Interview: Aimee Friedman

Monday, August 3, 2009

FACT: It's hard to find good mermaid novels.

However, I was lucky enough to have stumbled upon Aimee Friedman's lovely novel, Sea Change, a few weeks ago. This retelling of the mermaid novel is not only refreshing, but smart and sexy. Don't believe me? Read our review.

This week, we had the great pleasure of speaking with the ever charming Ms. Friedman about her favorite books, her typical writing day and, of course, Sea Change!

As always, beware! This interview is SPOILERLICIOUS.

Hi Aimee! Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us! We really love all sorts of different books and music over here at The Reader’s Quill. We were curious… if you had to choose your top three favorite novels and musicians what and who would they be, respectively?

Thank you so much for the opportunity! I'm a big fan of The Reader's Quill. You've definitely started with the toughest question--since I'm also such a lover of books and music, it's hard for me to narrow these choices down. But, if I must, here goes.

Top Three Favorite Novels:
* Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte: Ahead-of-its-time girl power, mystery, and a breathless romance. There's a reason it's a classic!

* The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon: Old New York, comic books, and a breathless romance. Noticing a pattern here? :)

* The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. No real romance here, but just pristine, beautiful writing and great characterization--it's one of the reasons I fell in love with books growing up.

Top Three Musicians:
*Aimee Mann (and not just because we share a first name)
*The Beatles (of course)
*The Shins (great to write to).

We loved Sea Change. Could you tell us a bit about how you came up with the idea?
I have always been fascinated by mermaid stories, from the Hans Christian Andersen fairy-tale to the movie SPLASH. A few summers ago, I was riding on a ferry, looking down at the ocean spray, and I began to wonder: What if the traditional gender roles were reversed? What if the girl, a human, fell in love with a boy, who happened to come from the sea? Out of that, Sea Change was born. I'm so glad you enjoyed the novel!

What is your typical writing day like?

It's pretty atypical, because I have another job in addition to writing: I'm a full-time book editor! So during the week, I try to work on my writing at night, when I get home from the office, but by then I'm usually pretty drained and all I want to do is watch Top Chef and eat pizza. So my weekends are usually my writing time: I'll wake up, pack up my laptop, and immediately head for my favorite neighborhood cafe, where I'll order a tall iced vanilla latte to keep me going. I'll work the late afternoon, have a quick lunch, and then write until the night-time, at which point I'll see friends or go to a movie to clear my head.

Which is your favorite character in the novel? Which was your favorite to write, if different?
I have to say Leo was my favorite character. He is mysterious and engaging, and different from most boys his age. I wish I'd known a guy like Leo back in high school!

What were you like as a teenager? Did you ever have any Leo’s or CeeCee’s in your life?
To get a sense of what I was like as a teenager, I'd encourage people to read two of my other novels, THE YEAR MY SISTER GOT LUCKY and A NOVEL IDEA. Both the heroines in those novels--Katie and Norah, respectively--were modeled very closely on how I was in high school: a daydreamer, a reader, a writer, tongue-tied around cute boys, a city girl, fiercely close to my sister and my friends. I think we've all experienced our share of CeeCees in our lives, but the thing about CeeCee is, she's more than just a snooty airhead. She really does have a good heart, as Miranda learns.
We really love Miranda. Do you share any similarities with her?
Like Miranda, I attended the Bronx High School of Science, but unlike her, I was NOT very good at math and science. My favorite subjects were English, History, and other humanities. Miranda has a lot of traits that I would LIKE to have: she's much more rational and level-headed than I am. I tend to be overly dramatic... which is probably why I'm a fiction writer, and not a scientist!

Do you find any other areas of fantasy interesting? Could you see yourself writing about magic or vampires anytime soon?
I'd love to! I have lots of different ideas for future projects, ranging from the realistic to the fantastical. It's just a matter of finding the time to write it all down. :)

Let’s talk a little bit about Sea Change. In the novel, you tell us Leo’s name means “King of the sea.” Is he really the Poseidon to our ocean?
I love that question! I stumbled upon the name "Leomaris" as I was researching sea mythology, and it seemed the perfect name for Miranda's love interest: sexy, mysterious, intriguing. Leo is all those things, but he's also pretty humble, and that's why he's a little shy about his grand name.

Since Miranda is a relative of the Williams family, is she part mermaid? If so, could she live in the ocean with Leo someday?
Ooh, I'm afraid these are all answers that would be filed under "Potential Sequel."

Will Linda and Miranda become friends again?


We kind of like Mr. Illingworth. Do we see a perspective stepfather for Miranda?

Once again...ditto! (Though to be perfectly honest, how would weird would it be if T.J. were her step-brother?).

Do you plan on writing a sequel to Sea Change? If so, any hints you can give us as to the future of Miranda and Leo?

Well, by now you can probably tell that I'd love to! I'm currently working on a new project, but once that's done, I definitely have ideas brewing for the continuation of Miranda's adventures on Selkie Island...

Thanks so much, Aimee!

You're welcome! And please feel free to check out my website: for more info on me and my writing.

Be sure to check back later this week for Aimee's personal music playlist!

  1. Diana Said,

    thanks for the great interview!! Excited to hear news about a sequel :)

    Posted on December 30, 2009 at 9:58 PM

  2. Anonymous Said,

    Oh I hope there's gonna be a sequel to Sea Change, because I freaking loved it!!! Now I know there's hope!!!! : )

    Posted on February 11, 2010 at 4:06 PM

  3. Anonymous Said,

    So, on a lunch break from work my friend and I were looking for a new book to read and randomly picked up sea change having no idea what it was going to be about, and after 1 day we've finished the book and can not wait for the sequel!! It was mysterious, sexy and just a great read!! Is there a release date so i can start my countdown?!

    Posted on March 17, 2010 at 5:19 AM

  4. Anonymous Said,

    Sea change was an awesome piece of writing which left the reader feeling young, refreshed and ready to elope to an island in the Pacific and fall in love.Sea change was gorgeous. A book i wouldnt mind continually reading until the sequel is released!!!!! Regardless of the time limit, this book is just too good to put down :)

    Posted on December 30, 2010 at 10:18 AM

  5. Anonymous Said,

    Do you know what her sequel will be called? Or if she has even started working on it yet? Ive been waiting for almost a year and havent heard a thing about it!

    Posted on August 15, 2011 at 10:01 PM

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