Interview with Judith Keim, Author of A Summer of Surprises

07 Jul 2020

What can you tell us about your new release, A Summer of Surprises?

A Summer of Surprises is a stand-alone novel that takes place at The Seashell Cottage. It is the third book released as part of the Seashell Collection. It is what is known as romantic women’s fiction in that romance is present but the story is really about the women’s growth. Readers are loving it 4.8 out of 5 star ratings on Amazon.

Here is the blurb:

Jill Conroy is tricked by her sister into becoming the housekeeper and cook for the summer at Seashell Cottage where Greg Campbell and his nephew, Brody, have been hired to do maintenance projects on the house. Annoyed at first, Jill soon realizes how wonderful it is to be away from her home in New York and the memories of her deceased, emotionally abusive husband.
Soon the magic of the beach heals Jill enough for her to decide to move to Florida permanently to make a new life for herself. Her part-time work at a summer camp and the promise of a new job as a third-grade teacher in the fall make it seem as if her future is set. But a visit from her sister, followed by her mother, reveals secrets that surprise them all. Jill learns to accept the idea of love not only from Brody but from his daughter, Kacy, as the summer brings even more surprises.

While it is a sweet story, it deals with emotional abuse for not only Jill, but for Brody’s daughter Kacy. Readers have reported back to me that they really connected with the aspect of the story.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I grew up in a household where books were read. My mother read at least 2 books a week. As a child, I played librarian with my sister and later, I loved to write stories of my own.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

Not in any particular order and only for the impact they had on me as I was growing up: Barbara Taylor Bradford’s Women of Substance, Alan Paton’s Cry, The Beloved Country, James Clavell’s Shogun, James Michener’s Hawaii, and as a young teen I read Mary Stewart and Phyllis Whitney books.

I see a theme here and realize these are books I read sitting on the porch in my small town, learning about different parts of the world when the level of communication was extremely low compared to the ease of communicating today.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

I love being able to take an idea and turn it into a story, even though I don’t outline and don’t always know how things are going to turn out. I love when I know what the next scene is going to be because I’m in my character’s head and I’m letting the story play out.

What is a typical day like for you?

The first thing in the morning, I check all my numbers, answer emails, catch up on reader news, do marketing tasks. That usually takes a couple of hours. My writing work begins after that. I work every day and stop at 5 or 6, unless a promo party or some other reader group activity is taking place in the evening. During the pandemic, I’ve been trying to take a two-hour break in the afternoon to watch a movie or read a book, just to relax.

What scene from A Summer of Surprises was your favorite to write?

I loved writing the scene where Jill finds Kacy. It was a sweet, tender scene between the two of them, showing how close they’d become and how much they’d grown.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

• I always try to treat other people as I would want to be treated. Kindness is so important on many different levels.

Judith Keim is the author of the new book A Summer of Surprises.

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