6 Mar 2012

Birthday Letter: Ann Stampler author of Where It Began

Where It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler
Releases: March 6th, 2012

Sometimes the end is just the beginning.

Gabby lived under the radar until her makeover. Way under. But when she started her senior year as a blonder, better-dressed version of herself, she struck gold: Billy Nash believed she was a the flawless girl she was pretending to be. The next eight months with Billy were bliss...Until the night Gabby woke up on the ground next to the remains of his BMW without a single memory of how she got there.

And Billy's nowhere to be found.

All Gabby wants is to make everything perfect again. But getting her life back isn't difficult, it's impossible. Because nothing is the same, and Gabby's beginning to realize she's missed more than a few danger signs along the way.

It's time for Gabby to face the truth, even if it means everything changes.

Especially if it means everything changes.

Dear Rebecca,
When you invited me to participate in a joint celebration of your birthday and the birthday of my first novel, Where It Began, I was very excited. At first, I thought that a video comment would be a fun change, but then I realized that my medium really is the written word, so I’m sticking to it.
The first thing I want to say is, happy birthday! Teenage birthdays are particularly exciting because each one represents such a significant milestone. There is a real, discernible difference between the years, with so many firsts, and so much intensity as people figure out who they are and who they hope to become.
And I must say that for me, the birthday of this novel, Where It Began, represents one of those big, teenaged birthday magnitude milestones, because it represents the fulfilment of a long-cherished dream to be more of the self I had always hoped to be, someone who could create books that capture some of the intensity, pain, longing, and triumphs of people passing through their teenage years.
This implies that I always thought to myself, hey, I want to write YA novels. I didn’t. But most of my writing, beyond the picture books I’ve published so far, involved characters during their early adulthood. That was what engaged me. And I’m so glad that I finally got it figured out.
Figuring out is, to my mind, a lot of what making it from one birthday to another as a teenager is all about. Learning to know yourself better and better, to read your feelings, to separate out your own values and beliefs from all of the ideas and pressures and expectations that keep coming at you, to find your own strengths and talents and joys and self-respect as the person you want to be.
And, if you’re lucky, this gets you to a place that allows you to continue the process of discovery throughout your whole life.
I wanted to write books about that, and I feel extraordinary lucky that Where It Began has made it out of my den and into the world, a book with a birthday.
Happy birthday, Rebecca! Happy beginnings, happy figuring out, happy struggles, and happy discoveries! Happy finding a way to keep this wonderful process of growth and changing more intensely into the person you want to be going for many decades to come!
Aww, thank you so much for the beatiful letter Ann, I simply love it! And I'm so happy for you that your dream has finally come true and Where It Began can be read, experienced and loved by everyone in the world!

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