The Highest Tide (Eden #4) by Marian Perera-Review, Interview and Giveaway
The Highest Tide
by Marian Perera
Genre: adult, sharkpunk, romance
Release Date: February 17, 2015
THE HIGHEST TIDE (Eden #4) by Marian Perera
ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date February 17, 2015
One touch, and the tide isn’t all that’s rising.
When brothel health inspector Jason Remerley finds a uniformed woman waiting impatiently in the Velvet Court parlor, wanting to hire a man’s services, he’s struck by lightning. His intense, immediate attraction compels him to pretend his way into her arms.
Enough silver, and most men forget about Captain Lera Vanze’s half-burned face. She senses something off about the handsome, ill-dressed prostitute who sells himself so cheaply. But with his first touch, goose bumps turn to shivers of desire—right before the truth drives them in opposite directions.
Her fury is still simmering when they face each other in a more “official” capacity. She’s joined a warship to stop a terrorist only Jason can identify. Though trust is scarce, they’re swept away in a tidal wave of murderous plots and an explosive attraction that could leave them marooned in an emotional—and very real—minefield.
Warning: She knows how to wield her sword, he knows just how, when, and where to apply his…mind. Contains deception in a brothel, sex in a cave, a shark with a bad habit, and one very large wave.
REVIEW: THE HIGHEST TIDE is the fourth installment in Marian Perera’s adult EDEN sharkpunk meets steampunk romance series. This is steamship Captain Lera Vanze and health inspector Jason Remerley’s storyline. Although this is the fourth in the series, THE HIGHEST TIDE can be read as a stand alone without too much difficulty. The exception could be the lack of familiarity with the fantasy world that the author has been building for several installments. Some of the previous storyline characters also make an appearance.
Told from several third person points of view the storyline follows Lera and Jason on a voyage across hazardous waters where not only are the pirates dangerous but the seas as well. Lera and Jason’s introduction to one another was built upon a lie. Working as a brothel inspector, Jason is approached by a young woman looking for an evening of sex, with no commitments, believing Jason to be one of the brothel workers. What ensues is Jason’s desire for the scarred and feisty woman whom he couldn’t get out of his mind.
The premise finds one of Lera’s crew mates ordered by the authorities to aid in locating a suspected terrorist. Kovir Stripe Caller, a seventeen year old Seawatch operative with a shark familiar is tasked with finding an underwater explosive device before it detonates. In order to protect her young charge, Lera volunteers to go with Kovir on the voyage and is surprised to discover that Jason is also along for the ride. What follows is a volatile and dangerous mission where violence, retribution and revenge trigger a madman’s warped sense of right and wrong.
The relationship between Lera and Jason begins as an accidental ‘workplace’ meeting building to friendship then love. Our couple will encounter pirates, kidnappers, storms and a war not of their making. Castaway on an island, the $ex scenes between Lera and Jason are intimate but not overly graphic. Lera is a woman who has been burned; the scars are a reminder of the past; a past about which very few know. Jason’s attraction and need to aid Lera find him on the run facing an unknown future upon his return.
The secondary and supporting characters are numerous; from shipmates and crews to government officials and pirating thieves. We will be introduced (or re-introduced) to steamship captains and powerful industry players. There are moments of violence and revenge; romance and love; intrigue, espionage and suspense.
The sharkpunk/steampunk formula builds upon the premise and genre of science fiction meets steam-powered machinery in an age where technology is new within an alternative history and world. Combine this with the paranormal world of psychic communication with sharks, you have a classification for the genre of sharkpunk; a belief systems of gods and deities, historical lore, and romanticized mythology becomes a recipe for a fantasy of action and adventure on the high seas.
Marian Perera’s world of sharkpunk is new to this reader. With the combination of steampunk meets the supernatural meets one of the world’s most dangerous predators you have an amalgamation that is sure to rouse the curious and tweak the minds of fantasy lovers.
Before The Storm
The Deepest Ocean
The Farthest Shore
The Highest Tide
Copy supplied by the author.
Reviewed by Sandy
TRC: Hi Marian and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the release of THE HIGHEST TIDE.
Marian: Thanks for hosting me! I’m happy to be here, and new book day is always special.
TRC: We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?
Marian: I’ve lived in places as far apart as Sri Lanka, Texas and Nunavut. I love spicy food, once wrote Transformers fanfics, and have used my keyboard for so long the only letters that haven’t been worn off the keys at all are Q, Z and X. Maybe some day I’ll write about a heroine called Zyza Quinx and get rid of those too.
TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?
Marian: On the fantasy side, Tolkien was a major influence—so much so it took me a while to break out of the traditional high fantasy mindset. I’m glad there’s so much variety in that genre now—other spec-fic authors who have influenced me worldbuilding-wise are George R. R. Martin, Jack Vance and Tanith Lee.
In romance, I love me some Pamela Morsi historicals, Mary Balogh’s prostitute-heroine stories, Lorraine Heath’s Texas novels and Courtney Milan’s historicals. The three most important things I learned from reading romances and women’s fiction are : evoke emotion, stoke the sexual tension high, and create a vivid, atmospheric setting. Anne Stuart, Joanne Harris and Philippa Gregory are excellent at the setting part (among their other strengths).
TRC: When not writing what do you do to relax?
Marian: Relax… relax… yes, I remember doing that once. Well, there are always books that need reading, and I enjoy calligraphy. Learning to make my own bookmarks now…And I collect keychains…
TRC: Your bio states your write fantasy with a scientific twist? Would you please explain?
Marian: A dash of science is a great way to shake up a fantasy world (look at what new discoveries or advances in technology have done to ours, over and over). For instance, what if the last free nation, in a final attempt to withstand a conquering empire, developed germ warfare?
I’ve written more or less traditional fantasies, with magic and dragons, where the main character is a photographer. Or a psychologist. The science grounds the fantasy and the fantasy allows the science to be taken in new and unexpected directions to influence the story.
TRC: THE HIGHEST TIDE is the fourth installment in your EDEN series. Would you please tell us something about the premise?
Marian: The continent of Eden is divided into five medieval lands which are more or less equal—one nation has magic, for instance, but another has the Tree of Life (that’s why it’s called Eden). But when steam engines and cannons are developed in one particular land, the balance shifts. Arms races begin. Governments plan how to seize their share, if not more, of this new power, and eventually there will be no neutral ground in Eden.
But that’s the fantasy part. The romance side of it is ordinary people competing in races with their newly built steamships, forging bonds with foreigners from other lands—and falling in love. The specter of impending war is still in the background. For now.
TRC: Do you believe that each of the instalments can be read as a stand alone or should the storylines be read in order?
Marian: Each romance features a different main couple, so they can be read alone, but it’s even more fun to read them in order. Fewer spoilers that way, too!
TRC: How many books do you have planned for the series?
Marian: I’m working on THE REDDEST WATER (the one with the rabid shark, Jaws meets Cujo) and I’d need maybe three more books to completely wrap it up.
TRC: You have labeled the genre SHARKPUNK romance. What is SHARKPUNK romance and what qualifies a storyline to be labeled as such?
Marian: Just as there’s steampunk and biopunk, there’s sharkpunk. Take the shark away and the story is dead in the water, pun intended.
Only THE COLDEST SEA, coming out in May, deviates from this. Certain species of shark would be fine in the freezing waters next to an iceberg, but their human operatives would die of hypothermia.
TRC: What challenges or difficulties (research, logistics, background) did you encounter writing this particular series?
Marian: Oh, where to start?
I researched sailing ships and steamships, how to cause a tidal wave with explosives, shark biology and behavior, how killer whale echolocation works. But writing this series was also a great reason to watch Master and Commander, Jaws, The Caine Mutiny and Das Boot.
The most interesting challenge for me, though, was to have romances between very different characters in each book. That meant, for each couple, the conflict would be original. A serious problem for Miri and Alyster in THE FARTHEST SHORE (she’s what his people consider a half-breed) isn’t an issue for Jason and Lera in THE HIGHEST TIDE, even though those two are from completely different lands.
TRC: When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?
Marian: It’s both. I decide who the characters are—especially the traits that will bring them into conflict with each other, like Lera’s directness vs. Jason’s, um, creative interpretation of the truth—but after that, they’re on their own. The stories just wouldn’t work without those particular characters.
TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writers fail in this endeavor?
Marian: Give readers something they can identify with. I love romances where either the hero or heroine must carefully save their money, or where the heroine’s community disapproves of her independence. I understand both of those, and I sympathize muchly. But at the same time, some of the keepers on my romance shelves feature unusual professions or locales or characters. I find those just as intriguing, in a different way. What’s different is often fascinating.
Fails are when the characters do nothing interesting at the start; I once read a soulmate romance which began with the hero moping because he hadn’t met his True Love yet. I like characters with practical goals beyond “get married and live happily ever after”. Also, while flaws are fine, some of my pet peeves are misogynistic heroes and women so overwhelmed by a man’s hotness that they constantly blush, stammer and trip over their own feet.
TRC: Writer’s Block is a very real phenomenon. How do you handle the pressures and anxiety of writer’s block?
Marian: I always have other ideas in mind, so I could work on those projects instead. But nearly always, writers’ block means there’s some issue with the story that I haven’t consciously identified just yet.
With THE COLDEST SEA, I originally had the heroine leaving home because she didn’t want to marry a certain man. Then she met the hero and was attracted to him. After four chapters I knew this setup wasn’t working, because there was no conflict.
I wrote out ideas for such conflict in a dialogue-with-myself form, and then realized the answer: yes, she’s still leaving home. But it’s because her fiance didn’t want to marry her; he jilted her. She’s still in love with him, though, and she believes if she just waits long enough, he’ll realize he was wrong. Now, when she meets the hero, she’s torn between him and her ex-fiance. After that, the story wrote itself.
TRC: Many authors bounce ideas and information with other authors or friends and family. With whom do you bounce ideas?
Marian: Just ideas? I don’t. To me, the idea is the starting point—I still need characters, plot and setting, at a minimum. I have dozens of ideas, and rarely need feedback on those because almost any idea could be made into a good story (unless the idea is something out of How Not To Write A Novel). It’s the execution that matters.
That said, I find the Absolute Write forums invaluable in terms of discussion with other writers, and especially for technical information. I’ve asked lots of questions there on topics as diverse as developing photographs from glass plates and the explosive potential of flour, and have received a lot of helpfuul information.
TRC: What three things would you like to accomplish in the next five years?
Write a fantasy novel and query that.
Visit either France or Japan.
Clean out the attic. If no one sees or hears of me after year five, you’ll know what happened.
TRC: What is something that few, if any people, know about you?
Marian: While Marian has always been my legal first name, no one ever used it until I turned 18.
TRC: On what are you currently working?
Marian: The next Eden novel and a Christmas romance, one of a trilogy inspired by A Christmas Carol. Each features a ghost from the original story.
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
Marian: I blog about writing and publishing my favorite genres at Flights of Fantasy and have long juicy excerpts of my books at Marian Perera.com. I’m also trying to Tweet more, so look me up @MDPerera.
Favorite TV Show
Ever Decreasing Circles, a Britcom from the ‘80s.
Last Movie You Saw
Othello, the version starring Lawrence Fishburne and Kenneth Branagh.
Favorite Musical Group
Either Roxette or Nightwish, depending on whether I’m in the mood for pop or metal.
Dark or Milk Chocolate
Dark, like my men.
Secret Celebrity Crush
Alexander Siddig, back in his Deep Space Nine days.
Last Vacation Destination
Nova Scotia. It was so much fun—I got to pick apples, picnic on the beach, and go through a corn maze. I pretended I was in Children of the Corn, and He Who Walks Behind The Rows was coming to get me.
Do you have any pets?
Not yet, but I always wanted a cat. Previously where I lived, a neighbor’s orange tabby used to wander around, so I’d coax him in with a laser pointer and play with him for an hour or so. Until one day he came in with a note around his neck saying “Please do not let me into your house.”
TRC: Thank you Marian for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on all of your success. We wish you all the best.
Marian: Thanks again for hosting me. I enjoyed the interview!
Marian is graciously offering an ecopy of THE HIGHEST TIDE to TWO (2) commenters (international) and a paper copy to ONE (1) commenter (US/Canada only).
Please note: The paper copy of THE HIGHEST TIDE will not be available until June 2015. The US/CANADA winner has the option of choosing an ecopy if you do not want to wait.
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9. Giveaway runs from February 17-21, 2015