The Only Guarantee Of A Legacy

Erik Daniel Shein Author Interview

Kona follows a teenage girl who dreams of working with sea life and, while working at an aquarium, discovers friendship, learns life lessons, and finds romance. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

In my life, I have known at least a handful of kids who have had childhood cancer. Their stories are often heartbreaking and stay with you forever. After all these years, the advancements in treatments for childhood cancers are still very limited, while more publicized cancers have received more funding and research. My goal was to write a story that would allow their voices to be heard, to bring the cause to the forefront while also combining with it our love for protecting animals too. Giving voices to those that often are unheard is important.

Melanie has had many challenges in her life so far, and is trying to figure out where life will take her. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

One of the driving ideals behind Melanie’s character was providing a window into the heart and mind of a teen dealing with childhood cancer. Kids with cancer are often fighters, with smiles larger than life, as they put on a brave face for the world. Inside they are dealing with so many things that never show on the surface. As I was fleshing out Melanie, I was speaking with a family that had dealt with childhood cancer to get the heart of my character. These kids are not only fighting for their lives, but they are also fighting for their families, too, to keep everyone together. Melanie often does this with her little sister. She is always there to reassure Kimmie and let her know everything is going to be all right, no matter what happens at the end of her story.

Another driving force for Melanie is her ability to relate to Kona. Like the wild dolphin, Melanie feels suffocated by her circumstances. Kona feels trapped by the four walls of the aquarium when she is used to having an entire ocean, and Melanie feels like her disease is a prison that keeps her from living her life to the fullest. While Melanie cannot change her own situation, she could fight for Kona’s future and the safety of the marine life for years to come. In a way, Kona is the only guarantee of a legacy for Melanie.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

It was important to show the fighting spirit of these young heroes that often get swept under the rug. The tenacity and grit that children fighting cancer have been remarkable. Their motto to never give up, no matter the battle, is truly inspiring. It is heartbreaking that after all these years, the medical advancements for childhood cancers have not made as much progress as other cancers. I felt the need to put a face to the story and give it everything I had. Kona is an emotional rollercoaster ride from start to finish.  

I also wanted to write a clean teen romance because there is still innocence in the world, even though our literature, movies, and mainstream media show us children who have grown up well before they are ready. That first touch of the teen spirit crushing on their first love was a breath of fresh air amidst the turbulent sea of emotions inside Melanie, showing that cancer kids are just normal kids trying to live a normal life through insurmountable odds.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

We are currently working on another heartfelt book called ‘Because of Lily,’ which is centered on a young girl in the heart of the Savannah in Africa. It is a young adult novel of self-discovery and a coming-of-age novel. We are hopeful that it will come out next Spring.

Author Links: Amazon | Website

As a childhood cancer survivor, Melanie has seen a few good years with no evidence of disease, but in the back of her mind, she is always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Being a normal teen is what she has always wanted, so when she’s offered a dream job at the Blue Haven Aquarium, she jumps at the chance.No one has told Melanie about Chase MaKenzie, the guy she is paired to be working with, nor the new best friend she’ll find in the watery depths. Melanie’s world is about to change forever.
Heart touching, witty, and at times heartbreaking, Kona explores the depths of friendship and love.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on November 19, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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