Thursday, March 29, 2012

SBBS: Day 09 ~ Jennifer Castle

Spring Break Blog Spectacular Day 09: Jennifer Castle Guest Blog

Today's guest is author Jennifer Castle, whose first novel The Beginning of After, an amazing and emotional contemporary YA was published last September (and I can't wait to read her next one!).

Guest Blog:

You know that expression, “Getting there is half the fun”? Yeah, well. Often, it is totally not half the fun. Sometimes it is 3,000 times the nightmare, like when I was flying cross-country with my kids and one of them puked neon-orange cheese snacks on the other. But occasionally you get lucky, and getting there IS half the fun. Or maybe even all the fun, if the “there” ends up being pretty lame. That’s how I feel about road trips. I really love them.

You’ve got the great tunes and hopefully some interesting scenery. Squeeze in a stop at a memorable food joint and perhaps even some encounters with locals. There’s the fun of seeing things you’ve never seen before, and even if they’re boring, at least they’re new-boring. But the thing I love most is just the time spent in the car with other people. You end up having all these bizarre and random conversations that somehow never happen anywhere else. They’re usually a little deeper, a little more thoughtful. It’s harder to dance around tricky subjects. I guess there’s something about being stuck in close proximity, with very few distractions, in this world of the car where the rules of normal life don’t apply.

Then of course, there’s driving alone, which is not as much fun but I probably enjoy just as much. Because that is quality time with yourself. I have had life epiphanies and writing brainstorms and lovely sweet walks down memory lane, all behind the wheel with nobody else in the car.

Yes, I do like me a good period of sitting-still-in-something-metal-while-traveling-at-high-speeds. This is probably why all my books will probably have some kind of road trip in them. In “The Beginning of After,” there’s one…although we don’t get to see it. David takes off and goes out into what I (and Laurel) call The David Zone. He does a lot of driving by himself across the U.S. He spends a lot of time inside his own head, and that’s how he processes the tragedy of what’s happened (I’m thinking of writing a “companion” novella that takes place during this time, because it’s just way too tempting not to). It’s how he copes, as opposed to how Laurel does it.

There’s a road trip in my new book as well. It’s not a long trip, but it’s long enough for me to stick four people who don’t get along and have all this dramatic history between them into a vehicle and make them, like, talk. Really talk. It changes things. The story shifts after they spend time together on the move. I’m having a lot of fun with the dialogue and awkward/funny/sweet moments that come out of these scenes in the novel.

So this spring break, I hope you get the chance to hop in a car and share some great Road Trip Moments with someone. Maybe that’s someone you want to get to know better, or someone with whom you’ve been having some issues lately. Maybe it’s just a person you simply adore and you’re ready to adore some more. (Maybe all these apply, and that person is you.) Whoa. Just writing this makes me want to hit the highway, but I’ve got responsibilities and stuff. You do it for me…and send postcards!


Thank you, Jennifer for the blog!

About The Beginning of After: 
Anyone who's had something truly crappy happen to them will tell you: It's all about Before and After. What I'm talking about here is the "ka-pow," shake-you-to-your-core-and-turn-your-bones-to-plastic kind of crappy. Sixteen-year-old Laurel's world changes instantly when her parents and brother are killed in a terrible car accident. Behind the wheel is the father of her bad-boy neighbor, David Kaufman, whose mother is also killed. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Laurel navigates a new reality... 

from my review: "The Beginning of After is Laurel's attempt to go on with her life after losing her family. It's real, it's visceral, and its painful - but it's something you can't put down, either."

If you're interested in Jennifer's book The Beginning of After - and you definitely should be - you can find it on Goodreads, my review of it is here or you can buy it on Amazon or Book Depository.

Jennifer Castle's website, blog, author page on Goodreads, Facebook page, and @Jennifer_Castle on Twitter


  1. It's the learning to be with your own thoughts. This can be tough for some. You never know what will happen on the road.

  2. I've only had one bad road trip and that was on my way back from my dads house. We weren't even two hours into the trip, it was like a blizzard outside and here my dad goes driving the speed limit (70mph) flying by people who are stuck in ditches. I got home in one piece, but I wasn't a very happy camper.


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