Before Dellinia, there was Dalanda.
In this standalone novel set in the world of Standing, time can be your worst enemy. On the water planet of Dalanda, a mergirl discovers a deadly truth that will literally destroy her world. In a caste system where no one will listen to a sixteenth-born, speaking up can be hard. Astrid has learned to bow under the disdainful gaze of her society. She has learned to be silent and fade into the crowd. But the time for that is over. Now she must reveal herself and speak up to save her people.
A hidden message. A mysterious boy. A conspiracy. In this world nothing is as it seems. Will Astrid be able to navigate the web of secrets and save the race who has always rejected her?
Targeted Age Group:: 13-25
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
After writing Standing, I had all of these backstories growing in my mind. I started to wonder, so how did these technologically advanced mermaids get to earth in the first place? That's when Astrid's story started to grow. I set it thousands of years before stand on a water planet that is deeply divided by social groups. As a talented young scientist, Astrid is struggling with both having her voice heard and with how far her obligation to others goes. For her, knowledge doesn't equal power. It's meant to be a story of bravery, fear, perseverance, empathy, and finding your way in the world.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
For Astrid, I started by considering her core values along with how her environment might have impacted her. She's lucky to have some support from her family, but she is still treated terribly by her community. This leads to a shyness and tendency to keep her head down. When she learns the fate of the planet, this challenges that gut instinct deeply because she has to go against it if there is any hope of escape. The characters of Rune, Dev, and Ris were also born from this question of how the kind of deep stigmatization they faced in their society would affect their trajectory in various ways. How far does compassion go? Astrid struggles with questions of forgiveness and redemption and how to reconcile them with the remaining scars from her past.
The merwoman screamed as much out of fear as of pain. The contractions grew stronger and she felt her daughter emerging from her body like a storm ripping through a forest. She prayed desperately for the child’s survival. I can’t stand to lose one more. Her husband squeezed her hand as with one last push the baby slid into the water.
The mother’s breath caught as she saw the paleness of her sweet daughter’s face as the cord was cut. The doctor stood staring at the little girl with his mouth twisted in barely concealed disgust.
“I can’t lose another, ” the mother muttered. “Something is wrong. Help her!” she screamed at the apathetic doctor.
“Her heart is weak. I’m sorry, but as a sixteen she doesn’t have the level of medical coverage necessary to save her. Better off this way anyways.”
The mother scooped up her child and brought her soft, clammy skin to her own. She locked eyes with the doctor and spit, “I am a one and my daughter will survive. If she doesn’t, you will answer to the royal courts. Consider carefully. You know a three won’t win against a one.”
Elaina hated using the class card. But when her healthy, live daughter was handed back to her hours later, she didn’t regret it. “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you have a weak heart, Astrid,” she whispered, stroking the child’s innocent face.
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