Interview with Elin Hilderbrand plus a Summerland giveaway
It isn’t summer without a new book from Elin Hilderbrand! Her newest book, Summerland, will be released on July 10, and it’s one you’ll want for your beach bag. I’d like to thank Elin for taking the time to answer a few questions for me.
Why do you continue to write your novels in longhand?
I write in longhand because that is how my mind works. I would be scared to try it any other way. My process involves some kind of mystical flow from mind to hand to pen.
Do people recognize you when they see you writing on the beach? How do they react?
It’s true, I have started getting recognized at the beach and elsewhere. In general, people are respectful. My favorite story is the little girl who brought her mother’s book over for me to sign while her mother was in the water. The mother was too embarrassed to approach me herself.
The beach, and Nantucket, seem to be such a big part of who you are. If you could no longer live there, where would you choose to live?
If I couldn’t live on Nantucket, I would live in either Fremantle, Australia or St John USVI. Both of these places have certain salient things in common with Nantucket…but honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever live anywhere but Nantucket. I want to die and be buried there.
I know you love exercising and sports. What’s your favorite sport? Team?
My favorite sport is football and my team is the Philadelphia Eagles. Now, that said, I also have two sons who play Little League baseball, so there is A LOT of baseball over the course of my summer. And I love it, and when this period of my parenting life is over, I will be quite sad.
What do you hope people take away from your books?
I want people to close the book feeling like they connected with my characters. I put a lot of time and thought into character development, and into exploring a range of human emotions on the page.
Your newest novel, SUMMERLAND, deals with a graduation night tragedy. How much research did you have to do to get the emotions right?
Well, who knows if a writer can ever get the emotions “right.” This book is about teenagers, and since my children are not yet teenagers, I really had only one place to draw on for emotional verity, and that was from my own experience growing up. Fortunately, I still feel like I’m seventeen (in some ways, I think everyone feels this way). The world is very intense at seventeen, emotions are high, and your sense of self is being born. It’s a great age to try and transcribe on the page.
A warm June evening, a local tradition: the students of Nantucket High have gathered for a bonfire on the beach. But what begins as a graduation night celebration ends in tragedy after a horrible car crash leaves the driver of the car, Penny Alistair, dead, and her twin brother in a coma. The other passengers, Penny’s boyfriend Jake and her friend Demeter, are physically unhurt – but the emotional damage is overwhelming, and questions linger about what happened before Penny took the wheel.
As summer unfolds, startling truths are revealed about the survivors and their parents – secrets kept, promises broken, hearts betrayed. Elin Hilderbrand explores the power of community, family, and honesty, and proves that even from the ashes of sorrow, new love can still take flight.
Thanks to Hachette, I have three copies of Summerland to give to three lucky readers!! To enter to win a copy of SUMMERLAND, by Elin Hilderbrand, simply fill out the entry form. Contest is open to those in the US and Canada – one entry per person, please. I will use random.org to determine the winner. Contest ends at midnight EDT Saturday, June 30, 2012. Winner will be announced on Sunday, July 1, 2012. Comments are welcome (and appreciated) but will not get you an entry in the contest.