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Christopher M. Lawson

Jacquelyn Mitchard

An interview I conducted with #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Deep End of the Ocean, Jacquelyn Mitchard, regarding her latest bestseller, Still Summer.

Still Summer
Jacquelyn Mitchard

1.Can you give us a basic summary of Still Summer?


STILL SUMMER is the story of four longtime friends who plan a luxurious sailing trip in the Caribbean – in part to welcome home Olivia, the leader of their high-school clique – who has lived in Italy for twenty years. But the trip turns into a fight for survival when the friends, which include Tracey’s 19-year-old daughter, are separated from the crew and left alone to survive on a disabled boat in the vast and featureless sea.

2. What kind of research did you do in order to write it?

I went to St. Thomas and sailed on ‘The Opus,’ which  is a real boat, and interviewed Lenny Amato, its real captain (who was very moved by his own demise). But that was just the beginning. I then had to go over and over the manuscript to make sure that I got everything right. In fact, the incidents that happened on ‘The Opus’ were LESS harrowing than the stories I heard. I had a credibility budget and to have told what really would have befallen the lost would have strained the imagination.


3. How long did it take you to write it?


STILL SUMMER took about ten months to write.


4. Are there any books or authors that have inspired you?


Oh my goodness! As a writer of suspense, Ruth Rendall, Dennis LeHane, Jodi Picoult, Scott Turow, Samuel Daishiell Hammett, Denise Mina and my great friend, Thomas H. Cook….I’m not saying I write books LIKE theirs, but that I wish I did…In general? I’m  inspired to complete and utter jealousy by everyone I know and don’t know. I love so much writing out there now and back when, from the Brontes to Suzanne Berne, from Alice Monroe to Ann Patchett. Most of all, I’m inspired by the maestra, Lorrie Moore, of Madison, Wisconsin, whom I’m privilege to call my friend. I think she’s the greatest in our generation as a pure writer.


5. Do you keep a strict writing schedule?


Yup. Every day but Christmas and Mother’s Day.


6. What are some of your favorite books?


Oh… dear me. My favorite book is ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn’ by Betty Smith. It’s simply everything a book should be. I learned most as a writer from ‘In Cold Blood.’ I felt deeply touched in my soul by ‘The Once and Future King,’ by Michael Shaara’s ‘The Killer Angels.’ Those who are called great sometimes inspire me and sometimes inspire me NOT to be like them. I love Michael Cunningham’s writing. I can’t bear Jonathan Franzen’s. Perhaps I’m not very bright…


7. What would you like your readers to know about you?


I’m nuts enough to have seven children, two dogs (one a Saint Bernard puppy) and write at least one book a year.


8. What are you working on now?


I’m writing a couple of things… one is a continuation of my first novel, ‘The Deep End of the Ocean.’


9. Any tips for aspiring writers?


Don’t talk so much about it. Do it.


Special thanks to Jackie Mitchard. For more information, please see Jackie's website at

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"A writer's job is to always entertain in the best sense of the word."
Sue Grafton
The Armchair Detective
(C) 2007-2008 - Christopher M. Lawson