Debut Authors Bash: Gwen Cole


Today, he’s a high school dropout with no future.
Tomorrow, he’s a soldier in World War II.

Kale Jackson has spent years trying to control his time-traveling ability but hasn’t had much luck. One day he lives in 1945, fighting in the war as a sharpshooter and helplessly watching soldiers—friends—die. Then the next day, he’s back in the present, where WWII has bled into his modern life in the form of PTSD, straining his relationship with his father and the few friends he has left. Every day it becomes harder to hide his battle wounds, both physical and mental, from the past.

When the ex-girl-next-door, Harper, moves back to town, thoughts of what could be if only he had a normal life begin to haunt him. Harper reminds him of the person he was before the PTSD, which helps anchor him to the present. With practice, maybe Kale could remain in the present permanently and never step foot on a battlefield again. Maybe he can have the normal life he craves.

But then Harper finds Kale’s name in a historical article—and he’s listed as a casualty of the war. Kale knows now that he must learn to control his time-traveling ability to save himself and his chance at a life with Harper. Otherwise, he’ll be killed in a time where he doesn’t belong by a bullet that was never meant for him.


Can you tell us about your debut, COLD SUMMER, in 45 words or less? Cold Summer is about a boy who has the ability to time travel but can’t control it, so he keeps going back to WWII. In the past, he has to watch his friends die and in the present he deals with PTSD and a family who won’t listen to him.


What was your favorite scene to write?

All of the WWII scenes. I don’t know why, but they were easy for me to write. I always had a clear picture of the setting, the sounds, the smells, and I loved focusing on those. All of them are set during winter so sometimes I would have to wear extra layers while writing them because I would actually get cold.


What was the hardest scene to edit out? So there was this scene of Harper and Uncle Jasper arguing about the title scene of Frasier, and there was about 12 lines of short, snappy dialogue back and forth between them. But my editor made a good point—all of the young adults reading my book would have no idea what Frasier is. It may or may not have made me feel old.


Optional deleted scene:


Uncle Jasper found a Frasier marathon and I don’t know how much longer I can keep watching this old show.

“Train,” Uncle Jasper says, right before the title screen is about to show.


The space needle blinks.

“You can’t say ‘nothing’. You’ve said that for the last two times.”

“I can and I did,” I say.

“But that’s not guessing. It’s always something.”

“Have you seen every single episode?” I ask.


“You’ve seen 264 episodes?”


“I don’t believe you.”

“Like I don’t believe you’ve seen every episode of Malcolm in the Middle?” he counters.

“But I have!”

“Then I’ve seen episode of Frasier.

“That will be determined.”


“When ‘nothing’ happens in the beginning.”


What theme song would you give COLD SUMMER? Mad World by Gary Jules


I’ve got to say, Cold Summer sounds like a super intense book with so many feels. Did you have a scene (or more) that absolutely gutted you to write? Well I don’t want to spoil anything, but there were a few scenes that brought some tears towrite.


Will there be a lot of romance between Kale and Harper or will it kind of be a smaller aspect of the story? Yes, their relationship is definitely a big part of the story!


Will this be a standalone or part of a series? Maybe a companion novel? This is a standalone.


What else are you currently working on? Right now, I’m finishing edits for my next book, RIDE ON, which comes out May 2018. It’s a western set in the near future in which a teen outlaw crosses paths with a girl whose brother has been taken by the Lawmen gang. When a long-buried secret is revealed, her rescue mission becomes his quest for revenge.


What is the best book you’ve read recently? Yesterday, I finished reading Even The Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett and it was soooo good! One of those books you stay up reading way too late but it’s so worth it!