When We Collided Blog Tour With Emery Lord — A Guest Post You Shouldn’t Miss!



I am so, so delighted to have Emery Lord on the blog today, you guys! Y’all know much I love Open Road Summer, The Start Of Me and You and most recently When We Collided (a review coming soon — my review has been a work in progress since I read the book a few months ago…one of those times where all my words feel just paltry compared to what the book made me feel). Emery had quickly become an auto-buy author for me!

When We Collided deeply affected me and I knew right away what I wanted Emery to talk about when I got the chance to have her here on the blog — mental illness. Throughout this book I just kept thinking how important this book was and how incredibly and carefully Emery wrote about a character living with mental illness. I’ll get more into the specifics when I talk about this book at greater lengths but I just really felt like I was in the throes of it with Vivi and with Jonah who is witness to everything that happens the summer they meet and desperately wants to be there for her. It moved me deeply and reminded me of a time in my own life after my mom passed away and I really struggled with my mental health.

ANYWAYS…I will gush about this book at another time and now it’s time for Emery to talk — and let me tell you…this is a guest post worth reading!


Guest Post With Emery Lord

I’ve spoken the language of bipolar disorder for as long as I can remember, since childhood. (The language includes words like Lithium, Ativan, manic episode, suicide attempt, etc.) But it’s a language people tend to speak primarily or exclusively at home. So when you say even one word in that language publicly, it’s incredible how many people want to speak right back to you in that same tongue. It’s hugely comforting to shift into that vocabulary and be understood.

This happened to me over and over throughout my early and mid-20s, as my husband researched and eventually wrote his dissertation on bipolar I disorder (and MRI spectroscopy, for any scientists out there). Because that was his work, it came up in casual conversation when we were first meeting people. The moment strangers heard one of us say, “Bipolar disorder,” it was: Oh, I’m Bipolar II! We’re trying to get my son on Lithium, but the weight gain is really frustrating him. My mom was rapid-cycling; we didn’t know for years. And so on, as we swapped experiences. Sometimes it was really casual and interesting. Other times, it gushed out.

I’ve wept with total strangers about bipolar disorder at an open-air market on a sunny afternoon, during weddings, and once while I was undergoing an ultrasound. …Yep. And they all wanted to know what my husband was finding in his research. If there’s hope for easier diagnosis, more effective treatment. But I think mostly, they had to get out all the stuff to someone who already knows. Nothing you tell me about bipolar disorder or depression is going to shock me. I know the language; you can speak freely.

And I wound up feeling like I’d become a keeper of these stories, alongside my own. It was a gift, to swap intensely personal experiences with so many people.

I wrote WHEN WE COLLIDED because it’s what was calling to my curiosities: big families and good food and a seaside town and grief and art in its many forms. And, as long as I was writing about depression and bipolar disorder, I wanted be gut-check honest AND do lots of legwork. Especially because people don’t hear that language spoken enough publicly, I needed to make sure- for myself, for my family, for all the people who’d told me their stories- that I was articulating it as best I could. Having personal experience wasn’t enough for me. I had a team of incredible readers along the way—from specialist doctors to individuals with various types of BPD—to add their input on everything. No one book can come close to encapsulating any experience—especially not depression or bipolar disorder, which take so many forms from person to person—but I’m incredibly grateful for the layers of experience and insight people added to my drafts.

And, of course, the bonus of this gracious team of experts, readers, and friends was getting to feel really, deeply understood as I worked. It gave me scaffolding and camaraderie at a time when I felt really vulnerable.

So, I guess what I mean is that writing this book was a lesson in “No man is an island.” I was never as alone as I thought, in speaking the language of medicine and therapy, and I was never alone in writing this book.



Book, Author & Blog Tour Info



When We Collided


Seventeen year-old Jonah Daniels has lived in Verona Cove, California, his whole life, and only one thing has ever changed: his father used to be alive, and now he is not. With a mother lost in a deep bout of depression, Jonah and his five siblings struggle to keep up their home and the restaurant their dad left behind. But at the start of summer, a second change rolls in: Vivi Alexander, the new girl in town.

Vivi is in love with life. Charming and unfiltered, she refuses to be held down by the medicine she’s told should make her feel better. After meeting Jonah, she slides into the Daniels’ household seamlessly, winning over each sibling with her imagination and gameness. But it’s not long before Vivi’s zest for life begins to falter. Soon her adventurousness becomes all-out danger-seeking.

Through each high and low, Vivi and Jonah’s love is put to the test . . . but what happens when love simply isn’t enough?

Emery Lord

Emery Lord is the author of Open Road Summer and The Start of Me and You. She lives in a pink row house in Cincinnati, with a husband, two rescue dogs, and a closet full of impractical shoes. Visit her online at www.emerylord.com and on Twitter at @emerylord.




April 4: Read. Breathe. Relax.

April 5: Lovin’ Los Libros

April 6: What Sarah Read

April 7: Writing My Own Fairytale

April 8: Perpetual Page Turner

April 11: Winged Reviews

April 12: Tales of Yesterday

April 13: Fiction Fascination and #LoveBooks

April 14: Genie in a Book

April 15: Happy Indulgence Books

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. As a medical student I found this perspective so interesting to read! I’ve never read any of Emery’s books before but I cannot wait to read When We Collided!

  2. Wow Emery’s words are so beautiful! Definitely can’t wait to get my hands on her latest book! Very inspiring about how she did her research!

  3. I read When We Collided yesterday from start to finish. It’s one of the best books I’ve read and I’m especially fond of the way it ended. I cannot express how thrilled I am that there is a book that treats mental illness as something other than a romantic notion that ends in manic pixie dream girl or a terrible tragedy or something easily fixed. I have an anxiety disorder and initially I played it close to the vest, especially at work and in my grad school cohort. I’m more open about it now and people have come out of the woodwork to share their experiences and stories with me. I think for many, this book will be an excellent conversation starter.

  4. I really want to read this book! My father is bipolar, and there’s so much that I don’t understand about it. I know he really struggles with it, and it’s so hard to see how it affects him in every single aspect of his life. I feel like this book might be able to help me with my understanding of it, and that’s what is so awesome about YA fiction!

  5. This is a lovely post. I never got to meet one of my grandmothers, who died before I was born in part due to her diagnosed probable bipolar disorder (it was the ’60’s; hindsight is 20/20). I’m glad that the conversation about this and other mental illnesses is becoming more public and empathetic.