August 31, 2011

Blog Tour: The Beginning of After

I'm so pleased to be a part of the tour for "The Beginning of After" by Jennifer Castle, which releases on September 6. I really loved the book, and you can read my review here.

Tour Concept:
"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. One part of your life unyokes from the other."

Now here's Jennifer to talk about...

Before and After: High School Graduation

My high school graduating class was relatively small --120 students -- many of which I’d known since kindergarten. When I went up to grab my diploma, I walked past kids I had gone to day camp with, had competed in town swim meets with, had trick-or-treated and slumber partied with. We all shared a history that was stronger than any one of us on our own. In other words, I was sick to death of the whole bunch.

I was lucky -- I wasn’t bullied or persecuted in school. But I did feel overlooked and pigeonholed, and that can be its own hell when you’re trying to figure out who you really are, apart from what others do or do not see about you.

Before graduation, all I wanted was to be more than the SmartShy girl, the Drama Club Geek, the English Teacher’s Pet. I did what I could. As senior year wound down, I got a crazy haircut, long on one side and short on the other. I started dressing in my dad’s old clothes and oddball handmade jewelry I bought off the street in Greenwich Village.

But after I took that diploma, I no longer had to style and accessorize my way to an identity. I just had to be. I went off to college and on that first night of freshman orientation, found myself suddenly surrounded by people who only knew me as the girl in room 407, and it was a total rush. For me, that was the way the world first opened up: not through courses I took, or places I went. It was through the people. We came from all over and we came to one another fresh and new, with no history or preconceived notions. We connected over shared interests and life stories and revolting $4-a-case beer.

I would never want to go back to the Before of my high school graduation. It’s like a gorgeous snowglobe, sealed forever. But sometimes it’s fun to admire how pretty it is, and how in certain light all I see are the good memories and the roots of who I am now (and am still becoming).

And then sometimes I write about different girls, in different high schools surrounded by different people…who maybe look just a little familiar to me.

About the book:
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. Now, Laurel must navigate a new world in which she and her best friend grow apart, boys may or may not be approaching her out of pity, overpowering memories lurk everywhere, and Mr. Kaufman is comatose but still very much alive. Through it all, there is David, who swoops in and out of Laurel’s life and to whom she finds herself attracted against her better judgment. She will forever be connected to him by their mutual loss, a connection that will change them both in unexpected ways.

About the author:
Jennifer Castle graduated from 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. The Beginning of After is her first novel. She lives with her husband and two young daughters in New York's Hudson Valley. Visit her at

Be sure and visit La Femme Readers on Friday, September 2 for the next stop on the tour!


  1. The author's before and after explanation for this post really spoke to me. I felt like she was explaining my high school days back to me. Can't wait to read this book.

  2. Even though I graduated from high school many more years ago than I care to remember, Castle's words about how she struggled to assert an identity in high school amongst people she had known for years really resonated with me. She certainly has had an interesting career path, and I wish her luck with her writing. This book sounds quite gripping.

  3. Lovely interview!!
    I don't know what is it about high school that sort of lingers with us so much. I actually loved my high school days even though there were some really dark times; and yeah, it was hard to start over in college but also fun, at least for me.

  4. What a fabulous post! My high school graduating class was 114 people (and that included those that went to a vocational school our high school partnered with), so I had much the same experience with knowing every single person pretty well. I wouldn't want to go back to the Before of high school either, but like you I didn't have a horrible experience so it's nice to look back now and then.

  5. Great guest post! I'm from a small graduating class as well... Maybe because I haven't been out of high school too long yet, but I still haven't really reached my reminiscing days... :)


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