Denise L. Barela is a twenty-something-year-old writer with a passion for fiction, her faith, and just being creative in general. When she’s not working away at her desk, you might find her reading a good book or following Alice down the rabbit hole…
In this interview, Denise shares some of her thoughts on her latest novel, Silencing the Siren, book number 7 in her Every After Mysteries Series.
FF: What inspired the story in your book, Silencing the Siren?
I was inspired by The Greatest Showman and Phantom of the Opera sequel! When I was assigned The Little Mermaid during the 1920s, I wasn’t sure how I should make that work. I originally thought about making her a magician’s assistant, but I couldn’t get it to work. After watching The Greatest Showman, I knew freakshow was the way to go!
FF: What can you tell us about the main characters in your book?
My two main characters are Annabel and Andrew. Annabel is my mermaid, and Andrew is my prince in comparison with the fairy tale.
Annabel was born with conjoined legs and performs as a mermaid in the freakshow with her father and her troupe family. She has suffered heavy prejudice and mistreatment for her appearance, but she holds on to God’s promise that He loves her the way He made her.
Andrew is a young man from high society who struggles to learn how to be his own person when his parents have controlled so much of his life. He’s torn between the woman he loves and the parents that still want to decide every facet of his life.
FF: Which character surprised you the most?
The characters that surprised me the most were William and Amalia. William is Annabel’s father, and Amalia is a mother figure in Annabel’s life. I didn’t expect them to get so involved in what went on, but the further in the story I got, the more they wormed their way into the plot. They’ve actually become two of my favorite characters.
FF: Why do you think storytelling is such a powerful way to share truth?
One thing I’ve always loved about storytelling is it’s ability to whisk you away into a different time or even world. It’s a place you can run to when the world just becomes too much. It also holds the ability to store lessons that we tend to be less open to anywhere else. Someone I know pointed out that Christ used parables to teach lessons and get His message across. Fiction writers can use storytelling to share those important lessons.
FF: How has your faith or world view impacted the way you tell stories?
Definitely. Since this was my first novel, I found it hard to try and weave my faith in without being too preachy. My work is shaped by my own experiences and beliefs, and I’ve been so incredibly blessed to see that some readers are drawing my heart from this book. If this book helped just one person, I would consider it having been successful in its purpose.
Silencing the Siren
Every After Mysteries Series #7
Denise L. Barela
Celebrate Lit Publishing
Genres: Historical Suspense
Release Date: January 4, 2022
Andrew Grayson thought he had everything…until he met her.
The indulged son of wealthy parents, Andrew has always gotten whatever he wanted almost before he knew he wanted it—clothes, gadgets… even a car! What more could a young man desire?
Enter Annabel Thompson. Freakshow mermaid extraordinaire… in a wheelchair!
Of course, her beauty attracts him. How could it not? Add to that a kind heart, and Andrew can’t help but fall for her.
Annabel’s connection with the freakshow repels his parents and their society friends. They want him to sever all ties with her and his new friends. Oh, and marry the “right” girl with the “right connections.” But he won’t do it. He’ll defy them and marry his little mermaid.
When Annabel turns up missing, declared dead, things don’t add up, Andrew begins asking some difficult questions, the most important being, “What happened to the little mermaid of the Coney Island freak show?”
Buy Silencing the Siren from Amazon HERE!