AGA: Describe the book in one sentence.
JAP: By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead is a book about how the effects of bullying can push a person to the very edge; how too many young people wake up every day feeling their only hope is to end it all.
AGA: Where did the idea of the website Daelyn visits often in the book come from?
JAP: My computer background in designing information systems must’ve come into play, but so much of writing is subconscious. I think my site was a combination of everything I found on the Web: bully boards, suicide boards, information about suicide methods. I invented www.through-the-light.com to give its users a contained environment in which to interact.
AGA: How much research was involved in this book, both from the mindset to the after effects of various suicide methods?
JAP: Not as much as I usually do for a novel. Everything about bullying and suicide can be found on the Web. The only guesswork was deciding on the pain levels of each suicide method and assigning them a relative number. For example, would it hurt more to jump off a building or blow yourself up with explosives? Before this book begins, Daelyn’s already made up her mind to kill herself, so all I had to do was chronicle her journey. It was weird, though. Normally I’m so emotionally attached to my characters that I cry when the book is finished, but Daelyn distanced herself from everyone—including me.
AGA: What was the hardest part of the book for you to write?
JAP: The helplessness of Daelyn’s parents, and the ending.
AGA: If you could pair Daelyn with any character from any other book, what would be your pick?
JAP: I’m going to be self-centered and pair her with one of my own characters—Mike in Far from Xanadu. Mike endured tremendous adversity in her life and grew strong from it. I think she could’ve shown Daelyn how to be a survivor.
Thanks Julie for taking the time for this and if you haven't already, I suggest everyone picks up this book. It's raw, real, and gripping- it sets itself apart from other bullying and suicide related books and is definitely worth the read.