I love writing these Teaser Tuesday posts because I get to share stuff about my book without actually giving away the plot! Today, I’m going to talk about one of my favorite secondary characters: Gwen Conti.
Otherwise known as the girl who died.
As always, here are the inspiration pics for her:
I didn’t spoil anything. We know from the first line of the book that she's no longer alive.
Who is she?
Gwen is Charlie’s older sister. She and Charlie are extremely close, since their dad was in the Navy and they moved around a lot.
She’s also the girlfriend of Cam, Nate’s best friend and roommate. Like Nate and Charlie, she met Cam while working at camp that summer 3 years ago.
Gwen and Charlie attended Camp Pine Haven as kids. The summer before she went to law school, she wanted to work at camp and asked Charlie to come with her. Charlie, of course, thought she was crazy.
In the early drafts, Gwen was woven into the story much more than she is now. From YouTube videos, to notes left in every place Charlie and Nate visited (kind of like a scavenger hunt), her “voice” was present throughout the entire story.
Shortly after I wrote and began editing the earlier story, I read a book that had a similar plot line—where a family member died and left notes scattered around for the family member to find, guiding them on their journey.
And I hated it.
I hated how forced it felt, like the author was doing everything possible to make sure we knew this person was gone and how they still ruled the roost long after they were gone.
All I kept thinking was, “Come on family member. Shove that letter in the trash and get on with your life.”
And that’s when I knew I needed to do that with my story.
Let the characters live their life.
Gwen has a will and stipulates what needs to happen—set up a memorial scholarship at the summer camp in my name—but that’s not how I chose to make Gwen’s voice heard in the book.
She doesn’t utter one word of dialogue.
There are no flashbacks.
There are no letters. Or videos.
I wove her into Cam’s story.
I left traces of her around the summer camp, but in unique and organic ways that pop out when you’re least expecting it.
She’s in the sweatshirt Charlie wears—the once she stole from her sister before her death.
And of course, there is the act of spreading her ashes and the stories they share during that time.
I’ve thought about writing a prequel to this book—one that is centered on Gwen and Cam’s story. But romance relies on the happily ever after and we all know that Gwen dies and it felt like I’d be cheating readers if I did that.
For now, I’ll stick with knowing Gwen and Cam had a great relationship and she wants him—and everyone else—to keep her memory alive while they live their lives.
Next teaser Tuesday we get to see my BOOK COVER!!! AHHHH!!!!
But the week after that, I’ll talk about camp itself, and how no one outside of camp “gets it”.