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After You

After You by Jojo Moyes
Mass Market Paperback
Dec 06, 2016 | 448 Pages
See All Formats (5) +
  • Hardcover $26.95

    Sep 29, 2015 | 368 Pages

  • Ebook $9.99

    Sep 29, 2015 | 368 Pages

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Praise

“Jojo Moyes has a hit with AFTER YOU.”USA Today

“The genius of Moyes…[is that she] peers deftly into class issues, social mores and complicated relationships that raise as many questions as they answer. And yet, there is always resolution. It’s not always easy, it’s not always perfect, it’s sometimes messy and not completely satisfying. But sometimes it is.”—Bobbi Dumas, NPR

“Think Elizabeth Bennet after Darcy’s eventual death; Alice after Gertrude; Wilbur after Charlotte. The ‘aftermath’ is a subject most writers understandably avoid, but Moyes has tackled it and given readers an affecting, even entertaining female adventure tale about a broken heroine who ultimately rouses herself and falls in love again, this time with the possibilities in her own future.”Maureen Corrigan, NPR 

“Charming.” People Magazine

“Like its predecessor [Me Before You], After You is a comic and breezy novel that also tackles bigger, more difficult subjects, in this case grief and moving on… We all lose what we love at some point, but in her poignant, funny way, Moyes reminds us that even if it’s not always happy, there is an ever after.” –Miami Herald

Praise for ME BEFORE YOU:

“A hilarious, heartbreaking, riveting novel . . . I will stake my reputation on this book.”—Anne Lamott, People

“When I finished this novel, I didn’t want to review it: I wanted to reread it. . . . an affair to remember.”New York Times Book Review

“An unlikely love story . . . To be devoured like candy, between tears.”O, The Oprah Magazine

“Funny and moving but never predictable.”USA Today (4 stars)

“Masterful . . . a heartbreaker in the best sense . . . Me Before You is achingly hard to read at moments, and yet such a joy.”New York Daily News

“Funny, surprising and heartbreaking, populated with characters who are affecting and amusing . . . This is a thought-provoking, thoroughly entertaining novel that captures the complexity of love.”People Magazine


Praise for ONE PLUS ONE:

“Safety advisory: If you’re planning to read Jojo Moyes’s One Plus One on your summer vacation, slather on plenty of SPF 50. Once you start the book, you probably won’t look up again until you’re the last one left on the beach…[a] wonderful new novel.”
The Washington Post

“Jojo Moyes’ new novel One Plus One adds up to a delightful summer read, where the whole is greater than the sum of its charming parts…Moyes’ observations on modern life are dryly hilarious…You don’t need to be a math whiz to figure out this book is one worth adding to your summer reading list.”
USA Today (4 stars)

“Bridget Jones meets Little Miss Sunshine in this witty British romp from bestseller Moyes…Wryly romantic and surprisingly suspenseful.”
People

“Fans of the 2006 summer sleeper hit Little Miss Sunshine will find a lot to love in British author Jojo Moyes’ latest, about a madcap road trip that’s packed to the boot with familial drama, class clashes, and romance.”
Entertainment Weekly (A-)

“No need to worry where this road trip is headed. Just sit back, roll down your window and enjoy being a passenger.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer

Author Q&A

1. You’ve said that you didn’t plan to write a sequel to Me Before You. What was it that inspired you to return to these characters in After You? 

Since the publication of Me Before You I have received the most astonishing amount of e-mail from readers, all of whom cared deeply about Will and Lou, and many of whom wanted to know what she did next, and answering these meant that these characters never left me in the way they had with other books. When I was asked to write the film adaptation of the book, I was once again thrust into Lou’s world—and gradually found myself asking the same question. I was wary of recycling Lou’s life for the sake of it—but then I had a eureka moment, where I woke up one morning at 5:30, sat bolt upright, and wondered: “But what if that happened . . . ?” And from that point, I knew where I wanted her to go.

2. After You begins with Louisa suffering a dramatic fall. Why did you choose to begin the book with this event? 

I often start a story with an image—long before I have worked out the full idea for the book. In this case it was Lou walking unsteadily along the parapet of a high building, arms outstretched, with the city buzzing below. Once I worked out why she was up there, the scene pretty much wrote itself. And I’m trying to make my books a little quicker to get going at the start—you can’t get much faster than someone falling from a building!

3. The character of Lily Houghton-Miller is wonderfully drawn—a believable teenager who is at once wise and infuriating, and who turns out to have a major conflict of her own. How did Lily’s story grow or change through drafts of the novel?

Thank you. Lily was actually the most constant character in the book. While other characters underwent several metamorphoses, Lily burst into my imagination fully formed, just as Will had done. After struggling a little with Lou’s grief in the opening chapters of the book, it was actually enjoyable to have Lily’s energy take over the page—crackling and unpredictable and dark and funny. I wanted the readers to assume they knew just who she was—the typical moody teenager—but then realize, as with most characters, there was more to her behavior than meets the eye.

4. In many ways it’s Lily who helps Lou grow up. What can people of different generations teach us about ourselves?

I really wanted to write a book with a teenager in it, as I have two of my own, and the great revelation to me has been how funny and entertaining and generally nice they are—as long as you listen to them. They get such bad press, and we all assume we know what’s going on with them, but really they have such a complex world to negotiate—much more so than mine was (and which felt complex enough at the time!). I’ve learned a lot from having my own teenagers—and do every day. I hope by the end of the book readers have a lot of sympathy for her.

5. What are some of the challenges in writing a sequel to a love story? How did you go about pairing up Lou with another potential partner? 

 Well, I couldn’t imagine who was going to fill Will’s shoes, and I tried to write Sam for about six months, repeatedly stripping him out and rebuilding him, before he became Sam as he is now. I knew that he could be nothing like Will—not physically and certainly not mentally. He had to be solid enough not to be threatened by Will’s memory, but complex enough to provide his own challenge. He too came from a single image—standing in his half-built house, surrounded by his allotment and his hens. I think the thing I really loved about Sam was how sexy he became. Will’s relationship with Lou was, by necessity, so much in their heads and hearts. With Sam, Lou uncovers another facet of her personality completely.

6. Sam brings a whole new level of swoon to the paramedic profession. What is most important to you in creating an appealing love interest?

I think it’s believability. The difficulty when writing a love story, especially if you are frequently told that what you are writing is “romance,” is to create someone who is not a trope—not that tall, dark, handsome prince who is going to sweep you off your feet and make everything okay. Sam is less a rescuer than a facilitator—he is comfortable enough in his own skin to let Lou be what she needs to be. I think that is incredibly attractive. What I found with Sam is that the more I pared him down, the better he worked; unlike Will, the less he said, the more attractive he became. He probably now has half the dialogue that he did in my early drafts. He’s a doer, not a talker. But I was absolutely in love with him by the time I had finished—and that is a litmus test for writing a love interest. (Even my agent was in love with him!)

7. As Lou becomes more responsible for Lily, her own mother starts to break away from her responsibilities as she reads feminist literature. How do these two story arcs inform one another?

At base level, it’s about expectations of women—how far we put aside our own lives and ambitions to care for others—and the potential cost when we simply choose not to. Lily is a girl lost in the slipstream of a mother who thinks only of herself; while Josie, Lou’s mother, is spurred to try to work out who she is after a lifetime of never putting herself first. Lou vacillates between these two positions, and finally finds a place in which she can feel fulfilled. But I also thought it was really important for the supporting characters to have their own arcs—I didn’t think either the Traynors or the Clarks would be untouched by what had happened—and the book is really about how everyone has been affected by one man’s decision.

8. Without spoiling the ending for readers, can you talk about how you arrived at the decision to leave the story somewhat open? 

It was a character thing. I wasn’t entirely sure what would happen until quite near the ending, at which point I realized that, as with Me Before You, I had to set aside what might give me private satisfaction and go with what I think the character would do. It was a fine balance. I hope I got it right.
 
9. You have an enthusiastic fan base eagerly awaiting this sequel. What do you think it is that readers respond to or identify with most in your work? 

I’m never sure, as each book has its own strange alchemy and you are never sure what’s going to work until it’s done. But my main concern when I write is character—someone who might stay with you long after you finished reading— and I think it’s Lou’s character that readers respond to: her lack of malice, her quirkiness, her sweet nature, her stubbornness when it’s needed, and her ability to trip herself up time and time again. I think, from the messages I’m sent, that a lot of women see themselves in her (and a lot of men fall in love with her). I also think it’s the fact that readers laugh and cry while reading. As a reader, I love to be made to feel something—it’s more important to me than a beautifully honed paragraph—and I hope this one makes readers feel something too.

10. Now that you’ve returned to this story, are you ready to move on from Lou, or might there be one more book for her in the future? 

I have a very vague idea for a third, but it’s really going to depend on whether readers want to see her again, and whether I can form this into a final chapter that works. I don’t think I’d write an endless series of Lou books, but I can certainly see a trilogy. I’m very fond of her, and of the whole family. It’s actually a pleasure to revisit them. 

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