Ocean of Secrets follows the story of Lia, a 17-year old orphan living by the Atlantic. After being swept away by the ocean currents during a ruthless storm, Lia is saved by a duo of illegal runaways, Moria and Albert, and begins travelling with them on their magical ship! Her normal mundane life suddenly becomes a supernatural adventure as she learns about the powers of their kind and their relations to the human world. But she soon discovers that there is a dark secret hidden in a mysterious kingdom.
Created by Canadian manga illustrator Sophie-chan, the emotional and beautifully told young adult adventure continues with Ocean of Secrets Volume 2 (9781427857224, $10.99), releasing February 2018. We sat down with Sophie-chan to discuss her writing process for the series. Check out the full interview below.
Ashley Kronsberg: For those who aren’t familiar with Ocean of Secrets, could you give us an overview of what the story is about leading up to the second volume?
Sophie-chan: The first volume of Ocean of Secrets revolved around an orphan named Lia, who after a mishap almost loses her life in the open sea while cruising with her little sister Nina. Lia was then saved by Moria and her brother Albert, who had escaped from the kingdom of “Lyronaz” 10 years ago after Albert was accused of murdering the queen. Albert was discovered after recusing Lia and was taken back to Lyronaz, the floating kingdom in the sky, where judgment awaited him.
Lia saves Albert and reveals the truth behind the queen’s murder and the mysterious disappearance of princess Anemone. The second volume will shed light onto a new character named Rai who lives on Earth and gets swapped into their magical universe by choice and not by force. Meanwhile Moria discovers her dad's involvement in the queen's murder and why the pirates kidnapped Princess Anemone. A blown-out war is on the verge of erupting, the pirates approach Lyronaz… Will the three kingdoms unite? And even together could they overpower the pirates and their dark artistry?
Ashley Kronsberg: The theme of identity and family hold strong throughout Ocean of Secrets. Were these themes you intentionally chose prior to writing the series, or did they come naturally as you developed the characters?
Sophie-chan: In a world of fantasy a lot of our everyday ideals have little to no significance on the characters living in said places, however the theme of family has always been so prominent because of how powerful it really is. I would go as far as saying I have been projecting my bond between family and friends into my characters and their trust in each other.
Ashley Kronsberg: Ocean of Secrets is written for a young adult audience; how do you hope your books influence this audience?
Sophie-chan: Ocean of Secrets aims to illustrate courage and friendship through a drama-fantasy context, but if there is one point, which stands out from the rest, it is that “One must not be blinded by emotions when judging others”. Lia misjudged Nina’s actions and thought she never wanted her in her life, which was only in Lia’s mind. The king misjudged Albert and accused him of murdering his wife. I want my readers to believe in destiny, Nina’s actions led Lia to find her real home. The king’s misjudgment led him to find the truth about his lost daughter.
Ashley Kronsberg: Finally, who do you relate most to in the story and why?
Sophie-chan: I relate most to Lia, Lia has been the main character since I started in 2010. I feel that we have grown up together and we both share a similar journey. Such as having to relocate many times as a child, and later struggling to achieve my dream of being a manga artist in a challenging environment. It’s Lia’s determination that is within me and her strength which I always hopped to have.