Science is amazing. It's better than magic! Because it's real.
When I first started the Miri books, my intention was to write pure fantasy, with magic and everything. Magic makes things easy. Yeah, I know you have to come up with rules but -
Need something? Make up a rule and -
You have something. It's magic!
The problem was, every time I got to the point in the story where Miri's legs magically turned into tails, it just didn't feel right to me. Even though other writers used it - in fact the original myths even used it - it still felt hollow and unbelievable. I mean, how could legs turn into tails?
I mean, I knew it wasn't "real," but still my brain wanted to understand exactly how that could happen.
Now you might be thinking, "Ew! What could an octopus possibly have to do with mermaids! That's gross!" just like Miri. But it wasn't just the octopus itself, it was octopus camouflage.
Watch. And believe.
Want to learn more about octopuses? Check out these websites. (Ask a parent's premission before clicking on the links below.)
Squid and Octopus Switch on Camouflage at bbc.co.uk
8 Feet of Justice at ScienceFriday.com