Posted by: Ofer Aronskind | April 6, 2013

The origin of Summer Sleep Away

I remember sitting at lunch in some restaurant somewhere when my oldest boy informed me that he was ready for sleep-away camp. Of course, his two younger brothers immediately jumped on board the idea. My heart skipped a beat but I kept it cool. After all, the best memories of my childhood were from camp. Why shouldn’t my boys enjoy the same experience. I’d miss them but I’d be thrilled for them at the same time. A few months later off they went. They asked me to do one thing while they were gone—they wanted me to write down some of my stories from Summer Camp that I had been telling them for years. I promised I would but didn’t really give it much thought.

But when I finally sat down one morning with my laptop staring at the blank screen, I was amazed at how fast the words and the stories came to me. Within two months — the time my kids were away — I had written a first draft of Summer sleep-away. When my boys came home from camp I showed them my work. They liked it but also gave me some good criticism. After several rewrites the novel came to be what it is today. I am proud of that book and I think so are my kids. I’ve come into their classrooms over the years and read to their classmates. I’ve spoken with their friends who have read the book and enjoyed getting their thoughts on it.

With each successive summer that my kids have been going off to camp, I have written again and again. That Same Summer; Escape From Sunday School and the soon-to-be published Celebrities of Summer School are all fruits of summer vacation.

Ahh, there’s nothing like summer.

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