As Melbourne writer Alexandra Adornetto steams up the New York Times bestseller list, fellow Melbourne author and mother-of-three, Rebecca Lim, gets set to debut a dazzling new YA series and unforgettable paranormal heroine with Mercy.
Described by publisher Lisa Berryman as an 'electric combination of angels and mystery', Mercy was acquired in a joint Australian / UK four-book deal earlier this year.
UK publisher Rachel Denwood says, 'Rebecca Lim's Mercy is a superb addition to our strong YA portfolio. Winningly high-concept, stylishly written, and with an utterly enthralling girl character at its heart, it will strike a chord with lovers of supernatural fiction and those teens who enjoy a really good mystery.'
German publisher Ravensburger won the rights to Mercy at auction with a resounding six-figure offer with negotiation for rights in other territories continuing.
From Rebecca Lim
'Mercy introduces us to a fallen archangel who has misplaced a large part of her memory and her sense of self - she doesn't remember her real name, she can't understand why she is continually "waking" to find herself, in effect, possessing a stranger's body and assuming their life, before she is shifted "into" someone else.
'In the first book in the series, Mercy assumes the identity of a choirgirl called Carmen Zappacosta who is sent to stay with a family in a small coastal town on an exchange program with the other members of her choir. The Daley family has a terrible history - their daughter Lauren was abducted two years previously and is presumed dead. Only her twin brother, Ryan, believes she is still alive. Mercy - using powers she can't quite understand - believes him and tries to aid him in his search for his sister.
'When another girl is abducted in similar circumstances, Mercy and Ryan know they must act to save her, too, before time runs out. Except Mercy herself is in danger, from an unexpected quarter
Rebecca Lim is a writer and illustrator, and has written ten books for children, published in Australia and internationally. She has also won several national writing and poetry prizes, and worked as a commercial lawyer for several years before leaving to pursue writing full-time. Mercy is her second book for YA readers.
Harper Collins Australia
Author: Rebecca Lim
Interview with Rebecca Lim
Question: What inspired you to write Mercy?
Rebecca Lim: I was doing some research for an essay once when I came across the classical idea that there are only three known classes of sentient, "created" being - bestial, human and angelic.
It stuck with me for a long time, because it seemed so black and white, but had so much potential to be played with. And I've always wanted to write a YA fantasy / paranormal novel with a strong, empowered female lead because we need to see that it's okay to have a female heroine who can, literally, do anything if she puts her mind to it and who is always true to her essential nature, no matter what human body she might be "inhabiting" today.
Question: How did you go about creating a character who is confused and doesn't remember her real name?
Rebecca Lim: I tried to imagine what it would be like for someone with extraordinary powers to be suffering from a bizarre kind of amnesia where she only has prismatic flashes of memory and insight. The inklings of more than one past life, and of what she is truly capable of, would make things interesting and keep the reader guessing because the character would always be a little off balance and extremely wary and she'd be experiencing pretty much what the reader would be doing - trying to join the dots so that things make sense.
So, for example, Mercy might recognise a computer because she's seen one a thousand times before, but she can't remember if she can use it, or even what it's for and she has to keep working things out for herself, all the time, on the fly.
Question: How important to you was it that in Mercy the paranormal female be shown as a heroine?
Rebecca Lim: A very, very important. Many YA novels have female protagonists who lose sight of themselves and their goals at the slightest hint of romance or personal difficulty. And I wanted to show that it's okay to be a smart-mouthed, think-on-your-feet, strong and abrasive, yet empathetic character. It's not something that should just be the province of male hero-types.
Question: What do you love most about the supernatural genre?
Rebecca Lim: That anything goes! Provided the audience is willing to go with you, anything can happen, the ordinary can suddenly morph into the extraordinary, and I love that.
Question: How many books can we expect in this series?
Rebecca Lim: It will all depend on whether people love and engage with Mercy, but at this stage four books are proposed.
Interview by Brooke Hunter