Continue below to read my interview with the author and be sure to follow this link - [TOUR SCHEDULE] to check out the rest of the stops on the 'WHEN OCEANS RISE' blog tour brought to you by TBR & BEYOND TOURS, CREATIVE JAMES MEDIA, and ROBIN ALVAREZ!
When Oceans Rise
Creative James Media
Pub Date: May 23rd, 2023
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Submerged in a toxic relationship and disconnected from everyone, she turns to the sea to decide her fate. Its decision? Toss her to the sea witch.
Seventeen-year-old Malaya is cursed. In her family, every girl’s first love ends in death after falling for someone evil. Good thing Malaya’s dream guy isn’t monstrous.
Except the curse is real and preventing Malaya from noticing how much he has gaslit and isolated her until she can’t be saved. With no other options, the sea witch is the only one to help her. Bartering her voice for a new life where she and her abusive boyfriend never met, Malaya accidentally swaps places with an alternate timeline version of herself who didn’t make her mistakes. As she tries to undo the switch, the sea witch uses Malaya’s voice to unleash Filipino mythological creatures into the worlds.
Can a champion, an alternate timeline sister, and Malaya fight these beasts and stop the sea witch before she destroys both timelines?
Content Warning: gaslighting, one paragraph with physical abuse
i n t e r v i e w
Tell me a little about how this story first came to be. Did it start with an image, a voice, a concept, a dilemma, or something else?
This book started with a moment in my past when I chose to go surfing during a hurricane. Not during the day of the storm, of course. People who live near beaches will likely know this, but in the days leading up to a hurricane, the storm will feed the ocean. At seventeen, I chose to go out into those dangerous swells, and I almost died.
A creative writing professor asked me to explore why, and my immediate answer was that I was seventeen and at seventeen you just do reckless things. But I’d blocked out most of the truth…
At the time, I’d been in an abusive relationship with a guy who gaslit me until I’d lost my power, my sense of self, and my connections with the people who could have saved me. That day in the surf, I got caught in a fierce riptide, and I wondered if it would just be easier to let go.
Ultimately, I didn’t. But When Oceans Rise is built around that entire scene of powerlessness and struggle and questioning what I was worth.
Can you share something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?
One of my favorite aspects about this book that never gets mentioned is the web series Debunking the Aswang! In When Oceans Rise, the sea witch gains power as people see and believe the monsters she’s releasing. So Malaya and her family create a paranormal hunters web show called Debunking the Aswang to prove the monsters aren’t real (even though they are), so that they can keep the sea witch from gaining the power she needs to escape her underwater prison.
What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
Marie Lu is a big influence. I loved her Legend series! I also mention Maggie Stiefvater! Her prose is so lyrical, and her plots are intricate. I always have to read her stuff at least twice: once for enjoyment and once for studying!
What life experiences have shaped your writing most?
I was quite the introvert as a child and very fearful of speaking up when people misunderstood me. Just feeling unheard for so long drives me write! At least, if someone picks up my book it’s because they’re choosing to hear me.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I like to take on new hobbies just to see if I can do them and then give them up! No, but seriously, I really like learning new things. I know how to do a lot of stuff like surfing, woodworking, knitting, etc, because I just want to do a bunch of different things. I always secretly justify it by thinking, maybe I can make a superhero character who likes to knit or a woodworking vampire!
What other projects are in the works?
I am working on a novel about soul families called Starseed! It’s based on the idea that we all come to Earth to experience growth as souls, and we do that by signing contracts about the experiences on Earth we will endure that will help us grow.
But these two sisters, who are twin flames and love each other very much in the soul realm, actually betray and kill each other in every human life to the point of near obliteration. They have to figure out how to navigate their next human life cycle or risk their own destruction.
About the Author:
Robin Alvarez is the author of the #1 New Release YA Ethnic Fairy Tale When Oceans Rise (May 2023).
Strong female characters, mythological creatures, and mixed-race perspective are hallmarks of her work. While she’s spent the majority of her life in beach towns, having almost drowned several times, she currently resides in a desert where the waters are less likely to kill her.
Robin’s work has been featured on OwlCrate, ABC, and NBC news affiliates.