Emery Lord is the author of Open Road Summer, The Start of Me and You, and When We Collided.
She lives in a pink row house in Cincinnati, with a husband, two rescue dogs, and a closet full of impractical shoes.
Why did you want to write When We Collided?
I mostly just wanted to write a sparkling summer love story- but I wanted it to feel honest to the world as I know it. That means that, often times, one or both members of the couple has a mental health struggle! I wanted to do that right, and honestly- to show that is hard, but that it (both love and mental health) is work worth doing.
What do you hope readers take away from the story?
I hope they take away…agency. That they have choices in the context of their health, their relationships, and lives.
Vivi has bipolar disorder, it is part of her but she is not defined by it, as a reader I truly appreciated this. What research did you do for When We Collided?
Well, my husband spent most of his 20s researching bipolar disorder as the subject of his PhD thesis. Through him, I exchanged stories with so many people about BP experience, and I received a lot of support in terms of the medical info. Beyond that, I did independent primary-source research (AKA experiences from many people living with BP), as well as having the novel read by people who provided me with feedback. I’m a big believer in truth & beauty in fiction- and truth, for me, means not just personal experiences but reaching out to others to get their insight too.
On a completely random note, why is your dog named Winston Churchill?
Ha! Well, when we adopted him, his name was already Winston. We added Churchill as a middle name mostly to be silly. (And partially because my nana’s grandmother and Winston Churchill’s gran were cousins- according to family lore.)
Growing up, did you find the books you wanted/needed?
Oh, great question. I think in large part, yes- I read voraciously and widely, though of course there are things I would have loved to see on the page. (Mental illness, for example!) It’s something that I badly want for all young readers.
Are any there diverse books you would like to recommend to readers now?
Yes! I’d love to recommend MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES by Jasmine Warga. Though it’s a book about a suicide pact between two teens who start to fall for each other, it has a sort of dark humor that was so comforting and familiar. Also, out soon, WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS by Anna-Marie McLemore, which is gorgeously-written magical realism.
What do you think is next for diverse books?
What do you want to see more of?
Oh, gosh. So many things. In general, I want to see more POC narrators by POC writers published and well-promoted. I’m excited about more intersectionality. Mental illness, for example, intersects with race, disability, gender ID and sexuality, income, and more- these things NEED to be portrayed. I’d also love to see things like an epic YA fantasy in which the heroine has bipolar disorder- but is conquering all the same.
I’m giving you a free platform to talk about anything – GO:
I WILL FOLLOW MEL, SUE, AND MARY BERRY TO WHATEVER SHOW THEY LAND ON NEXT! GBBO FOREVER, AMEN!!!
Can you tell us about your next book?
Certainly! It’s called THE NAMES THEY GAVE US, and it’s about a girl named Lucy Hansson who loses her faith & her boyfriend when her mom’s cancer reappears. But when she takes a job as a counselor at a summer camp, she finds more than she ever bargained for.
And finally, what is the question you wish people would ask and never do?
What is the most important fall movie? (It’s Practical Magic.)
Read Luna’s review of When We Collided by clicking on this link HERE