First, I think I found a way to keep my BRILLIANT title (for now): Lana Bong’s Shanghai Market. It has something to do with tieing it in at the very end. Hopefully, some of you will get to read it someday.
After that, I started thinking about why I would pick up this novel and read it. I realized it had a lot more to do with the sea life and animal themes that run throughout the piece. While I like the main idea of finishing what someone left behind for you to do, I’m a sucker for a secret life, I love a good dose of animal facts and themes. I thought about how I loved watching Jacques Cousteau’s adventures when I was a kid, but I don’t know how many people remember him. I mean, people a bit younger than me. I think as an explorer he demonstrates some shared characteristics of one of my sealife-obsessed characters, but the novel isn’t nearly as quirky as The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (which looked to be inspired by Cousteau and is one of my favorite movies). In any case, it made me rethink how I can make my characters come alive on the page and in a short pitch. Side note: Recently, I read the book Red Clocks by Leni Zumas. She is a Portland author and she includes animal facts related to how much different hearts weigh in her novel. I love this! It adds to characterization and I got to learn something fascinating! Did you know that a giraffe’s heart weighs about 25 lbs? I even tweeted to the author to let her know I appreciated it. I think it’s important to let authors know you love their work. Her book delves into other themes like reproductive rights and female independence. I recommend it.