Debut Author Spotlight: Michelle Levy Interview

Posted August 3, 2015 by Stacey in Author Interviews, Blog, Uncategorized / 0 Comments

Title: Not After Everything
Author: Michelle Levy
Published: August 4, 2015 from Dial, an imprint of Penguin Books

A gritty but hopeful love story about two struggling
teens—great for fans of The Spectacular Now,
Willow, and Eleanor and Park.

Tyler has a football scholarship to Stanford, a hot
girlfriend, and a reliable army of friends to party with.
Then his mom kills herself. And Tyler lets it all go.
Now he needs to dodge what his dad is offering
(verbal tirades and abuse) and earn what his dad isn’t
(money). Tyler finds a job that crashes him into
Jordyn, his former childhood friend turned angryloner
goth-girl. She brings Tyler an unexpected
reprieve from the never-ending pity party his life has
become. How could he not fall for her? But with his
dad more brutally unpredictable than ever, Tyler
knows he can’t risk bringing Jordyn too deeply into
the chaos. So when violence rocks his world again,
will it be Jordyn who shows him the way to a hopeful
future? Or after everything, will Tyler have to find it in

Not After Everything hits selves 8/4 – pre-order your copy: 
Barnes & Noble: 

About Michelle Levy:
Michelle Levy hails from
Denver, Colorado and
now lives in Los Angeles,
California, where she
works as a casting
director for film and
television, casting for such
projects as Six Feet Under, Deadwood, Bruce
Almighty, and more. Not After Everything is her
debut novel.
Visit Michelle online at,
Follow her on Twitter @m_levy, on Facebook at
MichelleLevyBooks, and on Pinterest at

We hope you all enjoy getting to know Michelle a little better and learning about her debut book, Not After Everything. 

I know the story came to you through hearing Tyler’s voice. When you figured out his story, what kind of research did you do to make his situation come to life in a meaningful and real way?
After “hearing” Tyler and figuring out why he was so angry—because his mother committed suicide—I began researching suicide notes. It’s kind of fascinating in a very depressing way. Some of them are so matter of fact, almost like a list of things they organized so their loved ones wouldn’t have to be bothered with the small stuff. And then some of them are barely coherent ramblings of people so desperately in need of help. I’m very drawn to psychology. I’d really like to understand the why behind people’s actions. If I didn’t already have two careers, I’d probably do that. So I was trying to figure out which kind of note Tyler’s mom would leave when I came across a truly terrifying statistic that the vast majority of all suicides don’t leave a note. Then I truly understood the scope of Tyler’s anger. If someone left you without any notice or any hint of why, I imagine you’d be pretty broken and angry.

Did being a casting director impact how you described your characters on the page? Did you visualize who you’d cast as you wrote or did that come after when people started asking you to cast your book?
I did a little of both. I knew exactly who I would cast as Jordyn (Malese Jow, Vampire Diaries) and Henry (Jim Beaver, Supernatural) before I started writing. But Tyler I had a harder time with. Probably because I was so in his head. I knew he was tall, had dark hair and brown eyes, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out who I’d cast. Until I saw an episode of Teen Wolf where Dylan O’Brein’s character thinks he’s going crazy and I was like THAT’S TYLER! The other one I had a hard time with was Tyler’s dad. He was the last character I truly fleshed out because he scared me so much, but then Sam Rockwell popped into my mind and I was like DUH! Then he was easy to figure out.

What has been your coolest debut author moment you’ve had so far?
Getting a starred review from Kirkus was pretty fantastic! I couldn’t stop grinning like a fool for two days.

Who are your literary inspirations?
My all time favorite book is The Catcher in the Rye. I remember reading it in high school going this is how I sound in my brain. So JD Salinger for sure. I love John Green’s style, I know some people aren’t fans of having teenagers talk like adults, but that’s how my friends and I talked when I was a teenager so it really resonates with me. I wish I had Libba Bray’s imagination. What I would give to live in her head for a day! And I bow down to Jandy Nelson’s prose.

What are five things that Tyler and Jordyn would want people to know about them that’s overtly talked about in the book?
This is hard because I feel like they’re both so guarded and they wouldn’t really want anyone to know anything about them, but I’ll give it a shot. I think Tyler would kind of like people to acknowledge how smart he is.
Jordyn would probably like to be more included—not treated like a leper. Tyler would definitely be okay with people knowing there’s not a shallow bone in his body. I think Jordyn would like people to see how pretty she is, but would never, ever admit it. And I think she’d like people to see that she’s a genuine person with zero tolerance for BS, which would make her a valuable friend. Actually that would probably go for Tyler as well.

If you could cast any YA book to movie adaptation, what book would it be and who would you cast?
It’s a tie between The Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor and the Red Rising series by Pierce Brown. But I don’t know who I would cast for either because I feel like they need to be fresh faces who are just seriously amazing actors. Especially for Red Rising. On that note: this young British actor came in on one of my recent projects and he was so wrong for that role but I thought he’d be an amazing Sevro, who just happens to be my favorite character. Both series have been optioned and I would kill to cast either one of them.

Praise for Not After Everything:

“Tragic and intense, but ultimately hopeful. The protagonists are fully
developed and three-dimensional teens and their story is captivating.
Fans of Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything should add this
to their must-read lists. A moving story with tons of heart.”—School
Library Journal

“Tough and uncompromising . . . The voice of a real teen searching for
answers while walking a razor-thin fence between salvaging what
remains or throwing it all away . . . Raw and unforgettable.”—Kirkus
(starred review)

“Believable dialogue and emotions—especially Tyler’s simmering rage
at the outset of the novel—make this a solid first showing.”—Publisher’s

“If you never thought a single book could make you laugh, cry, scream,
ache, throw things at the wall, and then beg for more, the you’re never
read Not After Everything. Michelle Levy doesn’t just join the all-star
pool of contemporary young adult authors, she rises straight to the
top.”—Jessica Brody, bestselling author of 52 Reasons to Hate My
Father and the Unremembered trilogy

“One of the best young adult novels I’ve ever read.” —Jennifer Echols,
award-winning author of Endless Summer and Forget You


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