“I wanted to write about losing your voice,” says Sarah Ockler, the author of six books of YA fiction, including THE SUMMER OF CHASING MERMAIDS.

“I was thinking a lot about denial of voice … especially with young girls and teen girls and women. … They’re taught to be nice, and be accommodating, and basically shut up. I really wanted to explore that in-depth. What better way to do that than with a character who has lost her voice?”

“Mermaids” is the story of Elyse, who was born in Tobago but is living in a sleepy village in coastal Oregon. Elyse was a singer, but lost her voice in an accident. The story is about Elyse coming to terms with losing the thing that had previously defined her.

Sarah also tells the exciting story about how she landed her first book deal in 2009. If you’re a writer, you should hear it. It’s pretty cool. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is available in paperback beginning June 7.