Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Interview with Beth Merlin, S'MORE TO LOVE

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
S’more to Lose is the second book in my Campfire Series. It is set four years after the ending of Book 1, One S’more Summer. The reader quickly finds out that Georgica and Jamie did follow their dream of starting their own clothing line, G. Malone which has been taking the fashion world by storm. When G. Malone is chosen to design the royal wedding dress, Gigi is forced to confront her ex-fiancé, Perry Gillman, now a successful composer with a hit show on the West End. As the world gears up for the wedding of the century, Gigi is on the brink of buckling under the immense pressure of the uncertainties of her future and failures of her past.

Do you have a favorite character?
I love Jamie. He is the perfect best friend. He’s loyal and supportive, but he also puts Gigi in her place. He is a much bigger character in S’more to Lose, and I had a lot of fun writing all the scenes between him and Gigi. Their dialogue always comes really easily and naturally to me.

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
When I started writing S’more to Lose, I took a lot of inspiration from Kate Middleton’s wedding to Prince William. As a nod to Pippa Middleton, I wrote in the character of Annabelle Ellicott, Victoria’s sister. I never intended for her to be a major character, but suddenly, I got the idea to make her Perry’s love interest. That one decision completely changed the trajectory of the book, making the stakes even higher for Gigi. Annabelle went from a tertiary and somewhat insignificant character to a fully realized, completely vital aspect of the book. 

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I pretty much always listen to music. For S’more to Lose, I listened to the Hamilton soundtrack a lot. In the book, Perry writes a hit musical called Elizabeth, which was my play on Hamilton, so I used the soundtrack as inspiration. I also listen to a lot of Gershwin and jazz standards when I am writing any scenes involving Perry. Thank goodness for Youtube!

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
A little bit of both. I have never created a formal outline for a book, but I usually have a general sense of where I want the story to go and some important plot points I have to hit along the way. That being said, a lot of twists and turns happen while I am writing. In the past, a line of dialogue, a setting, or even something I’ve experienced in my real life has totally caused my story to change course-usually for the better.  

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
I hired a copy editor to review my final draft of One S’more Summer, the first book of the Campfire Series before I started submitting it to agents and publishers. It was important to me that what I submitted be free of grammatical errors and as clean a draft as possible. Ultimately, any published book goes through several revisions, but it was worth the investment to me to have that first draft be as strong as possible.
Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
Definitely! I am lucky that my publisher, Inkmonster, takes on a lot of that work, but I have learned that being an author is more than just sitting down and typing out a story. In this day and age, you also have to be a self-promotor. Being engaged on social media and in the community is incredibly important to the success of a book. It can be a tough juggling act, but worth it when you see it affect sales numbers and know how many people are being drawn to your work. 

Besides writing, do you have any other passions?
I love Broadway musicals, New York City, fashion, shopping, museums, swimming, and spending time with my 3-year-old daughter and husband.

Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer – dogs or cats? Chocolate or vanilla? Coffee or Tea? Talk or Text? Day or Night?
Dogs, for sure. I have a two-year-old Cavipoo named Sophie who is another member of my family.
COFFEE!!!!!! Preferably iced, even in the winter.
A little bit of both. I definitely prefer talking to friends on the phone -but given that most of them are also busy working moms, I get a lot more accomplished and am able to stay in touch better because of texting.

What’s next for you?
I am currently working on Book 3 of the Campfire Series, Love You S’more. It releases in the summer of 2018.

S’more to Lose
Beth Merlin
(The Campfire Series #2)
Publication date: December 5th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary

Four years after her life-changing summer, Gigi Goldstein thinks saying goodbye to Camp Chinooka means saying hello to a brand new life. Now faced with a second chance at her career, she is filled with more hope than she’s felt in a long time. Her design house is taking the fashion world by storm, even attracting notice of Victoria Ellicott, the fashionable British socialite who just happens to be engaged to the future king of England. When Gigi is chosen to design the royal wedding dress in London, she is forced to confront her ex-fiancé, Perry Gillman, now a successful composer with a hit show on the West End.
But when Gigi learns Perry’s been dating Victoria’s sister, who rivals her in looks, style and sophistication, Gigi can’t help but feel inadequate in everything. Her world begins to crumble as she develops a creative block so debilitating, she fears that a wedding dress of royal proportions is never going to happen. Even a budding relationship with the handsome, wealthy, and rich Viscount of Satterley can’t make her forget about Perry and her inability to get over him. As the world gears up for the wedding of the century, Gigi is on the brink of buckling under the immense pressure of the uncertainties of her future and failures of her past.
Will she be able overcome her creative paralysis to design the dress of Victoria’s dreams, or will she break down now that she has even s’more to lose?

Author Bio:
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.

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