Book reveals untold story of mermaids

Local author Joanna Beatty who's written her first novel called Salva Me. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Local author Joanna Beatty who's written her first novel called Salva Me. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Set amid the bleak, wild, windswept coast it is a tale featuring the intrigues of smugglers and mesmerising mermaids.

The dark recesses of history and a passion for the sea have inspired the debut novel by a north Norfolk writer.

Spanning time and place, Salva Me by Joanna Beatty switches between events from the 19th century to the present day.

The ambitious adventure story sees a journalist discover an old journal in her deceased grandmother's belongings. Tracing its steps back to Blakeney she is drawn into events from the 1840s that threaten her own safety.

The idea for the novel was first sparked by a derelict house that was for sale in Blakeney. It also takes inspiration from mermaids used in shows by the legendary 19th Century circus impresario P T Barnum.

Mrs Beatty, from Bacton, said: 'I have always had as passion for the sea and have been a bit of a dreamer

I wanted to create something that, while inherently fiction, also drew inspiration from history.

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'Norfolk still retains much of its smuggling history; an industry whose secrecy in itself has a thousand books waiting to be written.

'The words just came onto the page like a download. I never thought writing a book was something I could do, but it just happened and I am really happy with it.

'The title came from a piece of music by the composer Duncan Brown that I was listening to at the time. It is quite appropriate as some of the characters in the book need to be saved.'

Mrs Beatty has been delighted with the response to the book which has received a number of five star reviews from readers.

She added: 'I am very pleased with the reviews and a lot of people are saying how much they loved it. When I said the book would feature mermaids it could make it seem a little bit airy fairy but I am very pleased with people's response. I have got a lot of stories buzzing around in my head, but have not put pen to paper yet.'

Salva Me is available online as a paperback and e-book.

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