It all started at summer camp — or more accurately, in the parking lot. At least that is how it started for Canadian author K.A. Tucker as the plan for her new novel, “Say You Still Love Me,” came to life.
“I was taking my girls to their summer camp up by my cottage … I just remember sitting in the parking lot watching all of the teenage counselors and our kids and wondering what kind of trouble they got themselves into. I was sitting there thinking ‘gosh, all these teenagers are staying here all summer in cabins,’ and then [I] started talking to other people who were counselors and some of the crazy stuff that they got into, and that’s really where the story came from,” she says.
In “Say You Still Love Me,” out on Aug. 6, corporate executive Piper Calloway thinks she has her life together — until she sees her first love for the first time in years. For the first time since they were counselors at a summer camp.
But it is not just about the story on the pages for Tucker, it is also about the readers. “[I’m most excited] that readers might find themselves transported back to a nostalgic time in their lives with summer love and summer camp,” she says. “And you get that balance between being teenagers again and being in the real world today or corporate world … and how different that can be.”
A theme that Tucker can relate to. It wasn’t until nine years ago that she first started writing. Instead, she was working in corporate sales when she discovered her passion. After the birth of her second daughter, Tucker used writing as an escape (her way at least, without leaving the house), and discovered that this long-lost hobby was her true passion.
From there, she self-published several books, and after her fourth book, “Ten Tiny Breaths,” Tucker was approached by a publisher. Fourteen books later with Atria (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) and her fanbase only continues to grow. She even attends book clubs.
Book clubs have seen quite the take-off in recent years, with celebrities like Reese Witherspoon using their star power to get people interested in books again. But in Tucker’s case, she started to attend local book clubs (she will jump on Skype or the phone for those outside of Toronto), based on requests from the readers. And it is just another source of major inspiration for her.
“A lot of the time you’re sitting here and you’re just writing, writing, writing for months, and then you’re producing and you’re putting that book out, and then it’s out there. And yes, there’s reviews and such but … then you go off and start another book. And it can sometimes feel very lonely. So, it is great when you can get into a book club and talk to a group of people who have read and enjoyed your book. And they always have questions to ask that … it’s an enjoyable way to make the book come to life,” Tucker explains. “Talking books in general with other people who are book lovers is always fun because you don’t get to do that necessarily in your everyday life.”
Readers might find themselves transported back to a nostalgic time in their lives with summer love.
Tucker self-identifies as a mood writer, although “Say You Still Love Me” falls squarely in the romance genre. “I’ve really written across various genres,” she says. “There is something different about each of them that I really enjoy. With romance, I enjoy the character development and being able to really build those characters, or I should say the relationships between the characters with their family and their friends and their significant others. And then with suspense, you do get that, but there’s also that heart-beating plot you really get to work in, and that’s always fun to do.”
Tucker, who is currently reading psychological thrillers, says that by July she will have moved on to the lighter and more heartfelt arena of the romance world. She is a mood reader, too. And while we might not have the song of the summer, at least Tucker was able to give us some books (aside from her own).
There are classic summer reads, the reads that everyone should pick up once in their lifetime. For Tucker, these are “Anne of Green Gables,” “Fried Green Tomatoes at The Whistle Stop Cafe,” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.” She knows that last one seems like a standard answer, but for her it makes sense. “[It] transports you back into a different time and way of thinking,” she says, which happens to be the exact approach she takes in her novels.
And then there the new, just- or soon-to-be released books that Tucker has on her list. “I’m trying to make a rule for myself this summer to take up all new writers,” she says.
And while Tucker loves her Kindle (as a mood reader it gives her the ability to pick up what she is feeling at any given time without carting around 10 books), this summer is all about the paperback.
“There is something about sitting on the beach with a paperback and flipping through the pages,” she says. “You don’t get that same feeling when you have a Kindle.”
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