Hey, Everyone! You probably already know how much I love the book that we’re discussing on the blog today. Give a warm welcome to Brandy Bruce! Today she will be chatting about her latest novel, The Last Summer.
What was your inspiration for writing The Last Summer?
I wrote the first draft nearly twenty years ago during my freshman year of college! It was a season of life when friendships were paramount and romance was on my mind. ☺ Since then I’ve rewritten the book several times, making changes along the way. But the heart of the story never changed—seven friends navigating love and life during a season of change.
How much of yourself did you find yourself pouring into the book?
I connect to several of the characters, especially the main character, Sara. I have to say I’ve poured my heart into it—since I’ve reworked and reworked this story, never giving up on it, always coming back to it. This isn’t “my story,” by that I mean that none of the characters are based on me or my life, but there are a few things from certain characters that I drew from my life. Diet Dr. Pepper, for example! I love it!
Who was your favorite character to write about?
I liked writing the guys! There are several male characters and I wanted each guy to be swoon-worthy. I especially enjoyed writing Jason’s character.
Which character surprised you the most while you were writing?
Lily. Lily evolved over several drafts into this incredibly intuitive, loyal friend. She’s flawed but she’s got a lot of wisdom for being a young wife. I loved her straightforward personality and how comfortable she is with herself.
Any favorite scenes?
There’s one scene—I don’t want to give anything away—but it’s sort of a showdown between two of the friends (well, technically three). And it’s heartbreaking for me to see these characters hurting, but after all was said and done, it remains my favorite scene. I like the intensity. It’s one of those scenes where I want to hold my breath all the way through!
If The Last Summer were to be a movie, who would you pick to play the main cast?
Oooh! I love these kinds of questions. I actually had to think about this during the Facebook Launch Party. Let’s start with the guys!
Jason: Zayn Malik (I know he’s really a singer, but he’s got the look I was aiming for!)
Everett: Henry Cavill (I mean, Superman. Enough said.)
Luke: Chris Hemsworth. (Thor. Yes please.)
Sara: Jessica Biel
Lily: Michelle Williams
Addison: Drew Barrymore
Debra: Katie McGrath
What is the most important message that you hope readers take away from reading the book?
“God fixes broken things.” I think this is something the characters learn throughout the story, as well as the reality that none of us are perfect. And God’s grace can cover us right where we are. I wanted to create real characters that are, hopefully, relatable to readers. Not all friendships stand the test of time. And even people who care about each other, hurt each other sometimes.
One of the messages I found encouraging in the book was how you portrayed Sara’s journey in learning to trust God with everything, even the things that are messy and don’t look like they’re ever going to get better. What would you say to someone who is struggling to do just that?
In the book, Sara struggles to praise God when things aren’t quite working out. Gosh, that’s a struggle for all of us. Me especially. I think we can all have our moments when maybe we have more faith at times or less—life keeps rolling on regardless. And God is there with us—whether we have just enough faith to barely hold on or we feel like we’re on a mountaintop. So whether you feel strong, or whether you feel like your faith has taken a permanent vacation . . . you’re not alone. Keep hoping.
Before you go, are there any projects that you’re currently working on?
I’m working on a follow-up book to The Last Summer! The book stands on its own, but I’d like to delve a little deeper with a couple of the characters and see what happens!
Brandy, thanks so much for joining me on the blog today! I had a blast! 🙂
Thank YOU so much! I’m honored to be here with you and chat about The Last Summer!
Be sure to sign up for Brandy’s newsletter at her website. Subscribers will be receiving an exclusive excerpt from the sequel this winter!
About The Last Summer:
Check out my review
For twenty-something Sara Witherspoon and her group of friends, a perfect Southern summer includes lake-house getaways, wedding planning, outdoor concerts, and a dash of romance. But for these seven friends who love each other like family, this year, summer rolls in with changes for everyone.
Sara’s longtime crush, Luke, has been her best friend for as long as she has been a part of the group. When Luke begins seriously dating another of their friends, Sara’s forced to deal with her hurt and jealousy, while outwardly try to support them both.
While Sara comes to terms with her own heart and her friends’ relationships, an unexpected handsome pilot from North Carolina and an old flame are thrown into the mix. Knowing her heart suddenly becomes much more complicated.
But as time unfolds and friendships begin to unravel, Sara and the others are presented with the reality of what a season of change does to old friendships and new love interests.
Does growing older mean growing apart?
About Brandy Bruce:
Brandy Bruce is a mom, a wife, a book editor, an author, and someone who really loves dessert. She’s the author of the novels Looks Like Love, The Romano Family Collection, and The Last Summer. Having worked in the publishing industry for more than a decade, Brandy currently works as a freelance book editor, when she’s not writing novels! Brandy, her husband, and their children make their home in the beautiful state of Colorado. She’s very active online and she loves to hear from readers. Sign up for Brandy’s newsletter via her blog!