Think about the one place that truly feeds your soul. The place that upon arrival, there’s a quiet little click inside of you and you finally feel whole again. That place for Lyla Savoie Kenney is Begoa’s Point.
Begoa’s Point feels real, in all the right ways. Tavares’ use of description brings the camping ground to life: you can smell the camp food, hear the gentle lapping of the lake along the beach, feel the crunch of dirt and pine needles underfoot, savor the taste of freshly made coffee over a campfire. I honestly wished I could look this place up on Google and book a trip for the summer with my family, because it sounds like exactly the place that we’d love to be.
A sound quality in a five star read, for me, is the ability to make an impression, and leave me thinking about it after I’m done. A book hangover, if you will. I didn’t grow up camping. Camping was something that I discovered as a late teen, when I used to camp on the river with friends that eventually turned into what we affectionately referred to as our “river family.” Much like Weston and Lyla, there were people we hugged and celebrated every summer, watched kids grow up, families expand, and grew up ourselves. We made memories every summer, and always looked forward to the next one when we’d see each other again.
Lyla and Weston’s story isn’t unique because it’s a summer romance, or even a second chance romance. It’s unique in how we learn about these characters through past and present storylines, in the family dynamics and the things from our younger lives we carry with us into adulthood. It’s unique in how this story is just as much about a place and the effects that it has on the characters, as the choices and circumstances the characters make themselves.
This book is everything that makes summer magical: long days that stretch into warm nights, memories made around the water, fireflies and camping trips, wrapped up in the memories of first love, and how grief changes who we are.
A Moms Who Write interview with the author:
What was the inspiration for Each and Every Summer?
The plot is 100% fiction with 100% made up characters, but the setting holds a special place in my heart. I grew up camping with my family and close family friends, and I wanted to write about a combination of our vacations.
There’s also a movie out there I loved, and the single dad’s daughter had a huge hand in the reason that two main characters got together, and I always loved that concept and wanted to include something like that as well. So, I combined my favorite settings with some characters that felt real, and voila!
Tell us about your writing space!
My writing space is literally anywhere. I have 9 completed full length novels and every one of them has been written in notes and Google docs on my phone. I wrote one of my favorite scenes of all time in an aisle at Home Depot. I wrote a whole chapter at Disney in line for Pirates of the Caribbean.
Did you publish traditionally, or did you self-publish? What made you choose that route?
Truthfully, it’s the one I did more research on. I am not a confident person. I really required a lot of guidance and knew an agent would be the only way I ever actually committed to letting my work be published. I required a lot of hand holding that self-publishing didn’t give me.
The people that self-publish should be proud of what they can do on their own terms, because I never would have gone through with it just by holding myself accountable. Both have a lot of benefits – I needed an extra push that having an agent gave me.
The first contract I declined? Part of me didn’t like the contract – but way more of me was just scared. I panicked. I declined something so many people are fighting for because of my own self-doubt. My agent really helped me navigate that confidence and a year later, a better opportunity came around and I was finally ready to let my book fly.
How long did it take you from starting point to publication?
I’ve always loved to write. As a kid and teen, I’d pen short stories but never finished a thing. I started writing more seriously, but still with no intention of it ever going anywhere in 2012.
In 2015, I had a little “life is short” moment and decided I had to try to pursue publishing. I finished my first query-able novel in 2017, and got my agent in 2019. I was offered my first contract in 2019, and declined it as I didn’t feel the company was the right fit. After months of back and forth, I moved on to a new project.
For Each and Every Summer, I wrote it cover to cover in 45 days in 2019. I signed it in 2020, it published in 2021. The original book I wrote and queried took several years of work and reworking, multiple submissions, dozens of rejections, and was also published in 2021.
Are you a pantser/plotter? Tell us a little about your process.
I find myself to be a bit of both a plotter and a pantser. I started off very sporadic. One of the last big scenes of One Motion More is the first one I ever wrote. Then I thought, how did I get my characters here? And jumped around until I could piece it all together and it sounded like a story.
Each and Every Summer I wrote beginning to end, in order, with no stops, but I didn’t plan any of it. I just hoped for the best. The sequels for both series, however, feel a little bit more planned. Also my publisher was looking for a synopsis/glimpses up front, so I had to have a bit of a break down for the whole series.
What would your advice be for a mom that wants to write a book? How did you balance motherhood and writing?
I know we don’t have the time – make the time. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Tell your significant other or parent or friend or whoever is your support that you need three hours one night a week to focus on you.
Leave. Leave the kids, pets, work, spouse, drama, phones, friends, games, distractions. LEAVE.
For a few hours, once a week, go to a coffee shop or quiet space or a park or sit in your car, but you have to remove yourself and be okay with working on your craft. The book is not the hardest part. The hardest part is not feeling guilty.
Yes. You could be cooking or exercising or working or doing something with your family, but not at the risk of giving up the remaining pieces of yourself.
It’s important to you. Let it be important to you.
We give so much of ourselves up every single day and we deserve to put aside a time to recharge and work on the craft that not only makes us truly ourselves, but also makes up happy.
Give up the guilt and allow yourself to be yourself.
About the author: Monique and her husband of 15 years live in Texas with their 4 kids and their crazy cat. When she’s not writing small town romance or homeschooling, she’s immersed in Marvel or Harry Potter with her kids.