Blog Tour: My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi (Interview)

Today, as part of the blog for My Life After Now, I have an interview with its author Jessica Verdi. So without a further ado...

What are the top three reasons why people should consider buying My Life After Now the next time they see it online or in stores? 

1. It tells the story of an HIV-positive teenager, which is a topic that hasn’t been covered very much in YA literature thus far.
2. Though it’s about a serious subject, there’s a lot of lightness and humor in the book as well.
3. There’s a really cute boy in the book. :)

My Life After Now tells the story of Lucy, so would share a little more about her? Also, if you could offer her any advice, what would you say?

Lucy is a driven, smart, talented actor with a bit of a type-A personality. She’s open-minded about the world, but knows exactly what she wants for herself. And she loves her friends, her family, and theater. After a really bad week, she decides she needs to vacate her life for a night, so she gets really drunk and makes some bad choices. One month later, she finds out she’s HIV-positive.

If I could offer her any advice, it would be to trust the people in her life more—she’s got a great support system (friends and family), but she doesn’t always see that.

How did the title come to be? Was it always the title, or did it come later on in the game?

The title was actually originally On the Plus Side, but my editor felt strongly (and rightfully so) that it called pregnancy to mind, which this book is obviously not about. Since I am terrible at coming up with titles, I left the renaming in the hands of my capable editorial team, and I love what they came up with. The title My Life After Now really leaves you asking that question of, after so much goes wrong, what now? I think it’s perfect for the book.

Do you have a favorite scene or line from the book? If so, would you mind sharing a little about it with us? No spoilers please!

I have a lot of favorite scenes from the book! One of my favorite moments is when Lucy is in line at the clinic, waiting for her HIV test results. The woman in line ahead of her asks Lucy to watch her two little kids while she goes in to get her own results, and suddenly Lucy, who has never babysat before, finds herself having to rein in two very lively, curious young children while she’s waiting for what may be the biggest news of her life.

One of the things that first drew me to the book was the gorgeous cover. What were your thoughts when you saw it for the first time?

I had no idea what to expect, so I was completely open-minded about the cover. The first time I saw it I fell in love with it. I love the red dress—symbolic of the HIV, but not hitting you over the head with HIV/AIDS imagery—and I love the sun-drenched feel. I also love how Lucy is turned away from the viewer, like she’s truly looking into her “life after now.”

A portion of My Life After Now has to deal with HIV/Aids so what inspired you to tackle that topic within Lucy’s life?

Because of advancements in pharmaceuticals, people aren’t dying from AIDS at the rate they used to, so it seems that we as a society have become complacent about the issue. Even though the contraction rate hasn’t slowed down any and even though there’s still no cure, people aren’t talking about HIV/AIDS as much as they used to.

But a few years ago, someone close to me found out they were HIV-positive, and suddenly the issue was brought back into the spotlight for me. I decided to write My Life After Now because I wanted to do something to help get the HIV/AIDS conversation going again, especially with teenagers.

What’s up next for you, book wise? Is there anything else you would like to add? 

My next book is called The Summer I Wasn’t Me, and it will be published in April 2014. It’s a love story between two teenage girls set at an ex-gay conversion camp.

I just want to say thank you so much for having me on your blog, and thank you to all your readers for reading this interview! I hope you enjoy Lucy’s story!


Thanks for stopping by, Jessica!

More about My Life After Now:
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, every moment is a precious gift. She never thought being positive could be so negative. But now, everything’s different…because now she’s living with HIV.
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  1. Wow. This sounds very powerful. I'll add it to my list.

  2. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I think I will leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.
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