Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Blog Tour: Whirl by Emma Raveling Interview + Giveaway!

Today I am really excited to have Emma Raveling here to talk about her novel Whirl. I loved this wonderful fantasy novel (review coming soon) and I really enjoyed coming up with things to quiz Emma on. :)

Hello! It is wonderful to have you visiting Songs and Stories, I absolutely loved Whirl!  I read it in just a couple hours without stopping. J

Hi, Natalie! Thank you so much for having me here today. And I’m so glad you enjoyed Whirl!

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a thirty-something year old fantasy writer and frequent traveler. My husband and charming German Shepherd are the great loves of my life. I’m hopelessly addicted to coffee and diet coke, and am a dedicated practitioner of vipassana meditation. Whirl is my debut novel.  

What made you choose ondines to write about?

The inspiration for the Ondine Quartet series came from classical music. One of the masterpieces by the French composer Maurice Ravel is a work for solo piano called Gaspard de la Nuit. Fiendishly difficult, it is one of the monumental works ever written for the instrument. Ravel composed the three-movement piece based upon a series of poems by Aloysius Bertrand.

The first movement is entitled Ondine and is based upon the poem of the same name by Bertrand. I included this poem as the epigraph for Whirl because it is the inspiration behind the entire Ondine Quartet series. Based upon an old French myth, the poem tells the story of Ondine, a water nymph who sings to a mortal man, attempting to lure him to her. In love with a mortal woman, he rejects her love and pleas to join her in ruling the water world. Heartbroken, Ondine fades away and disappears beneath the waves.

I highly recommend readers of Whirl to listen to Ravel’s Ondine of they get a chance. The intricate, impressionist music immediately conjures the haunting, yet darkly romantic image of Ondine as she descends beneath the waves.

(I listened to Gaspard de la Nuit while putting this post together and it truly is a lovely piece of music. :)

If you lived inside your novel, what would you want to be? Ondine? Selkie? Dessondine?

Although dessondines are powerful magical beings, I would not want to be one because I wouldn’t want to live an immortal life as an underwater creature. Plus, they’re kind of creepy looking. : )

It would be impossible to choose between ondine and selkie. I’d love to be an ondine with a Virtue (a special magic power), probably the Virtue of Healing. But then again, it’d also be really cool to be a shapeshifting selkie warrior with superhuman physical abilities.

How did you come up with the names of your characters?

Character names are very important to me as a writer. They can work to reinforce the world and structure you’ve created within your story. Before I started writing Whirl, I spent a great deal of time studying French etymology. Most of the names used in the Ondine Quartet world (such as race names, location names, special terms, etc) were constructed out of specific meanings, and the combination of various word roots.

Most of the character names for ondines, dessondines, and demillirs come from the French. For example, my protagonist is Kendra Irisavie. Kendra is a name of French origin and has the meaning “water baby” or “child of the water”. Her last name, Irisavie, comes from the French phrase, iris de la vie, or Iris of Life. Her name itself is a reflection of several deeper themes that are woven throughout the story.

The selkies in the series have a combination of Welsh first names with French last names. (an example is the main male character, Tristan Belicoux). The name Tristan means “tumult”, which defines his journey throughout the series. I created selkie names in this way because of the Anglo-Norman historical connection. The language the selkies speak is actually Old Norman, which is an archaic form of French.

What are your favorite kinds of scenes to write?

It depends on my mood. There are times when I love to write intimate scenes and dialogues between characters. It gives me a sense of space and allows me to really explore who each of my characters are as people. Sometimes, I’m amazed or surprised at the stuff they end up saying because I don’t always know where it comes from. When I write these scenes, it feels as though my characters truly exist and I’m just a conduit through which they transmit their thoughts or emotions.

But there are also times when I need a good kickass fight scene, and I must admit that I do enjoy writing them! There’s a different tempo and feel to it that’s quite thrilling. Just as it’s important to mix things up to achieve balance in life, I enjoy mixing up and balancing my stories with a combination of both introspective scenes and extroverted energy.

What are some of your favorite stories?

I love stories where there is some type of powerful internal journey involved for the main character. Change is very important to me - how a character grows and transforms over the arc of a story.

Some of my favorite books of all time, including Kafka’s Metamorphosis, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, and Toni Morrison’s Beloved, have this type of strong character themes.

For YA or MG books, some of my favorites include Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, the Hunger Games, and the Harry Potter series. 

If you could go to dinner with three authors, living or dead, which three would they be?

I would choose Shakespeare, Dante, and JK Rowling. Shakespeare and Dante because their works had a profound influence on me when I first discovered them. It would be marvelous to have the opportunity to sit and talk with such geniuses!

JK Rowling because the Harry Potter series is one of my favorites, and one of those rare books that made me realize magic has the power to resonate at any age. I would love to ask her more about Hogwarts and the wizarding world she created!

Thank you so much for coming! I am looking forward to reading Billow, sequel to Whirl. :)

About the Author:

Emma Raveling is a fantasy author who leads a slightly eccentric life traveling throughout the world with her accommodating husband and charming, neurotic dog.

Hopelessly addicted to coffee and diet coke, she has a strange love of spreadsheets and organizational tools because they give her the illusion that she is somehow in control of the chaos that is her life. A dedicated practitioner of vipassana meditation, Emma loves to cook and often spends time scouring the Internet for new recipes. She adores beautiful art such as painting and sculpture, classical music, lyrical writing, and great graphic design.

Whirl is her debut book. She is currently busy at work writing Billow, the second installment of the Ondine Quartet series.

About the Book:

Seventeen-year-old Kendra Irisavie is an ondine, a water elemental caught in the middle of an ancient war. The Aquidae are immortal dark demons who will stop at nothing to destroy the fragile balance of the Elemental world. Fierce and independent, Kendra has always played by her own rules. Gifted with the powerful magic of Virtue and trained to be a deadly fighter, she has spent her life breaking hearts and getting into trouble. When her life explodes one violent night in a northern California city, a dark stranger appears, promising answers to her mysterious past. Alone and with no one to trust, she must now navigate through a dangerous new world, face the temptations of a forbidden romance, and remain true to her duty and destiny. All while the Aquidae continue to hunt her down, in the hopes of eliminating her forever… An edgy urban fantasy/paranormal romance, Whirl is recommended for older teens and mature readers due to strong language and mild sexual situations.

You can buy Whirl at: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Smashwords

Thanks to the Bookish Snob and Emma Raveling, I have an e-copy of Whirl to share with you! To enter, leave a comment saying if you would rather be a selkie, ondine or dessondine along with your e-mail address. For an extra entry, you can spread the word and leave a link. Following is not required but greatly appreciated. Good Luck!

Follow the tour to read more interviews, reviews and guest posts, not to mention more giveaways and the chance to win a copy of Whirl, a poster and a mug at the end of the tour. Tomorrow's stop is being hosted by Good Choice Reading.


  1. I am a new follower on GFC as astroqueen67 Holly Swint *I would love to read this book! :)

  2. Hi Natalie - Thank you so much for having me here and for being a stop on the Whirl tour.It was such a pleasure to answer your questions and to have the chance to share a bit more about the Ondine Quartet world.

    Good luck to everyone on the giveaway!

    - Emma

  3. I'd like to be a selkie so I could shape shift. :D
    lvsgund at

  4. I think it would be fantastic to be a selkie. They are mysterious!
    gfc follower

    thanks for the chance:)

    bchild5 at aol dot com

  5. I think I'd want to be a selkie...something about being a warrior sounds awesome....all though.....being a dessondine has that appeal as well...I mean immortal with super powers!!!
    Oh boogers where's my coin to flip?????
    thanks for the chance to win :0)


  6. I would rather be an ondine

    Thanks for the giveaway! :)


  7. I want to be an ondine cause having special powers seem awesome and I have never been into shape-shifting. Unless I can turn into a cat but since they are warriors in this book, I don't think that is useful in battle lol

    Thanks for the giveaways.

    thenarcissuslibrary at gmail dot com

  8. It would be very cool to be an ondine or a selkie. Hard to choose!!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com
    GFC Darlene

  9. +1 for tweeting:!/DarleneBookNook/status/130010539685457921

    darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com
    GFC Darlene

  10. Umm... that's a hard question to answer, maybe a selkie.