Saturday, November 15, 2014

2 Suzanne Meyers, author of STONE COVE ISLAND, on the meaning of black sweaters

What was your inspiration for writing STONE COVE ISLAND?

STONE COVE ISLAND grew out of a couple of ideas, but here are two things I was thinking about: One was, I wanted to have the main character Eliza put herself in the point of view of her parents at her age, uncovering secrets about who they were then and what was going on in their lives. Eliza gets to understand them as people, beyond seeing them as parents.
 
I’ve also always been curious about what island life is like for the year-rounders who stay after the summer tourists go home. I’d heard stories about an island where the residents live by an unspoken code, and anyone who breaks that code is sent away from the island. On this particular island, if you are sent a black sweater, that means it’s time to go. I thought the idea of these islanders communicating with silent symbols instead of speaking directly was fascinating.

What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

I used to think action scenes were the hardest to write, but in this book I really enjoyed writing the scenes where Eliza was in danger. There’s one scene where she gets trapped late at night at the marina with a creepy guy, and another where she and Charlie steal a sailboat and have to sail in cold, stormy weather to get off the island. While I was writing both of those, I felt like I was really in it.

What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?

I guess I would say that if you read this and primarily enjoy the mystery, I would steer you toward classic mysteries by writers like Agatha Christie, PD James, or Dorothy Sayers, all writers I discovered when I was in high school.  If it’s more the atmosphere and characters that appeals, you might like some of E. Lockhart’s books, like WE WERE LIARS and THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS (one of my favorites), or Judy Blundell’s WHAT I SAW AND HOW I LIED.

How long did you work on STONE COVE ISLAND?

About a year. I spent a long time thinking about the story before I actually started writing.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

That’s a good question. This was my first mystery (other than screenplays. I’d written a few of those that were mysteries) and I loved how the puzzle of the mystery itself really gave me a solid thread to hang on to. I had to really put myself in Eliza’s shoes and picture what she would know at each point in the story and what her next logical steps would be.

What do you hope readers will take away from STONE COVE ISLAND?

I hope they will like the characters and enjoy the twists and turns.

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

Well, as I said, I had written screenplays and TV scripts and also directed a movie before this.  And I had started another YA book set in a New England boarding school. That one is coming out soon from the same publisher, Soho Press. It’s not exactly a sequel, but there are connections and overlaps with this book.

Was there an AHA! moment along your road to publication where something suddenly sank in and you felt you had the key to writing a novel? What was it?

There was definitely a moment when I switched from writing screenplays to writing novels when I decided this was the thing I had always wanted to do, and I decided to make it my top priority.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc? What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

Okay, I’m going to combine these, because my answer kind of addresses both. I don’t have a certain time of day or place where I write. I mostly write at home, unless I feel too distracted or need a change of scene; then I go to a coffee shop across the street where I have been going for about 5 years and have made a point of never learning the WiFi password. But I do try to write every day. I think people create a lot of mystery and superstition around writing that can make writers feel like it’s something magical that’s out of their hands. For me, it was key to figure out that it’s habit more than anything else. It’s like working out or running. It’s really hard to do it once in a while, but if you do it every day and your muscles are used to it, you miss it if you don’t do it. I think writing is a really muscle too. If you are having trouble writing, try setting a number of words to write every day, or an amount of time you are going to sit at your desk and write (even if you just stare at a blank page the whole time). You could also sign up for something like NaNoWriMo (http://nanowrimo.org/), which happens every November.  Whenever I feel discouraged, I think of Graham Greene, who wrote just 500 words a day, every day, and ended up writing more than 25 novels.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a really fun book about a group of kids who live in downtown Manhattan. They get on the subway one day and find their way into a parallel world. It’s very different from the other books I’ve written, more in the tradition of Narnia and fantasy books of that kind.


ABOUT THE BOOK


Stone Cove Island
by Suzanne Meyers
Hardcover
Soho Teen
Released 11/11/2014

The Stepford Wives meets Stephen King in this debut mystery: a sleepy New England beach town is wrecked by a hurricane that reveals an unthinkable 30-year-old secret.

When a catastrophic hurricane devastates Stone Cove Island, a serene New England resort community, everyone pulls together to rebuild. Seventeen-year-old Eliza Elliot volunteers to clean out the island’s iconic lighthouse and stumbles upon a secret in the wreckage: a handwritten, anonymous confession to a thirty-year-old crime.

Bess Linsky’s unsolved murder has long haunted the island, and the letter turns the town inside out. Everyone who knew Bess is suddenly a suspect. Soon Eliza finds herself in the throes of an investigation she never wanted or asked for. As Stone Cove Island fights to recover from disaster, Eliza plunges the locals back into a nightmare they believed was long buried.

Purchase Stone Cove Island at Amazon
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ABOUT THE AUTHORSuzanne Myers was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Toronto, Canada. She is a graduate of Princeton University and USC Film School. Her film Alchemy won the Grand Jury Award for Narrative Feature at the SXSW film festival. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, two sons, and two dogs. Stone Cove Island is her first novel.

2 comments:

  1. Looks like a great book, I cannot wait to read it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow. This one sounds great. It's going right onto my TBR list.

    ReplyDelete

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