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A Women Writers’ Bloc

2 Terps Among NYC Authors Releasing Beachy Novels on Same Day

By Sala Levin ’10

two women reading on the beach

Illustration by Adobe Stock

Fighting the lonesomeness that can come with holing up to write a book, seven New York City-area women banded together last winter to trade texts and emails in what came to feel like group therapy.

Each of the authors was releasing a book on June 4, a fact they had discovered while networking in the Big Apple’s writerly circles. Some had released their first novels during the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, showing up to bookstores in masks and gloves and signing their books outside the front door before holding their breath to pass them back to the booksellers. Others were more seasoned in the traditional book release process.

Now the members of the informal club they called the June 4 Authors began to post about one another’s books on social media, team up for book events and text one another from late nights in far-flung hotel rooms.

For two of the authors, the camaraderie ran even deeper. After speaking at the University of Maryland Alumni Association’s women’s conference in New York City earlier this month, Brooke Lea Foster ’98 texted the group encouraging them to reach out to their universities’ alumni associations. Jane L. Rosen ’87 texted back: “I’m a Terp, too!”

“All the Summers in Between” book cover with headshot

“Here we were all this time, supporting each other and learning on each other and giving each other advice,” said Foster. “And then to find that out was so cool.”

All the Summers in Between” is Foster’s third book, published by Simon & Schuster; “Seven Summer Weekends,” published by Penguin Random House, is Rosen’s fifth. Both pursued other careers first—Foster was a journalist at outlets like Washingtonian magazine and the Boston Globe Sunday magazine, and Rosen was a screenwriter—but dreamed of writing their own novels.

“I was one of those people who’d go to bookstores and run my hands over the cover of books, just wanting so badly to write fiction,” said Foster, who studied English at UMD.

Her books are all what she calls “historical beach fiction.” Her first, “Summer Darlings,” was set on Martha’s Vineyard in the 1960s and tells the story of a nanny who learns the secrets of her wealthy employers, and her second, “On Gin Lane,” follows a young woman during a summer on the beaches of Southampton in 1957 as she grapples with her mother’s troubled past. In “All the Summers In Between,” a young wife and mother summers in the Hamptons in 1977 as she comes to terms with the reappearance of a friend from a difficult moment in her life a decade earlier.

“I’m really drawn to these exclusive beach communities where the haves and the have-nots are always bumping into each other,” said Foster.

“Seven Summer Weekends” book cover with headshot

Rosen, who studied fashion merchandising at Maryland, also set her latest book on New York’s beaches. She drew on her own experience returning each summer for 35 years to the little community of Seaview in Fire Island, where “if you go to the market, it’ll take you a half-hour when it should take you five minutes, because you stop to talk to so many people,” she said. “It’s a lot like going to camp.”

“Seven Summer Weekends” tells the story of thirtysomething Addison Irwin, who’s abruptly fired from her high-powered advertising job and inherits a Fire Island house left to her by an estranged aunt.

It’s part of an interlocking series of books, which stand independently but have overlapping characters. Rosen’s first novel, “Nine Women, One Dress,” told the stories of women in different stages of life whose trajectories were changed by the same dress; it was translated into 10 languages. Her second novel, “Eliza Starts a Rumor,” was optioned by NBC.

Rosen and Foster happily call their books beach reads. “Just because there’s a woman in a bathing suit on the cover, it doesn’t mean there’s no substance,” said Foster. “They’re about women making big changes in their lives and a summer that helps them become who they want to be.”



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