I am so delighted to be part of the blog tour for this title. I was handed a copy of the book at the FCBG conference and was told to read it immediately as it was powerful, memorable and entirely unique. I read it very easily and quickly the following week and it was amazing! As part of the blog tour, I am thrilled to share a guest post from Jonne Kramer!
Sailor’s child with a fear of boats
A long time ago I told my dad that when he’d be really, really old, I pictured him floating at sea on a tiny ship. This was a very exciting prospect for him: peacefully rocking on the waves, without a care in the world, answering to no one. He enjoyed the idea and tried to pursue this future for himself.
First came the boat, a small sailing boat named ‘Little Bear’. To me, this was very touching because that was also his nickname for me. But it turned out that the boat already had that name when he purchased it. Coincidence, or fate? That just depends on what you believe in.
Next came a house in a harbour. Dad had never lived outside of the centre of Amsterdam, and suddenly, he bought this cosy, cute little house in rural Friesland. He was able to lay his boat in the harbour, always keeping him and the Little Bear close to one another.
Finally came retirement – being really, really old – and the picture was complete. His future could now begin.
Caring daughter that I was, you can of course imagine that I felt slightly concerned. This romantic image of his future was a great fantasy, but now that it was actually happening, I started to have my worries and doubts. What if my dad would actually disappear along the horizon? What if the sea didn’t turn out to be so peaceful after all? And what if my dad got lost, was devoured by a sea monster or got stranded on a desert island? I would be absolutely lost without him! And I definitely wouldn’t know what to do, especially because of my inexplicable but severe fear of boats. Like all fears, it’s hard to describe, but the bottom line is that every part of me always tells me to stay ashore whenever I’m near open water. I have tried coming along the Little Bear once or twice, but I got off before we could even leave the harbour.
My dad and I often joked about the irony of being a sailor’s child with a fear of boats. But actually, I find it quite a beautiful contradiction. It would definitely make for a great story. What happens when a child, terrified of boats, has to find their father who is lost at sea?
And that’s how I started writing ‘The riddle of the sea’, combining fiction with my own backstory. While writing, I often wondered how I would feel if I were in protagonist Ravian’s shoes, but I’m starting to think that he was actually in my shoes. Either way, he handled our shared fear with more bravery and toughness than I ever could. I hope I’ll be as brave as him one day!