Hey everyone! I’m so excited to have Joseph Moldover here for an interview! First, here’s more about Every Moment After:
Surviving was just the beginning.
Eleven years after a shooting rocked the small town of East Ridge, New Jersey and left eighteen first graders in their classroom dead, survivors and recent high school graduates Matt Simpson and Cole Hewitt are still navigating their guilt and trying to move beyond the shadow of their town’s grief. Will Cole and Matt ever be able to truly leave the ghosts of East Ridge behind? Do they even want to?
As they grapple with changing relationships, falling in love, and growing apart, these two friends must face the question of how to move on—and truly begin living.
Goodreads | The Book Depository | IndieBound
And now for the interview! Enjoy!
Describe your book in ten words or less.
The long-term impact of a too-common tragedy.
Every Moment After is about a topic that is very relevant to what’s happening in the real world right now. What inspired you to write it?
The book is definitely a direct response to real-world school shootings, and particularly to the Sandy Hook tragedy. In many ways, it’s less of a reaction to the shootings themselves than to the lack of a really effective preventative course of action in the years after. Although there are some outstanding organizations working hard on gun control and school safety, it feels like as a society we get too overwhelmed by the immediate horror of the incident and before we gain real traction, we turn our attention to other news stories. I wanted this book to follow the story past the immediate aftermath.
While many school shooting books take place during or immediately after the event, Every Moment After takes place eleven years after the shooting. What made you write it from that perspective, that many years later?
I knew that I didn’t want to write about the shooting itself and that I didn’t want to delve into the details of that event. I did want to explore the way that people find the strength to go on in the years after this kind of tragedy, and how they find meaning in their lives after such trauma. By setting the book many years after the shooting, and at the pivotal moment when the survivors are leaving home, I was able to focus on the long-term community impact rather than on the drama and tragedy of that day.
You’re a clinical psychologist. How does that help/hinder your writing?
For a book like this it’s helpful to have some professional background in understanding psychological trauma. I also work with a lot of adolescents and that helps me to stay in touch with the tone and voice I want for my characters. At the same time, it’s important to “turn off” the clinician in me when making some unhealthy decisions on behalf of my protagonists.
Craziest thing you’ve had to Google for a work in progress?
I spent a lot of time googling hot air balloon launch videos for this book. I’m someone who doesn’t love heights, so it wasn’t something I would ordinarily do! I finally wound up cold-calling a balloon company and the owner was very nice about taking me through the details I wasn’t picking up from the videos.
What book(s)s would you recommend to a reader who enjoyed yours, and wants to read something similar?
“After the Shot Drops” by Randy Ribay is an alternating point of view YA novel which deals with male friendship, one of the central topics of my book. Outside of the YA genre, Douglas Coupland wrote a book called “Hey Nostradamus!” several years after Columbine about a high school shooting. It explores the ways in which the tragedy in that book ripples out through the lives of the people in the community, and goes on for decades. Russell Banks’ “The Sweet Hereafter” is a book about a different kind of tragedy, a school bus accident, that takes various perspectives to understand how a terrible event is seen and experienced differently by characters within and outside of the community.
What are three must-have items when you sit down to write?
Coffee; notebook for jotting down stray thoughts before they disappear; and there’s an old sweatshirt I like to wear when I write early in the morning.
Are you working on anything new?
For several years I’ve been trying to write a book about characters with a fictional psychological disorder that makes it very difficult for them to live in their families and communities. Due to their disorder, they are off in a boarding school trying to learn how to cope. It’s been a real world-building challenge to create a unique, believable disorder like that, but I’m hopeful that I’m getting close!
And now for the giveaway! One lucky winner will receive one copy of the book! Giveaway is US only. To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below!