I am lucky enough to feature Jennifer Castle. I adore her! I read her book The Beginning of After and was completely blown away. it was such an emotional story and I fell in love with Laurel and David. You can read my review of the book here.
Now, Jennifer has more awesomeness out in the wild! You Look Different in Real Life was released in June and Playing Keira (a novella) was released in May. I haven't had a chance to read these yet but I will be very very soon!
Today, as part of the rockstar tour, I have Jennifer here for an interview about her book You Look Different in Real Life. Don't miss the giveaway below for a signed copy of the book!
What made you decide to write about teens involved in a movie of their lives?
I’ve always been fascinated by what happens to reality TV and documentary film subjects after the cameras go away. Do they live their lives differently, like someone’s always watching? Does the way they’re portrayed on screen change the way they see themselves in real life? The possibilities of character and story seemed so juicy, I couldn’t resist. Then I started thinking about how the rise of blogging and social media has allowed pretty much everyone to make themselves the “stars” of their own documentary. Every time we post a status, a photo, check in at a location...we’re building a narrative of our own lives. I think it’s scary-easy to share so much of ourselves, to think so obsessively about what we’re putting out there for the world to see, that we lose track of who we really are.
So the documentary film premise seemed like it was relevant on a couple different levels, and something I could really have fun with. After many years of working on THE BEGINNING OF AFTER, I needed some fun. I was ready to do something where nobody dies. That might have actually been the first note to myself about this book: “Dear Jen: Please don’t kill anyone.” You have to start somewhere.
2. What's one word you'd use to describe each character (Justine, Rory, Nate, Felix and Keira)?
I love you for this question, and also I hate you for this question. This was tough. But the good tough.
3. With so many reality shows out these days, would you ever agree to have a portion of your life taped?
It’s funny, because while I was writing YOU LOOK DIFFERENT IN REAL LIFE, I spent an afternoon carrying around a small digital video camera, shooting everything that went on in my house. I just wanted the experience of choosing which moments to record and being conscious of this extra eye observing us. I only lasted a few hours, because it freaked me out that our family’s craziness, the absurd stuff that happens with me and my husband and my kids and my pets every day, was actually being saved for posterity. But maybe it would be cool to have strangers see this absurdity and say, “Yup, we are like this too. You’re normal, because there is no normal.” In the end, it would probably come down to whether or not I had to clean the house and put on something besides ripped sweatpants.
Do you have a favorite line from YOU LOOK DIFFERENT IN REAL LIFE?
Love/hate question! Again! I have many favorite lines, but most of them are in the later part of the book and might do some spoiling. I do have a soft spot for this early passage where Justine describes her connection to the others, because it’s generally how I feel about my own long-term friendships:
Sometimes I think of an invisible cord connecting Nate and Keira and Felix and Rory and
me. It’s made of something thin and deceptively powerful, like the stuff Spider-Man squirts out
of his wrists. Then I wonder who spun it. Was it Lance and Leslie? Was it everyone who’s ever
watched the Five At documentaries? Or maybe it was me. All I know is that it’s always there. It
stretches and winds but will never break.”
5. Can you share with us what you are currently working on?
With both THE BEGINNING OF AFTER and YOU LOOK DIFFERENT IN REAL LIFE, I loved writing the romantic storylines. Especially the kissing. Is there anything better than writing about kissing? Ah...
I’m sorry. Where was I? Oh yes. So my current project (which is still untitled, because I suck at titles) is a romance, pure and simple. It’s about what happens when a killer crush actually leads to something, and you have to navigate that intersection of fantasy and reality. It’s about figuring out what love actually is, when you don’t have any good examples in your life to base it on. And it’s got a cute guy who is amazing but not flawless, craveable but problematically complex, because “perfect” boys in YA lit really bug me. I’m hoping it will be done in time for an early 2015 release. Until then, I plan to squeeze out one or two digital short stories or novellas, like I did with PLAYING KEIRA. I like mixing up the long projects with shorter ones. It’s like creative snacking.
You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle
Published: HarperTeen (June 4th, 2013)
Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 355 pages
For the rest of the world, the movies are entertainment. For Justine, they're real life.
The premise was simple: five kids, just living their lives. There'd be a new movie about them every five years, starting in kindergarten. But no one could have predicted what the cameras would capture. And no one could have predicted that Justine would be the star.
Now sixteen, Justine doesn't feel like a star anymore. In fact, when she hears the crew has gotten the green light to film Five at Sixteen, all she feels is dread. The kids who shared the same table in kindergarten have become teenagers who hardly know one another. And Justine, who was so funny and edgy in the first two movies, feels like a disappointment.
But these teens have a bond that goes deeper than what's on film. They've all shared the painful details of their lives with countless viewers. They all know how it feels to have fans as well as friends. So when this latest movie gives them the chance to reunite, Justine and her costars are going to take it. Because sometimes, the only way to see yourself is through someone else's eyes.
Smart, fresh, and frequently funny, You Look Different in Real Life is a piercing novel about life in an age where the lines between what's personal and what's public aren't always clear.