The time it was about As Far As You’ll Take Me

Posted February 9, 2021 by Stacee in Interviews | 0 Comments

When I got the invite to interview Phil Stamper for his new release As Far As You’ll Take Me, I couldn’t respond fast enough.  I had heard amazing things about his previous book (The Gravity of Us) and was excited to read the new title.

Before we get to Phil’s answers, let’s check out the book.

Title: As Far As You’ll Take Me
Author: Phil Stamper
Pages: 320
Pub Date: February 9, 2021
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Find it: Bloomsbury | Indiebound | Bookshop | Goodreads

The author of The Gravity of Us crafts another heartfelt coming-of-age story about finding the people who become your home–perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli.

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?

Sounds good, right?

1. Please give the elevator pitch for As Far As You’ll Take Me.

As Far As You’ll Take Me follows teen musician Marty Pierce as he moves to London to pursue his dream of being a professional oboist. Along the way, he grapples with his anxiety, finds friends who become family, & falls in love…with the wrong boy.

2. Which came first: the characters or the plot line?

They both came along around the same time, actually. I started off with a very simple premise: an anxious queer teen (character!) moves to London to escape his conservative hometown (plot!) In this way, both character and plot drove this story from day one.

3. Why do you love Marty and why should readers root for him?

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, while I studied music and fell into a group of wonderful and accepting friends who quickly became family. So that’s certainly why I love Marty.

As for why readers will root for him, I think there’s something all of us can really relate to in the story. Whether it’s an awkward first love, insecurities about yourself, jumping into big life changes, or making a new friend group that feels like family—there’s a little something in it for everyone.

4. Were there any weird things you googled while researching? 

Ha, no! The sci-fi and murder mystery authors all have very questionable search histories, but here in YA contemporary land, most of my research is done looking up Street View on Google Maps. In this book, I also had to double check a few things about music that I’d written in the book—specifically about the oboe, which Marty plays! I haven’t played oboe since high school, so I had to go back and make sure I was writing it all correctly.

5. Without spoilers, which scene was your favorite to write?

There are so many scenes I love—especially all the travel scenes!—but there’s one scene that is my personal favorite, and oddly enough it was one of the last ones I wrote in edits. In this scene, Marty slowly pieces together his oboe in a practice room at the Academy, and as he starts to play, we learn that for as much as he struggles with organized religion due to his upbringing, music has become his religion. It’s a really sweet moment, and one of the first ones where we fully see Marty in his element.

Speed(ish) round:

1. You find out you’re being published for the first time. Describe the next 5 minutes. 

I was ALL ALONE in my apartment when I got the call about my first book deal, so that next five minutes was mostly me pacing the apartment in anxious excitement, calling my husband and DMing all of my writer friends about the good news!

2. What 3 things would you take to a desert island?

Coffee, my Nintendo Switch, and my piano.

3. You can only read one book for the rest of your life. What is it?

Whew, maybe Catching Fire? I love the Hunger Games series so much, it’s part of why I got into writing in the first place!

4. What is the one thing about publishing you wish someone would have told you?

How many highs and lows there are—it’s such a rollercoaster sometimes!

5. You wake up and discover that you are Bella in Twilight.  You know how it plays out.  What do you do differently?

Oh, Bella. If I were her, I think I’d try and see a therapist early on, so we don’t get a repeat of some of the Not Great things she does to get Edward’s attention in New Moon.


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 Us came out in early 2020, and his sophomore novel As Far As You’ll Take Me comes out in early 2021. website | instagram | twitter


Huge thanks to Bloomsbury for the opportunity and to Phil for taking the time.  As Far As You’ll Take Me releases today and buy links are above.

Have you read Phil’s books? If you could travel to any place, where would you go? 

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