Kathrym Williams is the author of several books including her newest release, The Lost Summer. She currently resides somewhere between Nashville, Tennessee; New York City; and Richmond, Virginia according to her website.
1) Your newest release is The Lost Summer. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
I'd be happy to:) The Lost Summer is a book about summer camp and about growing up. It's the main character, Helena's, first summer as a counselor, but her best friend, Katie Bell, is still a camper. Through some dramatic (and some not-so-dramatic) events over the summer, Helena realizes that being a counselor--and growing up in general--brings a lot of freedom but also sacrifice. Growing up is exciting, but it's scary, and even surrounded by friends, it can be lonely. By the end of the story, Helena comes to realize what she's lost and what she's gained that summer.
2) What inspired you to write The Lost Summer?
I wanted to write a book about camp because I had such an amazing experience at summer camp growing up (see below). So I actually started with the setting and wanting to explore that, almost like the setting was a character. And then I came to Helena's character. I had friends who were older and younger at camp, and I remembered what those transitions were like. It's interesting the different paces at which people grow up. As friends, we push and pull each other along. I didn't set out to write a more serious book than my last one (The Debutante), but it kind of worked out that way. Sometimes that happens in the writing process. You look back, and you're like, "Wait, how did I get here?" Haha.
3)Helena is a big fan of summer camps, her favorite being Southpoint. I read in the back that you had been to several summer camps in your teen years, too. Do you have a favorite memory from that experience that you would like to share?
I went to the same small camp in western Virginia for ten years, six as a camper and four as a counselor. I loved every single second of those summers. They shaped who I am. There are so many memories, it's hard to pick just one! I just remember laughing so hard every single day, at stupid stuff, too -- "you had to be there" stuff. But I think lying in bed every night after Taps, with my cabinmates around me and our counselor reading to us and the frogs and crickets chirping, might be my favorite memory. I just felt like, "I'm home."
But I'd like to point out that Southpoint is definitely not my camp! It's similar in many ways. I drew on my camp a lot for the physical descriptions of Southpoint. But my camp was all girls (except a half dozen guy counselors -- that was the inspiration for the Brownies) and didn't have boating. We didn't even have a real lake -- we had a glorified pond that we called a lake!
4)If you could pick a theme song for The Lost Summer what would it be? Why?
Funny you ask, because I was running the other day and this song came on my ipod: "Least Complicated" by the Indigo Girls. I'd listened to it a thousand times before. We used to listen to the Indigo Girls a lot at camp, but listening to it this time, I thought, "That's it! That's The Lost Summer!" It's not that the words fit perfectly, but the sentiment just seems to fit. The refrain goes, "The hardest to learn was the least complicated."
5) You’ve written two teen books, The Lost Summer and The Debutante leaving me to wonder which protagonist you identified with most: Annie or Helena?
Hmmm. Good question:) There are pieces of me in both girls, but I am neither character. I would probably say I identify more with Annie, though. Helena's more introverted than I am. I'm also pretty sarcastic, like Annie.
6)I see that you’ve written for several different age groups. Do you have a specific group that you like writing for best?
I've written for middle grade, teen, and younger adult (18-30). And I can honestly say (scout's honor) that I like writing for all of them. It's less the age of the audience and more the story and the characters that I get invested in. The middle grade stuff I do is mostly novelization (of a movie, like Camp Rock, for example) or based on characters that already exist (again, like my original junior novels for Camp Rock). I write those under a pen name, Lucy Ruggles. That's really fun and I get to come up with fun, new plot lines, but I like creating my own characters.
7) What other jobs have you had besides being a writer?
A waitress twice, a cashier girl, a babysitter, a temp at Circuit City corporate offices (it was like living The Office), an intern about five thousand times (ok, maybe four, but it felt like five thousand), a journalist, an editorial assistant, an editor, and a photo researcher. I think that's it... so far. I kind of want to go to culinary school.
8) What is your favorite part of being an author? Least?
Least favorite part would be a tie between editing (such a huge part of the process but sometimes it's just plain hard) and being alone and in my head so much. I like to get out and write in coffee shops so I don't feel like a hermit. Favorite part? The flip side of that coin: the freedom -- I mean both creatively and being able to work in my pajamas. And also hearing from readers. That makes the least favorite parts totally worth it.
9) What’s next for you? Another YA perhaps?
I hope! I have two YA projects I'm working on right now. I really like both of them. They're currently looking for good homes.
sidenote: Very Cool! I can't wait to read them
10) Any last thoughts? A question you wished I asked but didn’t?
I am a Taurus and my favorite flavor of ice cream is rainbow sherbet. Yup, I think that covers it:)
Sidenote: Ooh, I like rainbow sherbet, too. Though, I haven't had any in a while. :(
Thanks so much Kathryn and congrats on the realease of The Lost Summer!! :)