For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer. As soon as I learned to write, around age 5 or 6, I was off and running, scribbling epic stories about girls, friendships, crushes, school, you name it, in my journals and notebooks. Writing was my favorite pastime, my escape, and it also gave me a sense of confidence and excitement. It was like daydreaming in pen. I wrote all through my childhood and teen years, and in college I took lots of creative writing classes, which were helpful since I had never thought about the word “craft” before. It was also in college, though, that I realized I had another life goal: I wanted to be a book editor.
Books mean everything to me— as much as I wrote growing up, I probably read twice as much. Reading and writing go hand-in-hand; I firmly believe that anyone who wants to write needs to read first. So I loved the idea of being involved in the creation of books from every side. I was very fortunate to land a job as an editorial assistant in publishing, where I still work today, 15 years later, as an executive editor! It was also thanks to my job in publishing that I was able to get my start as an author; an editor I knew approached me to write a book for her, and that became my first published novel, South Beach.
It’s wonderful being both an editor and author, but it can also be totally exhausting and challenging. I joke that there are “Two Aimees”: editor by day, author by night (well, usually by weekend)! Editing and writing are equally personal, creative, intense endeavors; both demand a high level of commitment and focus, so I usually need a big buffer or space between the two (that’s why it’s difficult for me to work on my own writing on weeknights after getting home from the office). But I also think being an author has made me a more sensitive editor; whenever my authors are suffering from writer’s block, I can tell them, truthfully, “I have been there. I know what you’re going through. And I promise you’ll push past it.” The problem is: when I’m in writer mode, I don’t always listen to my own advice!
Writing Two Summers was especially challenging, because it was an ambitious project to take on: essentially two full books in one! It was difficult to carve out big blocks of time to tackle it, and it ended up taking me much longer to write than any other book: over three years! But I kept at it, because it was a labor of love. The idea for Two Summers had been germinating since I was 19, when I spent a magical summer studying in the South of France. I knew I wanted to write about that beautiful, artistic region one day. But I also wanted to write a juicy summer story with a big twist; something unexpected. I’ve long been fascinated by parallel lives and the notion that one choice can have many ripple effects—maybe especially so because I live two lives, as both editor and author. (I also love the movie Sliding Doors!)
So in Two Summers, I set out to explore the idea that a girl could live out two possible summers at the same time: one in the South of France and one in her hometown in America. In
both summers, she falls in love, has new adventures, and discovers some shocking secrets. And what happens in the end may surprise you…
I hope readers find something to love in Two Summers, and come away thinking about choice and possibility and destiny (oh, and ice cream)….and maybe, just maybe, the way their own lives could go in many different directions.