Chloe needs a place to crash for the summer before college. When Chris offers, she moves in with him. It’s just for two months, no biggie. But soon she realizes she may have made a mistake. He is too perfect; a former snowboarder, laid-back and kind to boot, and he’s smitten with her. But she’s got trust issues and a relationship feels daunting. When he keeps trying to win her over, the temptation becomes overwhelming.
Just as she gives in and decides it’s not worth fighting their emotions anymore, Chris reveals he’s made a stupid mistake which might ruin Chloe’s trust in him and tear them apart.
One of the most often asked questions a writer hears is about where they get their inspiration from. One of the most often answers is: everywhere. Just like every book is different, so the inspiration for each book comes from different places, people, or events. Everything can, indeed, be an inspiration if only you look at it consciously and deeply enough.
The inspiration for My Summer Roommate comes mostly from the main character. Chloe first appeared in Letting Go as Isabelle’s best friend. At the time, the story needed a character that was more insightful than Isabelle so as to help her see her situation more clearly. That was why I wrote Chloe the way I did. Once Letting Go was finished, Chloe kept popping up in my mind. Quite unintentionally, I’d made her a very compelling character. So I wanted to know more about her. I wanted her to tell her story.
Although Chloe and Isabelle are best friends and that friendship stems from a very similar single-parent family situation, they are also essentially different. Where Isabelle compensates for having so many responsibilities from an early age by becoming a control freak, Chloe is far more laid back and a carefree party girl. The long list of ex-boyfriends perhaps suggests it’s easy to gain her affections, but the bitter truth is, Chloe’s heart is locked away behind a reinforced steel door. She’s not melodramatic about it; instead she’s determined to enjoy life while she’s young and focus on love later.
When you’ve got a character that is as full of life as Chloe is, it’s difficult to create another character that would be wonderful enough to be able to rock her world. Because let’s face it – Chloe needed her world rocked. Usually, boys and men are the ones that play the role of no-strings-attached lovers in novels, eager to have fun and then move on. But I wanted to challenge that stereotype, so while Chloe is avoiding a serious relationship at all cost, Chris is the boy who has no problems admitting to how he feels. He’s this warm, fun, wholesome personality that gets under Chloe’s skin and she can’t shake him. The nicer he is to her, the more Chloe fights him, and the more apparent it is that she’s losing.
So, apart from that initial inspiration that I got from Chloe’s character and the stereotypical love stories, it was the characters that later decided on how the story would unfold. The dynamic between Chloe and Chris dictated the rhythm and the pace of the novel. A lot of the time while I was writing My Summer Roommate I felt like I were coordinating a tango dance between Chris and Chloe. It was a sort of a love dance, but instead of an elegant curtsy to finish it off, the dancers stumbled and got hurt. And by that point, the conflict was already fleshed out, the stakes were known, and all I had to do was wrap up the story.
Ha, I wish it were that easy. The truth is, I probably agonized over Chris’s mistake almost as much as he did. And I hurt right along with Chloe. But then Harper from Letting Go dished out some unasked-for love advice, and Sal urged Chris to do the right thing, and Isabelle nudged Chloe in just the right direction ... All’s well that ends well. Mostly, inspiration is what gives a story a good start, but it’s only persistence and work that can lead to a good ending.
About the author:
Bridie Hall sold her first story at fourteen. Since then, she has written dozens more, translated books, studied writing, and started writing novels. Her days revolve around stories and words, her sleepless nights involve plotting and inventing fascinating new characters. The only activity that takes up more of her time than writing, is reading.