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Why I Wrote Floating Underwater
Tracy Shawn --Novelist, Speaker Tracy Shawn --Novelist, Speaker
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Central Coast, CA
Friday, September 10, 2021




Tracy Shawn

Book Cover for Floating Underwater

What Inspired Me

The idea for my second novel, Floating Underwater, came to me from personal history, past work experience (when I was younger, I interned at a psychiatric center), and to a much greater extent, sheer imagination. I knew I wanted to write about a woman named Paloma who was dealing with a history of grief and loss, but then without even understanding all the reasons why, I also felt a need to layer the story with elements of the otherworldly.

Fear, Grief, and Hope

Paloma is fearful that her premonitions not only can predict the future but may also change its very course and is devastated when her latest vision foretelling a third miscarriage comes true. As a woman who has suffered through two miscarriages myself, I wanted to write about how a character deals with that particular loss, a loss that many people endure yet some never get to fully examine. I also wanted to explore what can happen when a person’s life veers off its planned course and what it’s like to embrace a far different future than expected.

The Power of the Feminine, Intuition, and Magic

I felt it was significant, as well, to include the theme of how we’re often afraid of our own power. Many of us have been taught to negate its very existence, including the strength of the feminine and the gift of intuition. Yet, it wasn’t until I was interviewed by poet and writer David Starkey, who asked why I felt it was important to use the narrative element of magical realism in this novel, that I fully realized why I embraced it. After much thought, I answered that I believe loss and grief can make our day-to-day reality too difficult to bear without the hope that something else is beyond this realm. I created these extraordinary experiences for my protagonist, readers—and for myself—because I believe we all could use a little more magic.

Mother-Daughter Relationships

The complex relationship between mothers and daughters, as well as lifelong friends, is another theme that is embedded in Floating Underwater (as well as in my debut novel, The Grace of Crows). I anticipate that the complicated maze of love, hurt, and in the end, a deeper understanding that often run through these relationships will probably always be a theme I’ll be drawn to—both as a reader and an author. So…if you can relate, pull up a chair!

Magical Realism and the Supernatural

Going back to the narrative element of magical realism and the otherworldly events that occur in Floating Underwater, I also want to share that while I was growing up, my beloved British grandfather claimed that he often talked to ghosts while having midnight tea inside his Devonshire farmhouse. His mother, too, was known to have psychic abilities, reading people’s fortunes and helping them with deal with personal dilemmas. I myself often feel a connection with others that creates a physical response in my own body to their spoken—and unspoken pain. So, it felt natural, then, to include the supernatural in this novel!


Ultimately, I hope that readers will enjoy this story about a woman’s journey through the extraordinary and, ultimately, to her own self-actualization—and that it also helps people feel as if everything in this crazy, upside-down world (and beyond!) will somehow, someday be okay.

Tracy Shawn lives and writes on the Central Coast of California with her husband, two cantankerous cats, and loyal pit bull. Her debut novel, The Grace of Crows, won several indie book awards. Floating Underwater is her second novel. Tracy Shawn’s short stories have appeared in Literary Brushstrokes, Psychology Tomorrow Magazine, and Steel House Review Literary Journal. She’s written numerous articles for print and online publications and is currently working on her third novel.

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Name: Tracy Shawn
Title: Author and Speaker
Dateline: , CA United States
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