Archive for the ‘The Summer of No Regrets’ Category:

That Character You Love to Hate

Sometimes it’s the little things…

Writing antagonists can be almost too much fun. Of course, we don’t want to make the ALL bad. We need to show them as balanced human beings. But when you first introduce an unpleasant character, how do you show he’s unpleasant?

I thought we’d take a little stroll through The Summer of No Regrets, so you could meet a favorite nasty character of mine, Webster Lampson, the college advisor of Brigitta’s sister, Mallory.


A red Porsche was parked outside. Out of it climbed a tall, thin man with a brown beard. He wore a Greek fisherman’s cap and a tidy raincoat. Mom extended her hand. “I’m Clare,” she said. “I was expecting Alana. Are you here to see the dorms?”

The guy took her hand. “No, actually, I don’t know an Alana. I’m Webster Lampson. I’m here to collect Mallory.” He winced as a raindrop hit his face.

Mom’s smile wavered. “Ah!” she said. “Mallory is not here. She’s running some errands for me. Won’t you come in?”

Webster Lampson studied us, the driveway, the entrance of The Center. He was getting wet. “Yes,” he said, “I think I will.”

I’m not good at guessing ages, but this guy was old. Almost as old as my parents. He must have been like forty or something.

Dad was in his office tapping numbers into a ten-key when we came into the foyer. “Paul,” Mom stuck her head in. “We have a visitor.”

Dad came out wearing his wolf sweatshirt. His ponytail was held with this bone and feather thing that dangled from the nape of his neck. “Paul Schopenhauer,” he shook Webster Lampson’s hand.

“Schopenhauer,” Webster Lampson grinned. “Mallory tells me that great German mind was a relative of yours.”

“Distant cousin,” said Dad. “You aren’t here about the Indigo Children?”

Webster chuckled. “I should say not,” he said, “though I have heard of their movement. An article on pseudoscience in one of the journals.”

I disliked him more moment by moment.


  1. List the small actions that give you a feel for Webster’s character (e.g. wincing when a raindrop hits him.)
  2. How would you describe the way Webster speaks? List some of his distinctive word choices.
  3. List some descriptive details about Webster.  (clothing, belongings, physical characteristics)
  4. From what you’ve read above, how would you describe Webster to a friend?
  5. Now, choose two of your own characters. For each, list
    1. two small actions (e.g. nervous tapping)
    2. two descriptive details. (e.g. neon green sneakers, tattoo of a sailing ship.)
    3. two ways of speaking/word choices (e.g. polysyllabic words/ “multitude of reprehensible behaviors”)
  6. Write a short dialogue between your protagonist and another character, using these details to show the distinctive personality of each.
  7. Post it in the comments!
  8. Come join us at Bellevue College for Cultivating Complex Characters!

OMG! Girl Saves Baby Cougars with Hot Celebrity Lookalike While Trying to Understand the Nature of Death and Find Spiritual Truth

“I am going to say this from right here, right now! The Synopsis of The Summer of No Regrets is SO misleading. It leads a reader to believe that it is a frilly novel with no depth, it leads a reader to believe that it is your average run of the mill contemporary YA novel, with a typical romance and teenage angst. The story that Katherine Grace Bond gives us is none of that.”–Sara, Just Another Story book blog
 

I’ve been itching to talk about this since THE SUMMER OF NO REGRETS came out: Does the outside of the book match the inside?

Many readers are surprised by the story. Some love the surprise; others feel they got more than they bargained for.

Sara’s review went on to show a real understanding of the book, and it seems fair for me to take a stab at addressing her frequently-brought-up opening statement about the synopsis.

I gave my publisher a tough job. THE SUMMER OF NO REGRETS is really hard to describe in a few words.

  • Is it about a girl whose boyfriend may be a secret celebrity? Yes.
  • Is it about a girl who decides to take risks? Yes.
  • Is it about a girl who has lost the two people who knew her best–one to death and the other to abandonment? Yes, again.
  • Is it about a girl looking for spiritual truth? Yes, that, too.

Which of these will probably be of the most immediate interest to readers?

I’m all about meaning and have experienced grief, but I have to admit that what got me writing this book was the celebrity thing–once I got over my fear of being shallow. But because I’m all about meaning, I can never leave a story on the surface. I have to dig. I have to ask questions like: What is fame? What is it to be known? What are we all longing for?

I couldn’t write a book that simply went:

Girl: OMG, are you…?

Guy: I look intriguingly like him, don’t I?

Girl: But this is such a small town!

Guy: It is small. And you are here. And I am exceedingly hot. But mysterious.

Girl: You must be him! Then again, no! You can’t be! But maybe you are!

Guy: Keep guessing, babe. It’s sexy when you do that.

Girl: But wait! I don’t even like the guy you look like.

Guy: This presents a problem. But I am so sexy, you’ll get over it.

Girl: *Sigh* You’re right. My, what big muscles you have!

No, for me, the book had to have more to say…

Guy: Since we’re up in this treehouse in the dark, I may as well tell you I am looking for spiritual truth.

Girl: It’s dark. We’re alone. It’s after midnight.  And you’re talking about religion?!

Wait, that’s not how it went.

Girl: Spiritual things? You are so groovy!

Well, she wouldn’t have said “groovy.”

But as soon as one of the characters says “spiritual” some readers begin to break out in hives, worried they are about to be preached at–worried, in fact, that the book is a cleverly-disguised religious tract. I can say that writing a tract was not my intention, but ultimately only the reader can decide how they feel about spirituality in a YA novel. For some, even the mention of such a thing is a dealbreaker.

And this was just one tough thing my publisher faced when taking a chance on this book. And in figuring out what to put on the back cover.

Guy: Do you have issues with your father? Because I have HUGE issues with mine. And my mum, who I won’t talk to anybody about. I noticed your dad was dancing around in the woods dressed as a cougar. Is this because he misses his parents?

Girl: You are very insightful as well as hot. My dad talks trash about my grandparents–or at least he did until they died. Now he doesn’t talk about them.

Guy: This is deep and tragic.

Girl: You are so sexy.

Guy: People tell me that. I think it’s because I look so much like that guy. The hot one? In the movies?

Girl: Oh, yeah! I’d almost forgotten about him.

Guy: No, you hadn’t.

Girl: Okay, I lied.

Guy: I heard you’re writing a book about all this.

Girl: Yes, but I can’t explain what  it’s about.

Guy: Duh! It’s about me!

Girl: Nice try. It’s really about my personal search for meaning and my recovery from a deep loss.

Guy: Is that what you’re writing on the back cover?

Girl: Something like that. It has to have the word “religion” in it.

Guy: It does?

Girl: Why? Is that a bad idea?

Guy: I don’t know anything about publishing, but you might want to ask your editor.

Girl: “The unbelievably deep story of a girl who wants to find a religion because she needs to understand death after her grandparents die and her father may as well have.”

Guy: Okay, seriously, I do care about your pain. Honestly, I do. But my own incredible cover-worthiness aside, that’s just a tiny bit depressing.

Girl: You think you should be on the cover of the book?

Guy: Well, not all by myself…

Girl: You think we should both be on the cover.

Guy: Hugging.

Girl: Yeah?

Guy: Gazing into each other’s eyes.

Girl: Pink sunset?

Guy: Definitely.

Girl: Hmm.

Guy: About to kiss.

Girl: Yes! I mean…really?

Guy: If it’s okay with you.

Girl: It sounds…

Guy: Fun?

Girl: Um… yeah. Quite, very, extremely fun. *blushes*

Guy: I promise we could talk about religion first.

Girl: On the beach?

Guy: Over fish and chips. I’ll pay. And there’s this lighthouse I want to show you…

The Summer of No Regrets Book Trailer!!

Thanks to voiceover actress and model Michelle Weidner, actor Aaron Bond, photographer Andrew Bond, and Ryan Schmidt of Moon Rock Creative for scripting, directing and production magic!

Check Out “I Like These Books” on The Summer of No Regrets Blog Tour

Britta at I Like These Books is a teenage blogger and one of the contributors to Spoiler Alert (The Book Recap). When she’s not reading or blogging, she spends her time baking and babysitting. It’s true, she’s way too domestic for a teenager. (She says.)

Britta also writes an excellent blog with a gazillion followers. I got to answer a few Brigitta questions on her blog today. http://www.ilikethesebooks.com/2012/04/this-or-that-with-brigitta-from-summer.html

Thanks, Reading Angel

Angela, at Reading Angel has officially launched the SUMMER OF NO REGRETS blog tour. These book bloggers completely amaze me. They blog on their own time out of a love for books. Many also have their own novels in progress or out for query. I think they are the life blood of publishing. Go check out Reading Angel’s blog for some great reads. Here’s what she says about herself:

I’m Angela. 26-year-old stay at home mom. I’ve been married for 8 years to a wonderful man. Reading is my passion. I love sharing thoughts and book ideas with others. I love to talk about books and blogging with anyone, so never feel shy about emailing me or chatting me up on twitter!!!  I try to post reviews for everything I read here, and I love getting comments!!

My reading passion is YA books, but I read a lot of paranormal, urban fantasy, and humorous romance.

I spend more money on books than I do on food, my favorite color is clear, and I trip over my own feet.
I will wear a hoodie all year, even when it’s freezing, (summer it just goes on in the evenings).
It has to be at least 4 sizes to large because I want it to swallow me.
So, that’s where you’ll find me today, with a book, swallowed by a hoodie ;)