Learn a Little S'more about Beth
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/spirit animal?
I think it would have to be a tortoise because I’ve definitely come to learn that slow and steady wins the race. I spent close to ten years working on One S’more Summer, picking it up and putting it down every couple of months. I didn’t believe I could legitimately call myself a “writer” because it wasn’t my full-time profession. It was only when I began sharing chapters with close friends and beta readers that I started to believe maybe I had something worth finishing. It’s taken a long time and a lot of revisions to get to the finish line, but I know One S’more Summer wouldn’t be what it is if I hadn’t gone through that learning process. I am hoping though, that my spirit animal transforms into a Cheetah because I have some pretty aggressive deadlines to meet for books 2 and 3 of the Campfire Series.
What have you learned about yourself while writing this series?
I’ve for sure learned that where there’s a will-there is a way. I have one full-time job working in Human Resources for a software company and a second full-time job, running after a pretty active 2 ½ year old. Friends and acquaintances are always asking me when I find the time to write and I always give the same answer, “I write every chance I get.” I write early in the morning. I write late into the evenings. I come out of the shower with ideas for my next chapters and record them on my phone so I don’t forget them. I’ll jot down dialogue when I’m in waiting rooms, or a passenger in a car - really any time an idea or inspiration strikes. There are days I don’t know how I can possibly fit in one more task-but writing is the one thing I do that’s one hundred percent for myself-it’s my passion and outlet-so I’ve learned how to make the time.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
Like most writers, overcoming any sort of block is always challenging. Sometimes I’ll have a general sense of where I want to go, but I get stuck in the weeds of trying to push the story in that direction. I’m not the kind of writer that does a tremendous amount of outlining, I like my stories to feel more organic. I’ve learned that type of approach can come with big rewards but also some major risks. I’ve definitely gone down a path only to scrap the idea and all those pages when things didn’t come together the way I wanted. However, on the flip side - I’ve had some really great twists and turns come to me in the middle of the writing process that I never could have planned for! But they naturally grew out of some character development or something in my real life.
Does your family support your career as a writer?
One hundred percent. Since the day I sat down at my laptop to start writing One S’more Summer, my husband has been my biggest cheerleader. Through every speedbump, bout of self-doubt, rejection, or setback, he’s encouraged me to keep going and see the project through. He’s helped me carve out time to write when I didn’t think I had an hour to spare and never once doubted One S’more Summer would get published.
What book or instance made you want to become a writer?
There are a couple of books from my childhood that’ve influenced me well into adulthood. Anne of Green Gables and the other works of L.M Montgomery were some of my absolute favorites growing up. I loved the world Montgomery created on Prince Edward Island and all the characters that inhabited Avonlea. Jo from Little Women was probably the first character I came across that wanted to be a professional writer -it stuck with me. I could absolutely relate to how in the novel she would write plays for her sisters to perform. As a kid, I wrote a lot of little one and two act shows and then in high school wrote plays for statewide competitions. I also started keeping a journal at about eight years old and continued to write in one all the way through college. Truthfully, there’s really no one book or moment that helped me realize I wanted to become a writer but lots of different things I can pinpoint to realize that reading and writing have always been part of my life.
How did you come up with the idea for One S’more Summer? Did something or someone inspire you to write this novel?
After graduating from law school, I felt a bit lost. Ultimately, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a practicing lawyer and regretted my decision not to follow my real passion, which was writing. I remember jokingly saying to my husband that I wished I could run away from my adult life and be a camp counselor for the summer. It wasn’t a realistic option for me, but that notion ultimately became my inspiration for the book.
Is there a significant meaning behind the summer camp name of Camp Chinooka?
I remember Googling the names of summer camps because I didn’t want to accidently write about one that really existed. A lot of sleepaway camps take their names from Indian tribes, so I think I looked up the names of some of those and combined a few different ones to find some options. It actually took me some time to come up with a name I liked, but once I hit on Chinooka, it just felt right for the book.
Who is your favorite character from One S’more Summer?
Probably Jamie. He’s the perfect supportive best friend who also tells it like it is and puts Gigi in her place. The dialogue between him and Gigi is always so effortless for me to write - I can almost hear their banter.
How do you select the names of your characters?
When I visited the Hampton’s a million years ago, we spent the day at Georgica beach. I don’t know why but the name Georgica stuck with me and I wrote it down. When I started writing One S’more Summer, I immediately felt that should be the main character’s name (maybe because it reminds me so much of summer time). With most of the other characters (Jamie, Jordana, Alicia, Joshua, Perry), the names just came to me as I was writing and, with the exception of a few of the campers, they stayed the same through every draft.
As a new author, what is your favorite part of the writing or publishing process? Do you also have a least favorite?
I am loving the collaborative process of working with a publisher. Sometimes being a writer can be an isolating experience: just you, your laptop, and this world you’re creating. It’s been amazing to work with an editor and bounce ideas off of someone else and get helpful feedback and advice.
As for a least favorite part, like most writers it can be frustrating to have an idea and not know how to execute it. I’ve definitely struggled with different scenes or ideas that I just couldn’t make work for the book or timeline and have had to scrap. Even though I loved them, they didn’t progress the story in any way.
Who is your fictional crush?
Mr. Darcy and Gilbert Blythe
What is your all-time favorite book? Who is your favorite character?
Such a tough one-like a lot of little girls I loved Anne of Green Gables and Anne Shirley.
Out of curiosity, are s’mores your favorite dessert?
The actually aren’t. I feel like I probably shouldn’t say this but I don’t like marshmallows at all. At camp, I would just eat the graham cracker and chocolate (a deconstructed S’more). I’m not a huge sweets person, so if I’m going to have dessert, I’d rather have a piece of cheesecake or something like that.
Do you have a message for the aspiring writers or authors out there?
Keep writing! Writing is a muscle that needs to be exercised. Share your work with other people and accept their feedback and criticisms, especially if the comments are consistent. Try to stick with one idea. It’s easy to toss out a few chapters when you are hit with what you think is a better story, but the real trick of getting a book published is being willing to see an idea through to the end - no matter how many times you might want to give up on it.