Author: Sarah D. Towne
Publication Date: January 24, 2014
Melanie Collier is in her second semester at Indiana University. She's learning how to survive the college experience with few friends and a V-card in mint condition.
She never imagined herself going to such a large university because it seemed just too impossible - too many people and too far from home. Freshman year was tough for Melanie.
She was counting down the days left until the year was over before she stopped in a friend's room on her way back from the bathroom one night. After a chance meeting with an Australian and his Vegemite, Melanie learns how to slow down and take in her new life in Bloomington, Indiana.
Melanie might have found a second wind at IU, but will Melanie and Lleyton have the same chance surviving the summer, too...
What inspired you to write The Other Summer Girl?Love and insecurities. Those are two things that I believe many people struggle with, especially in college. People in college sometimes feel lost, hoping to be free among the masses but also long for the comfort of a special someone. When you're a freshman in college, insecurities linger in every corner. Whether you're the most popular girl on your dorm floor, or you're the anxious freshman who has never been away from home, everyone has insecurities.
And, love. Love is always on our minds. I think we especially can think of that one person (or two) that the chase was constant and lovely and mesmerizing.
When I wrote The Other Summer Girl, I wanted to create a character who struggled socially at a top party school, and I wanted to show that it is possible to get through those nights when you think you can't handle a new life challenge. Melanie Collier, the main character, had never really been away from home before she moved to college and on her own for the first time.
She experiences culture shock and anxiety, but she finds a light. Lleyton Harris, the Australian tennis transfer, helps lead her out of her shell. Lleyton turns out to be a wonderful distraction, helping Melanie finally adapt to the college life, but the question remains whether or not their relationship can live through the test of summer.
Who was your favorite character to write?Tough question! I think my favorite part about writing characters is figuring out how they interact. I really enjoyed writing the scenes with Melanie and Lleyton. It's interesting going back and forth between the characters and writing about how their personalities will react in certain situations. I'll never forget the night when I wrote about when Lleyton and Melanie meet up at a house party - the dancing and the people and everything about the scene - I just couldn't wait to pick up where I left off the following night. It's that moment when writing and reading become one - it's that feeling when you're so lost in a story that you're just there with the characters you've written.
How long did it take you to write The Other Summer Girl?I wrote the bulk of the The Other Summer Girl in about 8 months, but I had started the book about a year before that while in graduate school. I took a year off from writing The Other Summer Girl and wrote several short stories, and, oddly enough, I started writing the book again almost exactly a year later in the springtime. The Other Summer Girl stems from a short story I wrote during college that was only 500 words long. My professor circled the description "the other summer girl," and it's been with me ever since.
What does your writing space look like?My writing space consists of anywhere with strong coffee and a big window :) When I do write at home, I either sit at my big wooden desk or on the couch with my feet up!
If The Other Summer Girl had a theme song what would it be?It's hard to just pick one! There are actually several music titles that can be found all throughout the book. I have listed the song titles that appear in different chapters on my website. You can find the songs here: http://sarahdtowne.com/about/the-book/
But, if I had to choose one song from all the songs in the book, I'd have to say "Songbird" by Oasis :) but please check out the other songs on my website because I feel like all of them truly define the relationship between Melanie and Lleyton in this first book.
About The AuthorSarah D. Towne is a twenty-something English teacher, tutor, and writer living in the Midwest. She loves writing about all of the random, wonderful, and beautiful things that happen in the late-teens and twenties.
About The Author
Towne earned her MFA in Creative Writing from a small Midwestern university where she wrote the first few chapters of The Other Summer Girl. The idea for the book started off as a two-page short story she wrote for an undergraduate creative writing class. The sequel will be out in May 2014.