Glenville author writes sweet and salty summer read – The Daily Gazette
While Glenville author Jennifer Dugan was stuck at home during the pandemic, she found an escape writing about a quirky summer road trip led by two old friends.
This story will make its way to libraries on Tuesday. Titled “Melt With You,” the queer romantic comedy for young adults follows Fallon and Chloe as they set off on a cross-country trip in an ice cream truck to save their family’s belongings.
This is the fourth young adult novel Dugan has published since 2019, when her debut novel “Hot Dog Girl” was released. “Verona Comics” and “Some Girls Do” came out in the years that followed, and she’s also written a few comics, including “Coven,” which will be released in September.
“For ‘Melt with You,’ I really wanted to do another summer rom-com,” Dugan said. “It was written entirely during the pandemic, and I started writing it at the very beginning when we realized it wasn’t going to last two weeks.”
She thought back to all the experiences that made summer fun, including all the things everyone was missing.
“It really was a wish come true. I was [thinking]”I wish I could have an adventure,” Dugan said.
Similar to her other books, which all involved unusual jobs, Fallon and Chloe work at their mother’s ice cream business, called “Love at First Bite”. Each delicious flavor, which their mothers come up with, is named after a rom-com trope.
When their mothers get the chance to take their business to the next level and pitch their ice cream to venture capitalists in Texas, the former friends must step in and host a series of food truck festivals across the country.
They also have to deal with the fallout of last summer, when they met just before Chloe left for college and, due to a series of misunderstandings, stopped talking to each other.
The road trip follows a similar route to the one Dugan took in 2019, and she names a few local landmarks and routes that longtime residents will recognize.
“I like to sprinkle [locations] where locals will realize I’m a local author and recognize some of the settings,” Dugan said. “In ‘Verona Comics,’ I had a Stacks espresso, which is a coffee I love. I’ve tried putting Easter eggs for the locals in all my books because I think it’s so much fun I wouldn’t do this work without the support of the community.
Writing the book during the pandemic, especially when most people were at home and unable to travel to many places, was a challenge.
“I think the hardest part was getting up every day and continuing to work and meet deadlines when I couldn’t go to a coffee shop or people watch for inspiration or ideas,” he said. Dugan said.
Dugan became a full-time author about a year before the pandemic hit.
“There’s definitely been a big learning curve. There’s just a lot more, like social media management, and he runs a whole small business,” Dugan said.
She found a supportive community on Instagram and TikTok.
“TikTok has been just huge for books. They really embraced my book that came out last year, ‘Some Girls Do,’ and they just took it off the chart and in terms of sales,” said Dugan.
“I have amazing BookTokers who . . . [put] put a copy of my book behind them while they film an unrelated video and I’ll see a huge boost in sales. There is a huge correlation.
This has been especially important during the pandemic, when nearly all in-person author events have been canceled.
“This is my first in-person launch since ‘Hot Dog Girl.’ I haven’t had an in-person launch since 2019 My second book “Verona Comics” came out right after everything closed so there weren’t even any bookstores open and we didn’t really understand the pivot going virtual. So it’s going to be really cool,” Dugan said.
To celebrate the release of “Melt with You,” Dugan will be chatting with fellow author Isabel Sterling at the Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Sterling is an LGBTQ rights advocate, adoptive mother and author of “These Witches Don’t Burn”, “This Coven Won’t Break” and “This Spell Can’t Last”. For more information about the event, visit Northshire.com. To learn more about Dugan’s books, visit jldugan.com.
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Categories: Life and Arts, Scotia Glenville