Beth Merlin talks about her new novel, being a writer, and researching royal weddings.
1. Can you tell us more about your debut novel, S’More to Lose?
S’more to Lose is actually the second book in my Campfire Series. It is set four years after the ending of Book 1, One S’more Summer. The reader quickly finds out that Georgica and Jamie did follow their dream of starting their own fashion line, G. Malone, which has been taking the world by storm. When G. Malone is chosen to design the royal wedding dress for a member of British aristocracy, Gigi is forced to confront her ex-fiancé, Perry Gillman, now a successful composer with a hit show on the West End. As the world gears up for the wedding of the century, Gigi is on the brink of buckling under the immense pressure of the uncertainties of her future and failures of her past.
2. Where did you get the inspiration for the novel?
The Campfire Series came about after I jokingly told my husband I’d love to blow off the responsibilities of adult life and go back to my summer sleepaway camp to work as a counselor. While that wasn’t a realistic option for me, it became the idea that led to Book 1 of the Campfire Series, One S’more Summer. One S’more Summer’s ending is a bit open ended, and in the weeks that followed its completion, I found myself going back to those characters, wanting to know what happened to them. I started writing S’more to Lose, not knowing I was writing a series, but as soon as I started, the ideas came pouring out. S’more to Lose has a little bit of everything that interests me – love, fashion, musical theater, and British history.
3. Do you have a favourite part or scene from S’ More to Lose? Could you tell us why you love it?
I love all of the scenes that take place during the royal wedding. I had to do a ton of research to understand all the intricacies of the ceremony, reception, and all the British traditions. It was a lot of a fun to dig into those details and get to put my own spin on the event. I hope I successfully gave the readers a front row seat to what it would be like to be at a wedding of that grandeur and magnitude. As a writer, you have an “unlimited budget” so it was fun to be able to make the event as opulent and over the top as I wanted.
4. Can you describe S’ More to Lose in 3 adjectives?
Fun, whimsical, and witty.
5. Do you see yourself in any of the characters in your novel?
There are definitely similarities between Gigi and me. She can’t drive – neither can I. She’s a bit self-deprecating – I am too. She tends to find herself in more precarious situations than I do though and I’ve been happily married for 12 years, while she’s still figuring out her love life!
6. What does your average writing day look like?
I don’t have an average writing day. Between being a full-time mom and having a full-time job, I write whenever I can find a window of time. I tend to be able to get in a few hours early in the morning or late at night, but really, I try to squeeze a few pages in any chance I get!
7. Who are some of your own favourite authors at the moment?
Liane Moriarty, Celeste Ng. Ken Follet (always)
8. When did you decide to write and what prompted you to start?
I know it’s a cliche for a writer to say this but I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. I’ve kept a journal since I read The Diary of Anne Frank in third grade and when I was in middle school, I used to write short plays for my friends to perform. When I got older, I took as many Creative Writing classes as my schedule would allow and then began writing more seriously about ten years ago.
9. What are you working on next?
I am in the middle of Book 3 of the Campfire Series, Love you S’more, coming out Summer of 2018.
Four years after her life-changing summer, Gigi Goldstein thinks saying goodbye to Camp Chinooka means saying hello to a brand new life. Now faced with a second chance at her career, she is filled with more hope than she’s felt in a long time. Her design house is taking the fashion world by storm, even attracting notice of Victoria Ellicott, the fashionable British socialite who just happens to be engaged to the future king of England.
When Gigi is chosen to design the royal wedding dress in London, she is forced to confront her ex-fiance, Perry Gillman, now a successful composer with a hit show on the West End. But when Gigi learns Perry’s been dating Victoria’s sister, who rivals her in looks, style and sophistication, Gigi can’t help but feel inadequate in everything. Her world begins to crumble as she develops a creative block so debilitating, she fears that a wedding dress of royal proportions is never going to happen. Even a budding relationship with the handsome, wealthy, and rich Viscount of Satterley can’t make her forget about Perry and her inability to get over him.
As the world gears up for the wedding of the century, Gigi is on the brink of buckling under the immense pressure of the uncertainties of her future and failures of her past. Will she be able overcome her creative paralysis to design the dress of Victoria’s dreams, or will she break down now that she has even s’more to lose?
Beth Merlin has a BA from The George Washington University where she minored in Creative Writing and a JD from New York Law School. She’s a native New Yorker who loves anything Broadway, rom-coms, her daughter Hadley, and a good maxi dress. She was introduced to her husband through a friend she met at sleepaway camp and considers the eight summers she spent there to be some of the most formative of her life.