Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Author Spotlight! Ann Stampler: Author of Where it Began


Where it Began 

Where it Began marks the YA debut of Ann Redisch Stampler. She is the author of 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.

Visit Ann Stampler: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

First off, Thank you for stopping by!

Thanks for having me!  I appreciate the invitation.

Tell us 5 random things about yourself

Dog lover, chocaholic, novel junkie, allergic to strawberries, inveterate eavesdropper

Where it Began is your debut novel. How did that moment feel when you found out it was going to be published?

Absolute joy, dizzy with it.  I had been bouncing between fantasies of the book being published (to huge fanfare involving me being driven around Central Park in a horse-drawn carriage made of a magic pumpkin, surrounded by chirping birds and sparkly butterflies) and even more vivid fantasies of the manuscript being rejected by house after house following an excruciating wait, involving a great deal of crying and bad language.  So when the book was acquired quickly by the perfect editor, I thought I had already rehearsed what my emotions would be – but I had no idea.  I was knocked out. 

Have you always wanted to write in the Young Adult genre?

You know, I didn’t think of myself as a YA writer until I actually started to write Where It Began.  But when I look back at the short stories I wrote for many years, starting way before I began to publish picture books, my characters were almost always in that late teen, early twenties age range.  So I would say that I’ve always wanted to write, and YA is what showed up on the page.

Were any of the characters a challenge to write?

Billy Nash.  Absolutely Billy Nash.  For reasons I can’t explain without it being a giant spoiler.

What is 'A day in the life of Ann Stampler' like?

I’ve been struggling with this question, and I think that the only true answer is that my days don’t have a predictable shape. 

There are things that I do virtually every day, the list of which makes me sound like perhaps the most boring person in the world -- write, read, eat dinner with my husband, play with my dog, check my email, do some sort of chores so that my house isn’t overwhelmed by dust and dirty dishes. 

But beyond that, when I go to the farmer’s market, or cut out and have lunch at my favorite Japanese restaurant, visit a bookstore, see friends, go to the movies or a play or a concert, hang out with my kids, spend days with my house converted to a set for student films, do a school or library visit story-telling with little kids, walk the dog in the hills, leave town, write at the beach, go downtown and binge on shopping for necklaces and earrings and long, long gauzy scarves -- it’s completely irregular.

If you could have dinner with any book character in history, who would it be?

I love and adore Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice, but really, there’s only so many times I can have dinner with her, so I’m going to change it up.  I’m going to say Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye. 

But I want to have dinner with Holden maybe twenty years after the end of the book. (Which would put this dinner back in 1971; I wonder what Holden makes of hippies, and the Beatles, and the war in Viet Nam. I’m thinking longish hair but no bell-bottom jeans.) Because, as in so much YA, the end of his story suggests beginnings and I want to know what happened next, and next, and next.

Finish this sentence: "I can't live without..."

my family.”

Do you have any writing must haves? (music, snacks, etc)

Black pilot pens; spiral notebooks; colored paper clips; especially if I’m tired, a quiet room; preferably -- but not necessarily if I’m writing away from home -- my dog; chocolate; a window.

What books are waiting to be read on your 'To Read' pile?

This is a very, very large pile.  But the YA’s start with Beauty Queens, Virtuosity, Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares (I might put off this one because the book I’m working on has something akin to dares as part of the story.), How to Save a Life, and The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.

Crazy Quiz

Name one guilty pleasure you have?

Watching movies I like over and over and over.  Especially YAish movies like Adventureland or Charlie Barlett or Ten Things I Hate About You.  And old John Hughs movies like Breakfast Club.  

Favourite food?

Anything chocolate, as long as there aren’t bananas or peanuts in it.

Favourite film?


Twilight or Harry Potter?

Harry Potter

You favourite book as a child?

This varied depending on my age, but my first favorite book that I could read by myself was “The Cat in the Hat.”

Thanks Ann, it is a pleasure having you!

Again, thank you for inviting me and for these great questions.

Gabby Gardiner wakes up in a hospital bed looking like a cautionary ad for drunk driving and lacking a single memory of the accident that landed her there. What she can remember, in frank and sardonic detail, is the year leading up to the accident.

As she takes us through her transformation from invisible girl to on-trend Girl Who Dates Billy Nash (aka Most Desirable Boy Ever), she is left wondering: Why is Billy suddenly distancing himself from her? What do her classmates know that Gabby herself does not? Who exactly was in the car that night? And why is Gabby left alone to take the fall?
Putting the pieces together will take every ounce of Gabby's strength. As she peels back the layers of her life, she begins to realize that her climb up the status ladder has been as intoxicating as it has been morally complex...and that nothing about her life is what she has imagined it to be.
Hitting Shelves on March 6th!
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  1. Allergic to strawberries?! That is just horrible! Chocolate are strawberries together...magnificent!

    I loved Dash & Lily and Mara :)

    I'm not a fan of bananas either, lol.

  2. I loved the comment "So I would say that I’ve always wanted to write, and YA is what showed up on the page" - it just makes the writing feel so natural! :)

    Lovely interview!

    Bonnie @


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