Book Information supplied by Oops I Read A Book Again Tours
Title: Phantom Summer
Author: Amy Sparling
Date of Publication: September 5, 2013
Genre: contemporary YA with ghosts
BLURB supplied by Oops I Read A Book Again Tours
Seventeen-year-old Taylor Gray moves to Sterling Island to get over her dead boyfriend. Mom’s cool with letting her crash on the couch, but Taylor needs to get a job before the lights are cut off again.
When the tall, dark and crazy Raine Tsunami offers her a position at his thriving ghost tour business, she figures it’s an easy way to make some cash. Taylor isn’t afraid of ghosts--that crap is as fake as her mom’s boob job. She loves their adventures on the historic island, especially the secret places he shows her when the crowds go home. So what if all the ghost stories are just legends?
When Taylor comes face to face with a ghost and Raine crosses the line between friend and boyfriend--Taylor’s new life collides with her haunted past. If murdered people end up as ghosts, then that someone she was trying to forget is probably watching her.
Where do you get your book plot ideas from? What/Who is your inspiration?
They come from everywhere, sometimes all at once. It’s hard trying to organize my plot ideas and sort them into separate stories or characters. My biggest inspiration comes from real life – taking things that happen or don’t happen the way I’d like and giving the same, but better, experience to a fictional character.
Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?
I ask my mom to read just about everything because I know she’ll give me positive feedback, if only because she’s my mom, lol. I also have a couple beta readers that give me more critical feedback. They’re lifesavers when it comes to finding plot holes.
Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
YES! I am always happy to donate books for reviews.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Nope, I never have. Occasionally I’ll look at the overall ratings on Goodreads, but that’s about the extent of it.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
Oh gosh… I am the worst at names. I have literally just looked around the room for something to name a character. Taylor in Phantom Summer was named after Taylor Swift just because a song of hers happened to be playing at the time. I’ll also yell across the house something like, “I need a boy’s name!!” and whatever my daughter or boyfriend yells back is what I’ll use.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I have a list of these things… usually, okay, ALWAYS taken from random people I’ve met in real life. I go through the list and update it and pick out quirts for new characters. Also, if it’s a story I’ve been daydreaming about for a while, the characters usually form themselves in my head and tell me their own quirks before I have time to ‘create’ one for them.
Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
Both… with Phantom Summer I just started writing and the story went where it went. I didn’t plan anything. But with something like Powered, I spent a few weeks outlining and plotting every last detail. That book was way more technical and it needed to be done right.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst book to movie transfer?
It’s a 50/50 chance really. My favorite book/movie conversion is a bit silly, but it’s the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. I’ve read that book a dozen times and seen the movie twice as much. If you haven’t seen it, it’s available on Netflix.
Did you have a favourite author as a child?
R. L. Stine! I was obsessed with the Fear Street books and collected as many as I could, often bought with my allowance money.
Do you have a treasured book from your childhood? If yes, what is it?
My Girl and My Girl 2… what’s funny is that the books were actually written after the movies came out. I read the books before I saw the movies though, and I totally fell in love. I still have them and they are the most beaten up and well-read books on my shelf.
What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
I know the main advice everyone says is “KEEP WRITING!” and I have to agree there. But I’ll add some more advice to that one – don’t compare yourself to anyone else. We’re all writers on a different journey and the worst thing you can do for your writing and your own self-esteem is to compare your journey with someone else’s.
Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
This actually is my pen name. I chose it when I first indie published Deadbeat and Phantom Summer. People ask me why and I don’t have much of an answer other than, “I wanted to.” You can find my other books, including Powered, under my real name Cheyanne Young.
Where can readers follow you?
I drive through the remnants of what used to be a gated entrance. Now the metal gate lies on the ground, weeds having grown over it. Mom's place is number 336-A. I park in the visitor section closest to Mom's address and step out of the Ford.
As I slam the truck door behind me, the smell of salt in the air fills my lungs. Waves crash on the shore, and seagulls…well I'm not sure what kind of sound they make overhead. A quack-ish type of caw. It's unlike any other bird's song I've ever heard.
The shabby buildings are long overdue for a new paint job and many of them have blue tarps nailed over sections of the roof. People usually do that when a hurricane comes through and blows off shingles, but it's a temporary solution. We haven't had a hurricane in over four years. Please, please let the inside look better than the outside.
I grab my backpack and suitcase and drag it up to Mom's door, tapping on it with my keys. The door swings open and a thin woman with white-blond hair stares back at me. She's wearing a purple bathrobe and has a cigar in her hand. Shit, I'm at the wrong address.
"Hey babe, I didn't expect you so soon." She puffs from her cigar and swings open the door.
"Mom?" I say, as she grabs me in a one armed hug. My mom has dark brown hair like me and a beer gut. At least, that's what she used to look like. She pulls my suitcase inside for me and closes the door behind us.
"Let me get a look at you." She grabs my shoulders with her bony fingers. "You're so different. All grown up."
"Yeah, you too," I say, studying this woman who does look a little like my mom. She has the same butterfly tattoo on her chest. Even still, I can't shake the feeling that I walked into the wrong apartment, that I'm standing here being embraced by a woman who isn't my mom.
Two seconds later the loving moment is gone. I watch Mom’s lipstick smudge onto her cigar as she takes one last puff and snuffs it in an ashtray on an end table. "I go to work at four, so you'll have the place to yourself all night,” she says, winking at me.
Mom shows me the kitchen, complete with microwave, and the bathroom and the living room with a two-seater couch which will now be my bed. "Maybe we can get you an air mattress or something," Mom says, kicking at the springy cushions with her slipper.
The old me would have freaked out if I had to spend a weekend here in Mom's living room. The old me liked having her own room, with her own bed and all of her stuff. And her best friend and lover living next door. But that's the old me. The new me doesn't mind all of these new changes.
I sit on the couch and place a smile on my face. Okay, well maybe now that I've pointed them out they kind of bother me. Sleeping on a couch? Oh well. Brendan doesn't get to sleep in his bed either. He gets to be dead in his coffin. And that thing didn't even have padding like this couch. I know because I left a copy of the Denali user's manual in his coffin when no one was looking. He wanted a Denali so bad, but as an eighteen year old he didn't have the money to spend on luxury motorcycles. I figured in the afterlife he could at least read about one.
But that was Old Taylor. And Old Taylor doesn't exist anymore. She has left the building and wants me to get acquainted with New Taylor. New Taylor lives in Sterling with her mom, and she's not afraid of anything and she has no regrets in life. New Taylor won't remember Brendan.
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