It’s been a fun week here at PickMyYA! After an exciting finish to #BookMadness, we’ve finally got a winner. And we’ve been working on some fun surprises for next weekend’s LA Times Festival Of Books. Be sure to follow us on Twitter or Instagarm if you’re a fellow SoCal book lover who will be at FOB! You don’t want to miss what we’ve got planned!
Today, we return with our weekly #BeyondTheBio series which features YA authors in conversation with teen readers. We’ve got two special guests for today’s chat and a special signed giveaway for two readers. Let’s get to it!
Our first guest is Joseph Moldover. When he’s not writing, he’s a psychologist near Boston. He’s got four kids and is a self-described introvert. His debut novel Every Moment After comes out this Tuesday!
Our teen interviewer today is Yesenia. She loves the color yellow and is really good at procrastinating. Her all-time favorite book is Rupi Kaur’s Milk & Honey.
Check out their chat below, and be sure to stick around to the end for a chance to win one of two signed copies of Every Moment After.
Yesenia: Hey Joe! Every Moment After really provides an accurate depiction of how many teenagers today act. Could you give a brief explanation of what readers should expect?
Joe: Thanks, I’m glad it reads as accurate! Readers should expect a story focusing on the intense relationship between two close, old friends – Cole and Matt – who have arrived at the summer after high school graduation and are facing the rest of their lives. They, and the rest of their town, live in the shadow of a school shooting which occurred eleven years previously and they continue to deal with the aftermath of that terrible event, but the shooting itself is never depicted in the story.
Yesenia: On your Goodreads profile, I read that you feel that survivors of school attacks are often forgotten once the cameras move on to the next story. Why do you think this happens?
Joe: I think that there are a lot of reasons for this. For one, I think that the 24-hour news cycle is always moving on, looking for newer, fresher subjects. More than that, though, I think that we as a society turn away because we feel so helpless to do anything about these shootings, and so frustrated that nothing ever seems to change.
Yesenia: Cole writes a lot of poems for Viola. Do you think of his behavior as obsessive or romantic?
Joe: I think that Cole is a total romantic. There’s a part of him that’s happy being miserable, admiring Viola from afar, composing poem after poem but never actually talking to her. Of course, this has a bit of an obsessive quality to it – I suppose that all writers are a little obsessed – but unlike the really obsessive characters in a lot of 80’s rom-coms he doesn’t behave in an obsessive, intrusive way (like showing up at her house all the time.)
Yesenia: Matt feels guilty for not attending school that day and wonders if he was supposed to end up like Andy. Do have any advice for those who struggle with feelings of guilt?
Joe: Guilt is one of those really tough emotions that can be hard to put down. I think that often when we struggle with it we are thinking “I should have…” or “I shouldn’t have…”. Matt thinks that he should have been there that day. In order to move on he has to accept the really tough fact that there is no do-over (no matter how many hazardous things he tries), but he also has to believe in his own strength to carry on in spite of the irrevocability of that fact (a strength he finds with the help of his friend). I think that those are probably the ingredients for many of us: acceptance plus faith in ourselves (and in our friends).
Yesenia: Do you have any recommendations for books that tackle topics similar to those featured in Every Moment After?
Joe: Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds is a great book which, in a very different way, tackles the endless effects of gun violence as it reverberates down through the years. After the Shot Drops by Randy Ribay is also wonderful, and looks at the friendships between teenage boys in a really engaging, nuanced way.
Yesenia: Do you have any exciting projects planned for the future?
Joe: I’ve been at work on my next book for over a year now. I feel like it’s hard to summarize (partly because I keep re-writing it), but it has to do with lying. I focus on the way lies can hold families together, how lies can corrode families, and on what happens when one seventeen-year-old boy, for mysterious reasons, stops being able to lie.
That wraps up today’s interview with Yesenia and Joe, but don’t leave yet. We’re giving away two signed copies of Every Moment After, and you can enter to win one of them by clicking the picture below.