My Summer Reading and Writing by Luanne Rice
Summer inspires me. It always has. My mother's writing seminars took place at
the old oak table in our summer cottage, with salt breezes blowing through the
open windows, our friends' voices wafting up the hill from the beach. I learned
to not only feel that breeze, but to write about it so someone sitting in a hot
city apartment could feel it too. My mother encouraged me to swim, then run back
up the stone steps to write about it right away--so the reader far from any sea
could feel refreshed.
Those writing habits are with me still. Summer has always been a time for excitement and adventure, even close to home. It's a time to open your heart a little more than the summer before, to see the people around you with new eyes, to fall in love--with someone new or the person who's been sitting beside you all along.
This summer I have two new novels coming out: Firefly Beach (on sale 5/29 in paperback) and Summer Light (on sale 6/26 in hardcover). The titles conjure, for me, heat, love, sand, sea, stars, and family. Both books feature sisters, friends, parents, kids, great dogs, and a bride; their characters live in the same town on the Connecticut shoreline, and some of the characters know each other. But beyond that, the similarities end.
Firefly Beach evokes the magic hour when day turns to night, when fireflies twinkle in the tall grass, when secrets are ready to be told, when anything can happen. Summer Light refers to that shimmering quality of light in the early morning, filtered through golden pollen, when the day is ready to begin and the air is filled with hope.
In Firefly Beach, I return to sisters. My earliest stories and novels were all about the amazing, puzzling, sweet, frustrating, magical bond between sisters, something that one of my characters calls "the geometry of sisterhood." Firefly Beach follows three sisters during a pivotal summer, when old secrets are uncovered and healed, when new love explodes and heals more.
Summer Light tells the story of two people so guarded and armored, they can't see how much they need each other until it is almost too late. It's about how appearances can be deceptive, how beneath the uniform of a rough pro-hockey player can beat a very tender heart. Do you know anyone so gruff and shut-down they seem to push everyone away?
Recently, just before writing Summer Light, I experienced the need to open my own eyes and see another person's point of view. As painful as it felt, I had to forgive someone I thought had wronged me. The details don't matter; I know everyone can relate to the feeling of being hurt, feeling that another person had been the cause. Through the process of forgiveness I had found freedom, and through my characters, I want to pass it on to my readers. Summer Light is about seeing with your heart, not just your eyes. It's the way I try to see everyone in my life, every single day.
My very first published story had a summer theme. About crabbing on the rocks at the end of the beach with my sisters (naturally!), it came out in American Girl magazine when I was fifteen. Back then, the lines between fiction and life weren't as blurred as they are now. As taught by my mother, I crabbed; therefore I wrote.
Things have changed. My work doesn't necessarily imitate my life--or even the other way around! Unlike my characters, I'm not an innkeeper or an oceanographer or a treasure hunter or a wedding planner or a hockey player. My father's not a famous artist, and he never took us hunting in New Hampshire. My experiences, the details of my life, differ from my characters'. Although I return to the Connecticut Shoreline year after year, I have never encountered the towns of Black Hall or Silver Bay.
But our emotional landscapes are the same: mine, Caroline Renwick's (of Firefly Hill) and May Taylor's (of Summer Light). We all love our families--in spite of the challenges and mysteries. We've all made our share of mistakes and somehow found the courage to keep going. We all love summer and want everyone to know it!
Let me wish you a wonderful summer of cool breezes, blue skies, bright seas, warm sands, clear vision, good books, and much, much love.
Copyright © 2001 by Luanne Rice
Unless otherwise stated, this interview was conducted at the time the book was first published, and is reproduced with permission of the publisher. This interview may not be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the copyright holder.
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