Pen & Ink

Sharing Fiction, Poetry, and Writing Tutorials

Know the Novel – Part 1

Hey everyone! Today I’m participating in Christine Smith’s writers’ linkup, Know the Novel. I almost participated in the linkup last year, but never got around to it. So I’m glad to be doing it now!

I’m going to be showcasing my novel, The Keeper of the Phantom Reef, which is book two in my Daughters of the Sea series. You can get book one here. (Also a quick side note: if you have not read Identity yet, there will be spoilers for the series in this post, so just be aware).

So without further ado… here’s a bit about my novel!

1. What first sparked the idea for this novel?

Well, since The Keeper of the Phantom Reef is a part of a series, the idea came partly from the first book; just me thinking through where I wanted the story to go next.

Some of the inspiration came from my friend Naomi, who gave me some great ideas for the series. Also, my friend Miley inspired me with some new ideas as well, so that’s where I got some of the initial ideas for the story.

But overall, I’ve just had a bunch of ideas in my head for the entire time I was writing Identity (book one), and now I get to implement some of them in KotPR!

2. Share a blurb (or just an overall summary)!

I don’t have an official blurb yet… but here’s something:

Everything should be perfect in Maria Brook’s life. She has a new family, a new home, and she’s the princess of Roarien, which will soon be united with Reefinia to create one kingdom, Oceania. But even when everything should be perfect… something is still amiss. And when Maria’s parents, Queen Coralia and King Orion, decide to send Maria to a boarding school outside of the kingdom and without her twin sister, Grace, Maria knows she has to take action.

So she journeys back to her past; back to the home she just left in order to uncover the secret her parents are hiding. But on the way, she meets unexpected enemies, faces betrayal, and has to uncover the secret before Oceania falls apart completely at the hands of the Keeper of the Phantom Reef. Filled with mystery and suspense, Keeper of the Phantom Reef is the sequel to the beloved book Identity and continues Maria’s story with new waves of excitement.

I know, it’s pretty rough, but hopefully that gives a general idea of what the book is about. 😉

3. Where does the story take place? What are some of your favorite aspects of the setting?

So half of the book is written underwater (in the mer-world), and half of it is about Maria’s adventures on land. Since I switch POVs between my two main characters, Maria and Alex, the story has different settings for each.

I love the setting of Oceania, which is the two main kingdoms, Roarien and Reefinia, combined into one. Just building the underwater world and coming up with my own sciences for life underwater is so much fun.

4. Tell us about your protagonist(s).

The main protagonist, Maria, is an orphan girl who has recently discovered her family. In book one, she discovered she was a mermaid and found out her father was the King of Roarien and she has a twin sister named Grace, so in this book, she gets to adjust to her new family. As she’s always lived independently this is kind of a struggle for her. She’s not used to having people care whether she comes or goes (think Jack Kelly from Newsies). Overall she’s very bold and outgoing, but she struggles with the fear of not being accepted.

My second protagonist, Alex, is probably my favorite character in the series. In book one, he had some… issues. 😄 He gets angry easily, also isn’t very honest, and can be a little selfish at times. But… he’s also super funny, really interesting in his internal conflict and dialogue, and he’s also brave and dashing. He is good friends with Maria (although it could possibly be more than a friendship… that’s still up for debate…), and he works as a guard in Reefinia’s castle.

5. Who (or what) is the antagonist?

I don’t want to give too much away… but I will say that the main antagonist for this book is a character that appeared only a couple of times in book one, and he is kind of a mad-scientist obsessive kind of character. He has a really interesting backstory… but I don’t want to spoil it, so I won’t say anymore. 🤫

6. What excites you the most about this novel?

THE NEW CHARACTERS! I can’t wait to introduce Aleigha, Kai, Nadia… and also get to know the characters better in general. I have some really fun characters coming, y’all.

7. Is this going to be a series? standalone? something else?

Yes, as I said before, KotPR is book two in my Daughters of the Sea series.

8. Are you plotting? pantsing? plansting?

Plantsing! Since I had so many ideas in my head already, I had to write them down somewhere in order to remember them. So that’s currently my outline… but it only goes about halfway through the book, so the rest I’m pantsing. Normally, I’m a pantser, but since this is a series, I have to do a little bit of plotting too.

9. Name a few unique elements in this story.

Hmm… let’s see… well, just the fact that this is a Christian mermaid story is pretty unique in my opinion. (When I was doing research, I couldn’t find any mermaid books that were Christian, which is really sad.)

Also, the slight element of science I’m adding to the fantasy makes it unique. I wouldn’t describe the book as sci-fi necessarily, but it’s barely even fantasy either. It’s like a realistic fantasy, I guess. 😅

10. Share some fun “extras” of the story (a song or full playlist, some aesthetics, a collage, a Pinterest board, a map you’ve made, a special theme you’re going to incorporate, ANYTHING you want to share!).

I don’t have a lot for this story yet. However, here’s a character collage I made for Maria:

Also, here’s an instrumental playlist for the entire series:

Alright folks, that’s all I got for today. I’m glad I got to share about my current WIP, and I’m so excited to release it.

If you’ve read Identity, who is your favorite character in the series? Do you have ideas for KotPR? What are your current WIPs about? Let me know in the comments!

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5 responses to “Know the Novel – Part 1”

  1. Hannah Ruth Avatar

    I haven’t read Identiy, but I’ve read one Christian mermaid book: Coral by Sara Ella, though it isn’t explicitly Christian… just by a Christian author, which is always a bummer for me. The focus on mental health makes it very unique and touching, though! And I’ve heard good things about The Mermaid’s Tale by L.E. Richmond, and the review at Madi’s Musings sounds like it has some light faith elements. Thanks for adding more mermaids to the Christian fiction world!

    My current WIP is a Christian royalty novel called Daughter of the King. You can check out my Know the Novel post at

    Good luck with your writing!

  2. Esther Avatar

    Ahhh, this sounds so good! I love mermaid fiction and this sounds absolutely fascinating. The world sounds like so much fun and I’m excited to learn more about this mad scientist antagonist, I love those kinds of characters. I hope your writing goes well.

    1. Annabelle Avatar

      Thanks! I can’t wait to finish the book. 🙂

  3. Christine Smith Avatar

    A Christian mermaid story?? This sounds AH-MAY-ZING. *heart-eyes* I loved hearing about it. Thank you so much for doing the tag. I’m so glad you got to join this year!

    1. Annabelle Avatar

      Thanks, Christine! I’m so glad I could join too! Thank YOU for hosting the tag and reading this post!