Writer’s Coffeehouse

coffeeWriters, welcome! My favorite thing to talk about besides stories is the writing that goes into them. So this corner of my virtual home is for you! Let’s talk structure, characterization, theme, craft, tools, books on writing, and anything else related to the business (and art!) of writing.

Comments on this page are enabled so we can engage in an ongoing dialogue about the art and business of writing. Let’s talk shop!

Resource links: All the things about writing I’ve found useful on my journey to getting published.

Behind the Scenes: Links to my blog posts about my writing process organized by subject.

**Interested in doing a joint book signing or conference panel? Send me a note with the info, and let’s set it up! Or if you’re coming to my neck of the woods, ping me so we can meet up! Coffee’s on me.

6 Responses to Writer’s Coffeehouse

  1. O.M.G.

    Mariangela (Italy)

  2. Meghan says:

    I love the Trust Me books so much! Thank you for writing them! I can’t wait for the third one! I’ve just had a few questions I’ve been curious about. My first one is what made you think to name a character Julep? And because these are mystery books, did you know the endings before you starting writing, or does it change as the story develops? For you, what is the hardest part of a book to write? What was the character you were most excited to introduce to the readers? And what was the first part of the Trust Me series you thought of? Lastly, did any work in particular inspire you to write these books?

    Thank you so much and sorry for all of the random questions… they’ve kind of been building up for a while.


    • Mary Elizabeth Summer says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed them, Meghan! Thanks so much for letting me know. That always helps on those days when the writing is hard.

      To answer your questions:

      1. I have no idea where I got the name Julep. It just popped into my head one day when I was first thinking about this con artist character I wanted to create. I didn’t even think about its connection to the cocktail Mint Julep until much later when I was trying to figure out the backstory of how she got the name Julep. IDK, being an author is weird sometimes.

      2. I’m what they call a “pantser,” so generally speaking, I have no idea how anything’s going to end until I write the ending. For example, that thing that happens in book one (you know what I’m talking about, I’m sure), I had no idea that thing was going to happen until I wrote it. It shocked me more than it did my readers, I think. That’s what keeps the magic alive for me as I’m writing is the not-knowing. When something unfolds, something inevitable, that I didn’t actually intend, that is the most miraculous feeling in the world.

      3. There are lots of parts of it that are hard for me. Really compelling villains are hard for me. I tend to make them too one-dimensional at first, so I really have to try to draw them out to at least the second dimension, if not the third. But endings are also hard for me, because after pantsing the entire book, I have to bring all the threads together, and that can be hard when the threads are all over the place. Romance is hard for me, too, because I feel like such a voyeur when I write it. But I can say that often the things that are the hardest for me are also the most rewarding when they finally come together.

      4.Honestly, I was most excited to introduce Dani. I just think she’s so interesting and has such a great and tragic backstory and is this horrible person with a great heart. Most of all, I like that she has all the hallmarks of a badboy love interest but is a girl instead. But I also love Julep, of course. She’s my shadow self–she always says exactly what she’s thinking, even if it’s not the most charitable or the most socially acceptable. Though, tbh, over time, the Chevelle became my favorite character. LOL

      5. The first part of the Trust Me series that I thought of was the idea of a YA novel with a con artist protagonist in the first place. I was watching a lot of White Collar and Leverage at the time and really wanted to read a book with a teenage con artist as the lead. So I thought maybe I should write one. :-) After that, Julep sprung pretty much fully formed into my head.

      6. I’d say that mostly TV and movies inspired this series–White Collar, Leverage, In Plain Sight, Veronica Mars, and Ocean’s 11.

      I’m happy to answer any questions you have at any time! Feel free to email me, too. (I tend to answer faster when I get email than when I randomly check my website. ;-))

      Thanks so much for asking! I love talking about Julep!!!

      • Meghan says:

        Thank you so much for responding to me! It truly meant a lot to me! You continue you to be my favorite author today. I would really love to email you, like you had suggested, but I don’t know where to find your email.

        • Mary Elizabeth Summer says:

          Yay! 😀 If you hover your mouse over the Author’s Office in the menu at the top, a button appears that says Contact. Click that, and it will take you to my contact page. Fill out the form and voila! It will be sent directly to me. :-)

  3. Nikita says:

    I love the books so much! I was just wondering if you’re planning on releasing a third book anytime soon? Maybe 2020? Either way the books are amazing and I need more Sam and Julep moments, I can’t take this any longer lol. All the best, Nikita.

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