Today we're excited to chat with Erin McCahan, author of The Lake Effect.
Read on for more about Erin, her book, and a giveaway!
Meet Erin McCahan!
Erin McCahan is a native Michigander who grew up on the beaches of Grand Haven and Macatawa. Now a resident of landlocked New Albany, Ohio, she and her husband return every summer to North Beach in South Haven, on the shores of Lake Michigan. Look for them under the red and white striped umbrella.
Meet The Lake Effect!
lake effect | n.
The effect of any lake, especially the Great Lakes, in modifying the weather in nearby areas
It’s the summer after his senior year, and driven, focused Briggs Henry is ready to leave behind his ex-girlfriend, his comically aggressive grandmother, and his parents’ money troubles for Lake Michigan and its miles of sandy beaches. He’s lined up a summer job working as a personal assistant and living in a gorgeous Victorian on the water—exactly the kind of house Briggs plans to buy his parents once he’s a multi-millionaire. But when he arrives, his boss, the eccentric Mrs. Bosic, tells him to get dressed for her funeral. Uh . . . It’s the first of many funerals they’ll attend this summer—to hilarious and eye-opening effect. Add to this a new set of friends-cum-enemies-cum-friends-again, and Abigail, the mysterious girl next door on whom Briggs’s charms repeatedly fail, and “the lake effect” is beginning to take on a whole new meaning.
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Lake Michigan. Seriously. Some people find inspiration in the mountains, in the Painted Desert, in the woods, or Walden Pond. I look at that lake and see the Creator behind Creation. It is a place of peace and prayer and hope and happiness and expansiveness and contemplation for me. All under 75 SPF, of course. And a hat. And I wanted to put some of that into a novel. Especially the SPF and hat parts.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Vesna. She’s 84, and English is her second language. She isn’t trying to impress anyone. She knows who she is and what she wants, but every now and then, she bungles a word or phrase. That made her a ball to write.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
Actually, the setting came first. I had known for a few years that I wanted to set a novel in South Haven, Michigan. And I wanted the setting to be crucial. Inseparable from the plot. Briggs’s growth could not happen anywhere but South Haven. The cultivation of that growth, however, took some time. So the order of this book’s development is this:
Third: characters (mainly Briggs and Vesna)
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
It’s not a scene, but I’m proudest of accurately capturing English as a second language in Vesna’s syntax. I was finally able to employ my avocational studies of English linguistics and 7 foreign languages. All languages have specific word order, and rhythm, and idioms, and vocabularies, of course. And even the most fluent non-native speakers make the occasional mistake in translation. Think about how we ask questions in English. We use what’s called the interrogative do. Do you sell umbrellas? Of the seven languages I’ve studied – Latin, Spanish, French, Hebrew, Greek, Japanese and German – only English uses this construction. Every other one of these languages asks Sell [you] umbrellas? Or You sell umbrellas? This is just one example of the many, wonderful differences between languages. And this probably makes me a giant word-nerd, but the point of language is to communicate, and I just love the many different ways we have of doing that along with the fabulous but earnest mistakes we make along the way.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2017-2018?
I cannot wait for Edith Pattou’s WEST, her sequel to EAST, coming out in 2018!
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
Grandma Ruth and Briggs’s exchange when she’s in the hospital the second time. It just made me miss my grandmothers more, and I already miss them every single day of my life.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
Briggs. I had intended to write this book in third person, and had, in fact, written a big chunk of it that way when my editor said she wanted it in first person. In Briggs’s voice. Here’s where I’m pausing, still, in retroactive panic. First person as an 18-year-old guy?! Are you serious, I wanted to scream at my editor but said, instead, No problem. Ha. Big problem. It took me almost a year to find his voice!
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
It’s funny you ask this question because my editor told me, the last time we talked on the phone, that the mic-drop chapter ending was my superpower. She actually used that word. I really wish it were invisibility, though. Or the ability to keep from laughing when someone near me farts.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
Yes. The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. My brother has Crohn’s Disease, and I hate it – really hate it – that there’s no cure . . . yet!
The Lake Effect
By: Erin McCahan
Publisher: Dial Books
Release Date: July 11th, 2017
One winner will recieve a copy of The Lake Effect (Erin McCahan) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*