I am so excited to be a part of the AFTERPARTY Blog Tour and to be able to share a short Q&A with Author Ann Redisch Stampler and one with Emma, AFTERPARTY’s main character. I also have a fantastic Guest Post from Ann talking about the various settings in AFTERPARTY, as well as a Deleted Scene.
The post also includes some information about the book and author, an excerpt, the tour schedule and an amazing tour-wide giveaway.
As there are quite a few parts to this post, I thought I’d link to each, so that you won’t have to scroll down… and down… and down… to read the parts you are most curious about. Just click on the section title or titles you want to visit and you’ll be automatically taken there.
- About Afterparty
- About Ann Redisch Stampler
- The Interviews
- The Guest Post
- The Deleted Scene
- The Excerpt
- The Giveaway
- The Tour Schedule
And be sure to visit all the stops on tour to read reviews, interviews, guest posts and to check out more deleted scenes. Some of the stops will have additional giveaways that you definitely won’t want to miss!
AFTERPARTY is a fascinating and beautifully written story filled with moments that are funny, sweet, sad and shocking. The settings are ones I am somewhat familiar with, and the author did an amazing job depicting them in her book. Everything leads up to the shocking/surprising/jaw-dropping/horrifying events that take place at the Afterparty and although I read this book prior to its release last year it’s an ending that is still utterly unforgettable.
If you haven’t yet had the chance to read AFTERPARTY, what are you waiting for? It’s an engaging story that is not to be missed.
Author: Ann Redisch Stampler
Release date: December 31, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, paperback (coming January 6, 2015)
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.
Because as intoxicating as her secret life may be, when Emma begins to make her own decisions, Siobhan starts to unravel. It’s more than just Dylan, the boy who comes between them. 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…
This explosive, sexy, and harrowing follow-up to Ann Redisch Stampler’s spectacular teen debut, Where It Began, reveals how those who know us best can hurt us most.
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.
Interview with Ann Redisch Stampler
Q. Who was your favorite character to write in AFTERPARTY? And why?
My favorite character to write was Siobhan. Because Emma’s feelings about Siobhan swung so far back and forth throughout the book, I got to write about Siobhan through a lot of different lenses: love, pity, appreciation, rage, and terror. Also, while Siobhan had to be wild, intelligent, and funny – leading to some really fun-to-write dialogue and wild texting – there were flashes of craziness had to be evident early on, and then to increase as Siobhan began to fall apart.
Q. What was your most challenging scene to write and why?
The most challenging scene to write was the Afterparty itself.
First, there was the question of setting and atmosphere. I knew I had to nail the Camden Hotel, a previously grand hotel, now in shambles, with only hints of its former glamour. The Camden had to be decadent and slightly creepy.
And then, of course, there were Emma and Dylan at the party, battling out what seemed like the end of their relationship around the central action of Siobhan pitching over the edge, metaphorically and literally. So Emma and Dylan’s interaction had to be woven through Emma’s quest to save Siobhan. Which occurred as Emma – after her avoidance and extremely moderate intake of controlled substances throughout most of her junior year – finally succumbs and gets increasingly impaired as the night of the Afterparty goes on, as conveyed in part by changes in her language, and the way she narrates the story.
Finally, the actual scene on the roof. I don’t want this answer to be an enormous spoiler, but spinning together the physical and emotional aspects of that scene to ramp up the physical and emotional tension in a complementary way, without resorting to melodrama, was a challenge.
Q. Emma and Siobhan had what might be called a toxic friendship, but it also seems as if there was a positive side for both of them. Do you think there was more good than bad to them being friends? And who do you think benefitted more from the friendship – Emma or Siobhan?
I think that both Emma and Siobhan got a lot out of their friendship, because of what each girl offered the other, and because of each girl’s own particular (and sometimes screwed-up) needs. If toxicity had been the primary feature, I don’t think the relationship would have been plausible. (Even though, at a couple of points, even as I wrote what was going on, I was silently screaming, “Get out! Get out!”)
Emma needed someone who would have her back at Latimer School, where the social scene wasn’t exactly welcoming. She needed someone who would accept her as who she was, including her dark secrets. She thought that she needed someone who would help her change – which she did, just not in the direction Siobhan pulled her. And even though she didn’t know it, she needed someone who would help her stand up to her father.
On the truly messed-up side, she needed to save – or at least try to save – someone who had a lot in common with her mother. Who, tragically, wasn’t saved.
Siobhan needed someone who cared about her and, unlike her mother and her steady stream of stepfathers, was physically there and available for her. Unfortunately, on the messed-up side, she needed that person to be always available to her and only to her. And to insure that this would happen, she needed a great deal of control over the other person.
And of course, each girl needed someone to hang out with who liked her. Their need to be liked and appreciated was met by this friendship…although, less and less so as the relationship deteriorated and finally went up in flames.
Interview with Emma
Q. Do you think things would have been different if Dylan wasn’t in the picture?
My life in L.A., the part of my life that had people other than my father in it, started my first day at Latimer. And Dylan was there that first day.
All right, he was kind of laughing at me, maybe, but it wasn’t the bad kind of laughing at someone. What am I even saying? All right, he wasn’t exactly laughing at me, he was laughing at the situation I was in, in that horrible French class when nobody would volunteer to show Siobhan and me around school so Siobhan – who didn’t respond well to being dissed – did her thing. And by her thing, I mean she opened her mouth and decimated la classe.
Which Dylan thought was hilarious. Me standing there turning white, wishing I’d said that, wishing I hadn’t, wishing a sink hole would open up in the floor of la classe.
My point being that Dylan was always there, more or less. Without Dylan, there would be an entirely different picture.
In terms of whether things would have been different with me and Siobhan without Dylan: probably. My father tortures me by forcing me talk about it, trying to get me to figure out Siobhan was bad news by slamming me with everything she ever did to me. And he doesn’t even know most of what she did to me. Not to mention, what she did with me. I mean, I’m being strictly honest about the main things. But I’m not going to torture him back with stuff he doesn’t have to know to get the general idea of what an idiot I was.
***Highlight below to read spoiler-y continuation of Emma’s answer.***
Anyway, Dylan is still in the picture. She’s been gone for months, but he’s still here.
Q. The way things went down was pretty intense. If you knew when you first met Siobhan that things would end up as they did, would you have kept your distance? Would you have changed anything? Or did the good outweigh the bad and you wouldn’t change a thing?
I go over this in my head all the time, what if this and what if that. But you know what, I did what I did and I can’t undo it. I’m sorry for a lot of it, truly sorry, the look on my dad’s face when I told him: not my finest moment. But who knows what would have happened if I’d stayed away from Sib? I was pretty determined to leave Good Emma in the dust. It’s not like that was her idea. I mean, the Afterparty list was her idea, but I probably would have figured out what less-good girls do in their spare time and tried it out with or without her. Some of it. Maybe.
About my impact on Siobhan, my father keeps insisting I was good for her, I was a stabilizing influence, I was Snow White and she was, well, definitely not Snow White. (He thinks I’m so much better than I am. Even after everything I did.) So the question is: Would the things that happened to Siobhan have happened if not for me? Would she be hanging around Latimer, slogging though senior year, filling out college applications? Borrowing Nancy’s tiny dresses and hooking up with anyone she wanted? Would she be totally fine? I don’t know. Yes? No? Maybe? It’s not like I can ask her.
On Creating the Settings for AFTERPARTY
(Visit Ann’s AFTERPARTY Pinterest Board for Pics)
I tend to visualize as I write fiction, looking out through the eyes of the character who’s narrating. This isn’t the result of a particular philosophy of writing; it’s just what happens. So even when characters are texting, or the scene consists primarily of dialogue, the events are still rooted in a specific, visualized setting. I know the color chair my immobile character is sitting in.
In Afterparty, the overall macro setting is the Westside of Los Angeles, primarily West Hollywood. (Apologies, WeHo. I know you’re your own city, but I live across the street and I see WeHo as part of a Los Angeles whole.) There’s a look and an atmosphere – particularly as perceived by a young outsider moving in – that I wanted to have pervade the book.
It was important for the story that Emma live just above the urban heart of the city, in the hills, looking down and feeling a seductive glamour from which she is barely yet completely separated.
The first significant micro setting was Emma’s house, a very romantic white Spanish house, probably from the ‘thirties, with a courtyard, a fountain, a vine-covered wall – a house that was beautiful, well-furnished, freshly painted, permeated by the scent of baking, but increasingly suffocating.
The view from Emma’s backyard is the (less foliage-blocked) view from the room where I write. In fact, I use a lot of very specific real places, borrow bits and pieces from others, move a few, and make up some that don’t exist.
For example, when Emma and her father are driven to the beach club their first day in L.A., the limo drives along a route I’ve travelled many times. But their beach club destination combines aspects of a couple of different beach clubs, and I threw in the lagoon and the tiki lights (among other things) to give this club its own character.
Latimer School is another made-up place. I already stole some of my favorite aspects of the old Harvard-Westlake Middle School (which has since been reconstructed) for Winston School in Where It Began. And I wanted to give Latimer a sense of tasteless grandeur, using the aspect of L.A. architecture that feels more like set-construction. I especially like the pseudo-Greek temple in which Emma and Siobhan take French. As for the stables and the riding trail off Mulholland Drive in Upper Bel-Air: non-existent.
An example of a real place: The Griddle, a restaurant on Sunset near Fairfax with the best red velvet pancakes and sidewalk tables. The perfect spot for a first kiss (and for the last kiss in the book as well).
The Camden Hotel, where the Afterparty itself unfolds, combines features of a number of different hotels and party venues. I’ve imagined myself walking the upstairs halls of the Camden (faded maroon, gold and green patterned carpeting; art nouveau sconces, many broken or missing altogether; brass room numbers nailed on dark oak doors), felt the mist in the ballroom; listened to the terrible cover band; and smelled the bar off to one side with the coffins set in loam beyond the musty velvet curtain, many many times. As for the roof, I know its different levels, where the Spanish tiles stop and the tar paper starts, and the trajectory of the drainpipe. With the Camden, I almost had to know the place before I could write the party, because so much of the action turns on the physical attributes of the hotel, and it would have felt off to make up bits of the hotel as I went along to suit the action.
I also use settings, at times, to heighten irony or support characterization.
Dylan, who despises all things Los Angeles and can’t wait to leave, kind of had to live in an iconic L.A. neighborhood, in the flats of Beverly Hills, in a giant fake-Tudor house from which he’s exiled to a pseudo-rustic cottage of a guesthouse off the driveway. I actually know which block he lives on (not telling) but I took a lot of liberties with the house itself. And Arif, who is in fact quite traditional but very comfortable with modern life, had to live in a breathtaking ultra-modern house.
Most of the details of my settings don’t make it onto the page explicitly. But I hope that the characters’ experiences in the spaces they inhabit, and the language used in association with those places, gives the reader a feel for their atmosphere.
In Afterparty, Emma and Siobhan make a series of increasingly risky pacts. I tried out all sorts of different pacts before I arrived at the ones used in the book. This deleted chapter is the set up for a pact in which Siobhan recruits a reluctant Emma to get even with a teacher who’s accused her of cheating.
During break, Siobhan pulls me to the side of the library with the stone benches. She looks as if she’s going to go stomp on someone.
I say, “What?” It’s obvious that we’re not rushing to get to class on time.
“Mr. Murdoch thinks I cheated,” Siobhan says.
“Yes way. He’s completely convinced that if you don’t do his precious worksheets, you can’t pass the test, and if you follow his logic then either I secretly did the worksheets in the dark of the night or I cheated off Hannah Dell. What an a-hole. I told him, I can’t help it if I sit by Hannah, just give me another test right now and I’ll get 96 again, but nooooo, he wants to take me to honor board.”
“You got 96?” I am, in fact, considering asking my dad to hire a tutor to help me with the worksheets because that’s how hard they are.
“I’m good at math,” she says. “Too bad I hate it. I should just stop going to class if he despises me so much.”
“I can’t even listen to this. If you go to honor board and you get kicked out of school, I will seriously die.” It just comes out, I don’t even think about it, but even though it would leave Dylan behind, I can’t face Latimer without her. “You have to fix this!”
“Why would I get kicked out of school? I’m the one who got the 96 and he’s the one making up lies about me and slandering me and defaming me. Can’t I sue him for that?”
“This isn’t funny.”
“Stop hyperventilating. I told him I’d take a test in front of honor board and I’d still get 96 and he’d come off looking stupid and he said he was going to take me to Mr. Hayes and I said, fine, take me to Mr. Hayes, I’ll take a test in front of Mr. Hayes and you’ll still come off looking stupid.”
“Calm down. I didn’t say stupid. I wasn’t going to get kicked out of school for calling a stupid person stupid. That would be stupid.”
This is good news, but not good enough. I’m pretty sure that if Siobhan gets dragged in front of honor board, someone like Chelsea will say she kind of sort of might have seen her cheating off Hannah and five minutes later she’ll be enrolled at Foxcroft wearing a pearl-buttoned blouse or whatever girl preppies wear in the deep south, and texting me at 4 a.m. because she forgot it was three hours later in Virginia. And who would I even talk to at school, Kimmy?
“Siobhan: boarding school. You don’t want to go back to boarding school, do you? You can copy my worksheet and just give him the damn thing.”
“You’re missing the point,” Siobhan says, pacing back and forth in front of the bench and talking too loud. “There aren’t going to be any worksheets. Pact, all right?”
This tour comes with a seriously amazing GRAND PRIZE giveaway for..
- A hardcover copy of Afterparty
- Emma’s contraband Sephora makeup
- Emma’s Kate Spade makeup bag
- Emma’s Bob Marley T-shirt
- Emma’s vintage mother-of-pearl barrette
- Emma’s cat eye sunglasses
- Emma’s ice blue nail polish
- The sparkly hair pins Dylan pulls out of Emma’s hair
- Dylan’s Kurt Cobain T-shirt
- Siobhan’s gold nail polish
- Mara’s Bakelite-style orange bracelet (+ two more)
- Mara’s (tiny) Felix the Cat ring
- An Afterparty tote bag
Giveaway is US ONLY and ends on November 14th.
Enter in the Rafflecopter below…