Sophomore Spotlight: Jennifer Castle
I'm so excited to welcome Jennifer Castle to the blog as part of Sophomore Spotlight! She is here with lots to say about her sophomore novel, You Look Different in Real Life!
For the rest of the world, the movies are entertainment. For Justine, they're real life.
The premise was simple: five kids, just living their lives. There'd be a new movie about them every five years, starting in kindergarten. But no one could have predicted what the cameras would capture. And no one could have predicted that Justine would be the star.
Now sixteen, Justine doesn't feel like a star anymore. In fact, when she hears the crew has gotten the green light to film Five at Sixteen, all she feels is dread. The kids who shared the same table in kindergarten have become teenagers who hardly know one another. And Justine, who was so funny and edgy in the first two movies, feels like a disappointment.
But these teens have a bond that goes deeper than what's on film. They've all shared the painful details of their lives with countless viewers. They all know how it feels to have fans as well as friends. So when this latest movie gives them the chance to reunite, Justine and her costars are going to take it. Because sometimes, the only way to see yourself is through someone else's eyes.
Smart, fresh, and frequently funny, You Look Different in Real Life is a piercing novel about life in an age where the lines between what's personal and what's public aren't always clear.
This one sounds really unique and I'm definitely looking forward to getting my hands on a copy! Jennifer was kind enough to answer some questions about the book and her process.
Welcome, Jennifer! Thank you so much for taking part in my Sophomore Spotlight feature!
J: Justine and friends re-see themselves.
J: After working on "The Beginning of After" for so long, I wanted to get away from the themes of loss and grief and into more of a mix of fun-meets-serious. I've always been a big fan of documentary films, perhaps for the same reason why I love writing contemporary YA fiction: sometimes there's nothing more fascinating than real life. Then I often wonder about the people in these documentaries and even on reality TV, and how the experience of living on camera, even for a short time, changes them. One of my favorite documentaries is the "Up" series of films by director Michael Apted. He started by interviewing a group of 7-year-olds in England in 1964, and has checked in on their lives every 7 years, with the most recent being "56 Up." So I borrowed that premise; it just seemed like such a juicy setup that would let me create some interesting characters and explore their relationships.
J: YOU LOOK DIFFERENT IN REAL LIFE is the second book in a two-book deal I was offered with THE BEGINNING OF AFTER, so it was very strange to be writing a manuscript, knowing it was going to be published. That changed everything in good ways ("Cool! Someone will actually be reading this!") and not-so-good ways ("Holy Crap! Someone will actually be reading this!"). The other big difference was that I took six years to write THE BEGINNING OF AFTER and I wrote this book much more quickly; I had a deadline and an editor waiting to see it. At first, I kind of freaked out to be writing so fast. I didn't think I was capable. But it turns out I was, and the schedule forced me to dive straight into the core of the story and stay there without getting distracted. It made me a better, more disciplined, more focused writer. So, yay for forced growth!
J: There's a lot I don't know about myself, but one thing I do know, fortunately, is that contemporary is my passion, my strength, my THING. I love writing it and always will.
J: I don't know if magical realism is considered a full genre, but I would love to explore that. It seems like a good balance between fantasy and contemporary that I could pull off. I'd also love to write historical fiction...but I'm wimpy about the amount of research and period-clothing description that requires!
J: "I'm not sure how much I changed at all. There was just the version of me I created to show the world, and the version of me that felt like me...and I can't tell where they overlap."
(I won't say who that's from, since it's kind of a spoiler...Mwahaha!)
J: I don't listen to music while I'm actually butt-in-chair, word-count-accumulation writing, but music plays a huge part in my overall process. I'll continuously form a playlist while I'm drafting and editing, and listen to it in the car, on walks, cleaning the house, or whenever else I want to be brainstorming about the story. The one song I practically had on a loop during this book was "Heroes" by David Bowie. It just felt like such an anthem for Justine, Felix, Nate, Rory, and Keira. So powerful and hopeful, but also full of doubt and angst. Epic Reads asked me to share my playlist in more detail, and you can check it out here:
Very cool! You happen to have a few of my favourites on there!
Are there any other sophomore releases you've either loved or are looking forward to?
J: My friend Louise Rozett is due out with CONFESSIONS OF AN ALMOST-GIRLFRIEND, the sequel to her debut CONFESSIONS OF AN ANGRY GIRL, and I can't wait to read it. I love her sense of humor and the character of Rose Zarelli.
J: Both THE BEGINNING OF AFTER and YOU LOOK DIFFERENT IN REAL LIFE have romantic secondary storylines. I enjoyed every minute of writing those elements. So the book I'm working on now aims to be a slay-you-dead-with-swoon straight-out romance. I want to make all sorts of hotness and recreate for readers that feeling of truly falling in love...and all the fun and not-so-fun bonuses that come after.
Oh, my... that sounds quite appealing! I'll be watching for that for sure. Thank you again, Jennifer. I think there is a lot to look forward to from you!
Jennifer has kindly offered to send a signed ARC to one lucky US/Can reader!
Some Rules (aka the not so fun but important part):
~ This giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada only.
~ No P.O. boxes.
~ Must be 13 or older to enter.
~ Winner will be chosen randomly and contacted via email. The winner has 48 hours to respond to my email, otherwise they forfeit their prize and I will choose another winner, who must abide by the same rules.
~ Neither Jennifer nor I are not responsible for lost or damaged packages.
~ No cheating! In this case, I have the right to disqualify entries as I see fit.
~ By entering the giveaway, you are agreeing to these rules.
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