Love You S’More – the author speaks
1. How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?
I do a lot of my research on the fly. I usually decide on the story element I need and then go in search of the thing that fits the bill. For example, in Love You S’more, Gigi chairs the Met Ball. I wanted to find something that would tie the Met Ball to Perry and Elizabeth. I stumbled onto a famous gown, the Rainbow Portrait Gown, worn by Elizabeth I that I could use in the story to bring Perry and Gigi together. I ended up doing a ton of research on the dress to make sure I got the details just right. The real Rainbow Portrait gown was unfortunately destroyed a few hundred years ago, but it was a fun element to use in the book.
- What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote?
As a writer who didn’t have the budget to fly to London to research S’more to Lose and Love You S’more, the Internet was certainly my best resource. I scoured different sites to learn things like how many steps there were up to the Whispering Gallery in St. Paul’s Cathedral or what’s included in the Downton Abbey Tour. I think as writers we are living in very fortunate times, so much information is right at our fingertips.
- Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened?
Unfortunately for me, it does not…and I haven’t been able to quit my day job yet. 😊 The challenge, of course, is finding time to write while having a day job. I write early in the morning, late at night – basically any time I can squeeze it in.
- What is your favourite genre?
I love historical fiction, anything that has a sweeping epic sort of feel appeals to me like Gone with the Wind, North and South, The Thorn Birds, Game of Thrones. I’m a very fast reader, so I actually like when a book is a few hundred to even a thousand pages. Of course, I am also a huge fan of chick lit.
- If you could recommend a living author – who would it be? A dead author?
Anyone who wants to write “chick lit,” should start with Jane Austin. She nailed the genre before it even was one. Her books have some the best sexual tension and relationship plot devices of anything that’s ever been written! In terms of living authors, I love Meg Wolitzer, Ken Follet, John Irving, and Sophie Kinsella.
- What have you done with the things you wrote when in school?
Parts of some of my short stories from when I studied Creative Writing in undergrad have ended up in the Campfire Series. One story in particular had a lot of the themes from One S’more Summer and I borrowed some dialogue I liked. The rest are in a folder in a box in my attic. I pull them out for ideas from time to time.
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.