As of this morning, I signed the contract to publish Saugatuck Summer with Riptide.
Some of you may recall back in late January/early February, I had a project which at my brain for two weeks. That project was Saugatuck Summer. I wrote 93,000 words in 15 days, all the while feeling something I’ve never felt about a book before and I’m not certain I will ever feel again.
I felt like I was making something truly amazing.
I know that sounds horribly egotistical, but that’s really how it felt, and I have a loud and brutal enough internal critic that I can be fairly confident it’s not ego, because I certainly don’t delude myself that everything I write is brilliant. But my internal critic was quiet on this one, like it, too, was standing back watching the process thinking, “Yep, this time you’ve got it right.”
Judging by the responses from my beta reader and Sarah Frantz, my editor at Riptide, I think I might not have been entirely wrong in that assessment, either.
So I wrote Saugatuck Summer like it was a fire consuming my soul and I’ve spent pretty much every day since I submitted it anxious for the day I could share it with the world. That day will now be in May 2014. Which is way too long for the impatience I feel, but that’s the way it works.
Saugatuck Summer tells the story of Topher Carlisle, a somewhat genderfluid 21-year-old trying to work his shit out, as 21-year-olds often must do. I’d call it 60% romance/40% coming-of-age. Maybe even 55/45. It was my first attempt in a very long time trying to write in first person POV, because Topher’s voice was so very loud and clear in my head he refused to let a third-person narrator speak for him. Over the course of a life-changing summer in the gay resort town of Saugatuck on the shore of Lake Michigan, Topher copes with resolving a lot of baggage from a very difficult upbringing and his own questionable choices.
Topher is very biographical of someone I know. In fact, pretty much everything except the “present day” action in the story actually happened to the person I modeled Topher’s past after. When Topher relates details about his past, it’s a completely true story. It’s very real, and I think the emotional intensity I experienced writing it came from realizing that yes, these things actually happened to a real person. It made me cry…God, I don’t even know how many times.
I could blather about it forever, but for now, suffice to say that I’m thrilled beyond imagining to know how and when this book is finally going to happen, and I’ll be counting down the months until I can share it with you all.
If you want a taste of the Saugatuck Summer universe, check out my free Love Has No Boundaries novelette, The Field of Someone Else’s Dreams. It briefly mentions Topher and gives some insight into the community where he grew up, being the story of a classmate of his from high school.