Friday, August 28, 2020

Rebecca Sullivan Interview - Night Owls and Summer Skies

Photo Content from Rebecca Sullivan

Rebecca Sullivan is a twenty-two-year-old student at the National University of Ireland, studying English Literature and Geography. She is obsessed with fluffy socks and anything to do with owls, particularly in the form of candles and other odd trinkets. Even when sleeping there’s no escape from writing for Rebecca as she plans story arcs by inducing a lucid dreaming state.

Tell us your latest news.
I have three Camp Mapplewood t-shirts ordered and once they come, I’m doing another book giveaway! 

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
I wouldn’t have gotten into writing as much as I have if I didn’t discover Wattpad when I was younger. So, reading all the great stories on there helped me realize why should I stick around and wait to read a story with the characters that represent me when I write them yourself? I think that will always be the greatest influence on my writing.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
When I’ve gotten friends and family and readers who sent me pictures of them holding my book in their hand. It’s hard to believe I’m not the only one with a copy. And when people message me telling me how much they resonate with the main character, Emma and her story. It’s always nice to know that people see characters who they can relate to and see themselves in. 

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
I want readers to see that taking care of your mental health might have some slip ups sometimes but even in a place where the character, Emma, has to face her phobia of all things to do with camping, she has people to lean on and people that care about her and help her get back on track. So, when you fall down or something doesn’t go your way, there’s always another path or tool you can use to get back on your feet. 

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
Originally it was a Camp Nano project and I wrote the first draft in thirty days. Nothing stopped me then! Not even exams. But for the editing process it was from college assignments that distracted me, and the constant need for tea, but that tea also helped power me through. The biggest distraction of them all was sleep though. I couldn’t get out of that, even when I tried to.

What part of Emma did you enjoy writing the most?
I liked the way she’s reintroduced to people in her childhood and really, they were strangers by the time she went to camp. With a character with anxiety, it was nice to see her and her getting to know the entire Black family and her dynamic with all of them. It can be hard to fit in in a place where everyone already has their people to lean on so that was always nice to write about.

Can you tell us when you started NIGHT OWLS AND SUMMER SKIES, how that came about?
Originally it came about because of an adventure resort I went to when I was fifteen for a few days and all activities that I experienced there made it into the book. But I only started writing NOASS when I was in a good mental head space to depict a character with similar issues to me. So, it was good to combine the good memories of the activities at the retort and tackle more serious topics when I was ready to.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I’d probably introduce Gwen Black to someone mean like Miss Trunchbull from Matilda. I think Miss Trunchbull wouldn’t have met a force quite like Gwen before. Gwen might soften her up a little. The real rest would be if she could throw Gwen into The Chokey or not. (Guess what movie I watched last night).

What’s the most ridiculous fact you know?
I don’t know if it’s ridiculous but for a book I’m editing I learned that Lilac bushes can stay alive for one hundred years. And from Night Owls and Summer Skies; Beavers are the second largest rodent in the world, second best to the Capybara!

What according to you is your most treasured possession?
I’ve got a pretty big cup collection. I’d die if one of them broke.

Best date you've ever had?
I remember one time driving around and looking at really lovely and expensive houses. I don’t know why we did that. But it was fun. 

What event in your life would make a good movie?
I think my school trip to Barcelona would’ve been a teen cool movie.

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
I took a year out of college because I felt like I needed that extra year to find myself and it was the best decision that I made. I got to work parttime and write without deadlines or stress and it made me realize that if I wanted to, I could do that for the rest of my life. It was nice to know what direction I wanted to go in, in life. 

What is one unique thing are you afraid of?
It’s not unique but I’m genuinely afraid of knives. I’d rather rip food to shreds with a spoon than use a knife.

What was the best memory you ever had as a writer?
I think the best and saddest memory was finishing NOASS and being so happy that I did it and managed to do well at college at the same time and simultaneously sad about not being able to edit it anymore and letting the characters stay as they are without further input. 

  • 1. If you like summer camps.
  • 2. If you are a fan of beavers and jellyfish.
  • 3. If you are a fan of The Incredibles and Monster Inc references.
  • 4. If you like big family dynamics.
  • 5. If you wanting to see someone learning how to cook.
  • 6. If you see friends fail and friendships rise.
  • 7. If you want to see a victim stand up to a bully.
  • 8. If you want to see a supportive parent of a gay child.
  • 9. If you like quirky characters and strange humor.
  • 10. And finally if you are a girl that likes girls
Then this book is for you.

This was a (rough) scene from the original draft that was cut for pacing reasons. Plus, it was just a silly scene that I had fun writing with Emma being over dramatic. It was *spoilers* after Vivian found out that Emma was leaving camp early from Lauren. Emma is unsure whether Vivian will break up with her over it or not.

It seemed everyone was disappointed or angry. The only way to occupy my mind in recent times were either being in Vivian's company or cooking, both of which were not an option at that time. 

The scratch on Mr. Black's car door kept getting bigger and bigger every time I looked at it. It was almost like my problems merged together in the form of a white line against the black metal, circulating, enlarging before my very eyes, to send the message that I was a colossal idiot. The message sunk into my very core until somehow, I was positioned in the driver's seat and ready to leave the campgrounds. My body had a plan, even if my mind didn't. Before I could drive off, someone got into the passenger seat.

What should have been a ten-minute drive into town was cut off by Mrs. Black who sat there beside me casually and without a hint of anger in her eyes. Quietly, she held out her hand and reluctantly I took the keys out of the engine and gave them to her. She pulled me out of the car and took me for a walk until we were hunched by the flowers planted by the arts and crafts cabin. There were the orange flowers that Gwen sometimes had in her hair. Scents of all sorts of flowers invaded my system, but only one stood out roses. Clarity. A fresh set of eyes, a renewed way of thinking.

Julie gathered a bunch of roses in her hand and gave them to me. "My children, they’ve always sought comfort with the flowers," the older woman said, smiling. “Gwen with her Marigolds, Walter and his Hydrangeas and Vivian with her . . . “

"Roses?" I guessed and chuckled.

"Hmm. Yes. Go, with these flowers and make someone's day. Even if it is your own."

The smile she displayed made my limbs go numb for a moment. Only a mother like Julie offered advice without any prompt or knowledge of the situation I found myself in. The sunbeams came through the trees and directly into my eyes. With one arm, I carried the roses, and the other blocked the light from blinding me entirely.

I immediately took off into the woods, not caring to get dinner right away.

My chest and chin felt the soft petals and was delighted in the smell surrounding my immediate area. Circled by nature. The roses. Nothing could compare to the comfort of its aroma. Nothing matched its imperfect perfect existence. Even the waterfall, the boulder, and the memory it provided didn't seem adequate enough. None of it was important. Not if I was alone.

I left the roses on the flat surface of the boulder and ended up slipping off all my clothes: Yup, everything.

Bared like everything around me, stripped to its core and lacking pretence, the stream below invited me in. With the water flowing down and covering me in seconds with its shower, even then, the hint of rose didn't escape my senses.

This helpless and exposed feeling; perhaps it was the beginning of heartbreak — preparation for my body and mind to comprehend what was about to come.

"Emma, what the hell are you doing?"

Admittedly, the voice scared me, instigating an instantaneous response. "Drowning my sorrows! What does it look like?"

Vivian's hand rested beside the roses on the boulder. The image of her was blurry through the water. "Is this what's going to happen every time we fight? You'll shower under the waterfall and collect an abundance of . . . roses?"

I became a little shy at my nakedness and turned my back to her. "It soothes me."

"And the roses?"

"Soothes me, too."

"Do you want to get out of the waterfall now?"

"Not really."

There was a pause. "Do you want to be left alone?"


"Is that an invitation?" she drawled out, sounding more amused than anything.

"If you want it to be."

There was silence at that admittance. The lack of response was too much for me to cope with, so my eyes closed, and my chin tilted upward so that the water rushed directly into my face. The steam of fresh and icy water nullified any residue of the fear of rejection and loneliness. Submersion had a funny way of doing that, blinding me to the outside world.

I could just about hear a splash. A glance over revealed that the pile of clothes had grown significantly larger on the boulder. My blinking became fast, so the water slipped by my eyelashes and down my cheeks instead of blinding me. There was a naked Vivian, and she was nowhere to be seen.

Of course, something like that occurred. My naked girlfriend, invisible vanished amongst nature. My eyes closed, disabling my eyes to search the area.

Even if we were together, the fragility of us was something that made my heart sink and chest feel nothing but hollow. Even as arms slipped around my waist and a cheek pressed against my shoulder blade, breathing was hard. I had to think about an instinct, to inhale and release the air, again and again.

We must have stayed there for over five minutes, under the waterfall, quiet as the cold water rushed over our bodies.

Eventually, the arms around my waist dropped so that they rested on my hips. I found myself led to turn around to face Vivian, who brushed the hair out of my face and looked at me with a smile that made my chest feel whole.

"Uncertain thoughts?" she asked, making a ghost of a memory to appear, of when I had a panic attack in the shed, and she was there, holding my hand, reminding me of things that were real.

"Maybe a little."

"Love, it doesn't disappear like that, Emma," she told me, but not in a condescending tone. She looked at me, reminded me of things that were set in stone. "So, that's one less thing for you to worry about."

Unexpectedly, her hand drifted up from my hip. It settled on my back and pulled me closer. I inhaled sharply. I was against her warm chest, soft to the touch. My breathing quickened as did hers. She began nuzzling my neck with a string of delicate kisses. So faint, they were whispers. I urged myself to push away but couldn't. Talking right now, wouldn't soothe a damn thing.

My limp body began to tremble uncontrollably.

Vivian's head was angled slightly to the side as her lips came closer and closer to mine. I was surprised to find her lips parted. Our breaths mingled. My heart fluttered inside my chest.

At first, it was a delicate butterfly of a kiss. Then Vivian's arms encircled me. She drew me to her so that I was wholly flushed against her, unprepared. You would think that after all of the hours I'd spent with Vivian, watching her talk, laugh, and scowl, that I would know all there was to know about her lips. But I hadn't imagined how warm they would feel, pressed up against my own. Even if I'd felt them against mine before, every single time was like our first kiss together. When she kissed me, my brain lit on fire, and the warmth spread throughout my entire body. After that, I was addicted; I couldn't bear not to be with her, and I could barely breathe when she was around.

Those kisses were my salvation and my torment. I lived for them, and I would die with the memory of them on my lips.

"I was stupid."

"Yes, yes, you were."

"I might have scratched your dad's car."

"I know."

"And maybe borrowed it."

"I know that too."

"I didn't have anything to wrap the roses in."

"That seems to be a theme today. Doesn't it?" When I didn't immediately get what she said, Vivian slowly looked me up and down, a slight smirk on her face. "And nothing over your body either. Come on, let's get you dried up."

"Ah, about that . . . "

"I do not like the tone of your voice, Emma."

"You know what? Same," I said, wearing a small smile to distract her from a very real problem. "What is it about hearing your own voice that makes you want to poof out of existence?"

Vivian dug her fingers into my waist. "You didn't bring a towel."

My eyes widened. "I didn't bring a towel."

She dragged her gaze away from my face and looked at the clothes.

I saw the gears turning in her head. The slow smile that formed on her face let me know that she had come up with an idea, a solution to our problem, but I wouldn't like it.

That was how I ended up behind the waterfall in a cave, huddled up in Vivian's jacket, wearing panties and nothing else. She had used the rest of my clothes to dry herself off and threw back on her clothes. She left me alone, promising to come back to get me.

I found myself bewildered at the situation I was in. Finding solace from the very place that was supposed to instil fear into me didn't make sense. Perhaps it intended to punish and not to create a space of comfort.

The water dripped down my hair, and my knees were bunched up together, curled into my chest. The only thing I smiled about was the fact that Vivian came back, baring towels, a hot water bottle, and a flask.

"I'm sorry," I told her, as she wrapped me up in a towel and rubbed my arms up and down.

"I think I've got the message . . . "

"Really, really, sorry."

"No more apologies, Emma."


I felt a kiss on my cheek. "The roses are beautiful."

I shrugged awkwardly. "Yeah, they are."

You have to step off the trail to find your path....

When her mother unceremoniously dumps her at Camp Mapplewood for the summer, Emma Lane’s hopes of repairing their fractured relationship are gone with the wind. Now she’s stuck in the wilderness facing her worst fears. Trees? Terrifying. Spiders? Even worse. And don’t even get Emma started on how she feels about camp activities. But Emma’s got a plan, and she will do anything in her power to get kicked out of camp, from sleeping in to playing practical jokes on her fellow campers. Yet when Emma draws the attention of her illusive and attractive camp counselor Vivian Black, she has to come to terms with the fact that how her summer starts isn’t necessarily how it might end. Will Vivian be the key to unlocking Emma’s fears once and for all?

You can purchase Night Owls and Summer Skies at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you REBECCA SULLIVAN for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Night Owls and Summer Skies by Rebecca Sullivan.


  1. My summer romance is with my new puppy. I've been married for 50 years so that's my the new puppy is my new love.

  2. No summer romance for me - but I do read about romances all summer long.

  3. No summer romance -- I have cats though

  4. I wouldn't say I had a summer "romance" this year. We mostly stayed at home because of Covid-19 :(

  5. Sorry, no summer romance that I can recall! I suppose when I took a grand cruise in Europe in July, I fell in love with Germany!

  6. My summer romance consists of audiobooks & cute kitties like Hosico. :)

  7. My summer romance as well as my life romance is with my husband of 46 years! Love Is Grand!

  8. We were 13 and everything was brand new. We are still friends to this day and I still love him very much!