Guest blog by Susan Squires, author of Waiting for Magic (The Children of Merlin)
Don’t get me wrong, I have never surfed, and I’m way past the age of trying. But I live four blocks from the beach in Southern California, and I love watching other people surf. Sometimes the swell is actually crowded with boards. In the winter, when we get bigger waves before or after a storm, the really good surfers show up. They are fewer, but their rides are pretty spectacular. The surfing subculture crosses all ages and income levels. One day when the waves were big I saw a teenager cruise up on his skateboard, his surfboard under his arm. A guy with gray hair got out of his Range Rover, board strapped on top, telling his secretary on his cell that he wouldn’t be in until 10 a.m. They waved and nodded. They knew each other, through their mutual love of riding the waves.
I know why they love surfing. It’s why I loved jumping horses, and why ice skaters love the ice. For a while, you are faster or stronger or less hampered by gravity than you are in everyday life. And who wouldn’t want to experience that transformation, even if just for a little while?
So when I set my Children of Merlin in Southern California, and had the Tremaines, who have magic in their genes, living on a bluff above the Pacific, I knew tone of the Tremaine boys had to be a surfer. I finally get around to Devin’s story in Waiting for Magic. He’s the orphan who was adopted by the big and successful Tremaine family when his own parents died in a plane crash. He’s never felt like he belonged. But when Brina Tremaine gave him surfing lessons, he found an element where he belonged absolutely. He has an affinity for the waves that makes him a very, very good surfer.
Researching how to make Devin a surfer was fun. Watching male surfers wasn’t a hardship. All those sleek muscles dripping with salt water, with their wet suits peeled back to their hips (the Pacific is cold most of the year.) I talked to my neighbor across the street, who is an avid surfer, and the younger guys down the street. I watched movies; The Endless Summer, Chasing Mavericks, Point Break. I really tried hard to capture the magic of the feeling that you must be doing what you do.
Creating Devin was fun in more ways than one. I love tortured heroes, and he certainly is that. I love making good boys into bad boys, and Devin becomes a very bad boy with a core of honor and protectiveness. But it was also fun to try to feel, through Devin, what it would be like to hear the call of the waves, and know you had no choice but to answer.
Do you have something that you love to do, that transforms you? It doesn’t have to be something physical. I love to knit. And of course there’s writing. I look up and hours have passed before I even know it. What transforms you?
Author Bio: Susan Squires is a New York Times Bestselling author of seventeen novels and four novellas. She writes her current Series, The Children of Merlin, at the beach in Southern California with her husband Harry, who writes supernatural mysteries, and three Belgian Sheepdogs.