Author Interview: If Wishes Were Fishes by Meredith Katz
I am excited to welcome Meredith Katz on Queer Books Unbound today. She’s here to talk to us about her upcoming release If Wishes Were Fishes; (out tomorrow!). Please give her a warm welcome!
In Meredith Katz’s upcoming novel, If Wishes Were Fishes, she revists the world of Others and psychic powers from her 2018 novel, Empty Vessels. You can pre-order the sequel from most major retailers, and Empty Vessels is on sale for 25% off until the release date, as well!
After dealing with unruly Terrors and haunted dolls while trying to graduate from university, Keith just wants a break. His psychic abilities have got him in as much trouble as they’ve got him out of, though they also helped let him protect his two boyfriends — Lucas, a ghost, and Hiraeth, a deer-antlered cryptid — so he can’t complain that much.
When Hiraeth’s son appears looking for help to remove a curse that’s been placed on his lover, Keith is pretty sure his anxiety over his powers is nothing compared to how he feels about trying to get along with his boyfriend’s family.
Polyamorous, M/M, contemporary paranormal romance. Featuring an anxious psychic, his ghost boyfriend, and their deer-antlered lover. A story about family, communication, and learning to let go of the past… and about trying to get along with your immortal boyfriend’s persnickety grown-ass kid whose lover has gotten himself trapped in the form of a fish.
A standalone sequel. Reading Empty Vessels is encouraged, but not required.
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Release Date: May 15th
Hey Meredith! Congrats on the upcoming new release. To start off with, can you tell us a bit about the premise for the Sixth Sense Investigations series?
Thanks, and I’d love to! Basically: overlaid on our reality is an Otherworld that most humans can’t see. Ghosts exist, but to most people, they’re just cold spots, footsteps, and occasional glimpses you can’t seem to get on camera. In addition, there is a ‘hidden people’, the Others, who pass for human to those who can’t see their true forms.
Our hero, Keith Marose, is a young man who had a traumatic accident a few years back that awoke a sixth sense. Haunted by Lucas, the ghost of the man who saved his life, Keith is afraid of the sight of these nonhumans and keeps to himself until he begins to have premonitions about something hunting the Others. This starts him on the path to actively embracing and developing his psychic abilities, and allows him to let himself get to know the Others—including a mysterious Horned Boy who runs an antique shop—while investigating the problems they face. And, you know, starting to romance some of them. Be gay, solve (supernatural) crimes!
Nice! So that’s the premise behind Empty Vessels. Since If Wishes Were Fishes is a sequel, can it be read without having read the first book?
It sure can! Although it’s set a few months after the events of Empty Vessels and follows the same main trio, you don’t need to know any of the Story So Far to follow the plot. You can expect the narrative to tell you everything you need to know about the characters, their relationship, and their history as you get into it (or at least, that’s the intention)! But of course, I’d love it if people checked out Empty Vessels as well.
The first book in the series is a bit on the thrilling and spooky side. How would you describe the feel of it in comparison to If Wishes Were Fishes?
As a series, Sixth Sense Investigations straddles the line between the spookiness of paranormal romance and the mystic wonder of urban fantasy, but as a rule my books are also heavily relationship-focused and feature happy endings.
Empty Vessels is something of a paranormal thriller—it’s got a fast pace, tension and dread threaded throughout, and even though you know it’s a romance and will have a happy ending, there is a sense of potential risk to the characters anyway. It plays with horror elements like mirrors, spooky dolls, and evil spectres. At the same time, it’s got a dash of that urban fantasy mysticism—a deer-antlered boy who smells of leaves, a sense of getting involved in a strange but still natural world.
If Wishes Were Fishes is the other side of that coin: it is a story about Keith actively getting involved with other people’s small and personal problems while he tries to figure out how he fits into a strange family of Others, and focuses on playing with bits of folklore like the Wishing Fish, while still having a paranormal edge: ghosts, the fear of mortality, and horrifying creatures with long arms and huge knives.
I’d definitely say that If Wishes Were Fishes is on the softer side. If you’re not usually a fan of spooky things or the paranormal, it’s very relationship-focused and a good place to start!
Can you go into a bit more detail about the “Others?”
Others are old spirits, a “hidden people” like the Huldufólk of Iceland—so, somewhere between cryptids and the fae. Their primary ‘self’ is a spirit that possesses vessels and molds them into its physical form. They look human to most humans—think of fairies and their glamor—but those with the sight can see aspects of both an Other’s spiritual form and of the vessels they have transformed into their living bodies. Because the Others are primarily spirits, they are bound by metaphors the way fae are bound by rules, and so their identity is tied into symbols, both through their names and through their bodies
How did you come up with the ideas for some of the names, like Hiraeth?
Others have multiple names they use with different people, but the name they use among those they trust is generally a word with a complex meaning that has symbolic value to them. For those, I often look to ‘untranslatable words’. Not because they’re actually untranslatable (it just takes more words in English) but because words appearing on lists like that tend to signify to me, as a writer who is writing in English, that there is a complex concept which is some kind of big mood, and that’s basically what Others are also doing with their personal names. For example, Hiraeth is a Welsh word for a sort of homesickness, a longing or nostalgia for a person, place, or time that is lost to you and which may never have even existed. Don’t you know more about him by knowing that?
Obviously, I avoid drawing terms from cultures that it would be appropriative to draw from while setting a story in small-town Canada. Some names in the future might be more recognizably English words that also act as a stand in for a complex meaning, once this pattern is established in a way that won’t originally pop out as readers as “hey, that’s a word, not a Proper Name!” (look forward to an Inchoate showing up someday!)
In If Wishes Were Fishes, the main trio is in an established relationship. What opportunities were you excited to explore in writing that in comparison to most romances or stories where the characters don’t get together until later in the story?
I feel weird calling it an established relationship because… (points to the entirety of Empty Vessels). But it’s true that it is one in this, which is fun new territory to explore! Honestly, here’s something about me: I love to write get-together books. Almost every one of my books is a get-together book! I adore seeing how characters get over the rough spots where they don’t fit together and resolve things to get their happy ending. But the advantage of writing a sequel is that I both got to write that and show how it happened and I get to continue their story and show what they’re dealing with in the next step without all the will-they-won’t-they-ok-you-know-they-will-but-HOW. It meant I got to explore them strengthening their relationship. Sequels in romance usually address doubts and insecurities that the characters need to overcome, and that’s very much what this is about, finding the remaining rough edges now that they fit together and addressing those.
You’ve written quite a few other books. Are there any others of yours you’d draw comparisons to with the Sixth Sense Investigations series?
Probably Only Human or Smoke Signals, both of which are also m/m fantasy stories set in our recognizable real world. Only Human is a paranormal romance where a college boy gets cursed and has to go see a necromantic doctor about it, and falls in love with the literally-built zombie receptionist (don’t worry, it steers away from the grosser aspects of zombies). Smoke Signals is an urban fantasy romance in which a customer service agent for a video game distribution company begins to personally assist a haughty shifter dragon with adding digital content to his hoard of video games. Both of these are human/supernatural creature romances where, as with Sixth Sense Investigations, the characters have to address their own flaws while reaching out to make a genuine connection.
Other than your own, obviously, what queer new releases are you looking forward to this year?
Here’s a “short” selection of books I’m super excited about over the rest of 2020:
Slippery Creatures by K.J. Charles
Kinship and Kindness by Kara Jorgensen
The Fell of Dark by Caleb Roehrig
Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters
Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
Afterlove by Tanya Byrne
The Lights of Prague by Nicole Jarvis
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
Master of One by Jaida Jones & Danielle Bennett
Unhallowed by Jordan L. Hawk (No link yet, but he says it’ll likely be out in June or July)
Anything else you’d like to add before we wrap things up?
It’s been a big year for me! This time last year, I was still with the wonderful folks at Less Than Three Press. Since August 2019, it’s been a flurry of re-releasing titles independently and polishing other things up new, and I really, so deeply appreciate the support I’ve received so far. It’s hard to go indie, and it really means the world that so many people are reading and helping to lift me up. I’m sincerely grateful. I hope you look forward to If Wishes Were Fishes and, hopefully, several other new releases I’ll have coming soon!
Meredith Katz lives in Vancouver, BC with her wife, fellow writer Aveline Reynard, their extremely sensitive cat, and their chaotically involved kitten. She loves tea, monsters, and sweetly uncanny things that go bump in the night.
Website | Twitter: Meredith | Twitter: Soft Cryptid Book | Tumblr
Genre: Contemporary Genre: Paranormal Genre: Romance Identity: Polyam Pairing: M/M/M Pairing: Poly Self Published Tag: Guest Post Tag: Part of a series If Wishes Were Fishes Meredith Katz Sixth Sense Investigations series
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