The Summer That Made Us by Robyn Carr, Author Interview


Release Date: September 4, 2017

About The Book:

That was then…

For the Hempsteads, summers were idyllic. The lake was a magical place, a haven where they were happy and carefree. All of their problems drifted away as the days passed in sun-dappled contentment. Until the summer that changed everything.

This is now…

After an accident turned the lake house into a site of tragedy and grief, it was closed up. None of the Hempstead women speak of what happened, and relationships between them are uneasy at best to hurtful at worst. But in the face of new challenges, one woman is determined to draw her family together again, and the only way that can happen is to return to the lake and face the truth.

Q&A with Robyn Carr: 

Q: What made you want to write such a sprawling, multigenerational novel, and what challenges did you encounter while plotting and structuring the story?

A: That’s what I love – complicated relationships and whether they can be resolved or not. And if they can be resolved, then how? As far as the biggest challenge – the first was, “Whose story is this?” As is typical of my novels, the story usually belongs to more than one person. Writing a story with many points of view is always hard, but in this case it was such a labor of love – the women in this story are nothing short of amazing and each one such a mystery to me. Until they were written out, of course. And then what seemed so unique and mysterious became so much like every woman I know.

Q: Can you tell me a little about the title of the book? Where did it come from, and do you think everyone has a defining summer of youth?

A: It will be hard to decide whether the summer that made them was that tragic summer long ago or the redeeming summer that brings them all together again. In my mind the characters think that tragic summer that ended their wonderful days at the lake is the summer that shaped the rest of their lives – until they reunite and get to know each other all over again. I think we have many defining moments in the summers of our youth. If you come from a cold, snowy climate like I did growing up, it feels like we slog through the winter months and summer is always a time of rebirth and rejuvenation.

Q: What makes female bonds such a rich topic of exploration in a novel? What was the most rewarding part of developing and digging into these powerful and often complex relationships?

A: A million years ago when men went off to slay the woolly mammoth, the women were left behind to tend the home fires and, subsequently, took charge of the relationships. Women bond with each other on a deep and complex level. It’s not that they bond on a deeper level than men do (a military band of brothers comes instantly to mind), but they bond differently because women are natural nurturers and because they have always minded the survival of the family and the children and each other, and they have an innate sensitivity and vulnerability to emotions. And because women have such a wide range of personalities and skills, they also have a wide range of dealing with emotional issues. The canvas is very large! A writer of women’s fiction can write as many different female characters as there are females in the world! Finding a new set of characteristics that are not identical to a character already written is the biggest headache and the fiercest joy.

Q: A favorite character Krista has just returned home after a long prison sentence. Having never spent time in prison yourself, did you have to do any research while crafting Krista’s storyline, and what was one of the biggest things you learned from telling her story?

A: I looked up a few things, did a little reading, but mainly my imagination makes that scenario just terrifying to me. Hard to imagine, isn’t it? Gray and cold and mean. Just surviving it would be astonishing and surviving it well, admirable. I loved writing about Krista. She is an ideal character if ever there was one – her shortcomings took her down about as far as a person could go and her retribution was epic. I left her knowing her life from then on would be wonderful.

Q: What’s next for you? What are you working on right now, and what can readers look forward to next?

A: I’m writing the next book in the Sullivan’s Crossing series – we don’t have a title yet, but we’re close. I’m writing about Dakota Jones, formerly a major in the Army, and let me tell you, he is a good book boyfriend. Yes, he’s at the crossing, with his siblings Cal and Sierra, and he’s stirring up lots of interest. And a little trouble.

Where to contact Robyn Carr:

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