Today's Muse: Julie Kraut
Author of: Slept Away (review here)
Bookworm: Welcome and happy summer, Julie! First off, is Slept Away based off of your own camp experiences?
Julie: Yes and no. I was definitely a camper when I was growing up. I went to different sleepaway camps or teen programs from age eight or nine through the end of high school and I did base some of the campgrounds and activity schedule on my time at camp. But Slept Away isn't the love letter to summer camp I would write if I were telling my own camp story. I was a huge, huge, huge fan of camp, unlike Laney. So, the storyline is where the fiction came in.
Also, butt sweatpants and shorts weren't popular back in my camping days...thank goodness!
Bookworm: If you could meet any of the characters from the book, who would you choose?
Julie: I think I'd most like to meet Sylvie. She's such a great combination of strength, smarts, and snark. And she's the character I'm most interested in seeing where she goes and what she's up to after the summer.
Bookworm: If you were stuck in the wilderness, what three things or people would you want to have with you?
Julie: My computer, cheesy 80s dance music, and lots and lots of books (Is that cheating to have multiple objects?)
Bookworm: What are you most excited for this summer?
Julie: My best friend is getting married and I'm the maid of honor. I love her husband-t0-be and I'm going to LA to spend the entire week beforehand with the two of them. It should be a pretty rocking time.
Also, I'd love to get some camping in this year. A summer without s'mores just wouldn't be right.
Bookworm: Speaking of s'mores, here's a random question: How do you like your marshmallows--light, crispy, or toasted?
Julie: Ideally, I like them slow toasted and light brown. But, whenever I make them, I get really impatient and just set the marshmallow on fire and blow it out. With enough melted chocolate though, you can barely taste the charred black crust.
Bookworm: What's your all-time favorite camp memory?
Julie: At my camp, once a month a bunk would go on an outdoor overnight camping trip and that was always my favorite part of the summer. We'd make "mushburgers" which were hamburgers that we'd mush all the condiments and fixings, like ketchup, mustard, carrots, and pickles into before we cooked them. They're way more delicious than they sound, I promise.
Also, I loved being totally alone with my bunk. While the girls in my bunk were always together, we were never alone together aside from the overnight trip. So, it was a real treat to have so much quality time to act ridiculous in total privacy with my favorite girls.
And it was on an overnight trip, I think my fourteen year old summer, when my best friend Emily, who is still one of my best friends, and I made up this song to Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" about how we did start the campfire. I remember thinking
that our lyrics were utter genius at the time, but I'm guessing they didn't go much further than, "We started the fire," over and over again.
Bookworm: What's next for you, writing-wise?
Julie: I'm working on a few things, but I'm kind of superstitious when it comes to talking about projects before I sell them. So, you'll have to wait and see. I'll update my site, JulieKraut.com, with any news!
Thanks so much, Julie!
Slept Away was published on May 26, so go check it out!