I'm feeling honored to have Tricia Rayburn doing a guest post here as one of the events of the Beach Reads Summer Challenge—and especially because it's opening our second week of events. Her debut novel in the Young Adult genre, Siren, is coming out on July 13th. Today, she shares her story about summer and books with all of us.
My family and I moved around quite a bit when I was younger, and one of the houses we called home for a few years had a 4-H summer camp in the backyard. Okay, not literally IN the backyard—trees and a chain-link fence separated us from the cabins—but it was close. On those hot, humid days, I could step outside and hear kids talking and laughing. I could see flashes of green and white, the colors of the official camp T-shirt, as kids left and returned to their bunks. And while I was happy they were having fun, I couldn’t help feeling a little jealous. My parents both worked, and in July and August, it was up to my brother, sister, and I to entertain ourselves.
For me, that meant reading. A lot. Also watching The Price is Right, but that was only an hour long and left plenty of time to kill. I read everything I could get my hands on; some of my favorites were The Cat Ate My Gymsuit, Remember Me to Herald Square, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Wait Till Helen Comes, The Secret Garden, and the Sweet Valley Twins, Sweet Valley High, and Baby-Sitters Club series. When I was done with those, I read books my parents left out on the coffee table, like Stephen King stories and Thomas Jefferson biographies. When I was done with those, I went back to my bookcase and chose a favorite to re-read.
On and on it went—until a funny thing happened. Eventually, reading wasn’t just a way to kill time. It was a way to fill time. The hours I spent with books seemed fuller than the ones I didn’t. Even when the books were about boys and crushes, or ghosts and vampires, it didn’t matter. Time spent reading somehow seemed more important than time spent doing anything else. I still heard campers talking and laughing and saw flashes of green and white, but I was no longer jealous. Those kids had their summer vacations, and I had mine.
Years later, when I had a real, grown-up job, one that expected me to show up even when schools were out, I missed the seemingly endless hours to fill with reading. I never imagined that someday, my job would be to write stories. Now the middle of winter can feel like summer…and that, I think, is the effect books are meant to have.
Thank you so much for your support, Tricia! I'm really glad to have you here.
Find Tricia Rayburn online: Facebook | Twitter
Buy Siren: Amazon