Thursday, 23 June 2016

Blog Tour & Giveaway | What Happens Now by Jennifer Castle: Interview & Giveaway

What Happens Now

by Jennifer Castle

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: June 7th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mental Illness


"I know what it is to want something so badly, you feel like your cells aren’t properly bonded together without it. 
I also know what it’s like to get that something.
And honestly, I’m still not sure which is worse..."

Ari Logan is battling to win her war against depression and the dark night she hurt herself on purpose. It’s not easy: her best friend is drifting away, her mom’s emotionally checked out, and she spends her days playing caregiver to her handful of a half-sister, Danielle. But it’s summer, and anything is possible...

That’s when Camden Armstrong steps onto the beach of Ari’s local swimming lake. 

At first, Ari quietly longs for Camden from afar, seeing in him everything she wants to be. When the two discover a true connection the following summer, Ari lets herself fall not just for the quirky and self-assured Camden but also his friends, tumbling into their world of independence, adventure, and shared sci-fi fandom. As Ari’s romantic dreams come true, she must unlock the mysteries of the very real and troubled boy behind her infatuation, while also struggling with her own demons, obligations, and loyalties.

From the award-winning author of "The Beginning of After" and "You Look Different in Real Life," "What Happens Now" is a touching, insightful novel about learning to heal, learning to love, and what happens when fantasy becomes reality.

Q Which writers inspire you?

Rainbow Rowell. Lois Lowry. Sara Zarr. And my friends who are writers, like Kim Purcell, Christine Heppermann, Tara Altebrando, Kelly Braffet, and Phoebe North, to name a few. For me, inspiration comes not just from the writing but the person behind it, so I tend to idolize people I actually know!

Q Tell us something about your main character?

Ari Logan is a fangirl, but she keeps it under wraps. She grew up watching the 80’s sci-fi series “Silver Arrow” with her mom, because her mom was obsessed with it. Now her mom has closed off that part of herself because it reminds her of a bad time, but Ari keeps the fan flame alive. She reads the novelizations, she secretly loves the short-lived remake of the series, and she wears vintage purple boots that make her feel like the show’s heroine, Satina Galt. When she meets Camden and his friends, who not only love “Silver Arrow” but COSPLAY the characters, it really does seem meant to be...

Q What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a sequel/companion novel for WHAT HAPPENS NOW, called TOMORROW WAS PERFECT. It’s about two of the secondary characters from this book, Kendall and Max, and a strange, wonderful, challenging New Year’s Eve they have in Manhattan. Ari, Camden, Eliza, and James are all in it, too. 

Q Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from What Happens Now?

Mae Whitman. Because, Mae Whitman! There’s something very accessible about her. She seems smart and real and like someone I’d want to hang out on a lake beach with, making snarky comments about people. But seriously: Ari is discovering a lot of things about life, love, and herself in the book, and I think Mae would portray that beautifully. 

Q When did you decide to become a writer?

The way I see it, there are two kinds of writers. There are writers who are just, you know, writers. In their hearts and minds, always telling stories and sometimes sharing them. Those writers don’t choose it; it’s simply their thing. (And for the record, I think everyone has a little of that in them.) Sometimes these people try to make writing their job, and that’s definitely a choice. I made this choice because if you can get paid even a little bit for telling the stories you’re always telling yourself anyway, and then have those stories out in the world for others to experience, that’s pretty much a dream come true. I love what I do. I feel like I was born to do it! Even though it’s not always fun, it is always rewarding. 

Q What was the hardest thing about writing What Happens Now?

The hardest thing, by far, was the fact that this is a very personal story for me. The heart of it comes from an experience I had when I was college. I sank into an unexplained depression. I didn’t know how to get help, so I ended up cutting myself so people would know I was in trouble. Once I was in treatment and recovering, I developed an intense crush on a guy I went to school with. To me, he represented everything that was hopeful and “Possible” about life going forward. So that part of Ari’s story comes from me. Ari’s relationship to her sister is also wrapped up in my experiences as a mom. The problem with writing a personal story is that it’s very difficult to separate out what’s important to you and what is important to the book. After she read the first draft, my editor said, “You need to make Ari less like you. She needs to be her own person. NOT YOU!” And I was like, “Oh. Right.” The next draft was much, much easier!

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Jennifer Castle received her B.A. in Creative Writing at Brown University and worked as a celebrity publicist’s assistant, an advertising copywriter, and a struggling screenwriter (yes, that’s an actual job) before falling into a niche producing websites for kids and teens. Her debut, THE BEGINNING OF AFTER, was a 2012 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults selection as well as a Chicago Public Library "Best of the Best" book. YOU LOOK DIFFERENT IN REAL LIFE and its companion digital novella, PLAYING KEIRA, were published by HarperTeen in June 2013. Her next novel, WHAT HAPPENS NOW, is forthcoming from Harper in June 2016. She lives in New York's Hudson Valley with her husband and daughters.

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