Interview with Phil Stamper About AS FAR AS YOU'LL TAKE ME!

Hi everyone! Today on the blog, we have author Phil Stamper here to talk about his writing process and his sophomore novel, AS FAR AS YOU'LL TAKE ME. We really loved his debut novel, THE GRAVITY OF US, and it was one of our favorite reads of this year. So without further ado, let's dive into another great interview with Phil!

Phil Stamper grew up in a rural village near Dayton, Ohio. He has a B.A. in Music and an M.A. in Publishing with Creative Writing. And, unsurprisingly, a lot of student debt. He works for a major book publisher in New York City and lives in Brooklyn with his husband and their dog. His bestselling novel The Gravity of Uscame out in early 2020, and his sophomore novel As Far As You’ll Take Mecomes out in early 2021.

Keep up with Phil: Website / Twitter / Instagram / Goodreads

The Book Bratz: What gave you the inspiration for AS FAR AS YOU'LL TAKE ME?
Phil: I took a lot of inspiration from my own life while writing As Far As You’ll Take Me, which is why it’s such a personal story to me. As a queer teen, I always felt like I needed to escape my conservative rural village, and I was able to do that in college, studying music, falling into a group of wonderful and accepting friends who became family. But even though I could finally be myself for the first time, I really had to come to terms with my anxiety, I fell in love with the wrong guys, and I struggled with a ton of body image issues. I lived in London for a while, which is what inspired the setting. So, putting all of that together, I was able to fictionalize a lot of my own experiences and bring them into the dazzling environment in London and across various European travels. 
The Book Bratz: How was writing your sophomore novel different from writing your debut?
Phil: Well it was definitely a different experience—I actually first drafted As Far As You’ll Take Me first. An early version of this book went on submission to a ton of editors, but it could never quite find the right fit. Years later, I sent the book to my editor at Bloomsbury when we were talking about what my sophomore novel would be, and she fell in love with the story. It took an entire rewrite of the book to make it into the novel it is today, and it many ways that was much harder than just drafting an entirely new book, but I cared so much about this story I was ready to put in any amount of work to get it to where it needed to be, and I’m so excited it’s going to be on shelves in a matter of months!

The Book Bratz: Did you travel to Europe for research for this book? Or have you been there before?
Phil: Yes! Not specifically to research this book, but I went to grad school in London a few years ago, and all of the locations in the book were places my husband and I had visited along the way. I really wanted to give this story a sense of place—which makes this book so special as we’re all on various lockdowns and are unable to travel!—and from Cardiff to Florence to London and everywhere in-between, those scenes ended up being some of the most fun to write.

Title: As Far As You'll Take Me
Author: Phil Stamper
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Publication Date: February 9th 2021

Summary: Marty arrives in London with nothing but his oboe and some savings from his summer job, but he's excited to start his new life--where he's no longer the closeted, shy kid who slips under the radar and is free to explore his sexuality without his parents' disapproval. From the outside, Marty's life looks like a perfect fantasy: in the span of a few weeks, he's made new friends, he's getting closer with his first ever boyfriend, and he's even traveling around Europe. But Marty knows he can't keep up the facade. He hasn't spoken to his parents since he arrived, he's tearing through his meager savings, his homesickness and anxiety are getting worse and worse, and he hasn't even come close to landing the job of his dreams. Will Marty be able to find a place that feels like home?

Thank you so much to Phil for stopping by and answering our questions! We are super excited about AS FAR AS YOU'LL TAKE ME and can't wait for it to be out in the world on February 9th

Celebrate So Excited GIF by Hey Violet

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