Monday, February 20, 2012

Author Interview: Ann Redisch Stampler of Where It Began

Today I have Ann Redisch Stampler, author of Where It Began, on the blog for an interview!

1. Twitter style: describe WHERE IT BEGAN in 140 characters or less.

Gabby wakes up by Billy's wrecked car & can’t remember the 3 most important hours of her life. Who is she & who will she become?

2. What are three things you must have for a productive writing day?

A pilot pen. A spiral notebook. A laptop. Really, that’s it. If you’ve got the basic tools, you can’t afford to need anything else. Even inspiration, because if there’s nothing on the page, there’s nothing to play with when inspiration strikes.

3. I love WHERE IT BEGAN’s cover. Did you have any input and were you pleased with the final outcome?

I love the cover, too. I was shown the cover before it was cast in, well, I guess not stone, but whatever gorgeous covers are cast in, and what could I say? It was completely different from what I was expecting, but I loved it. It’s so beautiful and that girl is so clearly Gabby.

4. Who are some of your writing inspirations?

My favorite books are Pride and Prejudice and Romeo and Juliet. This is not what you could call original, but there you have it.

I feel kind of pretentious and over-reaching listing other writers who’ve inspired me because they’re just so good at what I aspire to do. And these are so not contemporary books! But at various points early in my life, all I did was read and sit there being inspired by books, so I’m going with the early ones, sitting in the lateish 20th century reading J.D. Salinger, Cynthia Ozicks’s short stories, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Margaret Drabble’s early novels, Slouching Toward Bethlehem, Lucky Jim, Grace Paley’s short stories, Mr. Sammler’s Planet, Ellen Gilchrist, Anita Brookner, Edna O’Brien. This makes me want to go back and re-read them all.

5. You are an accomplished picture book author. How did you make the switch to writing for teens?

Thank you! I love picture books and it’s nice to think of myself as “accomplished” at some form of writing while I sit here trying to pummel my next novel into shape. (And I haven’t really switched! A box of copies of my new picture book, “The Wooden Sword,” just arrived and it’s gorgeous!)

Most of what I wrote before I had kids were short stories with late teenage and early twenties protagonists.

When I had children, I read them lots of picture books, and my childhood love for those books, and for the retelling of folk tales, was rekindled.

From a practical perspective, because I didn’t have long stretches of time to write, picture books were perfect for me. (As it turns out, while other people write magnificent novels while employed full time and raising four children, I require months of sitting on a couch because I’m so slow and I have to revise so much.) I could hold an entire picture book in my head and read it out loud over and over in the course of a very broken up day, and do meaningful work on a manuscript in an afternoon.

But I did have pieces of novels that I’d worked at for years but never got further than maybe 50 or 75 pages into. And when my youngest kid left for college, I was out of excuses not to try to finish one of them. Because I believed both that I could do it and that I was deluding myself.

I honestly don’t know why the novel that happened was YA. Gabby’s voice just arrived in my head along with her story, and I went with it.

Thanks, Ann, for stopping by bookmarked today! Be sure to check out the other tour stops for more interviews, guest posts, and reviews!


  1. Hi Jamie,
    I just wanted to thank you so much for kicking off the Where It Began blog tour! I am in awe of YA bloggers and the energy that goes into everything you do to support YA literture! Also, I don't know if you've gotten a chance to see the book, but Simon and Schuster has put the first few chapters up at if you'd like to read a bit.
    Thanks again!

    1. I was more than happy to do it, Ann!


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