PaperBackSwap Blog

Interview with Author & PBS Member and Book Give-Away

We asked and WOW did we get a response! We are very happy to announce the beginning of a new feature here on the PaperBackSwap Blog. We are proud to give a showcase to our Members who are also Authors by sharing some of their work. We will have Author Interviews, Book Reviews and Book Give-Aways of some of our own very talented Members!

We begin this series with an interview with Member and Author H.L. Blake. We hope you enjoy!

Seagirl by  H. L. Blake

Cheryl: Thank you Ms. Blake for agreeing to an interview with us for the PBS Blog. I thoroughly enjoyed your book, Seagirl. Where did the idea come from?

Ms. Blake: I have always loved the ocean, even though I haven’t been lucky enough to live near it. My sister had her wedding on a beach in North Carolina, and we stayed in a beach house there for a few days before the ceremony. It was an amazing experience that stayed with me for weeks when I came back to “inlander” civilization. I was looking for a book to recapture the magic feeling of that trip and couldn’t find just the right one. Then I woke up at 4 a.m. with Serena’s story fully formed in my head, wrote the first and last chapter that morning, and filled in the rest in the next few weeks.

Are you as enamored with the sea as Serena?

Oh yes. When Serena’s stream of consciousness talks about her love of the ocean, that is me talking. And some people do give me funny looks when I go on and on about it! I still don’t know why I don’t live there. Someday perhaps.


There is a theme of loss through the book, and all of the main characters seem to deal with their losses in different ways. But returning to the sea is healing for all of them, has there been a place of healing for you?

I think nature in general is healing for me. A quiet stream in the hills of Pennsylvania with nothing else around – the desolation and grandeur of the northern part of the Grand Canyon without all the tourist traps – and of course the rush and wind of the ocean. These places clear all the detritus of the world away and show the earth in its raw, original form, clean, breathtaking, and wild. When I spend time there, my mind is clearer and my soul made calmer by the experience.


This book is referred to as Young Adult fiction with a dash of fantasy, but I believe it is a book that young people and adults will enjoy equally. Did you write it as a book for young adults?

Young Adult fiction is a funny genre. I think when the main character is of that age, publishers and perhaps readers too automatically identify it as young adult fiction. I personally enjoy YA lit and read it extensively, even though I am a few years past that age myself! But I did try to keep the vocabulary and prose to an age appropriate to a main character in her early twenties, so by extension it would likely be comfortable for a reader of that age. Certainly, any age is welcome to read and enjoy it – we can all be YA at heart!


I related to Serena’s struggle with acceptance, both of her mother’s death and coming to terms with herself and her father. I wanted to tell her to take the time she needs to heal. Was there anything you would have liked to say to Serena?

Don’t let people tell you what you need to feel. The pressures from around Serena led her to suppress her emotions unhealthily for years, to the extent that she cut herself off somewhat from others, and it was painful to try to “live” again after all that time. Persons, even well-meaning loved ones, can cause great harm by telling those in pain to get over it. Only the one who has been hurt has the right to say what she is feeling and what she needs to survive and heal in time.


Serena is an artist, using her art as a means to survive. Do you find being creative is as necessary for yourself?

Absolutely. Writing is my lifeline and has been as long as I can remember. When I write, it is like opening a vein onto the page, my whole heart and soul given to the art – certainly it can be raw and painful – but afterwards I have something real and beautiful, and feel that ugliness and pain has been drained away. My poetry is most like that, my prose also to an extent. For me, writing Seagirl was a difficult but ultimately very healing experience.


Serena loves sea creatures as much as she loves the sea. Have you ever seen a mermaid?

*Laughing* I wish I could say I had. I did believe in fairies and unicorns long past the age when one usually gives up such things, and still greatly enjoy escaping into the world of fantasy. Just because they only exist as words on a page does not make such things not real – they are as real as your own inner thoughts, dreams, and imagination. You don’t have to give up dreaming and believing just because you are an “adult”!


Being a long time member of PaperBackSwap, do you find being an author and a member is at odds for you?

I’m not sure what you mean by “at odds” unless you mean that “reading” time takes away from “writing” time. That much is true! I have to force myself, as E. L. Konigsburg says, “to apply the seat of your pants to the seat of your chair and finish!” Sometimes the lure of the freshly arrived paperback in the mail overcomes the desire to give hours of blood, sweat, and tears into finishing a chapter or two of my own next novel. But I suppose I can always claim my reading time as research into the genre…


What is next for you?

I have previously written a science fiction novel for middle grades, which needs some editing before I try and publish it too. I also have a dystopia in the works (what author nowadays does not?) which is going to be very hard to finish, but I know will be my best work yet. My greatest hope is to be published more widely. It is very difficult (impossible) to break into authorship these days. Online- and self-publishing gives starving artists like me an outlet, but the one single item on my bucket list is genuine national publication. Here’s hoping.


Thank you Ms. Blake for this interview!

Ms. Blake has generously offered 2 brand-new autographed copies of her book, Seagirl to members who comment here on the Blog.

Good luck to everyone!







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65 Responses to “Interview with Author & PBS Member and Book Give-Away”

  1. Karen (ohiobookworm) , says:

    sounds like an interesting book…one I could read then pass on to my fellow read-aholics…

  2. PAMELA G. (pamgram1) says:

    Thank you for graciously offering your books. I would love to read it and pass it on to someone else who may enjoy it like me. Congrats on your success and hope you have further.

  3. Sandy D. says:

    Congratulations on finishing your book and GOOD LUCK on becoming the next best seller/author.

  4. R E K. (bigstone) , says:

    One of the genres I read is YA because I have family members who are this age and because there are so many outstanding authors who write for YA readers. This books sounds like one I’d recommend to my family members but I would like to read it, too, so I can talk about it with them.

  5. Gail P. (TinkerPirate) Grants Pass, OR says:

    What a great idea!

    And I can speak personally to the healing power of water. I currently live 4 blocks from the Pacific Ocean and love being lulled to sleep to the sound of the crashing surf. Next year we are moving. I’ll miss the surf, but it’s OK since we’ll have a river at the end of our backyard.

  6. Rachel P. (Retrogram) , says:

    I lived 30 feet from High tide in Maine and miss it very much. It is very soothing even during a storm.
    I would love to read your book and compare your feelings for the ocean with mine.

  7. Norma M. (virgo) says:

    I love the sound of the ocean or a walk on the beach. I would enjoy this book and would pass it on to another water lover. Thanks for giving your book to paperback swap members.

  8. Laura G. (summersoff) says:

    Always in for a beach read.

  9. Penny T. (iluvmysteries) says:

    I grew up near the ocean and always love books with an ocean setting. Please enter my name in the drawing. Thank you.

  10. Hannah C. (animaladmirer) says:

    Sounds awesome!

  11. Ani K. (goddessani) says:

    When my DH and I were making the decision to move out of southern Cali, we could have moved anywhere. One thing we both agreed on, is that we can’t live further than an hour from the ocean. Being close to water is important to us even though we’re not active with the water: we don’t swim, we no longer boat. But the rhythm of the water is the rhythm of our souls.

  12. Hope C. says:

    Thanks for the opportunity

  13. Lori R. (lreynolds) says:

    Sounds like a great book!! I hope to win one of the copies……

  14. SirryD says:

    I love the sea too! Would love to read this book and share it with my grandgirls! By the way, lovely author interview.

  15. Debra R. (debraraupe) says:

    I love the sea. I would to read the book.

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