It’s time to talk about magic both whimsical and dark!
Which is honestly my favourite kind 😚I’m featuring The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska today! And we have an amazing interview coming right up, plus a review in case you need reasons on why this book belongs on your reading list.
Hi Alicia, thanks so much for chatting about THE DARK TIDE with us! Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey? How you went from the seed of an idea to finished novel on the shelves?
It’s been a long journey! I think I finished the first draft in 2016? I’d written and queried 2x other manuscripts before that and even managed to sign with an agent, although things fell through and we ended up parting ways.
So I really had all my hopes pinned on THE DARK TIDE. I remember telling a friend that if things didn’t work out I’d quit trying to get published because I couldn’t handle any more rejection. I laugh about it now (there was plenty more rejection to come lol) but at the time I was deep in the pits of despair.
But the story had a happy ending! I signed with a new agent (after doing a major R&R). And then I got a 2 book publishing deal (after six+ months in submission hell). Honestly, the thing I’m most proud of with this book is that I didn’t give up on it. I love the story and all the characters so damn much, and I really hope readers do too!
How did you decide on your characters’ names? Any stories behind your choices?
Usually I’m one of those writers who spends hours and hours on baby name websites picking out the absolute perfect name for each character. But because THE DARK TIDE started life as a loose retelling of The Ballad of Tam Lin several of the names are taken from that. Thomas Lin, obviously. But also Lina in very early drafts was named Janet after the heroine in the original tale. I’m not hugely fond of that name though (sorry to anyone reading this named Janet!), so it was changed in revisions to something I felt fit her character better. Eva’s name also changed, but a lot later during the last round of edits at my editor’s request.
Are there any other myths or fairy tales you’d love to see redone (or do yourself!) with queer characters?
Ooh! I’d die to see someone write a queer retelling of Prince Unexpected where the prince promised to Koschei the Deathless is rescued by one of Koschei’s sons instead of his daughter. Also a sapphic retelling of Madame White Snake where White Snake falls in love with a human girl. And maybe Green Snake is also in love with White Snake? Ownvoices for both, please!
Can you share a line or quote that you loved writing?
The Witch Queen comes on wings of night,
The Witch Queen has your heart’s delight.
Hold him, hold him, hold on tight.
Hide him, hide him, out of sight.
It’s sort of a story within the story and it took me ages until I was truly happy with it. I wanted something really simple, but that was also catchy and a little dark.
Was any chocolate harmed in the making of this novel? 😌😉
Absolutely a pleasure getting to talk to you, Alicia!! 💛Congrats again on your debut’s amazing release!
Alicia Jasinska is a fantasy writer hailing from Sydney, Australia. A library technician by day, she spends her nights writing and hanging upside down from the trapeze and aerial hoop. The Dark Tide is her debut novel. Visit her at aliciajasinska.com.
The Dark Tide is so atmospheric and gorgeously written.
The prose seriously took my breath away, it just had the gorgeous descriptions I crave in books and reminded me of Anna Marie McLemore’s work. Like let’s just introduce you to this witchy, sea wild tale, full of salt and blood and longing girls and aching boys, sacrifices and sinking islands, witches bitter with regret, and girls who want to save the world but ending just breaking everything.
I definitely fell a bit in love with the world. 😍
The whole premise is this island is sinking and the people rely on the witches to hold back the dark tide, but to do that — the witch queen sacrifices a human boy each year. Then the sea’s malicious pleasure is sated. Everyone else gets to live. But this year, the boy Lina has a crush on (Thomas Lin) is taken and she refuses to let him die. So she takes his place. And then uncovers dark secrets behind the ritual while she’s caught up in the witches tower with the dark and bitter Eva — a witch queen who infamously has no heart. The whole book captures the imagination and enchants readers so hard.
Dark. Bitter. Lovely.
It’s told by both Lina and Eva’s perspectives.
You know, the Slytherin and her dumb headstrong loveable Gryffindor girlfriend 😌👌🏻I love this combo. They are perfect together. I also appreciated that it talked about messy bisexual feelings and questioning your heart. Eva is such a dark cup of bitter copy and Lina is wholly unstoppable. (My heart did ache for Thomas too 💔) I also just found out there’s going to be a sequel and I need it.
A beautiful tale, very ethereal and atmospheric. Queer and dark and whimsical.
Thanks to Penguin for the ARC! The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska is out now!
The Wicked Deep meets A Curse So Dark and Lonely in this gripping, dark fairy-tale fantasy about two girls who must choose between saving themselves, each other, or their sinking island city.
Every year on St. Walpurga’s Eve, Caldella’s Witch Queen lures a boy back to her palace. An innocent life to be sacrificed on the full moon to keep the island city from sinking.
Lina Kirk is convinced her brother is going to be taken this year. To save him, she enlists the help of Thomas Lin, the boy she secretly loves, and the only person to ever escape from the palace. But they draw the queen’s attention, and Thomas is chosen as the sacrifice.
Queen Eva watched her sister die to save the boy she loved. Now as queen, she won’t make the same mistake. She’s willing to sacrifice anyone if it means saving herself and her city.
When Lina offers herself to the queen in exchange for Thomas’s freedom, the two girls await the full moon together. But Lina is not at all what Eva expected, and the queen is nothing like Lina envisioned. Against their will, they find themselves falling for each other. As water floods Caldella’s streets and the dark tide demands its sacrifice, they must choose who to save: themselves, each other, or the island city relying on them both.
Goodreads | Book Depository | Booktopia | Amazon | Penguin
what’s your favourite retelling? and are there some more obscure retellings you’d like to see in YA? is this one on your TBR?