Fire Island

03/15/2009 at 7:24 pm (The Last Summer of Me and You)

Fire Island is a barrier island–a skinny stretch of sand between the Great South Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. It’s just sitting out there in the water, 32 miles long and 1/4 of a mile wide at its widest. Because it’s essentially a sandbar, it’s vulnerable.

In the famous and terrible hurricane of 1938, the eye passed right over Saltaire, the town where we live. According to town lore, the ocean met the bay that day, and the entire island lay under water. Three-quarters of the houses were destroyed and even those that weren’t were washed off their pilings and floated around like boats until the water finally receded.

There used to be a promenade–a wide boardwalk–along the ocean and there were houses on both sides of it. Ocean Prom, as they called it, was long ago destroyed and so were all the houses on either side. It’s a bit haunting to me, the ghosts of those old houses and walks, now deep under the sea. They say when a big storm is coming, the ocean pulls far back and you can see the stone hearths from those houses long since washed away.

You feel like you’re in the hand of nature there, subject to her moods. In New York City, were we live for most of the year, nature seems more like our guest. In a place like Fire Island, we are hers. It’s a dumb place to build a house when you think of it, but also thrilling and beautiful. As with many things, the curse and the blessing of it are pretty much the same.

The fragility makes it a good setting for a novel, I think. The sea-light brings on nostalgia much quicker. It conjures a state almost like deja-vu, when you feel like you are living an experience and remembering it at the same time. As a writer, I love that spot where land and sea and sky meet. I love that blurry place where life’s transitions are made without you even knowing it.

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13 Comments

  1. Marion said,

    It sounds perfect for a novel. Aww, now you’ve intrigued me!
    By the way, thank you for following me in twitter! It made me feel special.
    And I cannot wait for the next Sisterhood novel. I didn’t enjoy Forever in Blue that much due to being so unhappy it was the last book of the series. I’m kinda like Tibby, you know. I don’t embrace change and loss that easily. The end of the Sisterhood series, felt like a loss to me. It’s just that it was a world I was happy to be in (mentally) and I always wished i could be there in reality, so I was so sad it ended. Now, a new book? That’s great news!
    lots of love,
    Marion

    • Ann Brashares said,

      Marion,

      You are so welcome about Twitter. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy Forever in Blue. Sometimes I feel the same when a story comes to an end. But there are always new beginnings and new books, hope this helps cheer you up. There will be new characters and stories to love and as well as mental journeys to take!

      My warmest and best,
      Ann

  2. Amy Trinh said,

    Hi Ann!

    First off, thank you for writing the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants series, I remember starting to read them at the beginning of high school, and finishing them two years later. I even remember asking my library to buy Forever in Blue, just so I could read it.

    Second, thank you for following me on Twitter! I had a squealing fan girl moment when I saw, because I never thought that a super popular published author would follow me.

    And lastly, I really loved The Last Summer (of You and Me). It was beautiful. Sad, but the way that you described everyone’s emotions, it really moved me. I love books that evoke emotion.

    Anyway, I wanted to stop by, and leave a comment (this is my first time being here) and I hope you are doing well! All the best with your writing!

    -Amy Trinh

    • Ann Brashares said,

      Amy,

      Thank you for your kind and sweet words. I’m so glad you enjoyed the books! I understand the “squealing fan girl” moment as I get them, too. I’ll see you in future books, soon I hope.

      My warmest and best,
      Ann

  3. pavani said,

    hey ann

    i’ve also just read ur series and i find them amazing really
    i love the way you can descibe scenes …
    the most intresting chaacters i find are lena and kostos πŸ™‚ and i find it soo sad that they didn’t end up together 😦 but again ur ending was fantastic …
    i am sooo waiting for the next book as all girls do πŸ™‚
    i hope u wil think about making a new book …
    and please do not stop writing.
    love
    pavani

    • Ann Brashares said,

      Pavani,

      Thank you for your kind words. It touches me that you enjoy the books and they’ve made you happy. You’ll not have to wait much longer to see what happens as Sisterhood Everlasting will be out in June. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.

      My warmest and best,
      Ann

  4. Isabella said,

    Hello Ann

    I just finished reading The last summer (of you and me) and I absolutly loved it. I have read some of your other books as well and I never feel disappointed.
    I’m from Sweden but still I could feel and see the beach, the ocean and the island. I’m a ocean lover myself (living in the west coast, how can i not?) and the way Riley feel about the ocean, I can really relate to.

    Well, I guess what I wanted to say is that I really enjoy reading your books. The last summer is my new favourite. I love the way the book made me feel which is sad, happy and comfortable at the same time. Does is sound wierd?
    I also really like the way you write. I find it simple and complex at the same time. And that’s a good thing.

    Keep up the good work. I wish you all the best in life and writing.

    Ps: Also really liked My name is memory and I’m looking forward for the sequel. No pressure πŸ™‚

    • Ann Brashares said,

      Isabella,

      Thank you for your sweet words. I’m so glad you enjoy the books and they bring up different feelings. It’s a lot like life. Sweet, complex, and simple all at once. As for a sequel to My Name Is Memory, please keep your fingers crossed. Sisterhood Everlasting will be out in June. Happy reading!

      My warmest and best,
      Ann

  5. Crissy said,

    Well, I am simply overjoyed to find this site. I decided to look you up to see if you have written anything else and I have two new novels to delight myself in! I just finished the Sisterhood Series on audio books as I have a long drive to school and watched both movies and now there is a follow-up book! I picked a good time to read them, I didn’t have to wait. I’m definitely passed the teenage era but I loved the books just the same and it reminds me of my sisterhood friends with whom I am still close.

    The Last Summer of You (and Me) is one of my favorite books. I always take it to the beach with me and I’ve made all my friends read it and of course they fell in love with it as well. I always find it amazing when I find an author who can so distinctly capture human emotions-how I feel. Thank you for writing and sharing your gift!

    Also, I so enjoy all the quotes that you use in your books!!
    And I looked up Fire Island online after I was so taken by it and was happy to know that it exists and now I see you live there!

    I look forward to reading your newest novels this summer while I am on break!
    Thanks!
    Crissy

    • Ann Brashares said,

      Chrissy,

      Thank you for your sweet words and for finding me here. I’m so happy you’re enjoying the books. Sisterhood is ageless and such a gift.
      As far as a movie for My Name is Memory, Chernin Entertainment and New regency have purchased the screen rights. If all goes well, one day we’ll all be able to see Daniel and Lucy on the big screen.
      Check out my blog for more details on this.

      My warmest and best,
      Ann

  6. Crissy said,

    one more thing, any chance a movie would be made of Last Summer of You and Me? I have already directed it in my head πŸ™‚

    ..and now I see that My Name is Memory has been out for a while..where have I been ? πŸ™‚

  7. Marion said,

    ok, I know it’s a comment on an irrelevant post but I couldn’t wait telling you that I’m thrilled about the new sisterhood book, I mean i almost cried!!! I always felt like there would be one.
    Thank you for creating this wonderful world.

  8. Ann Brashares said,

    Amy,

    I’m so glad the “girls” have been with your “girls” for all those years. I’m sure you all shared many memories and are creating many new ones. I hope you enjoy reading Sisterhood Everlasting as much as I enjoyed writing it. Wishing you and your sisters much happiness.

    My warmest and best,
    Ann

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