Many readers have commented on the settings in my books, often centered on the Oregon Coast or the Puget Sound area in western Washington. But why these beach settings? Why do they evoke strong memories that fuel my writing?
I grew up near Edmonds, north of Seattle. Many decades earlier, Edmonds began its existence as a logging town. Now this “friendliest town in Washington” boasts luxurious condos with sweeping views of the Sound, unique gift shops and boutiques, antique stores, and scrumptious bakeries–just to name a few. In summertime and early fall, colorful hanging flower baskets adorn the main streets, giving the town a festive, European ambience.
I remember as a small girl scouring the beach in Edmonds for shiny small rocks and shells, and the soft plopping sounds as I dropped each shell into my plastic bucket. Even broken shells would do! I remember the relatives who visited every summer without fail from the Midwest. They loved riding the ferry, even if it were only to the opposite shore and back. Often in the early evening, the women packed up a casserole, a simple salad, and beverages to tote to the beach where we’d spread out our feast onto wind-worn picnic tables. My dad would join us once he returned from work. There we’d eat, laugh, talk and gaze at the gentle waves lapping the shore. We could also see the lines of vehicles waiting to board the green and white ferries.
I also recall my early teen years when my girlfriends and I’d walk to the beach during summertime. We’d spread out blankets, slather on cocoa butter, bake under the sun, and look for cute guys. With a briny breeze against our faces, the warmth radiating up from the sand, and the occasional wail of a train that rode the rails paralleling the beach, we were happy Beach Bums for the day. Later during high school, our crowd I often drove to the beach on warm summer evenings. We built beach fires that scented the air with the salty smell of driftwood. We strolled barefoot, feeling the gritty sand between our toes. Later we huddled around the fire to toast marshmallows and solve the world’s problems–or so we thought.
So what about you? What type of environment awakens your senses and makes you feel alive and inspired? It might be a trail through a majestic Old Growth forest in the mountains, the high desert with its endless miles of tan sculpted hills, a ranching community nestled into a lush green valley, or a beach where, like me, you can commune with the seagulls.
When Logan Becker’s family embarks on a summer “house swapping” vacation in a beach town in Oregon, Logan is overjoyed. Similarly, Tricia Merrit, the daughter of the other family, is thrilled to be in the farm belt of Minnesota.
Logan falls in love with the beach boy surfer of her dreams, but soon she discovers he’s Tricia’s boyfriend. Logan’s dreams are shattered. Meanwhile, there’s another boy who is attracted to Logan—the totally uncool Grant Duncan who is busy trying to launch a campaign to clean the local beaches. Can Logan come to realize that true love often reveals itself in unexpected ways?
About the Author: Sydell Voeller grew up in Washington State, but has lived in Oregon for over thirty years. Throughout her twenty-plus-year writing career, her published novels for teens and adults have reflected her love for the Pacific Northwest’s ocean beaches, inlets and waterways, evergreen forests, and mountains. Sydell resides in Oregon with her husband. They married in 1972 and have two grown sons and five grandchildren.
Pet lovers, the Voellers have provided a home for several cats, a dog, gerbils, hamsters, and a turtle–especially when their sons were growing up. (A small rodent cemetery still occupies one corner of their backyard.) She and her husband enjoy camping, reading, playing Scrabble, day trips to the Oregon coast, and spending time with their two pampered feline.
When Sydell isn’t writing, she enjoys camping, walking, amateur astronomy, reading, and surfing the web. In 1987 after the publication of her first novel, she was named by the Washington County Mushaw Center, Woman of the Year in Communications.
Formerly a registered nurse, Sydell now teaches long distance learning writing courses, sponsored by the Long Ridge Writer’s Institute. Visit Sydell on her website to view her book lists, bio, and photos: www.sydellvoeller.com.
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