Happy Wednesday and welcome to my interview with Taylor Hale, author of The Summer I Drowned! I am so excited for you to discover what inspired Taylor to write her book!
The Summer I Drowned by Taylor Hale
Published on July 7, 2020 by Wattpad Books
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Thriller
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The past always resurfaces...
Five years after almost drowning, Olivia Cathart returns home to Caldwell Beach determined to face her fears and take some risks―not just by swimming, but by opening her heart. Hoping to rekindle her friendships, she’s excited about a carefree summer with her best friends Keely and Miles. But life in the sleepy town has changed, and no one and nothing is as it seems.
When a series of startling crimes threaten Olivia’s fragile state, she is plunged into a terrifying game of cat and mouse. Her only solace from the chaos is West, Miles’s disowned and ruggedly handsome brother, but even he can’t answer the question on everyone’s minds―is Olivia really in danger or is it simply all in her head?
What inspired you to write The Summer I Drowned?
Oddly enough, it was the name of a candle – “Sea Glass.” I thought it would make a pretty title for a story set in a beach town, maybe a romance. However, the title of the story evolved as the story itself did!
What struggles did you face when writing this book? How did you go about using details from Olivia’s past to inform her present narrative?
Getting into Olivia’s mental state was definitely a challenge, and a bit of a dark place to be writing from. I wanted to write her as someone who is constantly reminded of her past due to not only her trauma, but her emotional attachments to the people and places in the story. I think both her traumatic memories and her positive memories from Caldwell Beach shape who she is and how she sees the world throughout the story.
In the book, Olivia struggles with trauma and PTSD. What do you hope young readers will take away from the ways Olivia copes with her mental health?
I hope they will feel less alone. I also hope they will see it’s okay to ask for help, or to accept help when it’s offered—it isn’t a weakness, it’s a strength.
How does The Summer I Drowned stand out from other books of the same genre? What do you hope to bring to young adult fiction?
I think THE SUMMER I DROWNED stands out in the sense that it has an element of thriller to it, but is very much a YA Contemporary story that focuses on friendships, relationships, and growing up. I hope to bring fresh and unique stories that someone, somewhere can relate to, even in a small way. More than anything, I hope my stories provide solace to those who need it.
When you started using Wattpad, did you ever anticipate becoming a published author?
Not really, no! I knew nothing about the industry or how people even get published. However, after being on the platform for a while, I quickly realized that writing was my calling.
What advice would you give to young writers who are inspired by your writing?
Writing is a craft that takes time and practice. Allow yourself room to “suck” — everyone starts somewhere. Give it time and patience and be kind to yourself when you feel your writing isn’t quite up to par; you’ll have time to fix things later. Getting words on the page is the most important first step.
Taylor Hale was born in Southwestern Ontario, and started writing on Wattpad in 2015. When she isn’t writing, she can be found bartending at a live music venue, and thinking up her next idea. The Summer I Drowned is her first novel.