The Summer We’ve Had
by Katherine Blakeman
Released: Jan 14, 2023
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Why this book and why now?
The one motto that drives what I do is ‘write what you want to read’. About five or six years ago, I became aware of a mental condition called Dissociative Identity Disorder, where a person’s brain splits into at least two alternate personality states, or ‘alters’, as a result of childhood trauma. Try as I might, I couldn’t find much media out there about or featuring DID, and one day I resolved to change that.
I started the first draft in summer 2019, but abandoned it and restarted it in the Spring 2020 lockdown. It’s been a long road, and I had to balance it with my other book, The Silent Chapter, but eventually (several drafts later) I finished it in Autumn 2022. I figured that if I waited too long, I’d chicken out and not publish it at all, because it’s such a big step. But there isn’t enough known about DID, and I hope my little book is one small step towards changing that, and changing the damaging and demonised perceptions of DID in society.
What is a significant way your book has changed since either the first draft or the way you thought it would turn out when you first had the inspiration?
Oh my goodness, it’s turned completely on its head. The first attempt was set on a remote Croatian island. Cassandra was a burnt out celebrity singer on the run from her rabid fans, and after moving to the island she met Maria, the local childminder whose mute daughter Ruby was in her class at the local school. Maria had an alternate personality, Mandy, who didn’t recognise Ruby as her daughter and was generally very different to Maria. Cass and Maria had just gotten together when I burnt myself out and stopped.
All of that went out of the window when I restarted. Now, the book is set in Cornwall, it’s Cassandra’s mother who is the celebrity singer, Maria became Felicia (in the final draft, so she’s still Maria to me) and Mandy turned into Autumn, Kylie, Coral and Daniella, the other alters!
What TV show would your main character(s) most likely binge watch and why?
Cass would – and did – binge-watch Doc Martin. It was what made her want to move to Cornwall in the first place!
One of your main characters is planning a romantic night. Tell us about it.
Heather would go with ALL the stereotypes. Candlelit dinner somewhere private, soft music playing (such as Elton John’s ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight’, a significant song for Cass), truly spoiling Cass rotten. Which she deserves! Cass is asexual so Heather wouldn’t be expecting to get any sex out of it – everything she does, everything both of them do, is borne of pure love and care for each other, and for the other alters.
Publishing a book is a huge accomplishment and it’s time to party! Choose a celebratory beverage for one of your main characters to toast the release of your new book.
All of the characters involved are nearly completely teetotal, so mocktails would be the way to go! I reckon Coral would make a pretty good virgin no-tequila sunrise! Pineapple juice and orange juice poured into a flute, then a little dribble of grenadine in the bottom to give it the ombre look.
What song does your character put on to start your book launch party?
Cass would probably put on one of her mum’s songs. Her mum was a world-famous celebrity singer-songwriter. I think she’d choose ‘Turn On The Radio’, which to quote my book, was ‘a fizzy disco-pop number that had the whole audience yelling and bouncing along’.