Friday, March 02, 2012

Interview with Ann Redisch Stampler (Where It Began Blog Tour)

Today we have Ann Redisch Stampler here for an author interview! This post is part of The Teen Book Scene's blog tour for Where It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler. You can find out all about the tour here. Make sure to visit all the other stops if you'd like to know more about Where It Began!

1. The cover for Where It Began is gorgeous! What did you imagine it would look like? Is it similar to the actual cover, or did you imagine something completely different?
Thank you, I love the cover, too! Initially, I was envisioning a cover that emphasized the car wreck and the wreck of Gabby’s carefully constructed life. A smoke and flames kind of thing. But I realized very quickly that this cover was beautiful and perfect.

I want to add that my love for this cover isn’t just aesthetic. As I think about it, Where It Began is about what grows out of everything that Gabby goes through, how she makes it past the wreckage. And this is very much that kind of a cover, with a pensive, intelligent girl, maybe a bit shell-shocked, looking inward but also toward the future.

2. I've read you started out with picture books. What made you want to give YA a shot?
You know, I still write picture books! I have an Afghani folk tale, The Wooden Sword, coming out six days before Where It Began. I love picture books, especially richly illustrated folk tales and fairy tales. But that doesn’t answer your question.

I was an English major. I have always loved novels.

I started writing in a serious way when my kids were very small, when I was reading a lot of picture books, and I was kind of in love with them. But I always had bits and pieces of novels kicking around that I wanted to write but never felt able to write. This went on for years.

And then my youngest child left for college and I went, whoa, that was fast! Suddenly, I had much less of a sense of obligation in terms of having a somewhat regular, orderly domestic life (my poor husband) and I just hid out in my den and wrote.

3. How do you go about choosing names for your characters?
I don’t really have a process for it. My characters tend to come to me first; I visualize them walking around; and then I just kind of know what their names should be.

Although sometimes I do have to change names. For example, as I read through the first ARC, I realized that I had two very minor characters (neither one appears in the story, but other people talk about them) named Caitlyn within a few pages of each other. Whoops!

4. What's the best writing advice you ever received?
I keep repeating it all over town, but it’s Jane Yolen’s “butt in chair.” You can have the most brilliant idea and the most astonishing command of the English language ever, but you still have to sit down and do it.

5. Without spoiling anything, can you tell us what was your favorite scene to write in Where It Began?
It’s the Big Revelation Scene. If you’ve read the book, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I love the bit that leads up to it, when the tension is building, and then something else happens, which was enormously fun to write because I love the adult character involved so much, and then they’re up the stairs and wham!

Thanks for the great interview answers, Ann!

Visit Ann on her website, blog, Twitter and Facebook, and keep your eye out for Where It Began, which will be released March 6th.

Where It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler
(Amazon | Goodreads)

Gabby Gardiner wakes up in a hospital bed looking like a cautionary ad for drunk driving and lacking a single memory of the accident that landed her there. What she can remember, in frank and sardonic detail, is the year leading up to the accident.
As she takes us through her transformation from invisible girl to on-trend Girl Who Dates Billy Nash (aka Most Desirable Boy Ever), she is left wondering: Why is Billy suddenly distancing himself from her? What do her classmates know that Gabby herself does not? Who exactly was in the car that night? And why is Gabby left alone to take the fall?
Putting the pieces together will take every ounce of Gabby's strength. As she peels back the layers of her life, she begins to realize that her climb up the status ladder has been as intoxicating as it has been morally complex...and that nothing about her life is what she has imagined it to be.


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