Whirl: An Ondine Quartet Novel By Emma Raveling

Seventeen-year-old Kendra Irisavie is an ondine, a water elemental caught in the middle of an ancient war with the Aquidae, immortal dark demons who will stop at nothing to destroy the fragile balance of the Elemental world.
Fierce and independent, Kendra has always played by her own rules. Gifted with the powerful magic of Virtue and trained to be a deadly fighter, she has spent her life breaking hearts and getting into trouble.
When her life explodes one violent night in a northern California city, a dark stranger appears, promising answers to her mysterious past. Alone and with no one to trust, she must now navigate through a dangerous new world, face the temptations of a forbidden romance, and remain true to her duty and destiny.
All while the Aquidae continue to hunt her down, in the hopes of eliminating her forever…

Move aside Vampires. Ondines are here! Presenting you the author of this wonderful series, Emma Raveling who (surprise, surprise!) started her writing journey with the NaNoWriMo challenge! What better way to get inspired than a NaNoWriMo success story. So, without further delay, please welcome Emma Raveling!

Hello Emma! Tell us something about your new Ondine Quartet Series.

Hi, Shilpa! Thank you so much for having me here today.

The Ondine Quartet series is a new young adult urban fantasy/paranormal romance. Whirl is the first book in the series and was just released last month. The main character is Kendra Irisavie, a seventeen-year-old water elemental known as an ondine. For thousands of years, the water elemental world has been at war with the Aquidae, immortal and soulless demons.

Kendra is raised to be a warrior, a tough fighter who has mastered numerous martial arts forms. Her life dramatically changes one night and she suddenly finds herself having to deal with a new world that forces her to question everything she has ever learned or known. She faces life-threatening challenges, as well as emotional risks of her heart.

In a YA fantasy book world saturated with wolves and vampires, how did you get the idea of Ondine characters?

I didn't start out with the idea of writing a YA fantasy book. I consider myself a fantasy writer simply because it allows me the freedom to explore a wide variety of genres.

Part of my new year's resolution in January 2011 was to publish this year. No excuses. As I thought about what to write, there was a conscious decision to not write another vampire/werewolf book. I do enjoy vampire and wolf books (especially when they're done well) but I simply felt that was not the kind of story I wanted to tell for my debut book.

So what to write? I thought a lot about it and put aside a lot of ideas that I felt wouldn't work. I wasn't sure what kind of novel it was going to be (young adult or adult, fantasy or paranormal, horror, dystopic, etc.) and I ended up sort of waiting for inspiration to strike.

The inspiration for the Ondine Quartet series ultimately came from a piece of classical music. The French composer Maurice Ravel composed a work for solo piano called Gaspard de la Nuit. This music was based upon a series of poems by Aloysius Bertrand.

The first movement of Ravel’s piece, entitled Ondine, is based upon the poem of the same name by Bertrand. I included this poem as the epigraph in Whirl. Based upon an old French myth, the poem tells the story of Ondine, a water nymph who sings to a mortal man, attempting to lure him to her. He rejects her love and pleas to join her in ruling the water world. Heartbroken, Ondine fades away, disappearing beneath the waves.

I heard a performance of this work in late January and an image flashed into my mind of a teenage girl, partially standing in the ocean. It was a haunting image. She seemed so very lonely. But her eyes burned. They were powerful - the eyes of a fighter, a warrior. Intrigued, I began exploring that idea in my head and the Ondine Quartet was born.

How was the experience? How difficult or easy was it for you to create this unique world?

I found the experience to be very exciting! I didn't do much research into water elementals or mythology, other than the basics of selkie lore. The reason why was because I wanted to create my own mythology and world.

I suppose the difficulty was the amount of work that I put into constructing the world before I even began writing. I didn't really consider it difficult, though,  because I was enjoying myself too much! I spent a great deal of time constructing the Ondine Quartet world - everything from the history of the society, magic and special powers, politics and government, the different races of water elementals, and societal and moral values.

I also researched French etymology and the Anglo-Norman historical connection. This was the basis behind many of the terms and names used in the book (race names, location names, character names, etc.), all of which were constructed out of specific meanings and particular word roots.

Publishing jitters? What was the difficult part?
Publishing is both exciting and a bit nerve-wracking at the same time. Writing a novel feels like having a child. You’ve spent so much time, work, effort, love, and care in creating and nurturing it and then you set it free into the world. It can be difficult and hard to let it go in that way.

Another difficulty for me has been the fact that publishing takes up a lot of time, especially on the business end. I would much rather spend that time writing and working on the next book!

and the fun part?
The best part about publishing has been the complete creative control I've had over every aspect of my book. I love it, especially since I had such a particular and specific concept for this series.

Another great part has been the response I've been getting from readers. When they take the time to write to me about how much they loved my characters or the story, it absolutely makes my day. It's thrilling and makes me feel as though all those hours of sweat and hard work were worth it!

You have a wonderful book trailer for book 1 - Whirl. How effective do you think book trailers are?
Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

I don’t consider book trailers a means of promotion. This is because I've never bought a book because of its trailer. I believe the world of visual imagery and the world of books (dictated by words) are two separate things. The purpose of the two mediums are vastly different. 

But I have gone and looked up book trailers for books I enjoyed. It somehow adds an extra dimension to what I’ve read and acts almost like an extra element that can support the world building. 

So when I made the book trailer for Whirl, my intention was for it to be something for fans of the series. There are things in the video that hint at key moments in the book, and I hope readers who enjoyed Whirl will go and watch the trailer and relive some of those moments.

NaNoWriMo! Your journey as a writer started with it and you are doing it this year as well. Advice to first timers like me? :)
NaNoWriMo is fantastic! Like you mentioned, I first did it last year, mainly because I wanted to get into the habit of writing daily. Once I completed it, I didn't want to stop! I wanted to keep writing every day, and this was part of what pushed me into the decision to publish this year. 

I think the most important thing with NaNo is to remember why you're doing it (meaning it's fun and provides a good kick to jump-start your writing muscles) and to develop the consistent discipline of writing. 

Writing is hard. To write consistently on a daily basis is much harder than people realize. NaNo is one of those fantastic events that can really teach you that. 

My best advice would be to shut off your inner editor and write as consistently as possible. If you have extra time on any given day, fit in more words. Because there will inevitably be a day in the month when you can't write, either because life gets in the way or your brain has come to a standstill. Writing more on a day when you're inspired or have more time will help you from falling too far behind. 

Last but not the least, your favorite quote in the whole book!
"Responsibility is not something you always get to choose. In fact, responsibility is often something that chooses you." - Nexa Genevieve (Kendra's magic mentor). 

Want to know more about Emma? 
Visit her website for more details about her book. She blogs frequently at Writing Ventures. You can also find her on Facebook and she tweets as @emmaraveling. And the best part - If this interview tickled you and want to read her book, you can buy it at Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords


  1. Hi Shilpa - thank you so much for having me here on your site today! It's wonderful to have the opportunity to share a bit about Whirl and the Ondine Quartet with your readers.

    How is your NaNo going? :) I'm moving forward day by day (mainly by staying off the Internet as much as possible). LOL

    Thanks again-

  2. The honor is all mine!
    Nano is OK. Overwhelmed with trying to get ideas as I write. I started out only with an outline and no plotting (which I never do anyway!) :D Keeping away from Internet is what I need to do as well. LOL!


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