A Sea of Pearls and Leaves by Rosalyn Briar
Updated: Jan 23
I purchased a signed copy of A Sea of Pearls and Leaves from the author for myself as a Christmas gift (shh, I didn’t just buy myself a gift, I would never do that!) and I am so glad I did. I absolutely LOVED this book! It has everything from mythology, action, adventure, murder, mystery and a divine love triangle. Briar’s writing is elegant and strong. The sexual situations are saucy and I gained a new book boyfriend. Hello Soren the Savior (enter swooning here)! Possibly two book girlfriends as well (another shh, don’t tell my husband!) This was an easy read that I devoured in just two days. Highly, highly, highly recommended!
I am so excited to talk to Rosalyn Briar, author of the A Sea of Pearls and Leaves. Before we chat with Rosalyn, let’s read the synopsis for A Sea of Pearls and Leaves:
Princess Ingrid of Norella Isle does not want to get married. Her priestess girlfriend, Lilura, devises a wicked plot to deter suitors with a nearly impossible marriage contract: should Ingrid die first, her husband must be buried at sea beside her. The plan backfires when all seven suitors agree, and the king announces a competition for Ingrid’s hand. Ingrid must keep her head above water as she deals with the suitors, a jealous girlfriend, and the news of two murdered priestesses. As the suitors are eliminated, one man stands out: the quirky and anxious Prince Soren who charms both Ingrid and Lilura. When Lilura goes missing, Ingrid and Soren must piece together who has murdered the priestesses and why before it’s too late. CW: This novel contains violence, sexual situations, and adult language.
J.C. - Hi Rosalyn. I am so happy to talk to you today. Can you take a moment and introduce yourself to our readers?
R.B. - Thank you so much for interviewing me! I am a former teacher and I'm married to my high school sweetheart. Together, we've built a beautiful life and have two fearless daughters. I am obsessed with gothic fairy tales, scary movies, sun dresses, traveling, and reading books. I am the author of The Crown of Bones and A Sea of Pearls & Leaves, both of which are fairy tale retellings. When I'm not writing or reading, you can find me playing dress up with my two princesses or exploring the woods for wildflowers.
J.C. - What made you come up with the idea for A Sea of Pearls and Leaves?
R.B. - I really wanted to do a retelling of a lesser-known fairy tale "The Three Snake-Leaves." In that story, an eccentric princess states that she will only marry a man who would be willing to be buried alive with her should she die first, so as not to spend a single day without his love. I loved the premise and wanted to flesh it out more. So, I started to do a little plotting and character development. One of the first questions I asked myself was: what type of character would make this demand? I came up with Ingrid, an eccentric and sex-positive princess, to be the MC. The second thing I worked on, which really brought all the world-building to life, was the fact that I kept envisioning boat graves (as opposed to the crypt in the original story). It all sort of snowballed from there!
J.C. - I won’t lie. Seeing you on Instagram, I picture you as a real-life Disney princes. A modest, innocent woman that dances in the woods and sings to birds. This book contains sexual situations that are not modest or innocent in the least! I was pleasantly surprised. I also want to say that intimate details are the most steamy and tasteful that I have read. Do you feel exposed or embarrassed writing bedroom scenes? R.B. - That first part made me laugh! I do love Disney princess movies! And thank you, I definitely wanted those scenes to be intimate, but not too graphic. I enjoy giving details about how the characters feel in the moment, but try not to list out too many body parts. I enjoy writing those scenes to show emotional growth or the development of a relationship, but I try not to be too gratuitous.
J.C. - Ingrid is seeing visions of a very creepy doppelganger in reflections of mirrors, water and even in her dreams. She does her best to avoid it by covering the mirrors. How would you handle a situation like that?
R.B. - I definitely have a thing for writing about spooky or magical mirrors! If it happened to me in real life, although I'd like to think I'd be brave enough to confront the doppelganger, I would probably do what Ingrid does and avoid them or cover the mirrors up!
J.C. - Ingrid is madly in love with Lilura but she has to marry a man. Seven suitors agree to her marriage terms and must complete certain challenges in order to win her hand. Do you have a favorite suitor? How about a least favorite?
R.B. - Soren is hands down my favorite suitor! He is such a sweet and anxious mess, and I love him! If I can't choose Soren, then Jensen is a close second, since he is very kind. I have the same least favorite as Ingrid: Anders. He is an entitled jerk.
J.C. - Speaking of Soren, he has some rather peculiar (yet absolutely adorable) quirks. I will admit to having a few of them as well. How did you choose these idiosyncrasy’s that detail his anxiety?
R.B. - Yes, he suffers from anxiety and has unique coping mechanisms such as reciting the alphabet backwards and counting things. Although not as extreme as in his case, I also have social anxiety and drew from my experiences to write his coping mechanisms. I was pleasantly surprised when two people messaged me to thank me for writing anxiety so realistically because they also recite the alphabet backwards! It feels good to know that other people can see themselves in Soren, who is an unlikely hero.
J.C. - Who has been your biggest support system while on this writing adventure?
R.B. My husband has been very supportive of my writing journey. He is so proud of the books I've written and always encourages me. He is even helping a dream of mine to come true: having a writing nook! My other family members and friends are also very supportive and proud of me. And I can't answer this question without mentioning how much I love my support systems on Twitter and Instagram within the writing community!
J.C. - Finish the sentence. In ten years I’d like to…
R.B. - In ten years, I'd like to have more books published and have a literary agent. Also, I hope that my husband and I raise our two daughters to be good young people.
J.C. - You are also the author of A Crown of Bones. What can you tell us about that book? And if you have any other works in progress, please feel free to share it with us now.
R.B. - The Crown of Bones is a dark fantasy adventure filled with nods to over twenty of the Grimm's Fairy Tales. It follows Gisela as she becomes an Offering to an ancient goddess and is filled with gruesome fairy tale obstacles. I am currently working on a sequel to TCoB called The Bone Needle, a Maleficent origin story called Her Dark Enchantments, and a LGBTQIA+ Little Mermaid retelling which is set in the same world as A Sea of Pearls & Leaves (title yet to be revealed).
J.C. - Lastly, where can readers find you and your work?
Thank you for reading about Rosalyn Briar and A Sea of Pearls and Leaves. This book was a true gem!