I’m super excited to be a part of this Blog Tour Stop for the wonderful book Afterparty by Ann Stampler. You can read my review of Afterparty here. 2 Giveaways & an Interview!
A toxic friendship takes a dangerous turn in this riveting novel from the author of Where It Began.
Emma is tired of being good. Always the dutiful daughter to an overprotective father, she is the antithesis of her mother–whose name her dad won’t even say out loud. That’s why meeting Siobhan is the best thing that ever happened to her… and the most dangerous. Because Siobhan is fun and alluring and experienced and lives on the edge. In other words, she’s everything Emma is not.
And it may be more than Emma can handle. Their high-stakes pacts are spinning out of control. Elaborate lies become second nature. Loyalties and boundaries are blurred. And it all comes to a head at the infamous Afterparty, where debauchery rages and an intense, inescapable confrontation ends in a plummet from the rooftop…
Ann Redisch Stampler is the author of young adult novels Where It Began and Afterparty, as well as several picture books, including The Rooster Prince of Breslov. Her books have been an Aesop Accolade winner, Sydney Taylor notable books and an honor book, a National Jewish Book Awards finalist and winner, and Bank Street Best Books of the Year. Ann has two adult children and lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband. Website: annstampler.com / Twitter: @annstampler / Facebook: https://facebook.com/WhereItBegan / Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15751652-afterparty
Interview with Ann Redisch Stampler!
When you were growing up, did you have a frien-enmy? How did you handle her/him?
When I was a tiny child, I had a kind, wonderful, loving best friend. (Helene, wherever you are, I want you back!)
And then came school, where my best friend, Janey, had a different best friend, Susie. Basically, I got Janey when Susie wasn’t available. It sucked. I had a whole bunch of other friends who were kind of great, so why in my mind Janey was The One is one of those sad, twisty mysteries of female friendship. But she was, so from an early age, I’ve had an acute awareness of friendship fails.
Actually, as I was growing up, there were a couple of friendships in which it would have been a good idea to actually tell the other person what was bothering me. Or, in the alternative, to have quietly backed away. Or said, hey, it’s over, b!@#$ (which, when I was growing up, wasn’t considered a sexist slur).
Instead, I tended to hang in. I don’t recommend this at all. To anyone. Ever. Loyalty is one thing; I’m for it. But we’re talking about something very different from loyalty, and anyone who’s ever been in this kind of relationship knows exactly what I mean.
What was the most challenging thing about writing Afterparty?
One of the main things I worked on was making sure that the friendship between Emma and Siobhan had enough supportive and positive elements for each girl, that it made sense that they were both sticking with it. For Emma, especially, even though I was fine with readers wanting to smack her and yell, “Get out of there!!!” from time to time, it had to be clear that she felt that she’d be alone and clueless in a hostile environment without Siobhan. And that Siobhan’s acceptance of her even after she knew her dark secrets, and understood her fears and inexperience, was deeply important to her. And that Siobhan had one or two things in common with her AWOL mother. And that in the face of the sting of her dad’s disapproval and disappointment with her, she needed someone to bolster her sense of herself as a worthwhile person, even if that person did some things to her that weren’t exactly…um…in the interest of avoiding massive spoilers, I’ll stop here.
Your story of a poisonous friendship rings so true! What would you like to tell people who are in these kids of relationships?
Obviously, there are some healthy things that you can try first. If you think the other person is capable of hearing you and capable of change, you can try having a conversation. Or a series of conversations. Or a big, loud fight. And maybe you can stick up for yourself, clear the air, and get things to change.
But maybe deep down you know that the only way this is going to change is if you head for the door. In this situation, my advice is: If you’re past the point where there’s a reasonable hope of turning things around, walk away.
Even though you might be getting some really good things from this friendship, even though the other person might strike back if you leave, even though you’re going to hurt the other person’s feelings and people standing on the sidelines might blame you for this, even though you have a bunch of shared history and it’s sad to lose a friend, even though everything…get out
One of my favorite things about Afterparty is how realistic it is. Between the deeply rich and conflicting characters to the shadowed motivations, Afterparty screams authentic to me. What character did you create first? And the did the others fall into place or did you work on the story first?
First of all, thank you so much!
Afterparty is a story about relationships, and I had the story of Emma and Siobhan and their friendship’s trajectory in mind as I started to write. But because I wrote the book in Emma’s voice, from her point of view, she was the first fully developed character. I had to know who she was and how she experienced things, every detail of her, before I could get the story on paper. Clearly, as the person who made up the story, and as an adult, I might have seen Siobhan a little differently than Emma did. But because the book was from Emma’s perspective, everything we knew about the other characters had to come from her. I tried to stay inside of Emma as I was writing, so the other characters developed as she interacted with them.
As I write, all of my characters feel more and more like real people to me.
Krispy Kreme or Dunkin Donuts?
Dunkin’ Donuts! It’s so funny that you’ve just asked me this because there’s a Dunkin’ Donuts scene in the book I’m working on.
Do you have a favorite place to write?
I do a lot of writing on a small sofa in my bedroom. It’s extremely comfortable and has a great view of West Hollywood and beyond through a wooded canyon. Not unlike the view from Emma’s back yard.
You have written so many books in different genres! Do you have a favorite?
My favorite thing to write tends to be whatever I’m working on right then. (And if it’s not, it means I’ve hit a snag in getting the story written or revised.) There’s something so elegant and compelling about a well-done picture book. But I appreciate the luxury of all the words and space and different scenes and characters you get to develop with a novel, especially after all those years of picture books!
What are you working on now?
It’s a YA thriller in two voices.
Nicky: A sweet, well-meaning small-town cheerleader with a loving dad, a best friend who cares, a hoard of kids she’s stood up for, and a wild streak the likes of which Cotter’s Mill, Ohio has never seen before, has everything going for her until a young woman is brutally murdered in the woods near her house. And it looks like she did it. Which is why she has to disappear.
Jack: A militantly self-controlled, mostly straight-edge, straight-A boy, just as he’s on the verge of getting out of Las Vegas and going east for college, finally getting away from his family of thugs, is blackmailed to track her down and get rid of her – or else he’s not the only one who pays the price.
That sounds fantastic! I can’t wait to read it! THANKS FOR STOPPING BY ANN! Loved your answers!
Thank you to Simon Pulse for the giveaway copies! This one is blog tour wide!
Grand Prize Giveaway!
Because I Love this book so much, I get to give away this book to a lucky reader from Simon Pulse! All you have to do is comment on this post!
Question: Have you ever had a friend-enemy?