Interview with Anne Greenwood Brown, author of LIES BENEATH

I had the great pleasure of recently interviewing debut author Anne Greenwood Brown, author of YA paranormal fantasy LIES BENEATH (Random House/Delacorte, June 2012). Read on for more…

Your debut novel LIES BENEATH is coming out in Summer 2012. Can you tell us what the story is about it?

The one-line pitch I always give is “mermaid assassins on Lake Superior,” but it’s about so much more than that. It’s a revenge story. It’s a love story. It’s a lesson in forgiveness. The back cover blurb will read something like this:

Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a dysfunctional family of mermaids, obsessed with killing Jason Hancock, the man they blame for their mother’s death.  To lure the aquaphobic Hancock onto the lake, the sisters charge Calder with the task of seducing Hancock’s 17-year-old daughter, Lily. “Get close to the daughter,” they tell him, “and you’ll get close to the family. Get close to the family, and you’ll get close to the man. Get him out on the lake. We’ll take care of the rest.” But Calder screws everything up by falling in love. Now he’s in the unenviable position of loving the girl while simultaneously plotting her father’s murder. Suffice it to say, his sisters aren’t pleased with his efforts, and Calder is running out of time (and excuses).

What was your inspiration for Lies Beneath?

Growing up, I spent summers sailing Lake Superior and its Apostle Islands, and there is a saying up there that “Lake Superior doesn’t give up its dead.” I was always intrigued by what that might mean, although I never planned to write about it. Instead, I was busy writing adult fiction, short stories, essays, etc. Then one night I woke up with Calder saying the first line of the book. I couldn’t shake him, and so now his story is told.

You wrote an interesting blog post about what makes a hero. What attributes does Calder White have that makes him such an interesting hero?

Thank you! Calder is very…conflicted. He’s a “mama’s boy” with no mama. (He’s lost two.) He is desperate for an idealized kind of family, and yet he agrees to destroy the Hancock family so that he can leave the only family he’s got and strike out on his own. He wants to kill; he doesn’t want to kill. He falls in love even though he doesn’t think it’s possible for his kind.  He’s unable to break a promise, yet everything he says is based on a lie. He’s basically pretty messed up. One thing that makes him a hero though is his willingness to be self-sacrificing.

The sequel to LIES BENEATH, WATER LILY, is coming out in 2013. Can you tell us a little more about it?

Well, I just sent it to my agent for her to read through, and I don’t plan to have it to my editor until October, so obviously it’s in its infant stages and a lot could change. However, I can tell you that while LIES BENEATH is told from Calder’s point of view, WATER LILY is a continuation of the story, but told from Lily Hancock’s point of view.

What YA books have inspired you the most?

Harry Potter (who hasn’t been inspired by Harry?); Shiver, Linger, and Forever; The Book Thief; Nightshade; and Twilight come to mind. I keep a list of faves on my website.
What’s your top 3 tips for aspiring authors?

Write because you want to. If it’s not fun, it’s not worth it. If you’re rejected (over and over and over), you’ll keep going, even though there seems to be no hope of getting published, because writing is fun in its own right. Publishing is the gravy.

So, I have to ask, will Agatha the Witch ever make a return?

*Sigh* Doubtful. I’m sure my parents still have a yellowed copy lying around somewhere. Maybe I’ll publish it on my website someday!

Find out more about Anne
Twitter: @AnneGBrown


  1. I’ve always liked conflicted heroes the most because their stories are never straightforward and more realistic because of it. Lies Beneath is already on my TBR list and I’m really looking forward to it. Great interview!

  2. Love the premise of this story. It’s so much darker than the typical mermaid story and I love that. Calder sounds like such an interesting character. Can’t wait to get to know him. Great interview, girls!

  3. Thanks for the interview, Liz. I can be more specific on release dates now – It’s June 12, 2012.

    I appreciate everyone’s support; it’s been such a fun ride so far!

  4. I can’t wait to read LIES BENEATH! Like Trisha said, I love that it’s a darker mermaid story, and Calder sounds like a fascinating hero. Great interview, ladies!

  5. I’ve seen a few new releases that deal with mermaids but this sounds like a fresh take. It’s quite intriguing. I’ll definitely have to look for this.


  6. i think it is very unique that the mermaids in this story live in a lake because usually the type of mermaid you would thnk of lives in the ocean! 😀

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