Friday, September 16, 2011

Before & After Blog Tour: Guest Post by Jennifer Castle (The Beginning of After)

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

Before and After: Signing a Book Deal

"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."

There’s been only one time in my life so far where I crossed from Before to After with a single phone call.

It was a phone call I had fantasized about for so long that when my agent delivered the news that HarperCollins was offering me a two-book deal, I wasn’t sure if it was reality or just my imagination again. I’d been working on my manuscript on and off for six years, writing on weekends and vacations while sleep-deprived from having two tiny children. And all I could say at that watershed moment was a totally boneheaded, “Oh. Okay.” (Later, after the shock wore off, we had Prosecco and pizza.)

Before this one, I had started several novels but never finished them. I woke up every day and went to bed every night knowing that I was capable of completing one, yet accepting the guilt and shame of why I hadn’t actually been able to do it. Despite everything else I had accomplished -- a satisfying job, a great family -- getting a book published was still the Thing I Will Regret On My Deathbed. I’m not sure what made “The Beginning of After” the book I finally took to the end; I think it was a combination of the right story + being sick of the guilt + straight-up determination.

I’ve always known that I wanted to be a writer, and that can be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, how lucky for your heart to tell you something so clearly that all you have to do is follow it. On the other…no matter how successfully you end up doing anything else, you’ll always feel like you’ve failed.

After I hung up the phone, I knew I beat that curse, and that if I was going to regret anything on my deathbed, it would be something else that I don’t have to worry about right now. It was as if a wheel turned and everything clicked into place, like all my life things had been off just one notch and nothing worked right.

So now, they work so well that they hum and buzz. Getting published doesn’t make me a millionaire or instantly thin, or solve many of the other problems I deal with every day. But I get to do what I love most and share it with the world, and that’s the best After I could possibly hope for.

Don't miss the next stop on the tour: Monday, September 19 at The Book Scout!

For more about this author, please visit:

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.


Lauren M said...

Oh, awesome! I didn't realize Jennifer landed a two-book deal! Now I'm excited to see what she writes next. :)
Congrats on beating the curse, Jennifer! Glad you were able to achieve your dream. :)

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