A candid interview with romance novelist, Dan Petermeier
Why did you write a romance novel?
Initially, Summer Letters wasn't designed to be quite the romance novel it became. I'd say it was more of a drama with a romance side effect - if I were to describe it when I first started developing the story. However, as the story evolved, I realized it was much more of a romantic-drama. There's a blend of suspense, some humor, drama, a faith element and there's several romantic themes and passionate moments expressed in the book.
What significance does Summer Letters have in your life?
Pieces of Summer Letters have influenced my life for over 20 years. It's hard to say when it began. 19____ something. Today, of course, this novel represents one of my greatest achievements in my life. I am anxious for the day when Summer Letters is well known.
If you could ask an actor/actress to play a role in a Summer Letters (movie) who would it be?
Lucy Hale would fit perfectly for the character of Morgan.
If a movie was made, would you be okay to change the ending or pieces of the story?
Yes, I could modify the story to fit the time and theatrical constraints of a motion picture. It would be an interesting challenge, but I believe the story would still be told wonderfully.
What would you change about the whole process if you could go back a couple of years?
I might consult with a couple other people before the manuscript was with the publisher. Prior to acceptance, the story line and the manuscript were only shared with a couple of people.
How do you come up with some of the quotes from the book?
Some times I do not even know where they come from. I have been very blessed with a creative mind and I truly believe that I am inspired by God because they seemingly come from nowhere...how else do you explain it?
Will you write a sequel using any characters from Summer Letters?
Though several readers have asked this question, I do not plan a sequel or follow up to Summer Letters, but anything is possible in the future.
Who is or what is your favorite kind of character to write about?
I don't really have a favorite kind of character to portray. I like the challenges that writing about female characters present, however the male characters also are a unique set, because every person is different and yet as a writer, you are really only one person but still have to relate to multiple people and personalities all at the same time.
Do you fee it's important to live or have lived in the area you are writing about?
Yes, very much so. If I can't relate to some degree to the people, places and the environment, I will have a hard time convincing the audience of my knowledge of the situation, timing and the entirety of the book. Summer Letters was virtually like a dream to me, with a lot of real life elements (location, timing, etc) that it worked very well with the entire storyline.
Do you write daily?
Yes, almost daily in some capacity.
How long did it take you to write Summer Letters?
Summer Letters was started in the mid-2000s. Due to time constraints and development of the plot, most of the story started taking written form after 2009. By 2011, the manuscript was completed and later offered to various publishers. It took an estimated 2000-2500 hours to write Summer Letters including editorial changes, revisions, etc.
Your book has been compared to a Nicholas Sparks style romance, what do you think of that?
I'm honored to be mentioned with Nicholas Sparks. I very much enjoy his novels and believe that Summer Letters is a novel in the same style and genre. It's a descriptive love story that will bring tears and tug at the heart strings.