The Fickle Mermaid by Sophie Bowns / Mini Review & Author Interview

The Fickle Mermaid is a modern, poetic retelling of The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson.

When a young mermaid called Cordelia rescues Nikolai, a stunning but troubled model from a watery grave she becomes besotted with him. Cordelia would do anything to be at his side, including sell her soul to a sinister sea witch.

IMG_3868.jpg*Thank you to Sophie for providing me with a review copy of her book. All opinions are my own* 

If you know me, then you know I’m not the biggest fan of poetry. Poetry is essentially about feeling and if you can’t connect, you just can’t appreciate and enjoy the author’s craft. However, knowing that this poetry was a retelling of The Little Mermaid, I just had to give it a shot.
Unlike a lot of poetry that is split into sections, and pages – The Fickle Mermaid is almost like one long monologue and presented in narrative form, switching between Cordelia and Nikolai. You could only ever read this in one, quick sitting but it flows quickly and combines perfectly with Sophie’s use of rhyme. It’s clear that a lot of thought was put into this and I love the scene that Sophie created – her use of language created a beautiful atmosphere. If I have any criticism, it’s that I wish it was a big longer and we spent more time with the witch, Kesakitan who of course tricks Cordelia.
Overall, it was a beautiful poem with an interesting spin on The Little Mermaid and I’ll be interested to see how Sophie puts her spin on other popular stories in the future.

A: Out of all the tales, what made you decide to go for a retelling of The Little Mermaid?
S: It’s funny, because I probably didn’t watch The Little Mermaid until I was slightly older (maybe 8-9?) I do love the Disney film, though. Back in 2014, I self published a book called Azure which uses the same characters. I felt that it worked much better as a narrative poem, and I’d like to hope that my writing style has improved in those five years!

Do you have any tips for aspiring poets?
Stay true to yourselves. Don’t conform and write how you think you should. Just because short poetry is popular, doesn’t mean that you have to do it too. There are many styles and types of poetry out there. Do some research and stick to the type that feels right. I absolutely fell in love with narrative poetry because it’s half way between novel writing and poetry.

Who are your inspirations in poetry and writing in general?
My inspirations? Hmmm… two people I greatly admire are the American actor Matt Bomer, who is not only an incredible actor but he’s a role model and an inspiration too. My second is the wonderful British West End Performer/ singer/ songwriter Liam Tamne. I love and admire his work ethic. I saw him play Frank N’ Furter in the 2016 UK tour of Rocky Horror and he absolutely blew me away. His voice is out of this world. Oh gosh, you said inspirations in writing. Well, that’d have to be other long form poets like Edgar Allen Poe. I read everything and anything that I can get my hands on. I love Stephen King. Any writer needs to read ‘On Writing.’

Can you give us any hints as to what you’re working on next?
I’m currently working on another narrative fairytale spin off. I’m taking a break after completing the first draft and reading around the subject. It’s a spin off of ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ I’m kind of stuck for a title. I was thinking that ‘Beastly’ could work.

And for a question about books in general, what three books would you take to a deserted island?
 This is hard… Jane Eyre because I absolutely adore this book, I’ve been obsessed with the plot since I was about five and I’ve read the book at least three times. The Green Mile has to be Stephen King’s best work. It’s utterly spellbinding and the film is almost as good. –Little Women / Goodwives I’d have to get a combined copy of both books. I actually think I prefer the storyline of Good Wives. Jo March is an incredible character plus she’s headstrong, witty and intelligent.

Huge thank you to Sophie for providing me with a copy of The Fickle Mermaid and of course, answering my questions. You can find her here!
The Fickle Mermaid (digital) | Twitter

Lots of Love,
Angharad @

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