Debut Authors Bash with Jessica Verdi – Guest Post & Giveaway

Debut Authors Bash with Jessica Verdi - Guest Post & Giveaway

About My Life After Now

My Life After NowMy Life After Now by
Published by: Sourcebooks Fire on
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Source: Purchased
Buy the BookGoodreads
Rating: 5/5

Lucy just had the worst week ever. Seriously, mega bad. And suddenly, it's all too much—she wants out. Out of her house, out of her head, out of her life. She wants to be a whole new Lucy. So she does something the old Lucy would never dream of.

And now her life will never be the same. Now, how will she be able to have a boyfriend? What will she tell her friends? How will she face her family?

Now her life is completely different...every moment is a gift. Because now she might not have many moments left.

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About Jessica Verdi

jessica-verdi

Jessica Verdi is a young adult author who writes envelope-pushing stories about not-so-pretty real-life issues, but always with a positive spin.

Though she’s always been a bookworm (her childhood was basically defined by the philosophy that working your way through giant stacks of library books is far superior to playing outside), she remained convinced throughout high school and college that the stage—rather than the page—was meant to be her creative outlet. After nearly ten years pounding the NYC pavement auditioning for musicals (and sometimes actually getting cast in them), she got an idea for a novel. That novel was an adult magical realism story, and while it will never see the light of day—nope, don’t ask—it was the book that started her love affair with writing. Now she can’t imagine doing anything else.

Jess received her MFA in Writing for Children from The New School and works as an editor at a romance novel publisher. She loves all animals, from the cute and cuddly to the large and freakish, has been a vegetarian for most of her life, is a little too obsessed with TV shows about vampires, and has an amazing group of writer friends who keep her sane.

Jess lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and dog.

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Jessica Verdi Rocks My World

I still remember when I sat down and read My Life After Now. The physical experience of reading this book was intense for me! My heart was literally pounding in my chest because I both loved and dreaded the book. I knew what was going to happen—I knew that the main character, Lucy, got HIV—but I didn’t yet know the details. It was like watching a car crash in slow motion. It’s horrifying, but you can’t not look.

My Life After Now is literally one of my favourite books of all time, and is one of the view that I’m constantly itching to re-read.

Jessica Verdi at BEA

A few months after reading it, I was lucky enough to meet the author, Jessica Verdi, at BEA! I fangirled all over her, then went through the line a second time because I’m weird like that! This is why I’m absolutely DELIGHTED to have Jessica Verdi on the blog today!!! EEEEKS! *fangirlscream*

So without further ado:

Let’s Discuss: Supportive Parents in YA

These days it seems like YA (and NA) books are all about absent/abusive/uncaring parents. I’ve seen multiple bloggers talk about how annoyed they are with this! That’s why I think it’s such a breath of fresh air that My Life After Now deals with such an intense topic, but has extremely supportive and sweet parents (honestly, some of the best I’ve read about in YA!). Could you tell us a bit about how YA books don’t need horrible, absent, unsupportive parents to be interesting and intense, and how having supportive parents really works in My Life After Now? 🙂

Introducing: Jessica Verdi

My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi

Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Ashley, and for your awesome question! I’ve gotten so much lovely feedback about Lucy’s dads and the family dynamic in general in My Life After Now. It’s been amazing to hear from so many readers about how they appreciate the strong, supportive parent/child relationship in the book—and honestly, it’s been a bit of a surprise! Not because I disagree—I think Lucy’s dads are freaking fantastic—but because Adam and Seth were so clear in my mind the whole time I was writing that I didn’t even stop to consider that their relationship with their daughter would be something that would stand out to readers. That was just the kind of parents they were, from the start. So all the encouragement I’ve gotten from reviewers and readers about the family has been such a gift for me as an author—I feel like I’ve gotten the chance to look at my book in an entirely new way now. 🙂

I did want Lucy to have two dads for a couple very specific reasons. 1) I wanted her life to be pretty damn great at the start of the book, before she makes the mistake that changes so much. That meant the family had to be great—and who better to put in that situation than two men? Gay people have to work really hard to get their kids, whether it’s through surrogacy, sperm donation, or adoption. So that means they really wanted their child, and they never take her for granted. 2) Because Lucy becomes HIV-positive, and eventually will have to tell her parents, I thought the parent/child relationship in this case was another great way to highlight that this can happen to anyone—even to the child of parents who lived through the brunt of the HIV/AIDS crisis in New York city in the ’80s and ’90s, and taught their daughter everything they know about safe sex. Then, when they find out that Lucy is positive, it’s that much more impactful because they know, probably better than most parents, exactly what this virus is and what it does.

Once I knew the reasons why I wanted Lucy to have two dads, the rest just fell into place and the Freeman-Moore family came alive. Looking back, I realize and agree that in the current YA landscape, a supportive two-parent family that is present throughout the book is actually pretty rare. What’s that rule YA writers always talk about? “Step one: Kill the parents.” Or get rid of the parents in some other way. I think a lot of people think because YA books are about teenagers, the teenagers are all the readers care about. I agree to an extent—The Hunger Games wouldn’t work if Katniss hadn’t had to be a surrogate parent for her sister—but it really depends on the story. For contemporary fiction, I think it’s important to be as realistic as possible (without sacrificing plot, of course), and the fact is, many kids do have very present parents. So why not work them into the story whenever it makes sense to do so? And if the parents are good parents, well, hey, all the better!

Giveaway

My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi - Giveaway

Win: A Signed copy of My Life After Now

Open to US residents only

Thanks to Jessica Verdi, we have one signed copy of My Life After Now to give away to one lucky winner! Please enter using the rafflecopter below! 🙂

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Debut Authors Bash – Hosted by YA Reads

Debut Authors Bash at yareads.com
Hosted by YA Reads

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I'm a 27 year old California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). I like to inject a little #girlpower into the WordPress development community by teaching women how to be coding badasses. more »

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9 comments

  1. I’ve never really thought about ‘step one’ before but now I realise how true it is of YA fiction – weird. I love the sound of a 2 dad, loving family dynamic and although I never imagined myself reading a book about HIV (just as I tend to avoid books about cancer) I think this sounds like a pretty rewarding read so I shall look out for it in my local bookshop. 🙂 And the cover… Is gorgeous! Love your post guys!

  2. Awesome guest post! a lot of people (myself included) went the way of a review but I really enjoyed this. Also loved your personal touch with the picture from BEA. Pictures and stories like that make me look forward to getting out there again next year. 🙂

  3. I LOVE the idea of two dads in a YA book. I think that gay/lesbian couples are really lacking in YA lit, and I love when I see it. I’d like to think that it’s branching out a little bit more. Great post!

    Thanks for hosting [=

  4. I have heard about this book a few times now and I both want to read it and fear it – like you said. Knowing the issues it deals with, I’m afraid it might be too intense! But I keep hearing great things and I love that it features supportive parents- I’ve gotten really exhausted with the absentee/abusive parents in YA too. Great feature 🙂

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