I've been hoping to spotlight several authors that will be debuting next year, and I'm super thankful to Gwen Cole, who so kindly agreed to do an interview! Gwen's debut novel, Cold Summer, is about a boy suffering PTSD after he's hurtled back and forth through time. It's set to be released in May of next year (according to Goodreads) and I already have a countdown running. Thanks again, Gwen, for doing this interview!
Sam: In your own words, how would you describe your novel?
Gwen: COLD SUMMER is about a time-traveling boy who splits his time between the present and WWII, trying to control his ability before he dies on the battlefield.
Sam: What inspired you to write this book, and about PTSD in general?
Gwen: This book actually started out as a summer book—no WWII or time-traveling. But after about five chapters and me becoming very bored with it, I decided to stop re-think it. At the time I was binging on Band of Brothers and one day my summer book became something much different. And I couldn’t write a war book without PTSD. So many people forget the side effects of war, even after the soldiers come home and try to have normal lives. One is never without the other.
Sam: Where do you get inspirations for your characters?
Gwen: Sometimes they form themselves and sometimes I’m watching a TV show and this random side character comes in and something about them grabs me. A quirk they have or how they hold themselves—then a character is born through that. But honestly, it usually takes me a whole rough draft to really figure each of my characters out, sometimes more depending on how difficult they are.
Sam: On your website you said you can play many instruments- which are your favorite (either to play or in general) and does music inspire your writing?
Gwen: I’ve been playing music almost my whole life. I started piano young and picked up bass guitar when I was 12, and then a little later on I taught myself guitar. Bass guitar will probably always be my favorite. I’ve been playing it so long I barely have to think about it anymore. But music and writing don’t go together for me. Sometimes I’ll play a Hans Zimmer song for a certain scene if I need it, but I tend to write and edit in silence or have the TV on in the background.
Sam: How did you find your publisher? Have you always known you wanted to be an author?
Gwen: Unlike most authors who start writing at a young age, I didn’t start writing until I was about 20. I did it for fun back then and didn’t pursue a writing career until a few years ago. But the first thing I did was find myself an agent. I knew that was the first step for me and I couldn’t have gotten where I am now without her. Their knowledge about the publishing world is invaluable.
Sam: What's the one greatest piece of writing advice you have for aspiring authors?
Gwen: Be yourself! It does no good to compare yourself to others because you’re not them. You are unique and your words are unique, so hold onto that and let yourself grow.
Sam: Time for two truths and a lie! The rules of the game: give three facts about yourself, two that are true and one that is a lie. Readers will guess which is which in the comments and I'll reveal the answer in a later post!
Gwen: 1. I broke my arm falling off a horse when I was a kid.
2. I still have one of those old flip phones.
3. I never went to high school.
Thanks so much for the interview, you've been an absolutely lovely guest! Go check out her website and follow her on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) because she is awesome!
Gwen Cole writes Young Adult books and her debut novel, COLD SUMMER, will be released in the spring of 2017 with Sky Pony Press, an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing.*picture and bio taken from Gwen Cole website
She grew up in upstate New York, moved to Virginia where she did not graduate college, and worked a various number of jobs including pharmacy technician, meat clerk, ranch hand, and a receiving specialist at Target. She may or may not have written a number of books while working at certain jobs.
At the age of eighteen, Gwen played bass in a hardcore band and later married the lead guitarist. She can also play piano, guitar, and wishes she could play the cello. Her favorite place to vacation is Wyoming, where she gets to wear a cowboy hat and pretend she actually is one.
Gwen now lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, daughter, and very large dog, where she longs to live in the country again.