We are now three weeks away from the launch of my new book, Summer Days, Starry Nights– an ode to summer, the 1960s, and friendship- three of my favourite things! I thought I’d answer some basic questions here to get people excited.
Q: Why the 1960s?
A: I love the 1960s, particularly the music. For the first time, women were singing songs that other women could relate to. I read Girls Like Us, an amazing in-depth triple biography of Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon and Girl Groups, Girl Culture, a great book about popular music in the 1960s, which helped flesh out what was going on with women, music, and social change during the time period.
Music and identity play big roles in Summer Days, Starry Nights. Both Gwen, mysterious wayward ballerina, and Reenie, dependable country girl and a classic middle child, are trying to figure out who they are and what their place in the world is. Gwen introduces Reenie to girl bands like The Shirelles, The Crystals, and The Chantels. It seemed natural to set a coming of age story at a time where the whole world was coming of age.
Q: Is the resort Sandy Shores based on a real place?
A: When I was young my family spent a number of summers at a resort near Orillia, Ontario called Lake Dalrymple Resort. I have fond memories of the resort, and the layout of Sandy Shores is based on the layout of this resort, more or less. Of course I changed things to suit the plot, which is one of my favourite elements of fiction writing.
Q: What inspired the book?
A: The name Reenie Starr came to me first. I started to think about who this Reenie Starr was, how she did or did not live up to her name. I gave her two siblings, Scarlett and Bo, and then I wondered who would name their children after movie stars and lo and behold their mother- a woman who prefers to be called Mimi, not Mama- was born.
I also wanted to write a summer book and for me summer is always connected to the 1960s, probably because of movies like Dirty Dancing, My American Cousin, The Man in the Moon, and A Walk on the Moon. I remembered how much I loved the resort on Lake Dalrymple and how as a kid I thought it would be absolute heaven to live there all year. So through the magic of fiction I got to experience that by having my protagonist live on a summer resort.
I had a lot of fun (and spent a LOT of time) creating and seeking out inspirational playlists, like this one from songza. You can check out some of my inspirational images, girl groups, etc on the Summer Days, Starry Nights pinterest board here.
Toronto friends I hope you’ll join me at 3030 on May 28th for the launch. I will also be making appearances in Woodstock, London, Brampton, Erin Mills, Creemore and Orillia in the next two months- stay tuned for dates. Remember you can pre-0rder on Amazon, Indigo, or at your local bookstore.