I have a parent’s perspective here, and I want to high five Alex’s parents for how they handled her, well, wildness. Sometimes, especially for younger people (lord, listen to me….) all it takes is to realize there’s more beyond themselves.
Last Chance Summer by Shannon Klare will release Tuesday in the Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult genre.
AUTHOR BIO:Shannon Klare is a writer, teacher, reality TV fanatic, and movie connoisseur. When she isn’t writing or daydreaming new plots, Shannon can be found frequenting Starbucks or hanging out with her family. SURVIVING ADAM MEADE is her debut novel.
What was the inspiration for this book? Is there message you wanted to give the reader through it?
My own summer camp experience was actually the inspiration for Last Chance Summer. When I was a junior in high school, I was given the opportunity to work at a summer camp as a junior counselor. That would be my fourth year attending camp, first year to be a junior counselor, and I was beyond excited to earn such an amazing position. Unlike Alex, my position would only last a week, but it was a huge responsibility and I couldn’t wait to get started.
In the days leading up to camp, we went through various trainings and walked through different situations we might face while at camp. But, shortly before campers arrived, we were told some of the week’s campers would be coming to us from a local group home. These were going to be teenagers and younger kids who had been through far more in their lives than I could’ve ever imagined. I had always lived a pretty sheltered life, so I was concerned. What if I couldn’t connect with them? What if the week I was so excited for ended up terrible? I was a teenager myself, sixteen maybe seventeen-years-old. Yes there was a lead counselor to help us, but it was still partially my responsibility to look after these kids.
The closer time came for camp to start, the more my concerns grew. Fear. Anxiety. Worry. I was so nervous about what I would be facing, but when reality finally played out I was shocked by what I learned. Talking to those teenagers, learning about what they had endured, the challenges they faced, and how they navigated through every day, taught me one crucial thing about the world and one critical thing about myself – these kids had been judged by their circumstance and not who they were. Furthermore, I was disappointed in myself for being one of the ones who judged.
The realization made me stop and take a long hard look at who I was and how I approached people and situations. I had always viewed myself as “normal.” I had a “normal” family, “normal” things, “normal” experiences, but I wasn’t normal. I was privileged in some areas and naïve in others. Instead of judging or composing some contrived notion of who people were, based upon where they came from, I needed to see them for who they actually were. I couldn’t do that until I listened.
Growing up in the home I had grown up in, sheltered from most of the harsh realities of the world, I had a lot to learn about people and life. That’s a hard lesson to accept at any age, but that week made me a better person and the person I am today.
So, when contemplating plot ideas for my next book, I knew I wanted to touch on those experiences. I wanted Alex to be a flawed character who wasn’t always likeable; someone people would want to change because of her actions, even though she wasn’t sure what she needed for herself. I also wanted to make people stop and realize that individuals have different reasons for being who they are. They don’t owe you an explanation, and the choice to change is solely theirs.
And I hope Last Chance Summer delivered on that lesson – in both Alex’s internal struggles and the way people approached her attitude and the way she handled her surroundings.
This post is part of a Tour. You can find the schedule here (http://xpressobooktours.com/2020/03/17/tour-sign-up-last-chance-summer-by-shannon-klare/).
Tour-wide giveaway (US only)
- Print copy of Last Chance Summer