Nothing was more exciting than getting offered a publishing contract for my debut novel, One S’more Summer. So, when Ink Monster proposed turning the book into series, instead of a standalone, of course I JUMPED at the opportunity. Fortunately, I already had a couple of ideas of where I thought the story could go and one idea in particular I couldn’t seem to shake. That’s the thing with writing a book I didn’t understand until I’d actually written one — the characters of your story and world become almost like real people and after you’ve spent so much time with them, it’s hard to let them go. I already had a few chapters for a sequel tucked away. It was hard to stop writing Gigi and Perry’s story.
I decided I wanted the second book mostly set in London, Perry’s hometown, and needed a reason for Gigi to have to spend time there. Then, a lightbulb went off. I imagined a scenario where Gigi and Jamie’s fashion line became so big they’d be in the running to design a royal wedding dress. It seemed like a great way to marry elements of Book 1 with some ideas I had for Book 2. There were a few problems though — I am not British, I don’t live in London, and I didn’t know much about the English aristocracy.
But, I wanted my book to be as authentic as possible, so I began researching places, titles, royal wedding protocol, and everything in-between! My writer’s budget didn’t allow me to take a trip across the pond, but the library and the World Wide Web did. I’ve been to London before but not for a couple of years. I had to rely on my memory and the Internet to get my facts right. Then, before I knew it, I started adding in other elements to round out my story. I brought in the character of Gideon Cooper, a viscount and heir apparent to the Earl of Harronsby. Knowing nothing about how aristocratic titles are passed down, I found myself on British genealogy sites trying to understand the rules of succession. As a nod to the success of Hamilton, I decided Perry Gillman would write a hit musical about the life of Queen Elizabeth I, I titled Elizabeth — so guess what that meant?? — research on the Tudor Queen.
One S’more Summer’s setting, camp, came directly from my own personal experiences. Like most writers, I added new elements and changed some details, but the world of a Pocono’s sleepaway camp wasn’t one I had to do a lot of work to understand. It’s part of the fabric of who I am and my own memories provided enough of a foundation for me to build a story around them. Writing S’more to Lose was a very different, but in a lot of ways, a much more fun experience. I was able to explore places and themes in which I’ve always been interested but didn’t know as much about.
At some point when I was in the middle of the novel, surrounded by post-it notes with the names of castles, English country towns, and members of Elizabeth I’s court, I wondered if I bit off more than I could chew. But now that the book is finished and coming out in just a few days, I know it was all worth it! This book took me on a pretty great journey and hope it does the same for all the readers!
Happy Reading and Happy Travels!
**Note from the Publisher: One S’more Summer is currently one of our monthly deals – so across all retailers, you can grab your copy of Book 1 of the Campfire Series for only $0.99! And in honor of Book 2’s release, we are hosting a S’more To Lose London Themed Giveaway from Dec 1-12 on Rafflecopter. Click on the image below to be redirected. Annnd if you join our newsletter by clicking the link here, you will be automatically entered in to win our monthly giveaway (it changes each month and you never have to re-enter. Once you’re in, you’re in!) This month, for the holidays, we are giving away a BRAND NEW 7″ Nook Reader. Woohoo! Good Luck!