Elaine D. Walsh's novel "Atomic Summer" takes readers back to the early 1950's, during the height of the Cold War. We see this complex time through the eyes of three very different teenaged girls. The three friends talk about what they would do if they knew the world was about to come to an end. They get the idea to pull a practical joke. But what starts out as an innocent prank has serious results.

Let's find out what Elaine D. Walsh has to say about "Atomic Summer"

Q: Would you describe “Atomic Summer” as a coming of age book? If so, what do you think sets it apart from other books in the genre?

A: It is a coming of age story. There are three teenage girls and two teenage boys and the events of the summer of 1953 that change the course of their lives. This includes friendships, betrayal, love, sexuality, loss of innocence and a myriad of emotions adolescents contend with as they balance their present day with their hopes and dreams for the future. Although it is set in 1953, there is a lot relevance to our lives today, from the struggles adolescents face, to the role parents play in our lives, and the wounded warriors returning from a war overseas who carry emotional wounds no one can see but cause great pain and suffering. It makes an impact on the reader. When the last page is read, the story and characters stay with the reader.

Q: When you’re writing a story do you feel like you’re in charge or like the characters are taking you on a journey?

A: My characters are the bosses! They steer the story and take me on a journey with them when I write. I know what the destination is but the characters choose the path. They take me down roads that I don't see when I first start writing. Situations unfold because my characters present them to me based on who they are and what motivates them. I enjoy getting to know my characters and developing their relationships and traveling with them.

Q: The character Octavia in “Atomic Summer” spends a lot of her time taking care of her disabled brother. Do you think this robs her of part of her own childhood?

A: It certainly does. She took on adult responsibilities far beyond what she should have. Her parents didn’t shield her or protect her from it but demanded it from her, and I think any time a child does that, their childhood is compromised.

Q: Which of the characters from “Atomic Summer” do you think the majority of readers will relate to most?

A: Readers tell me that they recognize the characters as people they know or have known in their lives. I love that reaction to the story because it makes the story more authentic. They journey through the story with the exasperating self-centered friend, the faithful one, the ugly duckling, the out of reach love interest, and the class clown, all the while surrounded by a memorable supporting cast which are the people of their small town. I think most readers find themselves relating to Faith and Octavia though. Faith mirrors her name. She’s faithful and forgiving. She’s the friend that always sees the best in others, sometimes to her detriment. She is convicted in her belief that a pure soul is her passport to heaven. Octavia moves people. Octavia is stoically agnostic. She can’t reconcile a good and great God amid the pain and injustice she sees in the world and experiences in her own life caring for her disabled brother. Then there is Bernadette, conceited, obnoxious and manipulative. Readers don’t relate to her as much as she creates an emotional reaction in them where they want to reach into the pages and slap her.

Q: What do you hope readers will take away from “Atomic Summer”?

A: First and foremost I want them to entertained. I want them to feel that the time they invested wasn’t just about words but taking a journey with character they found interesting and worth getting to know. Time is precious and if readers can sit back and feel satisfied that the time spent on my book was worthwhile, than I’ve done my job as a writer.

Q: What are your future writing plans?

A: I expect to publish my next book, Restoration, in the summer of 2013. This story came about after hearing a story about a woman who left her husband and three children to marry a man on death row. All I could think about was her daughters. It is so unnatural for a mother to abandon her children. I wondered what it must be like for them and what their lives would be like as they grew into adults. Restoration is a fictional account told from the point of view of a woman whose mother did this to her family. There is a lot more work that goes into the publication of book for an Indie author than just the writing and editing. The promotional and marketing plan has to be developed, the book sent to reviewers at least six months in advance, all of the things a traditional publishing house does for a writer. One has to be both writer and marketer. Interviews like this are a great opportunity for Indie Authors such as myself to get in front of the public, so I really appreciate the time you took to learn more about me and about my novel Atomic Summer.
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Published on October 16, 2012 10:37 • 166 views • Tags: 1950-s, atomic-bomb, cold-war, coming-of-age
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message 1: by Elaine (new)

Elaine Walsh Jennifer, I just wanted to thank you again for the interview and the opportunity to share my work with your fans. It is truly appreciated!

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Jennifer K. Lafferty
Jennifer K. Lafferty, author of "Offbeat Love Stories and More", interviews goodreads authors about their books and the writing process.

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