Interview with August Summers

When did you first start writing?
My first attempt at a fiction novel began in December 2013. I just woke up one day with a very strong desire to write a novel. So I did! And I loved it! I've discovered a new passion. All my writing prior to that, was limited to 14 years worth of legal pleadings. I remember when I first began practicing law, how frustrated I was that, in a legal pleading, you can't foreshadow, entice the audience with what's to come, and make them wait for the good stuff. I don't know why it took me so long to realize that what I really needed to be doing, was writing fiction, for the pure joy of it, and with no purpose other than entertaining the audience.
What's the story behind your latest book?
"A Brush with Love, A Brush with the Law," is a romance novel that takes the characters through a criminal saga. At stake for each of them, is not only their love for each other, but also the most important thing to each of them -- one's liberty, and the other's career.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When I write a scene, I think about how I want my audience to feel, or react when reading that scene. What I love most is finding out, when the book is finished, that the exact reaction I was hoping to draw from the audience, is what I got! I've had the pleasure of watching my friends read particular chapters or excerpts in my manuscripts, and have been able to watch their real reaction to what I wrote. And I'm very happy to say, I've nailed it!

One example, is when I tease the audience in, "A Brush with Love, A Brush with the Law," with something I saved in my manuscript notes, under the phrase "Dream Scene." In the Dream Scene, I make the audience believe that David has somehow convinced a virgin to go to bed with him, after only one chance encounter. It starts as a love scene, then ends with David waking up to the sound of his alarm clock ringing, and realizing it was just a dream. As I wrote that scene, I thought to myself, "The audience, will never believe this. They're going to know what I'm doing here." Nonetheless, I tried my best to write the scene for the appropriate reaction. Then, when a friend of mine read ahead in my manuscript beyond the scene I had asked her to review, I got to see her reaction to Dream Scene. At first, I was astonished to hear that she was rooting for the womanizer. First, she said, "Yeah, Go David!" Then, I heard her exclaim with surprised disappointment, "Ah! It was just a dream!"

That was the best thing I was able to witness. I achieved my goal! It was also really cool to see that the audience could have a completely different connection to the various characters in my book, than what I would have myself. I expected people to start that scene, thinking; "No, Sarah! What are you doing!" But instead, I learned that my lovable womanizer, really was that lovable. Even female readers root for him to get the girl.
Who are your favorite authors?
John Grisham, Danielle Steel and Nicholas Sparks
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Practicing law, mostly. During my spare time, I write, go to the beach, rollerblade, drink champagne, and eat a fabulous brunch with a great group of friends, whenever I get the chance. I also spend lots of time traveling to visit family so that I can spend as much time as possible with my nieces and nephews.
What is your writing process?
I let the story write itself. I don't sit down with a specific plot in mind. First, I introduce the main characters; then, when I get to know them, the plot begins to develop itself. I do not write in chronological order, as I find that process stifling. Instead, I'll jump ahead to the middle of the book to write a scene that is demanding to come out. This allows me to capture it while it's on my mind. I write whichever scene is most demanding of my attention, at the time. And sometimes, I have multiple competing scenes wanting my attention. I write the one that is most persistently nagging at me. The best feeling is when I'm afraid I can't type quickly enough to capture it all. In those instances, I pause to write quick bullet points of the scene that has to wait, while I'm writing the other one. Then, I go back and tie it altogether. That way, I never lose an idea. I also type notes into my iPhone to remind myself of a scene that pops into my mind when I'm somewhere I can't write, but need to capture the idea. The worst is when I'm driving. This happens a lot. I just have to remember to take notes, as soon as I get to my destination.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I wore a button when I was in grade school that said, "I love books." It was my favorite button. I remember all my friends expressing surprise at that. I guess some kids have to be forced to read, but I had a natural love for books. The first book I ever remember reading, is a Dr. Seuss book; though, I don't remember which story. I guess that's where it all started.
How do you approach cover design?
The picture on the front should remind you of the characters in the book. When I first began reading romance novels, I remember being annoyed that sometimes the female or male on the cover had different color hair than what was described in the book. I don't know if that's nit-picky, but that's how I felt as a reader. So, when I design the book cover, I want images that capture something that gives the reader a glimpse of what he or she is about to read. For example, "A Brush with Love, A Brush with the Law," has a courthouse in the background, and a couple holding each other in a passionate embrace. I picked that photograph because the woman looked exactly as I had imagined Sarah when writing her story. Also, the courthouse contrasted against their passionate embrace, captures the passion and drama that exist in the story.
Published 2015-07-25.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.