(The Campfire Series, #1)
by Beth Merlin
Published by: Ink Monster LLC
Publication date: May 30th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
If you love Sophie Kinsella and Emily Giffin, you’ll love this heartwarming debut from a fresh voice in contemporary chick-lit that offers a lighthearted and fun take on friendship, love, and how to recover from past mistakes.
For twenty long years, Gigi Goldstein has been pining away for her best friend’s guy. She knows it’s wrong and it has to stop, but she hasn’t been able to let go ever since they all met on the bus to summer camp back when they were 7 years old. The same week that her best friends finally announce their wedding date, Gigi loses her high-profile design job. With all of her dreams unravelling, she runs to the last place she remembers being happy.
Taking the Head Counselor position at Camp Chinooka, Gigi hopes to reclaim the joy she felt as a camper, but the job isn’t all campfire songs and toasting marshmallows. Gigi’s girls are determined to make her look bad in front of the boys’ Head Counselor—the sexy but infuriating Perry—and every scrap of the campground is laced with memories.
When Gigi finally realizes she can’t escape the present by returning to her past, she’s forced to reexamine her life and find the true meaning of love. But will she be able to mend fences and forgive herself before she loses her one real shot at happiness?
1. What gave you the inspiration for the storyline?
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.
2. Are there any hidden themes in the book that you hope readers will discover?
Definitely---I hope the readers of the book will walk away thinking about friendship, forgiveness, longing, and the question of whether or not you can ever really go back to your childhood.
3. Are any of the characters based on real people you know?
Not directly, but I think some elements of real life and real people show up in every writer’s works. I definitely modeled some of the fixtures around Camp Chinooka on real counselors and campers I knew. Perry, Gigi’s main love interest, is absolutely a blend of some of the Camp America British counselors I crushed on when I was a camper.
4. Who has influenced you most as a writer?
It’s a corny answer, but probably my mother. Growing up, she was a reporter for our local newspaper and then later worked in PR. When I was a camper, she would send me back my letters red-marked and edited for spelling and grammar mistakes. At the time, I thought she was crazy, but now I so appreciate the value she placed on writing. Some of my earliest memories are of hearing her tapping away on our old Panasonic word processor at 4 or 5 in the morning.
5. If you could have any three literary characters over to your place for game night, who would you invite, what would you play, what would you serve, and why?
Such a good question! I think I’d have Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy (mostly because I’d want to hear their banter) and Bridget Jones (so I’d have someone to talk to while Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy talked to each other). I think we’d play Scattegories and I’d serve a traditional English tea and finger sandwiches.
Beth Merlin has a BA from The George Washington University where she minored in Creative Writing and a JD from New York Law School. She’s a native New Yorker who loves anything Broadway, rom-coms, her daughter Hadley, and a good maxi dress. She was introduced to her husband through a friend she met at sleepaway camp and considers the eight summers she spent there to be some of the most formative of her life. One S’more Summer is Beth’s debut novel.