The author of this fun book is Angela Morrison. And she says there will be more about Michael and Leesie if things go well with the first book. To sum up her life story, she grew up in Washington State, went to BYU, got married, had four kids then decided it was time to write. After quite the interesting story, this, her first book, was born. To add to the excitement, for the past year or so, she has been living in Switzerland and Singapore where her husband has been teaching.
Michael's small i's are an artsy poet thing. After the storm, he doesn't feel like a whole person . . . the small i's symbolize that. He capitalizes them in his first dive log before the storm and the last dive log when he goes to see Leesie again. I was afraid an editor would make me capitalize all the small i's. You wouldn't believe how hard it is to get Word to leave them alone. But I was blessed with an editor who is a poet herself and loved the poetic devises I used.
** I searched your site to see if you talk about going diving, which of course, you do. But, have you done free diving like Michael? If so, my husband says "you're crazy!"
We did all our training and then we swam out to the reef. Our instructor dove first--effortless, a dancer in the water, he elegantly fell to the bottom, hung out a few moments, and then rejoined us on the surface. I made it down 25 feet so I passed the course. My husband, not to be outdone by the young fit instructor with impossibly long, dark eyelashes, dove all the way to the bottom, too. Fifty-five feet deep on his first real free dive. His lips were purple by the time he made it back to the surface! Ah, the things we do for love. At least, I learned enough to get the free diving scenes accurate.
Switzerland is SO beautiful. Living there ruined traveling elsewhere in Europe for us. We'd go to London, Paris, Spain, even the Riviera and say, "This isn't as pretty as my drive on the Autoroute to take the kids to school every day." We lived Lausanne, in the French canton of Vaud, along Lake Geneva. I could see the Alps across the lake from my attic studio window. I lived just up the highway from the Chateau du Chillon--my favorite castle in Europe. The biggest challenge for me was speaking French. I can fake it much better now, but it's still faking it. I loved the people, though--especially the church members we really got to know. I didn't find the Swiss cold at all. These people were lovely and warm and took us into their hearts and homes.
Living in Lausanne is literally turning into an adventure for a book. My next novel for Razorbill, SING ME TO SLEEP, is about an ugly duckling singer who gets made over by her choir friends when she lands the solo spot. They go to Lausanne to compete in the Choral Olympics and a mysterious hot guy from another choir puts the moves on her. When she gets home she's torn between this boy whose changed the way she view herself forever and the boy back home who has always loved her. It's a heartbreaker, this one. I've revising it now. It will be out next year about this time.
Singapore is a big Asian city. If you have to live in a big Asian city, this is the one to choose. It's clean, safe, and green--hot and humid all the time. I have to confess--I'm such an American. We don't have a car here and have to take taxis when we go anywhere. I so miss my Honda. The cheap airlines here are great, though. I've been able to do some travel--Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City, Phukett, Bangkok--that will make it's way into my next novel about Leesie and Michael, UNBROKEN CONNECTION (if I can convince Razorbill to sign it which will all depend on TAKEN BY STORM sales).
** Did you stick the "Mormon angle" in just because that's what you know? Or because you want to clear up misconceptions? Or tell people about the church? Or no reason at all? (I found it very fun and refreshing by the way, and not too "in your face." The description of Sacrament meeting was great!)
My inspiration for this novel was all the young women I'd had in my seminary classes over the years who live what Leesie lives in the novel, but LDS readers weren't my first audience. TAKEN BY STORM was my creative thesis for my MFA at Vermont College, so I had to craft a novel anyone could pick up and sink into.
Love those answers! And I love that I was able to read this book and discover yet another new favorite author. Here's to many more books to come!