Christine Hurley Deriso, a resident of North Augusta, South Carolina and a 1983 graduate of the University of Georgia College of Journalism, has written professionally for more than twenty-five years. Her work includes:
Her award-winning children’s book, Dreams to Grow On, was followed by tween novels Do-Over, The Right-Under Club and Talia Talk; the young-adult novel, Then I Met My Sister; and the self-help book, Green Tea and Beyond, co-written with Cell Biologist Stephen Hsu.
From author's website.
Coming April 8, 2011!
Sibling relationships are an important theme in YA novels. How do you go about building a believable relationship between two sisters when one of them has died?
Good question! I really struggled with that, particularly since the two sisters never even met each other. (Shannon died before Summer was born.) The way I handled it was, rather than write the book from beginning to end as I usually do, I wrote all of Shannon's diary entries before I wrote anything else. I wanted to have a good grasp of her character, uncomplicated by my understanding of Summer's character. I wanted Summer to have a very distinctive personality as well ... a personality influenced by her dead sister, of course (for instance, she was so intimidated by Shannon's seeming perfection that she became an underachiever) yet fiercely individual. The joy in writing the book was that the Summer really did come to know Shannon and felt strongly that Shannon knew her, too. Summer says toward the end of the book, "I don't think our connection has anything to do with time or space. It's deeper than that." I love how, in learning more about Shannon, Summer learned more about herself. I love that she came to draw on her sister's strength ... something that would have made Shannon so happy. I have two sisters of my own, and I know how solid that connection is. Summer's right: it transcends time and space. I hope I capture that in the book.
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Shannon has been the backdrop of my life since the moment I was born.
Summer Stetson lives inside a shrine to her dead sister. Eclipsed by Shannon's greatness, Summer feels like she's a constant disappointment to her controlling, Type A momzilla and her all-too-quiet dad. Her best friend Gibson believes Summer's C average has more to do with rebelliousness than smarts, but she knows she can never measure up;academically or otherwise.
On her birthday, Summer receives a secret gift from her aunt; Shannon's diary. Suddenly, the one-dimensional vision of her sister becomes all too solid. Is this love-struck, mom-bashing badass the same Shannon everyone raves about? Determined to understand her troubled sister, Summer dives headfirst down a dark rabbit hole and unearths painful family secrets. Each revelation brings Summer closer to the mysterious and liberating truth about her family,and herself.