THE SUMMER WE CAME TO LIFE
THE SUMMER WE CAME TO LIFE
BY DEBORAH CLOYED
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Deborah Cloyed has crafted a deeply affecting novel in The Summer We Came to Life. Masterfully written and beautifully told, this novel is a poignant rumination on life, love and best friends.
Every summer, Samantha Wheland joins her childhood friends – Isabel, Kendra and Mina – on a vacation somewhere exotic and fabulous. This year, it’s a beach house in Honduras, but for the first time, their clan is not complete. Mina lost her battle against cancer six months prior, and the friends she left behind are still struggling to find a way to move on without her. Before the trip ends, the bonds of friendship with her living friends, the older generation’s stories of love and loss, and Samantha’s glimpse into a world far removed from the one in which she belongs will convince her to trust her heart.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Deborah Cloyed lives in Los Angeles, in Humphrey Bogart’s old room with a view. A photographer, travel writer and curious nomad, she has previously resided in London, Barcelona, Thailand, Honduras, Kenya and New York City. In addition to her diverse travel history, she was also a contestant on CBS’s The Amazing Race. She runs a photography school for kids, teaches writing to teenage girls, and is happily working on her next book.
AUTHOR INTERVIEW:1. Welcome, and thank you for agreeing to an interview for BOOKIN‘ WITH BINGO. Is there any personal information you would like to start out with today? Is there a place my readers can learn more about you?
Only that this is my first book, a life-long dream come true, and how excited and grateful I am to be talking about it with you all!
Visit me at my website, www.deborahcloyed.com, to see photos and blogs about the whole process, events, or to schedule a Book Club Skype chat! Also, please join me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Writer.DeborahCloyed.
To learn more about the book or get your copy, visit your local bookstore or find on Amazon, B&N, Borders, or Indiebound.
2. Where did you get the inspiration or idea for this book?
The book was inspired by general and specific occurrences in my life several years ago. I was turning thirty along with all my single girlfriends and getting to know my mother and father as adults and real people – basically, experiencing the dawning of humility that comes as you step back from the glitzy blur of your twenties. That, and I nearly drowned on vacation in El Salvador. It shook me to my core, and filled me with questions, all the biggies about life purpose, choices, love, fate, and death.
As for the characters and plot line - a girlfriend told me once how, just before her wedding, when she was having cold feet, all her best girlfriends’ mothers gathered around and told their love stories, good and bad, from the 60’s and 70’s. It was an anecdote that stuck with me until I started dreaming up new characters to live out that scenario.
3. How did the title of your book come about?
The Summer We Came to Life was a team effort with my amazing editor and MIRA team. I love it because it fills my requirements for a good title – tells you who (ensemble) and when (summer!), but with a double meaning that makes you go ‘Aha’ once you’ve read the book.
4. Do you see yourself in your characters? Which characters are easiest or more difficult to write?
The main character, Samantha, certainly began as a version of me, but evolved into something more like a best friend. Strangely, that made her the most difficult to write.
Jesse was always easy, for instance. She just walked across the pages, loud and unapologetically ready to take over the scene.
5. What books would you say have made the biggest impression on you, especially starting out? What are you currently reading?
I have a collection of more than 700 dusty, ragged books that I’ve lovingly moved around the country and in and out of storage units for over ten years. The majority of them I bought in used bookstores somewhere around the age of fifteen. I love reading the notes in them – underlinings and fifty exclamation points next to Herman Hesse’s Steppenwolf, hearts around Jack Kerouac’s Tristessa, the notes for my college essays in Tom Robbins’ Jitterbug Perfume. I read my way through the classics alphabetically, plus anything that had ever been banned or caused a scandal - J.K. Huysmans, Rimbaud, Wilde, Nabokov, etc. My friends and I considered ourselves quite the revolutionaries! Oh, and I’ve had a life-long crush on Joseph Campbell J
Nowadays, I read Time Magazine and Discovery whenever I have two seconds. After I get my second novel turned in, I have a whole list I’m dying to read: Lisa Randall’s Knocking on Heaven’s Door, The Help, Born to Run.
6. What is the next or current book/project you are working on?
My second book is a non-linear love story set against the backdrop of the political violence in Kenya in 2007, with one half taking place in Los Angeles.
I was living and volunteering in Kenya just before the violence broke out, and my brain has long wrestled with my experiences there – the poverty, the humanity, the triumph and the eminence of love anywhere in the world, plus almost dying from malaria and the eerie fact that people who had simply been neighbors became murderous enemies just after I left.
7. What is something about you that you would want people to know about you that we probably don’t know?
Hmmmmm . . . I hate donuts.
8. Do you own an eReader of any kind and how do you feel about their impact on books, as well as you as an author?
My boyfriend bought me a Kindle, with all the scripts to my favorite movies downloaded onto it, very touching. I find it very useful for traveling and on the go, because I can carry a newspaper, research texts for my writing, and two novels I’m going back and forth between all at once. For the same reason, I don’t find it as engaging. I never seem to lose myself in my Kindle. Maybe it will be different for the next generation of users, who grow up reading on their iPhones. For me, I spent a good portion of my youth in bookstores and libraries, sitting in the aisles, breathing in that very specific scent of paper and glue, and being transported to different times, different worlds, and new ideas.
I’ve wondered this - why do books seems somehow more connected to the author? Reading Kafka or Camus or Nabakov, I can imagine them, hear them as I read a dusty dog-eared paperback. Not so much on an electronic screen. Somehow, there is a disconnect. As another example, when I got my first galley shipped to me, I opened the book and almost passed out. Something about seeing the words on the pages felt so much more naked, vulnerable. I’d gotten used to seeing it on my computer – far less personal, less permanent. But printed in indelible ink on pages – it still gives me shivers.
9. What is your advice to anyone, including young people, who want to be writers?
Write. Write like the wind. Read. Read across all genres and centuries. Blindly fall in love fully and foolishly, so that you can get your heart broken into a million pieces and reassemble it humbler, kinder, gentler, and wiser. Travel. Screw up and learn your lesson. Strive to empathize with people from all walks of life by studying the intrinsic yearnings of the heart. Dig deep but remember to laugh. Know that sometimes it is you and your unique reel of experiences writing the words, and sometimes it is the collective muse of the world taking the reigns. Both say things that need to said. Stories that need to be told. Secrets and new ideas that might save the world. So, like I said. Write.
Thank you SO MUCH to Deborah Cloyed for an incredible and enlightening interview. Watch for my review of THE SUMMER WE CAME TO LIFE in just a few days!
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