected to be part of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library three years in a row, will be featured in her Imagination Library documentary—very exciting! Here’s the link if you want to watch: https://fb.watch/26w0F75DSv/
--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Sue Fliess.