Amanda Hocking first garnered attention in the book world when her self-published Trylle Trilogy became an e-book hit, selling millions of copies. Hoping to mirror that success—this time with a traditional book deal—Hocking will release the Watersong series. The first book, Wake (out Aug. 7), follows Gemma Fisher and her older sister, Harper, and tells the story of (minor spoiler alert!) three modern-day sirens.
After one night of partying with town newcomers Penn, Thea, and Lexi, Gemma wakes up groggy on the beach the next morning unable to explain the change that has overcome her. One thing Gemma does know is that she has new powers that she can’t control. Gemma sets out to understand the truth about what happened to her that night, and in the process she dives deeper into the mysterious world of Penn, Thea, and Lexi.
Here, we can exclusively debut the trailer for Wake. And after that, read our interview with Hocking as she talks about her start in self-publishing and the upcoming Watersong series.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You made a name for yourself by self-publishing your novels first as e-books. The success you had was unprecedented. How did all of that come about?
Amanda Hocking: I’d been writing and trying to get published for years and years, and I wasn’t having any success. Then I heard about other authors making a go of it with e-publishing, so I thought I’d give it shot. I started publishing online in early 2010, and I went on to sell more than 1.5 million books through self-publishing alone.
Is it weird that you’re sort of a poster child, so to speak, for self-publishing success stories?
Yes, it is, and I have to be honest—I’m feeling some relief that that’s changed. Many other authors are having successes with self-publishing, so what I did doesn’t seem that exciting anymore. I’m much happier to be talking about books and writing instead of how things are published.
How exactly did that lead to a deal with St. Martins? And how did it feel to see your book in that conventional form?
I wanted to focus more on writing and less on the publishing aspects. I started a new series—the Watersong series—and my agent approached publishers with it. It went into auction, and St. Martin’s won. Seeing my book in stores feels a bit weird. It’s strange because I’d already sold so many books before, but it was still exciting.
So now on to the new series: Where did you come up with the idea for the Watersong books?
I grew up reading many books on mythology, and I’ve always been fascinated by all kinds of fantastical creatures, and the Watersong series features one of my favorites. I’m also a bit afraid of the ocean. I read Jaws when I was 8, and it’s given me the lasting impression that there’s a sea monster just waiting to devour me in the ocean.
The Watersong series is four books, right? Do you have names for all of them?
Yes, it’s a quartet. All the four books have names, although we’re discussing possibly changing the title of the third book. Wake is book one, Lullaby is book two, and the fourth book is Elegy.
Unlike the traditional YA story which features a strong female protagonist, Wake has two strong female characters. Why did you decide to have both Gemma and Harper tell this story?
When something major happens to a person, like an illness or a life-changing development, it doesn’t happen to just one person—it happens to all the people who love them. So even though Gemma is the first one directly affected, Harper is changed by it, too. Harper and Gemma also have such contrasting personalities, I thought it gave a more interesting perspective on things, not just with the paranormal elements but also with their separate romances.
What else can you tell us about the next book?
In the second book, Lullaby [out in November], you learn what becomes of Gemma and also the ramifications of some of her decisions in Wake. Romances heat up, and danger becomes more imminent.