Swanky Seventeener Sara Biren recently spoke with Erin. L. Schneider about her young adult contemporary debut, SUMMER OF SLOANE, which released on May 3, 2016 from Disney Hyperion.
About the Book
Warm Hawaiian sun. Lazy beach days. Flirty texts with her boyfriend back in Seattle.
These are the things seventeen-year-old Sloane McIntyre pictured when she imagined the summer she’d be spending at her mom’s home in Hawaii with her twin brother, Penn. Instead, after learning an unthinkable secret about her boyfriend, Tyler, and best friend, Mick, all she has is a fractured hand and a completely shattered heart.
Once she arrives in Honolulu, though, Sloane hopes that Hawaii might just be the escape she needs. With beach bonfires, old friends, exotic food, and the wonders of a waterproof cast, there’s no reason Sloane shouldn’t enjoy her summer. And when she meets Finn McAllister, the handsome son of a hotel magnate who doesn’t always play by the rules, she knows he’s the perfect distraction from everything that’s so wrong back home.
But it turns out a measly ocean isn’t nearly enough to stop all the emails, texts, and voicemails from her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, desperate to explain away their betrayal. And as her casual connection with Finn grows deeper, Sloane’s carefree summer might not be as easy to find as she’d hoped. Weighing years of history with Mick and Tyler against their deception, and the delicate possibility of new love, Sloane must decide when to forgive, and when to live for herself.
About the Author
Erin L. Schneider is native to the Pacific Northwest, attended college in Honolulu, and – although Hawaiian – should never be allowed on a surfboard. With more than twenty years in corporate merchandising, she’s now a full-time writer living in Seattle with her husband, Neal; their baby boy, Kellan; a rowdy German shepherd named Ronin; and two crazy cats, Ono and Poke. She’s a member of both the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and SCBWI, and is also co-founder of the YA Buccaneers.
You can find Erin here:
Sara Biren: What inspired you to write SUMMER OF SLOANE?
Erin L.Schneider: When I first sat down to write SLOANE, one line in particular kept jumping out – and somehow I knew I was going to center much of my story around it:
“I guess sometimes things just don’t turn out the way you always thought they would. Or maybe they turn out exactly as they should, just not what you expected.”
Growing up can be difficult and full of moments you don’t expect and I don’t think life is ever tied off with a perfect red bow. For me, it’s important to write stories that emulate how messy things can really be. How quickly something that seems so perfect can fall apart. And in the end, how you react to those things. SLOANE is ultimately about learning forgiveness – but it’s also about the importance of doing the right thing for yourself, too.
SB: How long did you live in Hawaii? Tell us about your connection and why you chose to set the book there.
ELS: My mom was native Hawaiian and born and raised in Hilo on the Big Island (almost all of her side of the family still lives there now), so I’ve been going “home” to Hawai’i for years. While I grew up in Seattle, I ended up at Hawai’i Pacific University, and lived in Honolulu all throughout college. With how important the Islands are to me, I always knew I would write and set a book there – so SLOANE’s story was a natural fit (and hopefully it isn’t my last)!
SB: Are there elements of the novel based on actual events from your life?
ELS: I think every writer pulls attributes from their own life into their writing, whether intentional or not. Sometimes it’s easier to get a character down on paper if you reflect on someone you know or something that has personally happened to you. I shared many similar experiences with SLOANE, right down to throwing up on the cute boy while playing chicken off the beaches of Waikiki. Yes, that really did happen. And while not one of my proudest moment, at least years later I got to write about it!
SB: I consider myself really lucky to be one of your critique partners. SUMMER OF SLOANE has seen some changes since your early drafts – how do you approach the revision and editing process?
ELS: When you first start writing, your story is this journey in your head – one that you intimately know and one you probably could recite from memory. But revisions and edits take on a whole new meaning when an editor comes into the picture. Suddenly you’re sharing this journey with someone else and your journey becomes their journey too. Throughout the entire process, there’s a lot of give and take – sometimes you lose scenes you were attached to, but mostly you gain moments that take your story to a whole different level. I guess how I approach the editing process now is to try and keep an open mind – and by reminding myself that my story is going to be in a better place, that makes it all worth it.
Coffee or tea? Coffee.
Do you listen to music while you write or do you need silence? Depends on what I’m writing: brainstorming = music, edits = silence.
What’s your all-time favorite song? Good Life by OneRepublic.
Pets? Couldn’t live without my German Shepherd and two cats!
Favorite Muppet? Fozzie Bear!
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you? Seattle or Maui.
Many thanks to Erin L. Schneider, author of THE SUMMER OF SLOANE!
About the Interviewer:
Sara Biren lives outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota with her husband and their two children. She works in marketing, leads her daughter’s Girl Scout troop, and loves cheese. Her Top 5 concerts (in no particular order) are Paul McCartney, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, the Jayhawks, and Billy Joel, but she has yet to see Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem live.
Her debut novel, THE LAST THING YOU SAID, will be published by ABRAMS/Amulet Books in spring of 2017.
Find Sara here: