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Underwater people and my love for the South Pacific

Exploring inspiration for Spirit Woman (Airwoman #2)

If you’ve been following me for long, you’ll know I love to travel. I also love the beach and warm weather. I’ve been to the South Pacific several times, particularly Fiji and New Caledonia, and loved it every time. It’s such a beautiful place: turquoise waters marked with lots of little islands, both inhabited and uninhabited. The islands that form the archipelagos of the Pacific also form part of the Ring of Fire, the horseshoe shaped area around the Pacific Ocean that is known for it’s earthquakes and volcanic activity.

Merryne: A world of water and volcanic island chains

Fantasy worlds are often set in medieval-europe type settings, with mountains and forests and farm lands. Sometimes they involve voyages over the sea or rivers. However, there isn’t often fantasy set in the tropics or on islands. Maybe I was cold when I was writing the first draft, or maybe I’d just come back from the beach–whatever the reason, I decided to make one of my worlds a tropical paradise.

In Spirit Woman, we find a world called Merryne that is almost completely covered by water. A beautiful tropical oasis–picture turquoise waters dotted with tiny islands that are mere blips in the endless ocean. It is the type of world that we would see on a tourism brochure. It’s such a beautiful place that there is a drive (opposed by the native people of this world) to establish a centre for tourism. Of course, since the world is mostly water, the resort being built on Merryne has to float.

Merryne: A world of contrasts

Like the beauty of the South Pacific, situated within the Ring of Fire, and therefore subject to geothermic upheaval such as earthquakes and volcanos, Merryne is a study in contrasts. I love the juxtaposition of beauty and evil, the idea that beneath the beauty lies something troubled or terrible or nightmarish. In Merryne, we find a beautiful world, but one which is being put in peril by the very people who admire it. The drive to establish tourism on Merryne, causes conflict with the native people of Merryne, causing conflict between the Taraqans building the resort, the Travellers protecting the Taraqan company, and the native people.

To inhabit a mostly water world–and since the land on this world would be barely hospitable–I decided it’s native people would live underneath the water. I called them the Myr (a play on Mermaid/ Merrman) but I wanted to make them dangerous. The Myr are not people to be messed with–they have teeth like knives, are fiercely independent, and warlike. Anthropologists who have studied the Myr note that there is frequent conflict between rival family groups, which has made it difficult for the Myr to unite under a single command to oppose Taraqan investment in Merryne, but if they had done so, the base for tourism operations would have been destroyed, such is the strength of these underwater people.

Merryne is one of the many worlds of the Dragonverse created in the Airwoman series. If you haven’t read the Airwoman series yet, you can get a preview here: 

*Photo by Biel Morro from

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