'The Secret Deep', by Lindsay Galvin; a review and guest piece from the author!

I briefly mentioned ‘The Secret Deep’ in my Recent Reads: Holiday Edition, but it’s honestly so good and so beautiful that it deserves its own post. Oh also, this post is going to be extra exciting as it contains more than just a review by me – yep, I was lucky enough to be asked to take part in the official blog tour, and am so proud to be able to feature a guest piece written by the fabulous Lindsay Galvin! 

(Photo taken by moi, in the beautiful HiFest/HiStore cafe in Trinity St, Hastings. 
Bloody good coffee by Stooge!)

I won’t lie, when I first saw the news on Twitter, then got the proof in the post, I was sure that the story would be about mermaids and sea creatures. I was half right…

When Aster wakes alone on a tropical island, she has no idea what has happened, why she is there, or where to find her younger sister, Poppy. Meanwhile Sam, who met the sisters on their flight to New Zealand, makes links between the mystery of their disappearance and suspicious happenings in his own life. In a stunning dual narrative, the truth unravels with devastating effect - and the answer lies in the secret underwater world surrounding the desert island, populated by the beautiful and the impossible…

The book is technically a young YA, and I felt the MG/YA balance was perfect. I’d have loved this story and appreciated the way it’s written when I was 12, but also adored it in my years at high school.

I was taken on a crazy adventure; genuinely, every chapter had me almost gasping in surprise. I loved the mystery of Sea Boy, the drama and controversy of their aunt’s medical work, and the bond between the sisters (I especially identified with Aster’s big sis feelings). I’d recommend this book to anyone needing an escape, a little magic, and some mad science. 

by Lindsay Galvin, author of THE SECRET DEEP.

A blog post about inspiration for 'THE SECRET DEEP' is a strange one, because when the idea for this story came to me I didn’t know I could write a book, I wasn’t writing at all, I’d no aspirations to be an author since I was 9 years old. So I didn’t invite inspiration in, it just kind of sauntered into my mind and decided to stay. 

It happened over 6 years ago when I was driving home from work and an image came into my head. A girl looking down into water saw a boy looking back up at her. He wore no scuba diving gear and he didn’t have a tail. He didn’t surface. The setting was bright and glittery and the water very blue. The boy had dark hair. That was it. 

I commissioned this artwork of that scene when I thought my book would not sell and the next day my agent rang with my offer from Chicken House.

I blinked and gripped the steering wheel hard. I am a big daydreamer but this was so specific and vivid. I wondered not only why the boy was underwater, but what was wrong with the girl? She felt bereft and alone, she’d lost something and was also in immediate peril and ready to fight. I was scared for her. The boy felt wary and was wondering whether to help her or hide. 

I wrote these ideas down on a scrap of paper and I did nothing else. The image didn’t go away but stalked in and out of my mind as if it belonged there. It was a whole six months later I told the idea to my brother and said I wondered if it could be a book or a film and how I’d even start writing it. He said ‘You’ve read enough books, you should just have a go and see if you like doing it’. So I did. And I really did. 

I fed my inspiration. 

I chose a setting. I originally thought the glittery brightness was the arctic, which seems crazy now because it’s far too cold underwater there, and that just didn’t fit my story. I had lived in Thailand for 2 years and spent a lot of time scuba diving and wanted to tap into that experience. So I went tropical and now it seems obvious that was the right place. 

I nourished the idea by writing a lot of weird scenes, finding my way in and exploring the characters until they became real. I added my own experiences of anxiety. I used my interests in science, in future tech, in the mysteries of nature. I revisited terrifying experiences diving, and related the feeling of being trapped underwater to the feeling of being trapped in your own mind and a traumatic situation. 

So when the inspiration alighted on me for 'THE SECRET DEEP' I didn’t have much idea about what to do with it. But now I want to make a career out of writing so I actively invite inspiration in. I make lists of things I’ve enjoyed watching and reading, images that strike me, themes that interest me and I start combining and experimenting. I read a lot in all genres. I research anything in the news that piques my interest. I question. I write down hundreds of fledgling ideas. And sometimes I feed one enough that it decides to stay. Like a stray cat that deigns to let you feed it then eventually moves in. Yes I’m a cat person.
And dogs.
And especially manta rays. 


Find out more about the author on her website, here!

You can get this book on A Great Read for just £6.60 (aff link).

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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Not at all what I expected - a beautiful, thrilling tale of young people thrown in the deep end (!) and finding their way out.

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Keep an eye out for the next posts in this tour – see below for dates and bloggers you wanna check out!


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