The Other Summer Girl takes place during the first year of college at Indiana University. Melanie Collier is the main character who deals constantly with her sometimes self-induced social alienation at a top party school in the Midwest. Her roommate, Amy Clevenger, doesn’t help Melanie’s social anxieties much because she’s always walking in at 4 in the morning with or without shoes.
One day after spring break, Melanie is walking back to her room from the bathroom when she stops in to say goodnight to a girlfriend on the tennis team. She notices a few attractive guys in the back of the room, and one of the guys in particular immediately notices Melanie. Lleyton Harris is the Australian rock star on the university’s tennis team.
Melanie never imagined herself going to such a large university because it seemed just too impossible – too many people and too far from home. But after a chance meeting with the Australian and his Vegemite, Melanie learns how to slow down and take in her new life in Bloomington, Indiana.
Melanie might have found a second wind at IU, but will Melanie and Lleyton have the same chance surviving the summer, too…
I want to dedicate this post to talking about my book, The Other Summer Girl, and to self-publishing. My book began in 2008 when my undergraduate creative writing class was assigned to write a two-page short story. We had to concentrate on a large subject but written with sparse language and approximately 500 words. I had been working on a longer story that inspired the short story. My short story was called “He Started It.” My professor circled a couple instances of language she liked and suggested I bring some of that kind of language into the longer story. She liked the short, sparse descriptions in my story such as “the other summer girl.” That description has always been in the back of my head, and as I wrote my book, I decided that that would be the title 🙂
I wrote the majority of The Other Summer Girl in 8 months; however, I had written 40 pages of the original manuscript while I was pursuing my MFA in Creative Writing. The bulk of the work, though, happened after graduate school.
People always say that writing is a lonely endeavor, and in some ways that is right. I stayed up until 1, 2, 3 o’clock in the morning some nights finishing or exceeding my personal minimum word count of 3,000 per day. If you are a writer out there needing inspiration, set a goal for yourself, even if it’s just for a week, and try your hardest to stick with it. Print out a calendar and highlight, say, one week that you want to work on your book and write down a word count that you want to achieve. I find that this gives you accountability. It’s like exercising except for your mind and your craft! Ernest Hemingway charted his word count every day. I’m trying this for the sequel of The Other Summer Girl 🙂
For my next topic, self-publishing, I want to talk about what it means for a writer. I was tweeting with a New York Times bestselling author the other night (I won’t reveal who because the individual isn’t endorsing my work in any way) about self-publishing. The author began as a self-publishing author before being “picked up” by a traditional publishing house. I asked the author about the potential for future querying for self-publishing authors, and the author’s response was simply that you should only get an agent if you need one. The author continued to say (I’m paraphrasing) that by self-publishing, you are essentially becoming your own agent and publisher. This was extremely inspiring to me.
I think that you should take the route that works best for you, your book, and your personality. And for some, that is querying an agent, signing with an agent, and shopping your book around. For others, self-publishing provides a more entrepreneurial route where you write the book, market, design, edit, etc. You are the writer, agent, and publishing house all wrapped into one. It’s an exciting and fulfilling enterprise if you’re up to it!
All in all, I have really enjoyed the self-publishing route for my book and for my soon-to-be released sequel. I love working on all aspects of my book, and I do hope that you will enjoy the smart and sexy coming-of-age story of Melanie Collier journeying through her freshman year at Indiana University 🙂
-Bio for Author:
Sarah D. Towne is a twenty-something English teacher, tutor, and writer living in the Midwest. She loves writing about all of the random, wonderful, and beautiful things that happen in the late-teens and twenties.
Towne earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from a small Midwestern university where she began The Other Summer Girl. The manuscript started off as a short story in a creative writing class at Indiana University. The sequel will be out in May 2014.
-Links for Author:
Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/sarahdtowne
I am giving out a free copy of my book to the 100th and 150th follower on my Facebook page 🙂
I also have a contest going on to win a free Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. It involves Proof of Purchase of my book. Readers can find more information at the following link: http://sarahdtowne.com/kindle-giveaway-tosgcontest/