FAQs -- Sand Dollar Summer

Why did you put someone like Big Buns in the book?
First of all, I'm so glad so many of you commented on Big Buns and enjoyed the scene where Free nails her with a pbj! She's one of my favorites--so much fun to dislike her!

Who really knows why any one person is mean at any point in time, but nobody is mean unless they think they can get away with it, and BigBuns was counting on the fact that she, as an adult, held power over the kids. Unfortunately, we've all probably had experience with adults who don't treat kids as well as they should, and it was my small way of saying "take that!"

What inspired me to write Sand Dollar Summer?
In general, the ocean fascinates me. I can't get enough of salt air, walking on beaches, body surfing and watching the waves. Specifically, I was on vacation in Maine, exploring different side roads and saw this weird little shack on stilts (I made up the blue color). It was dusk and there was a single tiny light coming from the shack and I wondered who would live in such a place. That's how Ben came into existence, and I knew that if I was a kid having a hard time, someone like Ben would be a good friend to have. So even though the book is primarily about Lise, it all started with a real shack (which isn't there anymore--I wonder what happened?!).

What does sesquipedalian mean?
Literally, it means a foot and a half long, but the way it's used is "someone who uses long words." Well, what's it doing in a middle grade books? I like words. I like fun words. You never know when you'll need a word that means "a foot and a half long", and now you have one!

In Sand Dollar Summer, why did I give the mother and daughter the same name?
While it's very common for sons to be named after fathers, it isn't as common for daughters to be named after their mothers. And I wondered why not, so I did!

What was it with that bad word in Sand Dollar Summer?
People say those words, right? And often adults say them when they shouldn't, and sometimes they say them in front of kids. To me it was a way to communicate that a) Michael, who seems almost perfect, isn't and b) he was feeling really, really bad.

Are you going to write a sequel to Sand Dollar Summer?
Never say never, but I don't have any plans to at this time--I have other things I'm working on now. Also, I don't feel that writers are completely in charge of their stories--it's more like we are given an open window into other people's lives for a temporary period of time, and then the shutters close. Sometimes it seems like the story "chooses the writer" rather than the other way around.

Is Fiddle Beach a real place?
Only in my mind, and I hope, after you read the book, yours! It is however, based upon a favorite place that I go in Maine. Here is a map I made when I was writing Sand Dollar Summer to make sure I was consistent in my directions and description.

Who is on the cover of Sand Dollar Summer?
I don't have a clue.

What are sand dollars?
Click here to find out.

What does a Newfoundland dog look like?
Click here (and check out my very own Newfie under Fun Extras!)