Exclusive Cover Reveal for Walking on Water by Matthew J. Metzger


I'm hosting my first ever exclusive cover reveal today. And I'm nervous and excited about it. Here goes nothing!

The upcoming release of the talented author of queer fiction Matthew J. Metzger, Waking On Water (Nine Star Press, Nov 13th), is a contemporary trans retelling of The Little Mermaid and I have honour and privilege to show you its fabulous cover first. In a bit. First off you can learn more about the book and how it got written from the following short but fun (I promise ;) interview with the author. 


1. So far you have written only contemporaries, YA and adult, but this is your first fantasy book, right? What inspired you to write it?
I've always enjoyed science fiction and fantasy, and I wrote a couple of old Nanowrimo projects in those genres, but this retelling was the first to truly seize hold of me as I wrote it. The others just fizzled out and died, so it's more coincidence than anything else. This one was just different somehow, maybe because it was a retelling of a story I already love, maybe because I'm a much better writer now than I was in my early 'Wrimo days. I still love it now, and usually by the time I get to publishing a book, I'm sick of the sight of it!

2. Why did you choose to do a trans retelling of a classic children’s story (The Little Mermaid)? 
I'm one of the team over at Trans Book Reviews and I read a lot of novels with transgender main characters, as well as write a fair few of my own. Retellings always interest me because I want to see what new things the author can bring to an old story, be that having a transgender Belle or a lesbian Snow White or—anything you want! The Little Mermaid is a favourite of mine, and I had a craving from my work at the review site for a transgender version. But when I asked my twitter librarians to recommend me one, they couldn't. And the overwhelming response was they pushed a pen and paper at me, virtually speaking, and told me to get on with it!

3. Do you have favourite retellings (queer and not) you would recommend everyone to read?
I haven't actually read that many. Unfortunately I only tried to find them when I got the craving for a trans retelling, and immediately found an F/F retelling that turned around and threw trans people under the bus by making the only non-cis character in the book the villain. So I've been very wary of book retellings and stuck to my (*whispers*) preferred film and TV. *ducks rotten fruit*

4. Do you have plans to write more fantasy/retellings? 
I've been planning a fantasy trilogy based on medieval Islamic Spain for a long time, but that probably won't happen for a while yet because of the amount of research I still need to do. As far as retellings go, I have an outline that is basically 'Rapunzel retelling meets geek romance.' I have a feeling if I admit that to my twitter followers, I'm going to get shouted at for not having done it yet!

5. What was the best and the most difficult thing about writing this story?
The same part! So one of my bugbears about the original story is the whole voice aspect. One, there's no way these two people speak the same language anyway so taking her voice so she can't tell him is nonsense, and two, I never liked the aspect about her singing being the most beautiful thing ever either. Like, maybe it is underwater but you ever tried to speak underwater? It's garbled nonsense. A mermaid is going to sound horrific on at least one side of the surface, right?

So I moved around it by putting a language barrier in place. The love interest, Prince Janez, is German. The whole human kingdom is German. So whenever our hero hears the humans talking, it's written in German so both he and most readers won't understand. I had two native German speakers helping me with the German, both culture and language, and it was one of the hardest but most fun undertakings in my career. German is similar enough to really play around with the language and as one of my helpers was a linguist, we had a blast with this! Held (our hero of the story) genuinely thinks Doktor is the name of one of the characters—he doesn't know that's just his title as the royal physician. He mistakes a captain in the guard saying 'my son' as the name of the child and thinks his son is actually called 'Meinsohn.'

As an example of really how to mould the language, there's a scene where Held learns what flowers are. Well, in German, a flower is blume. The plural is blumen. Held translates this as 'one bloom, two bloomings.' And it makes a strange sort of sense in English as well, which wouldn't be possible if the story had been set in, say, the Mediterranean.

It was fiendishly difficult and I think my poor editor was ready to kill me by the time the book was ready to be published, but it was so much fun. (And spoiler alert, I would totally do it again!) 

6. Finally, can you tell us more about the cover? (Who did the design? Did you have input in it? Is it what you had in mind initially?) 
The cover is by the wonderful Natasha Snow, and although I did have input, I am not artistic in the slightest so I'm always more than a little useless when it comes to book covers and never know what I want until I see it. I basically told her the themes and mood of the story, and she went away to come up with something. And I love Natasha's work, so even when the first draft wasn't quite hitting the mark for me, I was in a weirdly nice zone of 'I would totally be okay with it if the publisher decided to go ahead and use it like that anyway.' But we talked about it, we tweaked the things that were making me pause a little, and the result was this gem!

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Now, ready or not, here is the that gorgeous cover Matthew spoke about! It's a thing of beauty isn't it?

Book Info 

Title: Walking on Water
Author: Matthew J. Metzger
Publisher: Ninestar Press
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Word Count: 80,000
Identities: bisexual, transgender
Release date: 13 Nov 2017


When a cloud falls to earth, Calla sets out to find what lies beyond the sky. Father says there’s nothing, but Calla knows better. Something killed that cloud; someone brought it down.

Raised on legends of fabled skymen, Calla never expected them to be real, much less save one from drowning—and lose her heart to him. Who are the men who walk on water? And how can such strange creatures be so beautiful?

Infatuated and intrigued, Calla rises out of her world in pursuit of a skyman who doesn’t even speak her language. Above the waves lies more than princes and politics. Above the sky awaits the discovery of who Calla was always meant to be. But what if it also means never going home again?

Author Bio and Links

Matthew J. Metzger is an asexual, transgender author dragged up in the wet and windy British Isles. He writes queer characters living all manner of lives, but especially likes to write the stories from the pub, the beautiful game, and the terraces where he lives and works today. Although mainly a contemporary romance writer, Matthew has recently been found straying out of his zone and playing in other genres' sandboxes.

When not writing, Matthew is usually at his day job, working out, or asleep. He is owned by an enormous black cat, so should generally be approached with either extreme caution, or treats.

He can be primarily found on Twitter and Facebook or over at his website, and is always happy to hear from readers.

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