Skip to main content


July 5, 2011

Deborah Cloyed: THE SUMMER WE CAME TO LIFE - Part II

Posted by Stephen

Deborah Cloyed’s debut novel, The Summer We Came to Life, is a beautiful story that centers around Samantha Wheland and her best friends of two generations. The relationship between the characters is so vivid that it feels as if the author drew from her own real-life experiences to capture such realism. To give us a sense of how much fiction meets reality in her novel, Deborah sat down with her real-life best friend, Bianca Smith, and Bianca’s mother, Lilia, to get their thoughts about friendship, love and The Summer We Came to Life.

Click here to see Part I.

summer we came.JPGQ: Bianca --- we have spent a lot of time together in Honduras, before and after I lived there with our friend Susan. Do you think I did a good job capturing the spirit and beauty of the country? What are some of your favorite images or locations in the book that line up with memories of Honduras?

Bianca: The descriptions in the book drew me back into my memories --- beaches, sunsets, treacherous roads through the mountains, the shanty houses, mango verde. But mostly I remember the bonding moments --- talking late into the night, sipping whiskey sodas, family barbeques, game nights, sweaty dancing in the jungle --- all the simple moments that made our trips to Honduras so enchanting. That one scene in the book where Kendra goes with Samantha to the restaurant encapsulates the feeling I mean --- the cozy, loud, warm, colorful, candlelit, very Latin way of life that we love.

Q: Did you two enjoy the quantum physics aspect of the novel? What did you take away from the book about the power of consciousness? Do you believe parallel universes could exist?
Bianca: One of my favorite parts of the book. That’s always been an interest of yours that I’ve enjoyed learning about from you and watching you get so excited about. 100% I believe in power of consciousness, with or without fully understanding the science, mainly because we see it all the time at work in our lives. I have always believed in it and while other people say we’re lucky, I believe that we draw things to ourselves, good or bad, by the power of thinking and dreaming. Getting on “The Amazing Race” together, opening the boutique --- things seem to fall into our laps but it’s because we believe --- “ask and you shall receive” --- but also of course as long as you help others, give back, and contribute to the world. Paulo Coelho said, “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” As for parallel universes, the idea frankly freaks me out! The vastness of it…. But I do think it’s fascinating that the science in the book seems as mystical and inconceivable as any religious counterpart.
Lilia: I loved the inclusion of quantum physics as it gives “spice” to the book. It also shows the brilliance of the author. The most important thing one takes from the power of consciousness is that it is limitless. It extends beyond any physical limits. I do hope parallel universes exit! That may be our link to eternity.
Q: Which was your favorite story of the parents and why?
Bianca: I loved Jesse Brighton’s story the best. Her and Isabel’s story most closely resembles the relationship I have with my mother --- one of adoration and respect, but one that has changed and deepened as I have grown older. Also, I relate most to that story because of my Latin heritage and issues I am concerned about --- class issues, corruption, machismo, kidnappings, murders --- all very much still a problem in Mexico and central America today.
Lilia: Of course, being the Latina, I would have to say that I loved the portrayal of Jesse following the Passionate, Latin heartthrob to an unknown world. It was an accurate depiction of the power that money buys an elite few in Latin America...of the dynasties that are created. Jesse could not ever fit in that world. It’s a miracle that she got out of there with Isabel (but we did need for something good to happen for Jesse…haha). 
Q: Lil, you’re younger than Lynette and Cornell, but do you think I did a good job capturing the era of Civil Rights in Northern Virginia and D.C.? What about the depiction of modern suburbs of Northern Virginia?
Lilia: I'm not that much younger! And, yes you did capture the era of Civil Rights in N.Va. and D.C. I feel that we were blessed to live 25 miles south of D.C. --- we got first-hand information of the civil rights struggles. We honored Martin Luther King. I worked and lived with people who had lived in a segregated South. Many of the situations regarding Civil Rights continue today but with a different minority.