Friday, March 14, 2014

The Summer I Found You by Jolene Perry

I've got a special guest today, author Jolene Perry. She's going to talk about her new book, The Summer I Found You

Kate's dream boyfriend has just broken up with her and she's still reeling from her diagnosis of type 1 diabetes.

Aidan planned on being a lifer in the army and went to Afghanistan straight out of high school. Now he's a disabled young veteran struggling to embrace his new life.

When Kate and Aidan find each other neither one wants to get attached. But could they be right for each other after all


Take it away, Jolene.

Writing from a personal place:

Aidan -
I started writing The Summer I Found You after reading a news article about these incredibly young war veterans coming home without arms or legs or who were otherwise scarred. My husband served in the Army, and I get teary every time I read a military story.
I wanted to write one.

But when you're writing one character with such a big backstory, I felt like it was going to be tricky to pair that with someone who would understand him.

Kate -
I'm named after a grandma (my middle name - Betty) who died before I was born. She had Type 1 Diabetes. I grew up with stories about her giving herself shots and being so careful about what she ate. For a long time I'd wanted to write about someone like this as a way to maybe feel a little closer to her, or to understand her in some way. I did a LOT of research on this and talked to every friend I knew who was diabetic to make sure I got it all right.

I almost didn't finish this book - 
I'd already hollowed myself out learning about how many adults and kids and teens have to be so careful about something I did everyday without thinking - eating. And then I was attempting to tackle writing a guy who'd lost not just his arm, but the career he'd geared himself up for all through high school.

It all changed - 
When I talked to a writer friend (Type 1 diabetic) who said she wished there had been books with people who faced the things she had in high school. And then it changed again when I read story after story on the Wounded Warriors homepage about how these men and women had come home with their prosthetics, not slowing down a bit, tears streaming down my face for most of it.

So yes.
This book comes from a very real, sometimes harsh place for me. But in the end, my hope is that what will make the difference between writing characters who are neat and writing ones that stick with you.

Hopefully I've done the latter ;-)

Thanks so much for letting me take over today!!


  1. I'm sure a lot of readers will relate to your characters because you added so many elements of reality to the story.

  2. A lot weaved in there indeed, watching what one has to eat sucks a ton.

  3. Love the cover. Unfortunately, diabetes is a topic that many can relate to. Good luck with this.

  4. I'm sure this story will connect with a lot of people. Best of luck with it. :)

  5. Sounds like and interesting and complex story. Something very different from what is popular today. Writing 'real' stories about 'real' people with physical was well as emotional flaws seems like a challenge, but also something that most people can relate to. Bravo!

  6. Very nice, Jolene. Best of luck to you!

  7. Thanks for sharing your writing process for this book Jolene. I liked the way you wrote about the characters and their creation. Awesome.


  8. Jolene is awesome! So excited for her book. It really sounds so fascinating (and very touching). I can't wait to read it.

  9. I read an ARC of this and enjoyed it. Yay for Jolene's release and tackling tough issues.


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