Book Tour| When Oceans Rise – Robin Alvarez

Recently I’ve been reading a lot of romance, but I’ve been wanting to read more fantasy. When Oceans Rise is a young adult fantasy that releases today! This week TBR and Beyond Tours is hosting a tour for this book this week and I had the chance to interview Robin Alvarez. Keep on reading to find out more about this book and the author!

When Oceans Rise by Robin Alvarez
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publishing Date: May 23, 2023

Submerged in a toxic relationship and disconnected from everyone, she turns to the sea to decide her fate. Its decision? Toss her to the sea witch.

Seventeen-year-old Malaya is cursed. In her family, every girl’s first love ends in death after falling for someone evil. Good thing Malaya’s dream guy isn’t monstrous.

Except the curse is real and preventing Malaya from noticing how much he has gaslit and isolated her until she can’t be saved. With no other options, the sea witch is the only one to help her. Bartering her voice for a new life where she and her abusive boyfriend never met, Malaya accidentally swaps places with an alternate timeline version of herself who didn’t make her mistakes. As she tries to undo the switch, the sea witch uses Malaya’s voice to unleash Filipino mythological creatures into the worlds.

Can a champion, an alternate timeline sister, and Malaya fight these beasts and stop the sea witch before she destroys both timelines?

Content Warning: gaslighting, one paragraph with physical abuse

Book Links

Barnes & Noble

Author Interview

What inspired you to write When Oceans Rise?

When Oceans Rise is based on this moment, at seventeen years old, when I decided to go surfing during a hurricane.

Not during the day of the storm, of course. People who live near beaches will likely know this, but in the days leading up to a hurricane, the storm will feed the ocean. At seventeen, I chose to go out into those dangerous swells, and I almost died.

A creative writing professor asked me to explore why I decided to do that, and my immediate answer was surface level. I was seventeen, and that’s what you do at seventeen! But she made me dig deeper and the truth was much darker than I wanted to remember.

At the time, I’d been in an abusive relationship with a guy who gaslit me until I’d lost ties to friends and family and my entire sense of self-worth. He was emotionally and mentally abusive, and one day he turned physically abusive. That day in the surf, I got caught in a fierce riptide, and I wondered if it would just be easier to let go.

Ultimately, I didn’t. But When Oceans Rise is built around that entire scene of powerlessness and struggle and questioning what I was worth.

What has been the favorite part of your publishing journey so far?

I’m such a geek about being an author because it’s all I’ve wanted since I started writing 14 years ago. You know that cute video of Mark Ruffalo geeking out about Paul Rudd while he’s doing an interview? It’s cute because it’s like he forgets that he’s famous too. I’m not famous, but I geek out about all these other authors! I get their signature at events, and gush later with my husband about the things we talked about. To be clear, I’m at these events too! I’m speaking too! But my brain doesn’t really get behind me being an author. I’m just a person who got lucky to be in these bookish places with the real authors!

If you were a character in When Oceans Rise, what kind of character would you be?

Old me would have been the sea witch for all my past trauma! New me is more like Anita, who is the happy supportive best friend in Malaya’s alternate timeline. That’s more the me you’ll see on TikTok.

Describe When Oceans Rise in five words or less.

Gods, Monsters, and a curse.

What is your favorite quote from When Oceans Rise?

“All I know is I can match these waves rage for rage until I die, or I can let them wash over me.”

What do you hope readers take away from your story?

I want people to see the warning signs of gaslighting and abuse! I wrote this book to show people what gaslighting can look like—at least one of the many ways. I want people to recognize it before their power is stripped. I’ll never be able to reach most people, to speak to them, but I’m hoping my character gives people the voice that they might otherwise lose in those situations. I also hope that people with my shared experience find peace.

Could you give us 5 random facts about When Oceans Rise (think the story, writing, publishing, anything that comes to mind)?

  1. This book originally had very weird formatting. I wrote act one as seasons of Malaya’s life. Also, act 2 and 3, which takes place in the alternate universe were written in another font to represent the feel of a new world. But agents hated that, so I used more traditional chapter breaks and conformed to standard formatting.
  2. The high school in the book is based on my high school, but I renamed it to Laguna Shores High just in case they didn’t like that.
  3. Most of the locations in the book, which is set in Corpus Christi, Texas are real places people can visit: the Trade Center, the Asian Market, the Selena statue, etc.
  4. One of the locations in the book that I wrote about was Bob Hall Pier. The summer I wrote the book, that pier got torn down because of hurricane damage, but I kept the pier in the book anyway!
  5. There is a scene I completely miswrote and had to correct it VERY late in the publication process. I wrote a fight scene at the tallest building in Corpus Christi, and then accidentally described the American Bank Center instead. I have no clue why my brain did that, or why I didn’t catch it for so long, but I gasped so hard when I finally realized I’d done it. The general population might not recognize the issue, but people in Corpus probably would, and I didn’t want that, so I rewrote the scene.

Tour Schedule

If you’re curious about the book after reading the synopsis and interview, click here for the full tour schedule. There are other amazing bloggers and bookstagrammers participating this week and talking about When Oceans Rise.

About the Author

Robin Alvarez is the author of the #1 New Release YA Ethnic Fairy Tale When Oceans Rise (May 2023). Strong female characters, mythological creatures, and mixed-race perspective are hallmarks of her work. While she’s spent the majority of her life in beach towns, having almost drowned several times, she currently resides in a desert where the waters are less likely to kill her.

Robin’s work has been featured on OwlCrate, ABC, and NBC news affiliates.

Author Links


A big thanks to Robin for taking time and answering my questions. I’m excited to sit down and read When Oceans Rise.

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