Diary of a Radical Mermaid Readers' Guide

1. Whether in fantasy fiction or real life, women joke about being "queens" or "goddesses" or "divas." Either we openly want to be worshiped, or we secretly want to be worshiped and resent women who have the moxie to demand it. Or--third option--we honestly think prima donnas are just that.

Do you think every woman should consider herself a diva, as does Juna Lee Poinfax, the main character of "Diary?"

2. What is it about mermaids that attracts women so much? Why do we want to be mermaids--or, at least, have their allure?

3. Orion is that most special of men--a true, shapeshifting bad boy with a heart of gold. He is, literally, a beast. But also a hero. What is it about these kinds of male characters that makes them so appealing to women? Do we always think we can tame the wild male beast?

4. As a bestselling fantasy author, Molly Revere and her Hyacinth series are not-so-subtly modeled after J.K. Rowlings and her Harry Potter books--with true admiration for Ms. Rowlings and her accomplishments. Do you read the Harry Potter books and, if so, what is it about the fantasy of them--and the fantasy of the mermaids--that touches such a strong chord with readers?

5. Rhymer McEvers is a Scotsman with a difference--he's also a merman. What is it about Scotsmen that makes them so sexy? The accent? The kilt? What? Discuss other famous Scots in literature.

6. The enduring appeal of innocently special, angel-like children pervades both our secular and religious dogma. The three young girls in "Diary" endowed with healing powers embody that tradition. It's easy to understand why we celebrate the innocence of children, but can you think of instances in books, TV, and film where children are the personification of evil? From "The Bad Seed" to "Lord of the Flies" to "The Exorcist," sometimes children, as portrayed in fiction, are downright terrifying.