Sunday 12 October 2008
My guest this week on Amberkatze's Book Blog is author Chris Howard. With the debut book Seabornout on shelves this writer is just getting started. Seaborn is original and new. You can read my review here and find out more about the author here.

Keep reading because Chris has donated two amazing prizes for this weeks contest and I am offering a third prize. So that means 3 people can win something this week!


Amber - Welcome to Amberkatze's Book Blog, Chris! I have had the pleasure of reading your book but I am sure a lot of guests haven't. Maybe you can start things off by telling us all about Seaborn?

Chris - I'd put Seaborn somewhere between urban fantasy and epic fantasy, with the high concept being Fank Herbert's Dune meets The Little Mermaid. It's also a contemporary fantasy. There are two interweaving plotlines, both about the loss of freedom, but two different ways of looking at it. Corina Lairsey's a college student from California whose body is taken over by an old seaborn sorcerer, and she must fight, bargain, do what she has to do to get her self back. Kassandra comes from the sea, but grew up in exile in Nebraska--about as far from the sea as her captors could arrange. She's back in the water, and although she's dangerously powerful, she doesn't make every choice in her own head, and other powers inside her have their own agendas and make her do things she doesn't want to. Seaborn is really about how these two characters struggle to get back what belongs to each of them, their own minds, bodies, powers of choice.

Amber - Seaborn is so original! How did you come up with the idea?

Chris - It was a long time in the making. The Seaborn world, culture, and story--mainly Kassandra's story--originally came out some writing lessons I ran for my daughter in 2003 and 2004. My purpose was to teach her everything I knew about writing fiction. I even created writing lessons, some of which were published online, on blogs, and in Visions: A Resource for Writers. I went through plotting exercises, character development, worldbuilding, explaining the whys and hows and how-much-is-necessaries. From there, over the last five years, it grew in my own mind, in notes, sketches, and into the writing of two more novels.

Amber - Is Seaborn your first piece of work as an author or have you written anything else?

Chris - Seaborn's my first novel to sell, but it's my fifth completed novel, and I've since completed two more, Seaborn's sequel, Sea Throne, and it's prequel, a young adult fantasy, Saltwater Witch. I also write short fiction, with several appearing in online zines, and I won the Heinlein Centennial Short Story Contest in 2007 (amateur division, because I had no pro sales).

Amber - What do you do in your spare time and how do you relax? Any hobbies you want to tell us about?

Chris - I actually write in my spare time, along with drawing and painting in watercolors and digital formats. See my blog ( and my portfolio page for my art and other stuff I do. (

Amber - Did you have to do alot of research to write Seaborn?

Chris - Years of it, if you total it all up, but I'm not the kind of writer that needs to do years of research before writing a story. They go hand in hand, building as I go. I have boxes of printed stuff, books, and GBs of documents, images, video, that went into my head while writing Seaborn and the other seaborn stories.

Amber - What is next? Will there be more books in the Seaborn world? Any other projects you are working on?

Chris - A few things. Besides the sequel (hoping to be out in 2009 sometime) and the prequel (under consideration with a different publisher)--both are complete, I'm working on a graphic novel version of Saltwater Witch, also a novel about cooking and magic, and the occasional short story when the plot strikes me.

Amber - What books do you like to read when you have the chance? Any favourite authors?

Chris - I read more fantasy than SF, but I love both, and I never have enough time to read. I have an ever growing stack of books next to the nightstand--too tall and hazardous to put _on_ the nightstand. I have many favorite authors, but here are a few: Connie Willis (Went through a Willis read-fest over the summer, and reading Passage right now), Neal Stephenson, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Richard Morgan, all for very different reasons; some are influencers on my writing, others write books I like to read over and over.

Amber - Did you always want to be a writer? Do you write full time?

Chris - No. I always wanted to be a marine biologist. It didn't work out. I'm a software engineer, but I have painted and written stories since I was a kid, got my first reject from F&SF in 1981--and nothing but since--latest reject from F&SF last month. I write a lot, spend about half my free time writing, and I've managed to complete at least a novel a year over the last five or six years. And no plans to slow down.

Amber - You are stranded on a desert island. What 5 things would you like to have with you?

Chris - I must have pencils, pens and paper (can I bundle these into one thing?). An umbrella--I'm assuming the tropics and some decent weather here. Any copper or other good conductive metals available? Okay, maybe that's one of my five things: two hundred tons of spooled -16 gauge copper wire. With that, some palm trees, and consistent tidal forces, I bet I could have hydroelectric power going on this island in no time. Things number 4 and 5: a really nice desk lamp and my notebook computer. Can't live without the last.


Contest Time!

There are 3 prizes to be won this week so 3 lucky people will be walking away with one of the following -

A signed copy of Seaborn from Chris Howard!

A 5x7 (13 x 18cm)print of one of Chris Howard's latest watercolors!

A copy of Seaborn from moi!

How to enter -

To enter this weeks contest post here on this thread telling me what kind of sea creature you would be and why. No sea animal - no entry! I would love to be a dolphin...not sure why but I have always liked them and it seems like the perfect choice ;)

To get an extra entry you can post about this contest somewhere on the net. Please make sure to post the link to your entry so can see you have indeed posted it!

Contest is open till October the 19th! That is next Sunday and I will take entries until 4pm CET.


Labels: , ,

posted by Unknown at Sunday, October 12, 2008 |


At 12 October 2008 at 08:10, Blogger Angela @ Reading Angels

I think I would want to be a dolphin. I've always had an obsession with them, by bathroom is done in dolpins, I have figurines everywhere, and I have a tattoo :-) They're just so beautiful and graceful :-)


At 12 October 2008 at 08:26, Blogger Unknown

I´d like to be a mermaid but to be dolphin would okay too! Dolphins seems to be on top of everybody´s


At 12 October 2008 at 08:45, Blogger shaunesay

Thank you for your visit Chris! I really enjoyed your interview and I look forward to giving Seaborn a try, either by win or buy! ;)

Dolphins are super popular aren't they? I think it's because they're just so photogenic with such great personalities, they're not scary predators, or sad little victims most of the time. So yep, I'm with the group, I'd love to be a dolphin too. I always wanted to go to the dolphin show at the amusement park, and loved Darwin in the Seaquest show. But just to be an over achiever, I'll pick a certain type, I'll be a Commerson's Dolphin, I saw these in a Sea World show with Shamu one time and have liked them ever since, they're just cute, and so color coordinated with Shamu! lol!


At 12 October 2008 at 09:39, Blogger Adele

Puffer Fish, they are just so incredible and kinda cute. They come in loads of colours and I love them!
Great interview and I definately fancy this book.


At 12 October 2008 at 09:44, Anonymous Anonymous

An octopus for me =) Multiple arms to hold more books and camouflage myself to get out of class XD



At 12 October 2008 at 10:03, Anonymous Anonymous

I like the way Yan thinks. Octopus would be nice, but I'm going to go with the obvious and say a mermaid. Being able to swim like a fish and still have arms to hold things (like books) with would be awesome. Plus, in most mermaid stories, they can shapeshift to two legs, so I would be able to walk the land and swim in the ocean. Talk about luxury.

I've been hearing so many good things about Seaborn, that I really need to get my hands on a copy. I really need to get my Review TBR pile down.


At 12 October 2008 at 11:51, Blogger Ladytink_534

Ooh, great interview! I'd have to go with a Dolphin too... unless I could be a Selkie or a Mermaid!


At 12 October 2008 at 13:05, Blogger Pamk

It we're talking real it would have to be a dolphin so graceful and smart.
If not real then a mermaid would be lovely. I am such a water baby anyhow. That is my favorite exercise is swimming.


At 12 October 2008 at 14:53, Blogger Deirdre

I think I'd like to be a hermit crab, mostly a sea animal but with the ability to go on the land and also lives in a cool shell and can increase the size at will (though for my TBR pile you'd need a pretty big shell!


At 12 October 2008 at 16:54, Blogger darbyscloset

I think I'd like to be a seal. Seal's can swim like dolphins and go up on land.
Looks like a fun book! I like the aspect of having 2 plots.
Thanks for the offer and interview!
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com


At 12 October 2008 at 17:21, Blogger Bridget

We've posted this giveaway on Win A Book. Don't enter us in the contest, though. Thanks!


At 12 October 2008 at 18:12, Blogger Caitlin Hoy

I would love to be a sea serpent like in legends and myths but since I'm not really sure if they exist anymore (science hasn't figured out all the different animals and species in the ocean because its so big) I guess I would love to be a humpback whale. I just love them, they're my favorite sea creature. They're very family oriented creatures and also very gentle.


At 12 October 2008 at 18:26, Blogger Becca

I would like to be a squid but not a regular squid one of the giant squids that they think fight with Sperm Whales. I’m fascinated by them and love to watch all those shows where people go searching for them. There is something scary about them but something incredibly cool too.


At 12 October 2008 at 20:07, Anonymous Anonymous

Thank you, Amber! This is great.

Wow, some great choices for what you'd want to be in the sea, too. I love octopuses and squid, but I'd go with Caitlin and be a whale, probably a humpback. I was off the northeast coast last month watching humpback whales feeding, nursing young, breaching--jumping almost entirely out of the water, whales doing some of the most amazing things I've seen in my life.

Posted a bunch of my whale pics on Flickr here:



At 12 October 2008 at 20:43, Anonymous Anonymous

Oh, mermaids / witches / a possession theme that, could be a metaphor for the internal struggle to change aspects of ones self and, could offer the prospect of a journey of strengthening self discovery, this book sounds fascinating! So here I’m joining in this contest.

A sea creature I would like to be… tempting to say straight off a dolphin but on reflection though I’ve never seen one in the wild I like the idea of being a sea otter. Having the ability to swim swiftly and flexibly would be bliss, yet also being able to scamper around on land would be fine. While I also understand otters like to congregate in family groups which would be convivial and that brilliantly clever business of lying around on one’s back with a wee stone balanced on your tummy as you crack shellsfish open for lunch seems remarkably clever. Oh yeah, and a fur coat of one’s one, the only way to wear one I’d agree. All that further points to a sea otter as the sea creature for me to be!


At 12 October 2008 at 21:13, Anonymous Anonymous

I'd say a mermaid too because who would want to be in the water all the time. If we're going with real creatures I pick dolphins. They are super intelligent and friendly, what could be better.


At 12 October 2008 at 22:27, Blogger tetewa

I would also say a dolphin, I collect them. My favorite team is also the Miami Dolphins!


At 12 October 2008 at 23:36, Anonymous Anonymous

guess I would have said a hippo, but don't know if those are considered water-animals ...

From the real water animals I guess it would have to be a jellyfish. They seem harmless but have a real bad sting ;-)


At 12 October 2008 at 23:51, Blogger ArkieRN

I'd kinda like being a dolphin. But not a regular sea dolphin. I want to be an Amazon pink dolphin. Legend has it that these dolphins are shapeshifters that take human form at night.


At 13 October 2008 at 05:10, Blogger Shelbycat

I would like to be a dugong or sea cow, i love the way they calmly make their way across the sun dappled sea bed munching away. Also love the fact that they have little toenails (found out while studying a mammals OU course). Interesting fact about sea cows is that many people think they are the original mermaids seen by sailors long ago!


At 13 October 2008 at 05:43, Blogger Patricia Altner

When my son was between 4 and 7 he had this obsession with dolphins and whales. I used to be able to name all of them, but not anymore. Still I remember one particular type that I truly loved because of the sweet pleasant face - the beluga whale. If reincarnated as a sea creature that's what I would like to be.


At 13 October 2008 at 07:21, Anonymous Anonymous

Great interview, thanks for doing it. Also, Chris's watercolors look amazing. If I was going to be a sea creature, it would be one that does not exist today, some combination of a shark/octopus/mermaid. If I had to pick one that is in the ocean now, then it would surely be an Orca.


At 13 October 2008 at 08:46, Blogger DawnM

I'm thinking blue whale, I just want to be the biggest thing around and watch everything else get out of my way


At 13 October 2008 at 11:04, Anonymous Anonymous

Make me Leviathan. The greatest sea creature to ever live. Gigantic in stature, invincible, and makes the sea boil. Nobody messes with Leviathan!



At 13 October 2008 at 11:50, Blogger Carol M

I would love to be a polar bear! They are beautiful and are happy both in and out of the water!
mittens0831 AT


At 13 October 2008 at 11:59, Blogger catslady

Okay since everyone is taking dolphins and someone just beat me to being a whale lol I'm going to say porpoise - I know same family lol but I just learned that they are actually whales - didn't know that.


At 13 October 2008 at 13:34, Blogger Asylumgirl

I would like to be a salt-water crocodile. They look ancient and not too many things will mess with them.



At 13 October 2008 at 15:26, Anonymous Anonymous

I would like to be a seal. Those big pretty eyes just get to me. They seem so sweet natured and friendly.


At 13 October 2008 at 22:17, Blogger rb

I wanna be different! I want to be a shark with a conscience...though how will I survive, I have no idea.



At 14 October 2008 at 05:46, Anonymous Anonymous

I've always loved Dolphins, so that would be my first choice. I also love seals, penguins, polar bears and whales. Of course it would be uber-cool to be a mermaid as well. :)


At 14 October 2008 at 09:26, Blogger katayoun

a beluga, since the time i've seen them in vancouver aquariam i've become an ardent fan. i think they are just perfect and the eyes were so knowing.


At 14 October 2008 at 09:26, Blogger katayoun

a beluga, since the time i've seen them in vancouver aquariam i've become an ardent fan. i think they are just perfect and the eyes were so knowing.


At 14 October 2008 at 13:27, Blogger Book Sp(l)ot

So my first answer was mermaid but since I think I'm supposed to go more animal-y I think I would be a sea turtle...I love how they live to be so old and the way they come back to the same beach to lay their eggs that they were born on...And I think swimming across entire oceans would be lovely :) (and relaxing in a way I could very much use this week)


At 14 October 2008 at 17:43, Anonymous Anonymous

Ever since I was a little kid reading Mermaid Tales, I've been enchanted with them. There's something so tragically beautiful about them (well, maybe only tragic when they fall in love with fishermen ; p).


At 14 October 2008 at 18:58, Blogger Jami

i would be a beautiful mermaid. as a child i always pretended to be one while in the bath tub or pool.


At 15 October 2008 at 06:47, Blogger CrystalGB

I think it would be great to be a dolphin or a manatee because they are gentle creatures.


At 15 October 2008 at 13:36, Blogger Kathy

This comment has been removed by the author.


At 15 October 2008 at 13:42, Blogger Kathy

I can't swim. I don't think I'd like being a water creature. I guess I'd want to be a stingray cause i like the shape.

I created a message about your contest on my blog :


At 15 October 2008 at 14:03, Anonymous Anonymous

I know, everyone is saying the same thing, but I would like to be a mermaid if possible. I would like to keep my fingers and arms, thank you.

Otherwise a dolphin, at least they're smart.


At 15 October 2008 at 18:45, Blogger Calliope

Um, I think I'd go with a selkie; then I could be a seal and still have the option to take human form and come ashore, buy books, and most importantly, turn the pages.


At 16 October 2008 at 01:22, Blogger sclement

now there are so many picks to choose form... the sea is filled whit incredible creatures. And I do love the sea.

I would pick something big: a Whale, because thats sometging definitly poetic, simbolic and inspiring about them. Or a giant squid or octupus, those who live on the abysses of the sea and we only glimpse when they drfith ashore after dead. they are powerfull and mysterius


At 16 October 2008 at 14:06, Blogger Ruth Schaller

That sounds great! First of all, I'd have to be a blue whale...because I would be able to dive deep in the ocean and noone would mess with me too much cause I'm so much bigger! lol


At 16 October 2008 at 14:14, Blogger Liviania

I'd want to be an archaebacteria, because I'd be an incredibly tough organism that doesn't need sunlight and can survive extremely high temperatures. Those things are awesome.


At 16 October 2008 at 20:41, Blogger Kimberly B.

Sea otter! They've been among my favorite animals since I was little, and I love watching them at the Monterey Bay Aquarium! Plus they have the most fun!


At 16 October 2008 at 20:49, Blogger Fuzzmom

I would love to be a mur-pegasus, using my wings to "Fly" through the waters like a giant ray would. A giant seahorse with ray-like wings.


At 17 October 2008 at 14:33, Blogger Ginny

Between dolphin & killer whale I guess. Probably dolphin though since they are supposed to be intelligent.


At 17 October 2008 at 15:04, Anonymous Anonymous




At 17 October 2008 at 19:39, Blogger Crystal Adkins

I would love to be a selkie... you know the old legends. They can shed their seal skins to become human to hunt for their mate and then they must make a decision to what life they would like to live :)


At 18 October 2008 at 01:21, Blogger Eva S

I'd like to be a Saimaa ringed seal, one more since there are only 270 of them in the world...


At 19 October 2008 at 08:49, Blogger 80slady

A Starfish! They are remarkable creatures, able to regenerate, they have TWO stomachs and they pretty much go where they want.


At 1 January 2010 at 15:09, Anonymous Anonymous

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