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.