Monthly Archives: June 2011

Guest post: Don Calame on the “naked girl” goal in Swim the Fly

Welcome, Don Calame to Magic Bean Review! 🙂

On one of my earlier blog tour stops I wrote about how I came up with the initial idea for my novel Swim the Fly. How it was the swimming team—and not the naked girl—aspect of the story that was the original spark.

For those of you who didn’t read that blog or who haven’t read the book, Swim the Fly is the story of three less-than-popular fifteen year old boys who’ve set themselves a summertime goal to see a real-live naked girl. Despite the fact that they are the least athletic kids on the swim team and none of them have ever been on an actual date with a girl.

Inevitably though, I am asked the question: “Yeah, but, what about the naked girl? Where did THAT idea come from?”

When I sat down to write this summertime novel, I quickly realised that a book about being on swim team during the summer was not going to be enough to hook the reader and keep him or her turning the pages.

Yes, I know about swimming (because I was a swimmer, albeit not a very strong one) and so I know all the details of being on swim team: the smell of the chlorine, the clammy feel of a wet Speedos, the corny rhyming song-cheers from the stands.

But there needed to be some sort of concrete goal that the boys would be trying to achieve while they were on the swim team. A goal that could take place during the summer and would be teenage-boy specific.

And that’s when I remembered  something that happened to me and a friend one summer when I was a teenager.

I grew up in New York (on Long Island) and every summer my mother would take us to the beach on the weekends. When we were younger my friend and I were happy to build sandcastles, or ride the waves, or bury each other up to our heads.

But this one year, when we were fifteen, we started to hear rumors and whisperings about a “mythical nude beach” where you could see beautiful people dancing around in the buff. The story we’d been told was that you had to walk to the east for miles and miles, over hot sand and beachgrass-laden dunes. It would take hours to get there but the rewards you would receive for all your efforts would be great.

And so, this one Saturday morning, my friend and I decided we would make the pilgrimage. We’d each take a can of soda for sustenance and we would walk until we discovered this wondrous land of gorgeous naked women.

The rumor was right about a few things. We did have to walk for miles and miles. The sand was scorching hot and the beach grass nipped and cut your ankles as you waded through it.

What the report was not accurate about was the attractiveness of the people who chose to lounge on the beach in the nude. These were people who even the most girl-crazed teenage boys would never want to see unclothed.

What the whisperings also left out was that most of the nude sun bathers were men. Many of them overweight, all of them extremely hairy. It was like a Sasquatch sighting times a hundred.

And so, my friend and I promptly turned on our heels and hightailed it back to our bathing-suit friendly beach. Where we were more than happy to build a sandcastle or two to try and wipe our minds clean of what we had been witness to.

It was this event that gave me the idea for the boys’ goal in the book. An event that would also prove very useful for inspiration for one of the climactic scenes in the novel.

Thanks Don, that was really interesting! You can read my review of Swim the Fly here.

Swim the Fly by Don Calame

Title: Swim the Fly
Author: Don Calame
Published: 9th May 2011 (UK)
Format: Finished Paperback
Pages: 366
RRP: ÂŁ6.99
Rating: 13+

Matt and his best friends, Coop and Sean, have set their summertime goal: to see a real-live naked girl. But that’s nothing compared to Matt’s other mission: to impress super-hot Kelly West by swimming the 100-yard butterfly, the hardest stroke known to man.

I was pretty excited when I first read the blurb of this book… it was completely different to what is usually in the shops, and completely different to what I usually go for! Swim the Fly is a contemporary YA “dude-lit” novel, but it certainly did not stop my enjoyment of the book. It easily takes the award for the funniest book I have read all year!

Matt, Coop and Sean have a summer tradition, in which they set themselves a goal each summer. When they were ten, it was riding their bikes fifteen miles way to a lake and skinny dipping. When they were twelve, it was going to the local golf course every day until they had collected 1000 gold balls. When they were thirteen they had to get their hands on a Playboy…. basically their goals got more centred around girls and sex!

The goal of seeing a live naked girl brings a ton of really embarrassing, laugh out loud events. I won’t go into too much detail, but you can read an excerpt over at Daisy Chain Book reviews here!

Don Calame’s writing is full of detail, and really fun to read. His witty writing takes the characters and the reader on hilarious adventures, leaving you turning the pages at rapid speeds. The characters are all really well developed and loveable. Each character had an obvious voice. One of my favourite characters was Grandpa Arlo…. he is such a player!

This book has opened up the world of dude-lit. If there are more books like this, I will be happy for ever more! It’s a gem, and I recommend it to anyone who is looking for something new and fresh, or someone who wants to make other people stare at them in a funny way, as you just snorted with laughter…

I leave you with a tiny morsel of the humour in this book. Go buy it for more!

[Grandpa Arlo had asked Matt to pretend to be Mrs Hoogenboom, his ‘crush’, for role-playing purposes.]

I take a breath, resetting myself. “Oh, this old thing? I’ve had this shawl forever.”
Grandpa Arlo smiles. “It suits you. It matches your eyes.”
“That’s, uh… very kind of you… I…” I have no idea what else to say. “That purple shirt… looks good on you, too. It matches… the blood vessels on your cheeks.”
“Nice,” Grandpa Arlo says.

YAY! And a sequel: Beat the Band is coming out in 2012… Coop is the protagonist in this one!

Rating
Plot: 10/10
Awesome…!
Writing Quality: 9/10
The writing quality was very, very good.
Originality: 9/10
It definitely was original to me – and I am sure it is pretty unique on it’s own.
Characters: 10/10
The characters were so good.
Descriptions: 9/10
There wasn’t too many, but I could imagine the setting really well, so I think the overall effect it had, was good.

47/50 = 94%

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Thank you to Templar Publishing for providing the review copy.

Check back later when Don Calame talks more about the aim of the summer!