Exclusive: Natalie C. Parker Reveals the Cover of 'Steel Tide'

Posted by Marie on March 12, 2019
Natalie C. Parker is the author of Seafire, the YA fantasy series that follows the high-seas adventures of a young captain named Caledonia Styx and her all-girl crew. Here Parker reveals the cover of her series' second book, Steel Tide, and answers our burning questions about this hotly anticipated sequel (available on September 17). As a bonus, Parker also includes the cover of Seafire's new paperback edition below.

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GR: It's finally here! What are your thoughts on the cover of Steel Tide?

Natalie C. Parker: When I heard we were switching gears and changing up the covers of Seafire and Steel Tide, I was nervous. The first Seafire cover turned me into a human exclamation point and I didn't think it would be possible to top that feeling.

But to have Caledonia swinging through the air alongside her ship on the cover of Seafire is absolutely exhilarating. And seeing Caledonia and Pisces rendered so beautifully, back-to-back and ready to face the world together on the cover of Steel Tide is nothing short of perfect.

I've also been a fan of Cliff Nielsen's art since the early days of X-Files fandom, so seeing his interpretation of my own stories is honestly a little mind-blowing. Scratch that, a LOT mind-blowing.

GR: What can Seafire fans expect from Steel Tide?

NP: In Steel Tide, Caledonia will travel farther into the treacherous Bullet Seas than she's ever dared to go, and what she finds there will change everything, from the shape of her crew to who she is as a captain.

GR: Sisterhood plays a huge role in your series. How will that dynamic grow or change?

NP: In Seafire, sisterhood is really a synonym for "crew," according to Caledonia. She relies on her sisters in a way that allows her to paint the rest of the world in broad strokes. It's powerful, but also rigid. While sisterhood remains a pillar of Steel Tide, it will become more inclusive as Caledonia's understanding of the world becomes more complicated.

GR: Seafire has received so much praise for its portrayal of female friendships. Why do you think it’s important for YA readers to see this in the books they read?

NP: I think it's important for all readers to see portrayals of female friendships that challenge the oft-repeated narrative pitting women and girls against each other. Perhaps especially YA readers need this portrayal because young readers deserve stories that offer many ways of being.

Storytelling is an intergenerational conversation: The young readers of today will be the storytellers of tomorrow, and I hope with examples like this, they continue to build new narratives that challenge old stereotypes.

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GR: For those who have yet to dive in, there's a huge difference between Caledonia's crew and the Bullet Seas, the name of their rival crew. What was your intention here?

NP: The Bullet Seas are ruled by a man called Aric Athair, a.k.a. "the Father." He gains and maintains power by using the language of family to militarize an entire society. The result is a dangerous, violent army of Bullets motivated by their needs and fears.

Caledonia's crew survives because they view each other as equals, as sisters. They are the counterpoint to Aric's power and his conception of family precisely because they view power—and family—as something they build together instead of in service to a single person. My intention was to highlight the difference between family built on fear and oppression versus one built on trust and respect.

GR: You've mentioned that Seafire is very much the antithesis of the "not like other girls" trope. Can you elaborate on this?

NP: As a young reader, I obsessed over books in which an unlikely band of allies races into an epic adventure. Even as a young girl, I knew that those spaces were primarily reserved for boys. When girls were present in those stories, they were given very specific roles and there was usually only one, which contributes to this idea that in order for girls to gain access to an epic quest, they must be special or "not like other girls."

So that was one of my starting points for Seafire: to put a group of girls at the center of an epic story of their own. In Seafire, the sisterhood is about finding similarities, making connections, and forging relationships between girls because girls are stronger together.

GR: Finally, do you have any other YA seafaring or sea-themed books that you’d love to recommend?

NP: Heidi Heilig's The Girl from Everywhere and The Ship Beyond Time are fantastic seafaring adventures that blend history and magic with a dash of pirate flare. In them it is possible to sail to any place, both real and imagined, as long as you have a good map, and to anytime. These books are the time-traveling, pirate adventures of your dreams!

Steel Tide will be available on September 17, 2019. Don’t forget to add it to your Want to Read shelf!

Comments Showing 1-18 of 18 (18 new)

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message 1: by Elyse (new)

Elyse The new covers are BADASS!!!

message 2: by Rin (new)

Rin I'm really excited for the second book. My only problem with the new cover is now I want Seafire with THAT cover too not just the first one. It's really nice!

myriad obsessions I'm so ready for September!!!

message 4: by Megs (new)

Megs Definitely gonna read this when it comes out

message 5: by Ash (new)

Ash Wow, cool!!

Tee loves Kyle Jacobson I am in love with the cover! It is so bad arse!

Lizzy (Bent Bookworm) I love the new covers! Please tell me that new Seafire cover will be available in hardback...

message 8: by S. J (new)

S. J Barthel The covers are truly great.

message 9: by Megan Edwards (new)

Megan Edwards Great cover. I would love to know who designed it!

message 10: by Cindy (new)

Cindy The covers remind me of the Valiant series The Valiant (The Valiant, #1) by Lesley Livingston

message 11: by Brenda (new)

Brenda GIMME.

message 12: by Ives (new)

Ives Phillips Oh, wow, now my reading list grows evermore! The Steel Tide cover looks FABULOUS!

message 13: by Pam (new)

Pam Carmichael Way cool

Virginja ↢ 99% imp The old one was way better than this. It looks so kitch...

message 15: by Edgar Allan Hoe (new)

Edgar Allan Hoe thanks, i hate it

message 16: by Star (new)

Star Kiss Cant wait to read it but I hate the cover.

message 17: by etta (new)

etta the new covers SUCK but im super excited for the book anyway.

message 18: by Tiramie (new)

Tiramie Edgyweeb I don't like the new covers. The old one was so nice.

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