The origins of this book go back to the summer of 2015 when I left the Isle of Man to embark on an adventure in the United States. I spent thirteen weeks living in an uninsulated cabin high up in the Catskils in New York state, working as an orchestral musician and bunk counsellor for girls aged 11-13. Afterwards, I travelled around the US until my visa expired, visiting cities either solo or with my new friends, sparking my love of new places and experiences.
The development of IMB took a number of years, simply because I have been working full time and there aren’t enough hours in the day! It has gone through a number of drafts (thanks to Olivia and Mel who gave me much-needed feedback on draft one) and a final edit to make it more YA-friendly. I recently decided to make it available as an eBook while I put my efforts into writing book two.
I’m so grateful for the wonderful young people who inspired my first novel. It’s not autobiographical – I’m really keen to stress that none of the characters or events are based on anyone in particular, just composites of things I’ve heard along the way. I hope that readers will get a glimpse into the secret worlds of summer camps that are sadly not in operation this year. And, if you’re missing camp, perhaps this book will transport you there another way.
Oh, and the title – it’s a quote from American writer Joan Didion’s ‘The Year of Magical Thinking’:
“We are not idealized wild things. We are imperfect mortal beings, aware of that mortality even as we push it away, failed by our very complication, so wired that when we mourn our losses we also mourn, for better or for worse, ourselves. As we were. As we are no longer. As we will one day not be at all.”