We’re are incredibly excited to take part in the blog tour for Aftermath today! Before we share an interview with Clara with you, we want to tell you a bit about the book!Aftermath by Clara Kensie
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by Adams Media on November 1st 2016
Genres: Family, General, Parents, Young Adult, Young Adult Fiction
Charlotte survived four long years as a prisoner in the attic of her kidnapper, sustained only by dreams of her loving family. The chance to escape suddenly arrives, and Charlotte fights her way to freedom. But an answered prayer turns into heartbreak. Losing her has torn her family apart. Her parents have divorced: Dad's a glutton for fame, Mom drinks too much, and Charlotte's twin is a zoned-out druggie. Her father wants Charlotte write a book and go on a lecture tour, and her mom wants to keep her safe, a virtual prisoner in her own home. But Charlotte is obsessed with the other girl who was kidnapped, who never got a second chance at life--the girl who nobody but Charlotte believes really existed. Until she can get justice for that girl, even if she has to do it on her own, whatever the danger, Charlotte will never be free.
Describe AFTERMATH in 5 words.
Triumph over tragedy. Bring tissues.
How did AFTERMATH come about, what was your inspiration? What made you think you had to write this story?
When I was twelve, a girl my age, from my neighborhood, disappeared on her way home from school. I knew about stranger danger and all that, but until then, I never really believed bad things could happen in my safe, suburban town to girls like me. It was the first time I truly felt unsafe and vulnerable. But I knew that the fear I was feeling was nothing compared to the terror the missing girl must be feeling.
Fortunately, she was found a few days later. She’d been kidnapped by a man who lived a few blocks away, and he kept her locked in a corner of his crawlspace. Following a lead, the police had searched the man’s house earlier that day, even going into the crawlspace, but the girl’s captor had terrorized her so much that she was too scared to call for help, and the police left without finding her. They came back later to search the crawlspace again, and she finally found the courage to cry out to them.
The girl and her family moved away soon after her rescue, and I never learned what became of her. But I never forgot about her. I made up a story about her recovery, and that story became Aftermath. I’ve thought of her often over the years. I want to know how she survived, how she recovered, what kind of impact the experience had on her and her family. I became fascinated with the subject of recovery from traumatic events – so much so that in college, I majored in psychology, sociology, and social services, with a minor in criminal justice. Triumph over tragedy is a frequent theme in the books I write.
Although that girl’s experience inspired Aftermath, the book isn’t her story. Aftermath is Charlotte’s story. Charlotte is kidnapped just before her twelfth birthday and escapes when she’s sixteen. The book starts with her escape and follows her journey to recovery, as well as her family’s.
Can you share (without spoilers) a line or section of AFTERMATH that is your favorite?
When Charlotte was in the attic, the only thing that sustained her was thinking about her family, imagining them happy and healthy and whole. She imagined her twin sister Alexa doing everything they’d once planned to do together—cheerleading, excelling in school, going out with friends, just living a normal, happy life—and doing it double, because Charlotte couldn’t do it at all. But when Charlotte is rescued and returns home, she discovers that Alexa hasn’t been doing any of it, because she didn’t want to do it alone. My favorite theme of AFTERMATH, what I want people do after reading it, is this:
Do it double, because some can’t do it at all.
What are you currently reading?
At this moment, I’m reading THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER by Sarah Dessen. I have at least ten Sarah Dessen books but I’ve never read any of them until now. I’m loving it!!
Any advice for aspiring writers?
Set goals for yourself, but don’t set goals that you can’t control. For example, don’t set a goal to be a #1 New York Times Best Seller. There are so many factors that go into book sales, and many of them—most of them—are out of the author’s control. What you can do is set a goal to write 500 words a day, or to query ten agents by the end of the month. You are in control of that.
Publishing is a long game. You may not have a best seller with your first few books. Your first few books may not even sell. But hey, you’re writing, and writing brings you joy! Do you know how many people say they want to write a book, but never do? You are actually doing it! That’s an amazing accomplishment! Just keep writing. Keep writing what brings you joy.
What’s next for you? Are you working on anything right now that you can tell us about?
I’m currently working on two manuscripts that I hope to send to my agent soon. One is a dual-timeline, dual-POV, super-romantic YA mystery thriller. The other is a dark, ripped-from-the-headlines YA contemporary about grief, guilt, and forgiveness. Also, I recently got my rights back to my first two books, the RUN TO YOU series. They’re currently unavailable for sale. I love those books soooo much, and they’ve won awards, including the prestigious RITA Award for Best First Book, and they made several Best Of lists. So, my top priority is to get the RUN TO YOU series back on the market! Follow me on social media and subscribe to my newsletter to keep up on news about RUN TO YOU, AFTERMATH, and my next books.
What one YA Novel do you wish you had when you were a teen?
SPEAK by Laurie Hals Anderson
Tell us 3 random facts about you.
I have an unfounded, irrational fear of falling down the stairs. I am constantly warning people to be careful on the stairs. Stop playing on the stairs! Get away from the stairs!!!
My pets, from childhood to now: Whiskey, a white West Highland Terrier; Daisy, a white and brown English Bulldog; Fletch the Wonderdog, a black and white Beagle/Terrier/Dachshund mix; and The King of Chaos, a black and white short-haired domestic cat. A psychic once told me that Whiskey, who died when I was eight, still follows me around everywhere I go.
My favorite writing outfit is my pink oversized hoodie that says “AUTHOR” on it (a gift from my family when my first book was published), my pajama pants with pink stars, and rainbow slipper socks. It’s pretty much my uniform. I’m wearing it right now.
Favorite Song (right now): At Last by Etta James
Favorite Book (right now): HARRY POTTER by J.K. Rowling
Favorite TV Show/Movie: Parks and Recreation
Favorite Word: Unstoppable! It’s my power word for 2017!!!
Favorite Color: Periwinkle
Favorite Curse Word: The F word. I say it a lot. Like, a lot.
1/5: Novel Ink – Review
1/6: Fiction Fare – Q&A
1/11: Gabriella M Reads – Q&A
1/12: Novelgossip – Review
1: A “Do It Double” Aftermath tote bag from Blu Bear Bazaar (photos attached). Inspired by Aftermath‘s message to “Do it double, because some can’t do it at all,” Blu Bear Bazaar designed beautiful artwork for it and printed it on tote bags and throw pillows. Blu Bear Bazaar is generously donating a portion of all Aftermath product proceeds to RAINN and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Click here for more information.