Colleen Houck

“I took hold of that scourge -filled ship and crushed it between my limbs, hurtling it into the second sun, the red one that gave me strength. But I was too late." Terraformer

Colleen's blog

  • Sunken Cities- Houck’s Inspiration for TIGER’S VOYAGE

    May 13, 2014





    shore temple1


    I first came across the story of Mahabalipuram and the City of the Seven Pagodas when I was researching sunken cities for Tiger’s Voyage. The whole story of a jealous Indian god sinking six of the temples in a storm while leaving one lone temple behind was fascinating to me and I knew I wanted to add that myth into my book.

    Layering real historical events and places mixed together with fantasy elements is something that I really appreciate in novels. It’s fun to imagine a special site that could serve as a gateway to another world. The wardrobe where Lucy Pevensie slips into Narnia, the rabbit hole that Alice falls through, and the doorway leading to the chocolate room in Willy Wonka’s factory are all examples of magical entryways that take beloved characters from our world into a magical land where anything could happen.

    The City of the Seven Pagodas in the real world is just as mysterious as the fantasy realm I created. Marco Polo mentioned the beautiful city in his writings but some wondered what location he referred to. Local people spoke of temples that had been swallowed up by the waves but it was assumed that their stories were simply the exaggerated tales of superstitious fishermen. The City of the Seven Pagodas just didn’t exist.

    Or so we thought. . .

    In 2004, a tsunami hit the eastern coast of India making the waters recede far off the shore. Witnesses saw something amazing. The ocean stirred, the sand shifted, and long sunken temples appeared once again, as if they’d been lifted from the rocky ocean floor by the hand of a sea god. Myth became real. The forgotten was remembered. What was lost had been rediscovered.

    This incredible story fired my imagination. What would it be like to dive below the surface and explore these undersea ruins? What hidden treasures lay submerged in the deep? What dangers lurked in the dark underwater corridors? My mind was flooded with possibility.

    Shore temple on coast


    ruins underwaterunderwater-ruins

    In Tiger’s Voyage, I wanted to use this unique threshold to create a magical place full of mystery and peril. I crafted an assortment of supernatural guardians, ranging from the ethereal to the monstrous, who would serve as barriers, protectors, and even reluctant guides as my heroes progressed through the realm of the Seven Pagodas, seeking the prize of their goddess.


    The ocean is full of life, it’s essential to our world, and yet the vast portion of it is unexplored. Perhaps my tale is not as fantastical as it would seem. Perhaps there is a realm where dragons rule, where sea creatures of myth thrive, and where the treasures of the Earth are gathered.



    jelly fish

    immortal jelly fish

    beautiful sea creatures

    megladon shark

    scuba diving 2

    underwater world



    water dragonblue water dragon


    under water world 2

    dragon in the deepdragons


    I invite you to go along with Kelsey and her companions on their journey and discover an amazing world full of danger and excitement as you unravel the secrets of the Seven Pagodas.

    Colleen Houck


    Kishan lifted a finger and trailed it from my forehead to my chin, tilting my face to look into his eyes. “So I suppose the only question remaining, Kelsey, is…are my feelings echoed in your heart? Do you feel even a small part of what I feel for you? Is there a piece of you that you can reserve for me? That I can name mine? That I can lay claim to and keep forever? I promise you that I will cherish it. And I will guard it jealously all of my days.”

    Kishan’s hands squeezed my waist, and he dropped his forehead to touch it to mine. “Does your heart beat for me at all, love?”

    I pressed my hands against his face as a tear slipped down my cheek. After only a tiny pause, I assured him, “Of course, it does. I won’t let you be alone ever again. I love you too, Kishan.”

    I leaned forward and pressed my lips to his. He shifted to hold me against him and kissed me back. It was gentle and soft and sweet. I draped my arms around his neck and pressed closer. He tugged me up against his chest and wrapped his arms more tightly around me. At first, it just felt nice. It was pleasant and enjoyable. But then, something happened.

    I felt a crack, a splinter, a pull. My heart jerked wildly, and a fire burned suddenly within me. It consumed me, and I blazed inside with a heat I hadn’t felt in a long time. I kissed Kishan with a disoriented vehement passion, and he returned my ardor tenfold. The flaming inferno burned on, sizzling, cleansing, purifying. I wanted to bask in the warmth of the heat being created between us. It was consuming and powerful. My heart opened. My connection was back. My frame shook from the intensity of it. I was whole again. Time seemed to stop.

    Something huge hit the deck behind me, and several candles extinguished in a sudden warm wind. I heard wood splinter and crack. My body vibrated from the impact, and the shock of it made me topple. But Kishan held me upright easily though our lips parted. I thought, What is it? A dragon? A meteor? 

    I blinked unbelieving as a deck chair flew past with a whoosh and landed in the ocean with a splash, taking the china, goblets, cake, and candlelit shells on the table with it. Kishan looked at me in confusion and then froze as we heard an enraged, intractable voice in the dark somewhere above us threaten, “Let. Her. Go.”


    This month, in celebration of Colleen Houck’s re-release of TIGER’S VOYAGE in paperback, I’d like to feature a few articles over the next couple of weeks examining myths/legends/ideas that inspired Houck in her story. I for one am fascinated by the world in which Colleen takes us and love to learn more behind the scenes.

    I hope you enjoyed this blog post!

    ~Till Next Time,

    Linda Louise Lotti

    This entry was posted in Articles, Bonus Material, Tiger's Voyage.

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    Author Bio

    I’m Linda Louise, one of the bloggers on this website and Colleen’s little sister. I’m just a girl in her mid-thirties who feels thirteen when I play outside with my boys, fifteen when I sing my heart out listening to tunes while driving by myself, and sixty five when I go out past ten at night. I have a thing for junior mints, Mt. Dew, shrimp and kale (though not all at once) and I have a crush on Superman. I still get girlish butterflies when I read Twilight, cry when I read These is My Words, and smile from ear to ear when I read Anne of Green Gables. I have nightmares about aliens on a regular basis and I have a bad habit of midnight snacking. I love everything sports, except golf (although can that honestly be considered a sport??), and I hate anything that slithers, hisses, or stings. I have a problem with giggling at inappropriate moments and I sometimes wish life was a musical. I love science, hate math, love Dr. Seuss, and hate olives. My family is my world and my joys come from their happiness. I’ve learned I don’t know much about anything and I live for a good adventure, naps, cuddles, stories, exceptional food and The Shire.