Thursday, March 22, 2018

TBF Author Interview with Jennifer Castle

Hello TBF readers,

I have another TBF author interview for you on this happy Thursday! I chatted with Jennifer Castle, author THE BEGINNING OF AFTER, TOGETHER AT MIDNIGHT, WHAT HAPPENS NOW, and YOU LOOK DIFFERENT IN REAL LIFE. Check it out:

Miranda Reads: TOGETHER AT MIDNIGHT came out recently. What is it about?

Jennifer Castle: The book is about two teens, Kendall and Max, who witness a tragedy on the streets of New York City during the holidays and feel consumed with guilt that they didn’t do anything to try and stop it. They bond over this, and accept a dare to commit seven meaningful acts of kindness to strangers. The dare brings them closer to each other — they have a history from back home — and to themselves, as they’re both kind of lost and trying to figure out the next step in their paths. The story’s told from their alternating points of view, but also from the POV’s of the other people they encounter. Along the way there’s some romance and a lot of snow. A snowmance!

Miranda Reads: What was the inspiration behind TOGETHER AT MIDNIGHT?

Jennifer Castle: I knew I wanted to write a story about two supporting characters from my previous book, WHAT HAPPENS NOW, and to set it in New York City during that weird, surreal time between Christmas and New Year’s. I liked the idea of a romance between people who had made a mistake together in the past and were hoping to never see each other again. But I was really stuck finding the heart of the book. Then, a tragedy happened in my town. A 15-year-old girl took her own life, and at her memorial, her family’s rabbi delivered a eulogy that really resonated with me. This is what he said: “Look out for each other. Be brave. Risk losing a friend in order to help them. Share your deepest fears with each other, and your biggest dreams. Loving one another is wonderful and life-giving, but also very risky and challenging work. And it is the best thing you will ever do. Be bold, take a deep breath, and reach out.” That’s when I knew this was going to be a story about kindness, and discovering how hard it can be, and how it doesn’t always look the way we think it should. I had a writing professor in college who liked to say, “If you want to send a message, use Western Union,” so I was worried about this story being too message-y. Then I thought, how else am I going to be bold and reach out if not through my writing? I went for it. I hope this is a book that makes readers laugh, fall in love, think, and feel inspired.

Miranda Reads: Which one of your characters resembled you as a teen?

Jennifer Castle: All of my books’ main characters are a version of teen-Jennifer, but I would say that Laurel from THE BEGINNING OF AFTER is hands-down the closest resemblance to who I was (and still am, in many ways). I was bottled-up and quiet and nerdy, and struggled to find my voice and strength. Laurel’s neighborhood and town was my neighborhood and town. Fortunately, I never experienced a trauma even close to Laurel losing her family, but I’m glad i was able to honor, through her, the best parts of me from back then.

Miranda Reads: Top three favorite Broadway musicals?

Jennifer Castle: Hamilton. RENT. For the third…hmmm, that would be a tie between Hairspray and Jesus Christ Superstar (because when I was 15 I was in a production of JCS at performing arts camp and it was the best three weeks of my teenage years).

Miranda Reads: Which TBF Author are you most excited to meet this year?
Jennifer Castle: Robin Benway! I just read FAR FROM THE TREE and absolutely loved it.

Thank you so much, Jennifer! We can't wait to meet you in May!

You can purchase Jennifer's books at Barnes and Noble or Amazon or you can check out her books at your local library.

That's it for today! Be sure to check out the blog for more author interviews, book reviews, and fun posts!


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