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Frequently Asked Questions

Ondine Series


How do you pronounce Ondine?
on-deen.

How many books will be in the Ondine series?

Four.

Book 1: The Summer of Shambles is available worldwide. Some booksellers list the first novel simply as "Ondine" - this is in fact the same book. There are also different book covers around the world - making it look like there are many books.

Book 2: The Autumn Palace & Book 3: The Winter of Magic and Book 4: The Spring Revolution are available worldwide.

What formats are the Ondine books available in?
Books 1 & 2 are available in paperback & e-book. Book 3 & 4 are e-book exclusives.

Can I buy the Ondine books in bookstores?
Books 1 & 2 are available as paperbacks, but bookstores are likely to need to order in a copy. Paperbacks are available for delivery from all major online retailers.

Who owns the publishing rights?
Please contact me to discover which rights are available.

Are your books going to be made into movies?
That would be awesome, and my door is always open to offers.

What age is Ondine suitable for?
It has a suggested reading level of 12+. This refers to the ability of the reader, not the content. The tone of this series of books is charming and fun, with moments of intrigue and drama.

Is this book series affiliated with Neil Jordan's movie 'Ondine'?
No. In fact it began life many years before that film was announced. Except for the title character name, it has no similarities.

Is this book series affiliated with Emma Raveling's novels 'Ondine Quartet'?
No. In fact The Summer of Shambles came out a year earlier. It has no similarities.

Is Summer of Shambles your first book?
It is my debut teen novel, but I wrote many books beforehand, which were never published.

Is Brugel a real place?
No. The country Ondine is set in is a completely fictional place.

Why do your books have footnotes?
Just one of those bizarre instances of kismet. With Shambles' thick Scottish brogue and strange way of speaking, there had to be a way to explain what he was really saying. I also had to find a way to explain the idiosyncrasies of Brugel without launching into travel-guide exposition. The footnotes seemed to fit, and then they took on a life of their own. It was also a way for me to 'cheat' and reveal my research, without having to find a cleverer way of blending facts into the stories.

You did research? But it's all made up?
Of course! I've visited Scotland - Shambles' country of origin - many times. I know a few Scottish sayings and have some friends with links to places north of Hadrian's Wall. Having said that, clearly many of Shambles' phrases are made up. Inspiration also came from the internet and books - and watching Doctor Who's David Tennant speak in his real scottish accent. Watching him is really good research! ;-) Thank you to all the Scots contributing to websites about your colourful language. You banjaxed my brain.

When did you first get your ideas for Ondine?
In 2006, I was walking to pick up my toddler son from daycare. It wasn't so much an idea as a brief image of a gypsy girl with an animal on her shoulder which then became a real man. In the image, it was dark but there were fireflies or bright stars in the sky. I think the small animal was a rat at first, but then a few seconds later I realised a ferret would be a bit different. Then he spoke with a Scottish accent and I laughed at myself. (It was a long walk, by the way).

Writing


Ebony McKennaWhere do you get your ideas?
From everywhere. I take a notebook with me because ideas are always floating around and I need to catch them. A comforting smell can trigger a feeling or memory. A twisted tree makes me think of people climbing it. A rude person makes me wonder what went wrong in their childhood to make them such an idiot. The truth is, ideas are like a rising tide. They surround and drown me. Ideas are the easy part. It's what I do with those ideas over the following months of writing that are the hard work.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Join a writers' group in your area. Regularly meeting with other writers to critique work, learn techniques and discuss the industry is a great way to treat writing as a serious pursuit and keep yourself motivated. Join a writers' organisation. Oh yes, and read, read, read and then read some more.

Can I send you my writing for your thoughts or suggestions?
I'm really sorry, but no. I am so busy I honestly don't have time. I do my best to be polite as much as hormonally possible, but if I receive unsolicited material (i.e., things I haven't asked for) they will be deleted immediately or thrown in the recycling, unread and unopened. This makes me out to be a grizzly meany guts, so I'm saying it up front to save us crying into our keyboards later.

But I have something finished already, and I need someone to read it and give me feedback ...
Then join a writers' group in your area or join an online critique group. That is one way to get valuable feedback and develop your skills.

Are there any books you recommend for aspiring writers?
Yes. Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass, Story by Robert McKee and Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies by Leslie Wainger. There are thousands more, but these three gave me the greatest number of 'light bulb' moments.

Ferrets

Shambles

Do ferrets make good pets?
Depending on your personality, ferrets could make a great pet. The only thing you really need to get started is an escape-proof cage. Unfortunately, I don't believe these cages exist.

Do ferrets smell?
Yes. But so do humans. Regular bathing and good grooming can help. That goes double for the ferrets.

Are all ferrets salad dodgers?
Absolutely. Ferrets cannot digest vegetable and fruit proteins. Sultana binges put them in a coma. It's meat, meat and more meat with these fellahs. That Atkins bloke probably got his diet idea from researching ferrets. Of course, I could be completely making this up.

How many ferrets do you own?
Not a one! It probably wouldn't be a good idea to start getting them now. I value my furniture. And my sanity. I have met ferrets and found them to be utterly charming and am always happy to hand them back.

For more information on caring for ferrets go to the Victorian Ferret Society.

©E.J. McKenna