Of Sea and Stone by Kate Avery Ellison
(Secrets of Itlantis #1)
Publication date: February 2nd 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…
"How Of Sea and Stone Came to Life: The Writing Process"
I first had the idea for what would eventually become Of Sea and Stone about six years ago. The story started in my mind as a single snippet of a scene, my favorite scene in the book, a boy breathing air into a girl as they both floated underwater. I wanted to know what this story was, who those people were and why they were in that situation. I began brainstorming, coming up with Aemi and her Village of the Rocks, and then the Itlanteans. The framework was still very rough, and I wasn’t sure how everything was going to pan out, but I had lots of threads of ideas to play with.
Although I was enthusiastic about the idea, I set it on the backburner while I worked on other projects for a few years. Sometimes I like to let stories simmer for a while, and this one needed more thought on my part regarding some of the political storylines. I wrote a number of books, including the Frost Chronicles, my fantasy-dystopian saga. When I was wrapping up Aeralis, the final book in the Frost Chronicles series, I was trying to decide what to work on next, and I browsed through my file of unfinished story ideas. I came across my chapters and notes for Of Sea and Stone, which was at that point tentatively called Sea Slave, wished I knew what happened next after I reached the end of what I’d written, and so I decided to work on it next.
I usually take three to four months to write a book. First I had to brainstorm the cities, the culture, and the way of life of the Itlanteans as well as the surfacers. This was the fun part. I made notes on each Itlantean city, the name (I went with a theme that described each city, Verdus for the lush harvest city, Primus for the capital, Arctus for the cold arctic city, and so on) and function of it, as well as little details like the crest and colors. I dreamed up the traditions and culture. Then, I set about writing it. I wasn’t sure originally how many books would be in the series, but eventually settled on five to tell the complete story of Aemi, Itlantis, and the many secrets that entangle her life and family.
I’ve been making up stories since I was five years old, and now I’m thrilled to be able to do it as a full-time job. I have an obsession with dark fantasy, dystopian futures, and Pride and Prejudice-style love stories full of witty banter and sizzling, unspoken feelings. When I’m not writing, I’m creating digital art, reading funny blogs, or watching my favorite shows (which include TVD and BSG). I live with my geeky husband and our two bad cats in Atlanta, GA.