Friday, June 29, 2012

Guest Post, Review, Giveaway: The Summer I Learned to Dive by Shannon McCrimmon

Today, The Summer I Learned to Dive is being featured on the blog.  We have a guest post from Author  Shannon McCrimmon, who shares about herself and her inspiration for the novel.  Shannon has also graciously provided a paperback copy of the book for a giveaway, so please be sure to enter below for a chance to win that.  

The Summer I Learned to Dive
by Shannon McCrimmon
Published May 7, 2012 
Rating 4/5 Stars

Available at Amazon

Since the time she was a little girl, eighteen-year-old Finley “Finn” Hemmings has always lived her life according to a plan, focused and driven with no time for the average young adult’s carefree experiences. On the night of her high school graduation, things take a dramatic turn when she discovers that her mother has been keeping a secret from her—a secret that causes Finn to do something she had never done before—veer off her plan. In the middle of the night, Finn packs her bags and travels by bus to Graceville, SC seeking the truth. In Graceville, Finn has experiences that change her life forever; a summer of love, forgiveness and revelations. She learns to take chances, to take the plunge and to dive right in to what life has to offer.

My Thoughts:  Finn Hemmings is graduating from high school, she is the valedictorian of her class, and she has her life all planned out, college, med school.  Finn has even spent all four years of high school devoted to this plan.
 She has studied all the time, neglected friends and a social life, but for a
greater purpose, or so she thought. On graduation night, Finn happens upon some cards that her mother has been keeping from her.  All her life, Finn has believed that her grandparents didn't want anything to do with her, and her discovery proves that that has all been a lie.  She has always wanted to know more about her dad.  Her mom had told her that he died when she was small.  Needless to say Finn feels hurt and betrayed by her mother.  Finn takes off in the middle of the night to Graceville South Carolina to find her grandparents with nothing but a return address on an envelope to guide her.  When she arrives her grandmother welcomes her with open arms, and her grandfather, though glad she is there, is a little bit harder to warm up to.  Nevertheless, Lillian and Charlie Hemmings impact Finn's life in a way she never imagined.  Finn goes to work for her grandfather at his diner, she makes friends, which she has never had before, and she meets Jesse, the boy she falls in love with, who is quite the hottie by the way.  Finn learns to love, she faces heartbreaking situations, and she learns that life isn't always about a plan; sometimes it is about not being afraid to follow your heart. 

The Summer I Learned to Dive is a wonderful book.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The story is sweet, heartwarming, and inspiring.  I loved all the characters in the book, especially Finn.  I enjoyed watching her transform from caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly.  Jesse was definitely swoon worthy, and he had some really difficulty things to deal with to.  This coming of age story was well written and entertaining.  The characters not only faced some tough decisions, but made some really good choices when faced with them.  I loved the focus on family, and the romance was really sweet.  There is no foul language or sexually explicit situations, and this is something that both young, old, and those of us in between can enjoy.  I am looking forward to the sequel to this story.

Now Here's Shannon

 Advice from Yoda

"Do or do not, there is not try," Yoda. That's my all time favorite quote - my daily mantra. Who can't help but love Yoda? (The cool puppet version from old school Star Wars, not the lame new digital version). He's wise, doesn't get rattled easy, and has a philosophically cool way of saying things.Yoda is the epitome of all things Zen.  Did I mention I do a mean Yoda impression? Frank Oz better watch out! 

    If you couldn't tell, I'm a total sci-fi geek. I don't go to the conventions, but I love me some Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Stargate Universe, the list goes on. I can whip my opponents in Star Wars Trivia Pursuit. I digress...

    I've enjoyed writing since I was a little girl. I'd write stories and utilize my Barbies to act out what I had written. When I got a little older, I wrote really terrible love stories heavily influenced by watching way too many soap operas. But I never completed anything. They'd just sit half finished collecting dust. I'd also write tons of dark, very dramatic, angst ridden poetry, but that's another story for another time.

   Then I had a major epoch. I moved from the state of Florida (which was all I had ever known) to South Carolina. My husband and I didn't know one soul in the beautiful Palmetto State. It was a rash, brave, crazy, maverick thing to do I guess. But, it was the best decision I've ever made because it forced me to get out of my comfort zone and placed me in an environment that provided me with pure, unadulterated inspiration. 

    And that's when I started to write again. It had been a long lull since I had written anything - back when "floppy disc" was a common household term. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. I was actually halfway through with one novel, but couldn't find my inner chi with it. Meaning, I didn't feel right with the story. Something was off and it was pushed to the side. 

    It was during an early morning walk on a warm summer's day that I came up with the idea of the character Finn and her story. It's like she spoke to me and I just had to say what she was telling me. As soon as my walk was finished, I sat in front of my computer and typed like a maniac. The words seemed to flow and the story felt so right to me. It was magic and The Summer I Learned to Dive was born.

    Now you're asking, what's with the quote? How does that equate to me writing The Summer I Learned to Dive? Well, if I had given up and never tried, then the story wouldn't have been told. I'll be honest, at times I really wanted to waive a white flag and just be done with it. Writing takes a lot of focus, determination, patience, and passion. I had a great support system who encouraged me during the process, which was an immense help. When you write, you bare your soul and really have to have the courage to put yourself out there. The Yoda mantra is to just do it and that's what I did. I completed the novel and published it through Amazon. And I'm so glad I did. I held myself accountable and really lived up to the quote I love to say so much. My advice is if there's something you love to do, go for it and do it! You won't be sorry. In fact, you'll be really proud of yourself and happy that you finished what you started. 

    I write everyday now. Sometimes just a paragraph, other times a chapter, but each day I make a point to type the words that come from my imagination. I'm currently working on the sequel to The Summer I Learned to Dive. And the process is just as raw and exciting as it was the first time. I'm in love with my characters and can't wait for readers like you to see what happens to them.


Shannon McCrimmon was born and raised in Central Florida. She attended Rollins College and earned a Master's Degree in Counseling. In 2008, she moved to the upstate of South Carolina. Although she has enjoyed writing since she was a little girl, it was the move to South Carolina that inspired her to write The Summer I Learned to Dive. When she is not writing, Shannon enjoys hiking, camping, reading, and watching  movies. Shannon is a tea enthusiast and a pop culture expert. She is inspired  by music, art, and the natural beauty of South Carolina. She lives in Greenville, South Carolina with her awesome husband and very cool toy poodle.

I hope you have enjoyed today's post, and thanks for stopping by.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Great review, i like the story

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Ellen, thanks again for the review:)


Thanks for your comments. I love hearing from you!

Entangled Teen Weekly

What Kind of Reviewer are You? Click on the banner to visit Ashley @ the Book Nook to find out.