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About the author:
An Aries, a self-described shenaniganist, and an unabashed romantic, Cameron writes romantic fiction and genre-crossing short stories from the metro-Boston area, where she lives with her husband, son, and a poorly behaved pug.
In the eighth grade, she wrote her first romance novel on an antique typewriter, using a stack of pink paper. Detours between that draft and publishing her first novel included a BA in Music from Middlebury College, a professional culinary education, and twelve years in the child-wrangling industry.
Cameron's personal and publishing adventures can be found at www.camerondgarriepy.com. She's been an editor at Write on Edge and is the founder of Bannerwing Books.
What inspired you to write your book?
Buck's Landing was drafted while I was on vacation in Hampton Beach, NH, with my family. It's as faithful a representation of the place as I could create, and I still find myself looking for Silas and Sofia when I'm back there.
Here is a short sample from the book:
“Well, I know what I’m going to call you when I find you.” Silas Wilde pushed up to standing, brushing a fine dusting of beach sand from his knees. He gave up hope that the little thing had only gone to ground under the sofa; he was fairly certain he was talking to an empty room. So far, the kitten his sister had given him at the beginning of the summer—a housewarming gift, or so Mallory claimed—had escaped his apartment no less than ten times, this last time managing, Silas feared, to get out of the building altogether.
He made a cursory examination of the bathroom and efficiency kitchen before taking the back stairway down to the Atlantis Market, the convenience store and gift shop that was his new livelihood, half-hoping the kitten was playing with the mops and brooms in the hallway.
When his search disappointed him, he headed into the Market. His older sister’s oldest son, Theo, looked up from the register. He was ringing up a big sale: two beach chairs, a soft-sided cooler, and a picnic’s worth of bottled water, soda, and junk food. Silas had developed a great affection for impulse beachgoers. “Cat got out again,” he said. Theo laughed. “I’ve got everything taken care of.” Silas let himself out through the store’s front door, leaving Theo to handle the morning beachcombers in search of a snow globe of the Casino Ballroom, a new pair of flip-flops, or aloe gel. “Hopefully, I won’t be gone more than a half hour. I’ve got my phone.” Silas had traced the New England coast north from New York City six months earlier, abandoning Interstate 95 in Boston to weave a northbound route along route 1 and 1A, in a Jeep Wrangler he’d bought from the Want Ads. A thousand times, his breath was stolen by the pewter sea and the rocky shoreline, peppered with stretches of coarse sand beaches and faded boardwalks, but something about Hampton Beach called to him. Following the tug, he’d checked into a motel a block inland, one of the few open in the frigid winter months, and fallen asleep to the north wind wailing over the snowy beach. He’d thought Ocean Boulevard had stolen his heart in January, abandoned and near silent, save for some hardy year-round dwellers and a handful of businesses that defied the off-season. As he looked out over the summer expanse of state beach, pristine and already baking under a ninety-degree sun, the music of tourism and the magic of vacation coursed through him like the first swallow of a cold beer. Had he still been in New York, sweltering in his Brooklyn walk-up or hunched over his desk in the maze of cubicles on the litigation floor at Stern & Lowe, he might never have known the heady mix of kitsch and tradition that was Hampton. Owning a convenience store in a summer town was a good, long way from the document review sweatshop of corporate law. Not even ten in the morning, and his worn R.E.M. tour tee-shirt was stuck to the small of his back. A bead of sweat rolled down his face, and he wiped it with the hem of the shirt. A gaggle of teenage girls wandered by in bikinis, and one of them turned to give him a sassy grin, her eyes lingering over the flat expanse of his stomach. Silas watched them pass, doing his best not to appreciate the view too much. He walked the perimeter of his building, examining a patch of newer cedar shingles, not yet weathered silver, while he looked for the cat. The previous owner had taken care of the Atlantis, even if his taste in interior decorating was a blend of seventies aesthetic and thrift store pragmatism. Silas called to the kitten with the whistle and click combination he’d found seemed to attract the small adventurer. It wasn’t long before he heard the meow from over the fence. The kitten was small, but he had lungs and feet worth watching. Following the cries, he arrived at the gate of Buck’s Landing. His next door neighbor’s building was taller, casting his apartment into welcome shade for most of the day. The owner, Jimmy Buck, had passed away about a month ago, leaving the whole property to his estranged daughter. The jury was still out on the new Buck at the Landing, as far as Silas was concerned. She’d breezed into town in a slick BMW sedan, holed up in her late father’s apartment, and kept mostly to herself. He’d only seen her once in the three weeks she’d been in residence; she’d been hauling a huge suitcase out of the trunk of that Beamer. She had refused his friendly offer of help, called down over the railing from the porch roof that served as his deck. He’d watched Jimmy’s daughter drag that luggage up the two flights of narrow exterior stairs to the apartment with equal parts amusement and distaste. Silas recognized the young woman working the register at Buck’s. Amy had pounded pavement before the last frost looking for a summer job, even coming into the Atlantis Market to see if he was hiring. Turning her down had been tough, so he’d been glad to hear Jimmy had hired her on for the summer. Later in the spring when he’d run the numbers and knew he could afford a part-timer, he’d hired his nephew Theo at his sister’s insistence. Mallory was a persistent woman. “Amy.” He smiled. She was reading one of those creased and worn steamy beach novels that passed from rental to rental. He imagined this one had been up and down the strip. Amy stashed the novel under the counter. “Mr. Wilde. Can I help you?” “I’m wondering if you’ve seen a kitten around the place this morning.” Amy lit up like the Funarama on a Saturday night. “Seventeenth hole. He’s a troublemaker, huh?” “You could say that. Thinking of calling him Houdini.” He peered around the building towards the course. “Seventeen, you said?” “Go on through, Mr. Wilde.” Silas couldn’t help inspecting Jimmy Buck’s Astroturf and the gravel paths that wound between the holes as he walked. Jimmy had been a good neighbor in the few months they’d known one another. The older man had introduced himself immediately following the first evening Silas spent in the apartment over the Atlantis; Jimmy had turned up on the welcome mat with a pair of to-go coffees and a half-dozen box of donuts. They’d grown close before his passing. Jimmy had told him stories about his family, mainly centered on his daughter’s childhood, and had often confided in Silas that he wished he had more time and resources to put into the endless maintenance the property required. There were changes at Buck’s Landing, Silas noted. He had to admit, they were for the better. The paths were weeded, their gravel leveled. The turf and obstacles had been cleaned, and the greens patched in the worn spots. The music Jimmy had favored leaned toward classic country and western, so much so that Silas considered loaning the man his collection of Police and U2 CDs. Today he appreciated the thump of bass and electronic warble of Auto-Tune. The younger Buck knew what the kids listened to, anyway. He heard Jimmy’s daughter before she came into view. Unlike the over-produced pop-princess voice on the sound system, hers was a smoky voice that belonged in a speakeasy. He rounded the corner at the sixteenth hole and burst out laughing. There was Houdini, surveying his kingdom from the top of the Easter Island head, his posture comically regal. The cat watched his would-be rescuer hoist herself from a short ladder by using the statue’s left shoulder as a foothold. “Come on, sweetheart,” she cajoled, that bourbon voice pitched low. With an arm wrapped around the statue’s head, she swung her leg over it, braced her other foot against its chest, and reached up for his cat. Silas closed the distance between them and pushed his hair back with his sunglasses, the better to get an eye full of Jimmy Buck’s mini-golf heiress. Silas took in the khaki shorts stretched across a toned rear and the strong, tanned legs, and briefly envied the statue, with his cement face pressed against that body. “That’s one lucky statue,” he said with a chuckle. “I see you found my cat.”
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