Tuesday, March 4, 2014

{Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway} Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas

Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas - Blog Tour

Y'all. I am so excited for today. Why? Well, today I get to be a part of the blog tour for Liz Czukas' utterly adorable and laugh-out-loud funny debut, Ask Again Later! When I say laugh-out-loud funny, y'all, I mean it. Heart, our protagonist and narrator, is just the kind of girl I was friends with in high school (she's a theater geek, which is exactly what I was!), so it was such fun to spend a few hours in her head as she navigated prom and watch as the dual possibilities for her night collided into one inevitable ending. I cannot recommend the book enough! But, if I personally can't convince you, I think reading Liz's awesome guest post will. :) Scroll on!

About the book:

Despite what her name might suggest, Heart has zero interest in complicated romance. So when her brilliant plan to go to prom with a group of friends is disrupted by two surprise invites, Heart knows there’s only one drama-free solution: flip a coin.

Heads: The jock. He might spend all night staring at his ex or throw up in the limo, but how bad can her brother’s best friend really be?

Tails: The theater geek…with a secret. What could be better than a guy who shares all Heart’s interests–even if he wants to share all his feelings?

Heart’s simple coin flip has somehow given her the chance to live out both dates. But where her prom night ends up might be the most surprising thing of all…

 Musical Theater IS My High School Experience

You know the old adage about "write what you know?"  We all know it's best interpretted as "write from the heart" but sometimes you just have to take it literally.  In my case, that means I write about theater geeks A LOT.  Was I a theater geek?  Oh my giddy aunt, yes.  I did every play and musical I could fit into my schedule (and I was in swing choir, which is like Glee but with jazz standards).  It absolutely defined me as a person in high school.

One of the best things about going to all-girls school (which I did) is that you get to be a loaner girl to the all-boys high school for their productions, too.  That meant I got to do a fall musical at my own school, plus a winter showcase (usually a one-act play), and the spring musical at the all-boys school.  I started right away as a freshman, although I didn't get to do the musical at my school that year--long story.

Unfortunately, the director at the all-boys school had very...obscure taste in shows, so when I tell people what I've been in, I get a lot of blank stares.  My first show was absolutely my favorite.  I'd think it was just by virtue of being my first, but pretty much everyone in it fell in love with the show (and each other).  It was called Diamond Studs: A Saloon Musical.  It was a musical version of the life of Jesse James.  I know--WHAT?!  But trust me, it was an awesome show.  The dancing, the costumes, the songs...it was true love.  I only had one line, and it was in French, but I was completely hooked.

The people in that show became my core group of friends for the rest of my high school career.  We just clicked in a way that I can't explain.  When the show was over and we'd had our last cast party, none of us could bear it being the end, so we just kept having cast parties.  All summer long, even though the show was over in April.  I think in the end, we had 14 cast parties that year.  Some of my best memories are being with those people. Making shadow puppets in the wings during the big romantic duet, trying not to laugh during a big argument scene, singing around a campfire, playing Comedy Sportz in the front yard of someone's house, even just hanging out at a local diner for hours and hours.  I met my husband in that show.  Some things, you just don't let go of.

There's just something so intense about putting on a show together.  Learning to roll with the mistakes, like when the gun didn't go off during the assassination scene, or my dance partner nearly dropped me headfirst into the orchestra pit.  Costume malfunctions, lines forgotten, washing spilled Coke out of someone's hair between scenes.  They all sound like mistakes, but that's part of the joy.  You're never alone out there, even when you're doing a solo.

I did some big shows and some big parts.  I got to play Gypsy in Gypsy, I was Leisl in The Sound of Music, Helen of Troy in Women of Troy, and the minstrel in Once Upon a Mattress.  I did some seriously weird shows, like a musical version of the Kurt Vonnegut novel God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, and the cheese (yes cheese) version of Strike Up the Band that was later booed off Broadway and rewritten to be about chocolate.  But whether the part was big or small, I wouldn't trade a second of it.

In Ask Again Later, Heart's core group of friends came to life largely through my experiences in theater.  Being a geek might be starting to be cool, but back when I was in high school, theater geeks were definitely seen as the weirdos.  We kind of were, to be fair, but we were the most accepting, supportive, and enthusiastic group of weirdos I've ever had the pleasure of knowing.  The only place I've ever felt a similar kind of kinship is among the YA community.  Bloggers, writers, and readers who love YA have that same vibe--no one cares if you're weird.  In fact, we actually prefer it!

This pretty much sums it up for me.

About the author:

Liz Czukas is a freelance writer who lives outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Ask Again Later is her first novel. She collects college degrees she doesn't use, types too loud, and always has a song stuck in her head. In high school, Liz did go to two proms, but not at the same time.
Find Liz online: Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads

A big, huge, massive thanks to Liz for being so awesome and stopping by today! I hope y'all are convinced that you should be reading this book, which is out in ONE WEEK. :) Also, a big thanks to Merp Squad Blog Tours for letting me be a part of the tour!

And now for the giveaway! The tour-wide giveaway is for an annotated ARC of Ask Again Later plus some swag and a finished copy of Ask Again Later plus some swag! US only.

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