The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember: Guest Post & Giveaway

Hello, my darlings! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for  The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember!! I am so excited to be a part of this tour, because Julia is awesome, and this book is so unique and fabulous! This was the first book I read from the actual mermaid’s POV and I really loved Ersel- and I was so pleasantly surprised by how relatable she was! So today, I have a guest post from Julia, book info of course, and a great giveaway- lots of winners, too which is always extra fun 😀 

The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember: Guest Post & Giveaway The Seafarer's Kiss by Julia Ember
Published by Duet Books, the YA imprint of Interlude Press on May 4th 2017
Pages: 230

Having long-wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the mermen’s glacier. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.

Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from Loki. But such deals are never as one expects, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies.

“Sometimes you won’t have a plan,” she said fiercely. “Sometimes you’ll jump before you have time to think, and it’ll work out okay. I can’t afford to be afraid anymore, even though I feel fear pulling at me. I’m never going to be a prisoner again. Not anyone’s. Not even inside my own mind.”

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Julia’s Post: 5 Sources of Inspiration for the Seafarer’s Kiss

In this guest post, I want to talk about sources of inspiration! Some of these are physical places, others are poems or things from history, but all of them influenced me in writing The Seafarer’s Kiss!

VASA MUSEUM – Stockholm, Sweden

I travelled to Stockholm three years ago with my partner. As part of our trip, we visited the amazing Vasa Museum, which showcases an excavated ship. The museum contains the full ship, which can be viewed on three different levels inside the building. In addition to the ship, the museum shows the archaeologist’s excavation process and gives details about what life would have been like on board. I really became interesting in sailing and shipwrecks after my trip to Sweden. This interest shows up in The Seafarer’s Kiss.

(photo: Julia Ember)


After I graduated university in 2011, I returned to UK to start to study Medieval Literature at postgraduate level. I’d always been obsessed with Britain in the Middle Ages. I’d studied Medieval Literature as undergrad, but I wanted to delve further into etymology of the language and the way English evolved. As part of my course of study, I took several courses on Anglo-Saxon literature and culture. We learned a lot about their collision with the Vikings – both on the battlefield and in how the two cultures eventually melded together on the British Isles.


One of my favourite Anglo-Saxon texts is a poem called The Seafarer. It is a haunting, lonely poem, narrated by an exiled sailor lamenting on the people he has lost. For me, when I think about the speaker in that poem, and the narrative that might have surrounded his existence, I think of someone atoning for past sins, who has lost their home. Those themes carry over directly into The Seafarer’s Kiss. A lot of my inspiration for Ragna also came directly from the poem. The speaker remembers exploring foreign shores and what it was like to yearn for adventure.


Given my academic past, it’s not surprising that I’m obsessed with The Vikings tv show by The History Channel. I love the aesthetic of the show, the music and the character dynamics. Although it’s not particularly historically accurate, I love that the show follows Ragnar Lothbrok. Ragnar is present in several Old Norse texts, but his exact providence isn’t well known nor are his deeds. It’s not clear if Ragnar was a legend or a real person. The show exploits this.

I chose to base Ragna off the hazy Viking legend of Ragnar and create a gender-swapped version of my own.


Unlike the Disney remake, the original Little Mermaid is a dark tale. Hans Christian Andersen does not give her a happy ending. The importance of voice and what it means to lose it are explored at a much deeper level in the original fairy tale than in Disney. The Seafarer’s Kiss also focuses on what it means to have agency, and the consequences for letting someone take your voice away.

About Julia Ember

Julia Ember lives with her wife and their menagerie of pets with literary names in Seattle. She is the author of The Seafarer's Kiss duology, a Norse-myth inspired YA retelling of The Little Mermaid, published by Interlude Press. Her upcoming standalone YA fantasy, Ruinsong, will be published by Macmillan (FSG) in November 2020. She can be found online at or on twitter as @jules_chronicle.

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The Seafarer’s Kiss


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Are you guys excited for a mermaid book? And one with a f/f romance to boot? You should be! 😉 

Posted May 5, 2017 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Blog Tour, Giveaway, Guest Post / 10 Comments

10 responses to “The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember: Guest Post & Giveaway

  1. Merfolk perspective plus shield- maiden? Yay! Love Norse mythology. This sounds awesome, and super guest post too. Nice to see some of the inspiration for the story. 🙂

  2. I am so excited to read this one! I always love hearing about authors’ inspirations for their stories, especially for books like this one that require a decent amount of research.

  3. Well I’m on board! I love when a retelling honors the dark original tale, not the Disneyfied version. And I’m excited for more book diversity, and a female Viking. Yay!

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