** GIVEAWAY CLOSED **
PopSugar calls Amy Mason Doan’s debut novel, THE SUMMER LIST (GraydonHouse) one of the “best new books to put in your beach bag.” Time to grab a nice cool beverage.
Laura and Casey were once inseparable: as they floated on their backs in the sunlit lake, as they dreamed about the future under starry skies, and as they teamed up for the wild scavenger hunts in their small California lakeside town. Until one summer night, when a shocking betrayal sent Laura running through the pines, down the dock, and into a new life, leaving Casey and a first love in her wake.
But the past is impossible to escape, and now, after seventeen years away, Laura is pulled home and into a reunion with Casey she can’t resist—one last scavenger hunt. With a twist: this time, the list of clues leads to the settings of their most cherished summer memories. From glistening Jade Cove to the vintage skating rink, each step they take becomes a bittersweet reminder of the friendship they once shared. But just as the game brings Laura and Casey back together, the clues unravel a stunning secret that threatens to tear them apart…
THE SUMMER LIST is a coming of age story that includes all the elements readers hope to find in a novel, fabulous characters, first love and lasting female friendships. It has a kind of “back when…” feel.
We got to ask Amy some questions about her writing and she was gracious to share.
Your inspiration as a writer? Other writing that moves me, song lyrics, artwork, a story someone shares from their childhood. Sometimes it’s a memory of something from my childhood that I can’t seem to shake. I’ve stored up a lot of ideas from my decades as a journalist, interviewing all sorts of people. I’m a magpie, like most writers. I’m always collecting bright bits to use later.
What are you reading now? I just started Curtis Sittenfeld’s short story collection, YOU THINK IT, I’LL SAY IT, and love it. It’s smart and funny and honest.
Explain the enduring interest in mother-daughter relationships in novels. That relationship is so intense. It can define us, whether it’s good, bad, or nonexistent. In THE SUMMER LIST, my main characters live right across the lake from each other—they’re close enough to swim back and forth. And their mothers could not be more different. Laura’s mother is conservative and rigid. She does her baking on Monday and her washing on Tuesday. Across the water, in this funky old summer kids’ cabin called “The Shipwreck,” Laura’s best friend Casey lives with her free-spirited, young single mom. She spins from one hobby to another, and doesn’t judge anyone, and Laura thinks life would be so much better if only she had that mother instead. But would it?
What is it about plot lines that include secrets that attract readers? One of my writing teachers asked our class a few years ago—Why do people read novels? And we all volunteered these complicated answers. Because we want to see ourselves in the story. Because we enjoy exquisitely-crafted language. To escape into another world. And of course all of those are part of it. But nobody said the most obvious thing—Because we want to know what happens next. When there’s a secret, readers want to uncover it. We need to keep going. In THE SUMMER LIST, there are several secrets and twists. The most obvious one is that we don’t know for a long time why Laura and Casey’s friendship ended after high school. And there are other secrets buried deeper in the past. So it’s a novel that will keep readers guessing from page one. But I think the secrets are true to the story, and clues are seeded early on, which makes the “reveals” more satisfying. I want readers to know and care about my characters, so that they feel what Laura and Casey do when they get the answers at the end.
Tell us something about you that would surprise readers. My favorite place to write is in my daughter’s closet. I drag her ratty old beanbag chair in there and shut the door and turn out the light, so it’s like a little sensory-deprivation chamber. I used to fantasize about being a novelist and working at some massive antique desk with a cut-glass vase of flowers on it, maybe a sweeping view of the sea. But when I write I need to tune everything else out except the world of the book.
AMY MASON DOAN earned a BA in English from UC Berkeley and an MA in journalism from Stanford University, and has written for The Oregonian, San Francisco Chronicle, and Forbes, among other publications. She grew up in Danville, California, and now lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and daughter. The Summer List is her first novel.
Connect with Amy
Thanks to TLC Book Tours and Graydon House, we have one copy of THE SUMMER LIST to giveaway. Just tell us what you love most about summer. We’ll announce a winner soon. Good luck.
GIVEAWAYS: USA only please