The Sea Knows — The Story Behind The Story

by Alice McGinty | Jan 31, 2020

“There’s so much out there under the waves that we can’t see,” I said, “things happening that we don’t know.” Alan thought for a second and looked out at the waves too. Then he said, “Ahh, but the sea knows.”

The Sea Knows is not just a book about the sea. It’s a love story – or two.

First, it’s a story about being in love with nature. Second, it’s the story of two people who found each other.

I’ve always been in love with nature. Any chance I get I’m outside, exploring, hiking, breathing in sights, sounds, and smells. Alan has always been in love with water, drawn each summer to the shores of Lake Michigan, and to the beaches of Jamaica in the winter.
On our first date, just over three years ago, we met at a small town along Lake Michigan, Alan driving from Detroit and me from Illinois. It was late October, but the day was warm and sunny. Of course, we ended up walking along the beach… and when Alan talked about how the sound of the waves helped him feel a return to nature and its natural rhythms, I knew I liked him!
I recently read this quote by Joseph Campbell, who says artists are those “whose ears are open to the song of the universe.” Alan was an artist.

Our connection grew.

That May, we went to Jamaica together. “We’ll find you a story here,” Alan said to me. I loved the idea of writing something together. However, after a week of many experiences, including a jelly fish bite, no book ideas presented themselves. Then, near the end of the trip, we were walking along the famous 7-mile beach in Negril looking out at the sparkling blue ocean. “There’s so much out there under the waves that we can’t see,” I said, “things happening that we don’t know.” Alan thought for a second and looked out at the waves too. Then he said, “Ahh, but the sea knows.”

Immediately, I turned to him. “That’s our book. The Sea Knows.” Excited, I asked him, “What does the sea know?”
“Well, the sea knows blue,” Alan said. “And green.”
“It knows huge,” I added. “And small.”

As soon as we got back to our shanty on the cliffs, we began to write down all of the things the sea knows – smooth, spiny, storm, calm… a long list. Then, together, we formed the verses, which became the book. The Sea Knows is the story of two people who formed a deep bond through our creative spirits and sense of wonder, and it’s a love story about the sea, capturing our sense of awe about its secrets. There’s so much going on there that we don’t know. Ah, but the sea knows.

(Left/top) Alice and Alan by the sea.
(Right/bottom) Alice in Jamaica.


  1. Dorothy Wiese

    I love, love, love this story.

    Alice, I appreciate all you have done over the years for SCBWI and meeting you at various events. I wasn’t able to join you for your “retirement” celebration because I’ve been in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas avoiding Illinois cold weather. I love it here. Lots of wonderful nature parks.

    • Frank Thomas

      So happy you and Alan found each other. I’m excited to share this book with my grandchildren ❤️

  2. Terrill Martinez

    So happy that you and Alan are doing this together and that you wrote a book together—a true happy ending! Thank you for sharing your story and spirit!

  3. Louann Brown

    I love your website. So uplifting. Your story….ah, so inspiring. Best of Luck you two! This is a great idea.

  4. Randi Sonenshine

    Oh, Alice and Alan, I love everything about this…from the secrets of the sea, to the deep connections you found in the natural world and with each other, to the Joseph Campbell quote. Thank you so much for sharing this lovely story of beginnings.

    • Alice

      Thank you, Randi! I’m so glad our paths have come together!

    • Bev

      How lovely is this???!! Your positive spirit is a beacon to us all. So sorry to have missed your party, Alice, and I can’t wait to see your smiling face in person some day soon! Congrats on a beautiful book and relationship!

  5. Alice

    Thank you, Dorothy! So great to hear from you and glad you are enjoying yourself in Texas. Stay happy. Stay healthy!!

  6. Sara Latta

    I love this story, I love your new website, and I love you! Stay well, and stay happy.

  7. Eileen Meyer

    Love this new book, the story behind the book and the happiness these adventures have brought both of you! Congrats!

    • Linda Davis

      So excited to read this cute book.
      Love your beautiful website.

  8. Darcy Wallace

    I am so happy for you Alice! The world needs every bit of happiness it can find! Congratulations on your book and your love life 😀

  9. Kimberly Hutmacher

    Congratulations, Alice and Alan, both on the new book and finding love 🙂 I’m looking forward to purchasing a copy of THE SEA KNOWS for my granddaughter. Best wishes to you both.

  10. Sharon

    I love the book! I’m looking forward to the next in your series!

  11. Mary Jo

    Beautiful love story

  12. Lindsey McDivitt

    What lovely stories! Both of them! Thanks for sharing and all the best.

  13. Angela Savage

    Loved listening to the reading you two did of your book. So much fun! This will be a fun book to put in my Little Free Library. All the best on Launch Day and in the future!

  14. Susan Bane

    Yet another thoughtful, beautiful book written to expand a child’s world Alice! Thankyou and so happy that you found a true kindred spirit to walk with in this wonderful world we live in.

  15. Margo Dill

    I am also so happy to hear all of this and love how you shared your creative process with us. You truly deserve all the happiness in the world! The Sea Knows that of course.

  16. Lori M.

    What a wonderful story! Excited to read.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Receive News From The Happy Side!

Bring some sunshine to your inbox! Join our mailing list to receive our bimonthly newsletter and be part of the News From the Happy Side community.

You have Successfully Subscribed!