Publication date: February 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
All her life, clever Aemi has been a slave in the Village of the Rocks, a place where the sea and sky meet. She’s heard the stories about the fabled People of the Sea, a people who possess unimaginable technology who live below the waves in the dark, secret places of the ocean. But she never dreamed those stories were true.
When a ship emerges from the ocean and men burn her village, Aemi is captured, and enslaved below the waves in Itlantis, a world filled with ancient cities of glass and metal, floating gardens, and wondrous devices that seem to work magic. To make matters worse, her village nemesis, the stuck-up mayor’s son Nol, was captured with her, and they are made servants in the same household beneath the sea.
Desperate to be free, Aemi plots her escape, even going so far as to work with Nol. But the sea holds more secrets than she realizes, and escape might not be as simple as leaving…
Describe Of Sea and Stone in six words.
Atlantis, steampunk, sunlight, seawater, secrets, romance.
What books have you read and loved lately?
I am almost finished with Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta, and it’s an absolute delight. Witty, immersive, and utterly compelling fantasy that reminds me very much of my beloved Megan Whalen Turner books.
Ice cream or cake?
Ice cream cake, of course! It’s the best of both worlds.
What authors have influenced your writing style the most?
I grew up on a pretty steady diet of mystery, actually, so I feel like classic mystery authors like Agatha Christie had a strong influence on me. When I was a teenager, I started reading fantasy by authors like Robin McKinley, Gail Carson Levine, and Sherwood Smith. The Blue Sword, Ella Enchanted, Crown Duel…I loved those books. I also had a huge love of historical fiction, so Ann Rinaldi, Elizabeth George Speare, and Eloise Jarvis McGraw influenced me a lot as well. As far as more recently-written books that I didn’t grow up reading, I continue to be an awe of fantasy authors Megan Whalen Turner (The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, etc.) and Melina Marchetta (Finnikin of the Rock), dystopian author Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games), and contemporary young adult authors Lucy Christopher (Stolen) and John Green (A Fault in Our Stars).
If you had to pick a shoe that represented your writing style, what would it be?
Have you seen those canvas shoes where an artist has drawn original artwork on the front and sides and is selling them online? I think my books are like that—in some ways they feel familiar, but they have their own surprises and twists that make them unique.
Who has been the most supportive person in your writing career?
My husband. About two years into trying to get published, I was ready to give up on my stories and get a job doing something tremendously ill-suited for me, like being a secretary (I am a very bad secretary. Very disorganized). He convinced me to give it more time, and he is probably the sole reason I am published today. He is my first reader, my strongest encourager, and my most reliable critic.
Are you working on anything else currently?
Yes! I’m currently hard at work on the second book in the Secrets of Itlantis series, and I’m also working on a few secret projects on the side—one is a more traditional fantasy, another is a post-apocalyptic novel. I hope to have more details about them for my readers very soon.
We walked across a bridge enclosed with glass that stretched between the ship and the city of Celestrus. Glass and twisted metal were the only things standing between the sea and us. I looked up and saw a long, sinuous shape curl through the waters above us—some giant, unknown sea creature—and a shiver passed over my skin as I remembered the dark shape that had passed beneath our ship on the journey over.
What other things lurked in the ocean’s depths?
The first guard planted his hand between my shoulder blades and pushed me forward, drawing my thoughts back to the present, back to the rush of warm air from the round opening ahead, the clank of our feet against the metal floor, and Nol telling the guard exactly what he’d like to do to him if he had a sword in hand.
I kept my mouth shut, because I wasn’t stupid.
We stepped through the round doorway, entering a round room with walls and floors of polished metal. The ceiling arched above us, made of rose-colored glass and shot through with metal that I supposed held it aloft. I could see shapes moving above it, churning shadows that stamped and brushed the ceiling and bewildered me until I realized I was seeing people’s feet and garments. The ceiling above must serve as a walkway for an even higher level, I realized. I stared at the strange shadow dance until someone nudged me. The guard.
A bench ran along one wall, and a man sat on it, waiting for us. He stood when we entered.
He must have been old, but his face was astonishingly smooth, almost ageless. His skin was the color of copper. His long hair black hair, streaked with gray at the temples, hung down his back in a mass of braids, and he wore light purple robes that draped off his thin body and engulfed his wrists. He did not look unkind, which was a good sign.
The guards herded me forward.
“What is your name?” he asked me.
“Aemi,” I said.
“Ah, Aemi. Exquisite name. Means sea-born in the old tongue.”
I lifted my gaze, startled. “Yes, it does.”
He smiled, a quick quirk of his lips that transformed his face into something kindly. “And you?” he asked Nol.
Nol turned his head and would not speak. The man looked back at me.
“He’s called Nol,” I said, and I saw a muscle jump in Nol’s jaw when I spoke his name. He gave me a look of pure loathing, and I knew I had betrayed him by giving up his identity to the man when he had clearly wished to make a statement by withholding it.
“Nol, eh? Short for Nolen?”
“Just Nol,” he growled.
“I am called Merelus,” he said, seemingly unruffled by the waves of anger radiating from Nol. “I hope we can learn to respect each other, as unfavorable as this situation may be for you.”
Respect each other? His words confused me, but I bit my lips and said nothing.
“Come,” Merelus said to us, and nodded to the guards. “I’ll take you both.”
“Their wristlocks, sir,” the guard said.
“Ah, yes.” Merelus paused and waited as the guard approached us and snapped a thick band of silver over our right wrists.
“This will set off an alarm if you enter any area forbidden to Indentureds,” he informed us gruffly. “And you will be punished.”
I live in Georgia with my wonderful husband and two spoiled cats. When I’m not writing, I’m usually catching up on my extensive Netflix queue, reading a book, giggling at something funny online, or trying to convince my husband to give me just ONE bite of whatever he’s eating.
Learn more about my writing and books at my blog (http://thesouthernscrawl.blogspot.com/), find teasers for upcoming works on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/kateaveryellison), and subscribe to my new releases newsletter to be notified of new novels as soon as they hit stores (https://tinyletter.com/kateaveryellison)!
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