Title: Seven Tears at High Tide
Author Name & Publisher: C.B. Lee (Duet/Interlude)
Publication Date & Length: October 15, 2015 – 234 pgs
Kevin Luong walks to the ocean’s edge with a broken heart. Remembering a legend his mother told him, he lets seven tears fall into the sea. “I just want one summer—one summer to be happy and in love.” Instead, he finds himself saving a mysterious boy from the Pacific—a boy who later shows up on his doorstep professing his love. What he doesn’t know is that Morgan is a selkie, drawn to answer Kevin’s wish. As they grow close, Morgan is caught between the dangers of the human world and his legacy in the selkie community to which he must return at summer’s end.
They wander into the house, wipe their wet feet on the welcome mat, climb up the stairs and giggle as they pass Ann’s bedroom. She’s dancing with her headphones on, oblivious to the open door, swaying to the beat.
In Kevin’s bedroom, he quickly scrounges up some clean shirts and shorts. “Here, you can wear this,” he says, handing an outfit to Morgan and then ducking into his bathroom to change.
He peels off the wetsuit and hangs it up in his shower, then leans his surfboard carefully against the wall, eyeing the crack. He’ll have to fix it tomorrow.
When he returns, Morgan is holding onto the wet board shorts, wearing the outfit Kevin gave him. He looks curiously at the rock collection prominently displayed on Kevin’s bookshelf.
“These are beautiful,” he says.
“Here, I’ll take that,” Kevin says, holding out his hand for the bedraggled board shorts to hang in his shower. He’s certain now that they’re the ones from the lifeguard’s lost and found.
Kevin’s starting to worry that Morgan doesn’t have any other clothes, but he doesn’t know how to bring it up. Money can be a touchy subject.
Morgan holds Kevin’s favorite specimen, a piece of green olivine on basalt. Kevin once almost convinced Ann it was an avocado roll—it certainly looks like one, bright green speckled with sesame seeds, wrapped in dark seaweed.
“That’s from Mexico. My family went on vacation to Baja last year, and I got that out of an old volcano.” He tries his best to describe the sweltering heat and the excitement of finding geodes and cracking them open with a hammer. Morgan listens in rapt silence as Kevin talks about the find and tilts the olivine so it catches the light. He sets it back in its spot behind its label, slowly so as not to disturb the other specimens, and Kevin is quietly pleased with Morgan’s careful appreciation.
“I changed my mind,” Kevin blurts out.
“I do want this to be a date. For us, to do that,” he says, blushing. “I like you. A lot.”
Morgan’s face breaks into a bright, happy smile.
“And what do we do differently, for this to be a date?”
Kevin can feel the heat on his cheeks. “We can hold hands, if you like. Um, or kiss, if you want to. But we don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. I’m fine just hanging out and watching a movie with you.”
Morgan tilts his head and steps closer. “I want to,” he says, not specifying what, but Kevin knows immediately.
It’s just the quickest brush of lips, but Kevin feels it all the way to his toes. A warm curl of excitement blooms throughout his body, and Morgan’s mouth is warm and wet against his. It’s not like any kiss he’s had, chaste and sweet and over in a second, and yet his heart is still pounding after Morgan leans back. He’s close enough for Kevin to be able to count the eyelashes dark against his cheek.
Morgan ducks his head and asks, “Was that okay?”
Kevin’s a little dazed, but he finds his voice. “Yeah. Yeah, that was great.”
Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing C.B. Lee, author of Seven Tears at High Tide.
Hi C.B., thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
Thank you for the kind welcome! I’m C.B., a writer who grew up in California with a love for wandering along the beach and in the woods (and in certain places, where I can do both, seaside pine forests are quite lovely!). As a bisexual Asian American writer, I’m excited to introduce characters who I— and I hope many more people— can identify with. Seven Tears at High Tide is a love story; Kevin’s wish for a summer love gets granted with a little bit of magic and he meets Morgan, but then summer’s end comes with some difficult choices.
1) When did you write your first story/book? How old were you?
Oh gosh, I was so young. I think I was always making up stories, and putting them to paper, illustrating them. In kindergarten I had this obsession with heart-people, where they were basically people who were made out of cartoon hearts, and they had their own universe filled with colorful houses and adventures. I don’t remember much about it, but there’s a lot of documentation when it was all I would draw and talk about.
In the fifth grade was probably when I wrote my first “book,” as part of a class project where we wrote stories and part of the project was to type it up, print it out and self publish it. So I was ten years old, and super excited about this book I wrote and stitched together with dental floss.
2) Are you a plotter or pantser?
Oh, by the seat of my pants, definitely. I like to think that I outline plots thoroughly, but so much changes from my original outline to the execution, so many of the little details happen on the fly that I can’t really call myself anything other than a spontaneous writer.
3) What do you think makes your book stand out from the crowd?
There’s very little fiction to do with selkies that I’ve found that questions a lot of the agency narratives that the selkies have to go through
4) How do you find or make time to write?
Definitely make time, as I’m not a full-time writer. In between bouts of life, I find myself jotting down ideas wherever I am. I wrote while I was in the grocery store the other day, waiting in line, jotting down ideas and fleshing out pieces of dialogue on my phone, and I’ll try to get twenty minutes of writing done in between work or errands or whatever. I try my best to get at least something down in the day, even if I don’t make it to the actual document and type anything, if it’s at least an idea, I’ll feel good about what I’ve accomplished.
5) What do you like to read in your free time?
A bit of everything, but I really love reading young adult fiction because there’s so much variety, like authors are unafraid to delve into fantastic and sensational plotlines, and there’s everything from science fiction to fantasy to magic realism and more.
C. B. Lee is a bisexual writer, rock climber and pinniped enthusiast based in California. Lee enjoys reading, hiking and other outdoor pursuits. Seven Tears At High Tide is a first novel.