Mt. Juliet resident and author Donna Driver spoke with students at West Wilson Middle School on Thursday.
Driver shared excerpts from her latest book, “Cry of the Sea,” and encouraged students to let their creativity show.
“Cry of the Sea” is what Driver describes as a “fantasy and science fiction novel” aimed at young adults. It tells the story of an American Indian teen named Juniper and her discovery of mermaids near her hometown.
“It’s a very different kind of mermaid book,” Driver said. “When most people think about mermaids, they think of a human body with a fish’s tail. My mermaids aren’t like that.”
Driver began the book in 1999, which was the 10th anniversary of an oil spill on the west coast, where she is originally from. She was raised in California.
“In all reality, I have to confess that this book should not exist,” she told the students. “I wondered what would happen if mermaids wash up on shore during an oil spill.”
She began working on the first couple of chapters, but set the book aside and began work on a different story.
“I didn’t throw it away, I just put it aside. Around 2007 I went to a big writers’ convention and let a publisher read it. I was told it was too short, so I put it away again.”
A couple years later, though, Driver attended a workshop on novel revision. She said what while there she received lots of ideas on how to add subplots and other fixes, so she went back to work again. She also changed the book from a third person point of view to a first person point of view.
“I thought you guys should know that 15 years ago I started writing this book. If you’re creative and you start writing something and someone tells you it’s bad - don’t throw it away, because it may not be finished yet.”