How to be a Mermaid by Erin Hayes
(Falling in Deep Collection, #10)
Publication date: July 7th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
All Tara ever wanted was to be a mermaid.
So she takes a year off between high school and college to don a fake tail and tour aquariums across the country in a professional mermaid troupe.
Everything’s great until she meets a gorgeous real-life merman named Finn. Suddenly, what she thought was a dream turns out to be a nightmare — she’s turning into a mermaid herself. For real.
Yet when she returns to the sea to seek out Finn and reverse her transformation, she finds herself in the middle of an impending war between the land and sea. Tara may have always wanted to be a mermaid, but now it’s sink or swim. In order to survive, she has to learn how to be one, too.
Summer 2015, award-winning, and best-selling authors will bring you romantic tales of mermaids, sirens, sprites, and other creatures of the deep! Keep in touch as we reveal each title in our collection!
Sci-fi junkie, video game nerd, and wannabe manga artist Erin Hayes writes a lot of things. Sometimes she writes books, like the fantasy mystery novel Death is but a Dream, the sci-fi middle grade book Jacob Smith is Incredibly Average, and the Her Wolf paranormal series.
She works as an advertising copywriter during the day, and she moonlights as an author. She has lived in New Zealand, Texas, and now in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, cat, and a growing collection of geek paraphernalia.
You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and she'll be happy to chat. Especially if you want to debate Star Wars.
Anyone who ever bragged about being a good public speaker never had to do it in front of more than thirty kids and their parents while wearing a bikini top and a mermaid tail.
I’d spent the night before in our hotel room preparing my answers, and I still wasn't ready. I was sitting on a chair in the rotunda of the Houston Aquarium, looking out into a sea of faces and I’d never felt more self-conscious in my life. My friend and fellow mermaid, Christine, stood to my right, a little bit behind me with a few volunteers and ushers from the aquarium to help out.
Every single eye was on me, and a barrage of questions came at me from all directions. I've performed our water ballet many times before, although this was the first time I was face-to-face with a crowd. I was a dancer, not a spokesperson.
As a result, my first meet and greet as a professional mermaid was receiving a lot of scrutiny from a bunch of kids under the age of eight.
“How are you on land?”
“Do you swim with whales?”
“Why isn't your hair red like Ariel's?”
“How old are you?”
“How did you become a mermaid?”
My answers didn't make much sense because my nerves were getting the best of me. Throw me in the water, and I can make you believe that mermaids are real. Expect me to entertain a bunch of kids like this, and I drown.
“I was carried here by my helpers, that's how I'm on land. Sometimes I swim with Beluga whales... I have dark hair, while Ariel dyes hers. I just turned eighteen, and I've wanted to be a mermaid since I was a little girl...”
My voice trailed off as I realized that my last answer gave too much away, by nearly admitting that we weren't real mermaids. Christine shot me a concerned look, like I'd raised the curtain too much and these kids would be able to see behind it.
“What Mermaid Tara means is, she's so glad to be a mermaid,” Christine said with a warm smile. She was a bit older than me, in her early thirties, and she was a good mentor for my first two months on the job.
The kids seemed to take her at her word, and my secret that I'd had a normal human childhood was safe.
Yet, despite Christine's save, what I'd said was true.
When I first started writing How to be a Mermaid, I knew next to nothing about professional mermaiding. I looked online, watched videos, and kept an eye on forums, but I didn’t think I’d get a chance to see a mermaid in real life. And if it wasn’t for the Georgia Aquarium’s Festival of the SEAson, I probably still wouldn’t have been able to.
As part of the Georgia Aquarium’s Christmas celebrations, the famous Weeki Wachee Mermaids did a special performance at the aquarium. I went to a meet and greet with one of the mermaids and watched them do a live show.
It was one of those defining moments in my life. Watching these mermaids perform was like watching fantasies come true. Up until that point, mermaids were a thing of myth.
The mermaids of Weeki Wachee brought them to life for me.
While I was there, I also did a behind-the-scenes tour of the aquarium. My wonderful guide took me to areas where a lot of aquarium goers don’t venture. I got to see my favorite animals, the whale sharks, from a whole new perspective. I learned that they ship in food everyday from New Zealand for a particular animal’s diet. And I saw the inner workings of one of the world’s biggest aquariums.
The mermaids were enchanting, but I found that the living, breathing aquarium was just as magical. There are far too many things on this earth that we take for granted. The beauty of the sea is one of them.
The entire experience was eye-opening. A lot of conservation efforts are going on taking care of the animals and our oceans.
If we don’t take care of our environment, there will be less opportunities for future generations to see the beautiful ocean and its creatures.
Finn, Tara, King Oceanus, and King Leviathan may take care of the oceans in this book, but it is our responsibility to do more.
We have a fantastical, magical world around us. We need to take care of it, too.