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Shedding Light: An Interview with Lizzy, author of Unconditional


Lizzy grew up in Maryland and is a cat mom (she learned to love cats thanks to Adam). She’d love to hear from you on Instagram: @unconditional_memoir.

You can buy the book here.
Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

As many good ideas do, the title of this book came to me in the shower. I had been mulling over what to call the book. Originally, I wanted to call it “The Story of A+L” but I recognized that title wasn’t marketable and made it unclear what the story was about. When I really asked myself, “What is this story about?” I realized it was about my unconditional love for Adam. Usually that type of love is reserved for children or family, but it is what I felt for him and to make it more clear, I knew that I should have the subtitle “Loving and Losing an Addict.” That way, the contents are clear and the trigger warning is right on the cover. I hope the title makes it easy for the right people to find the book.

How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?

I had a vision for my book cover and the Atmosphere team did an incredible job making it come to life. It was important to me to have a piece of Adam featured in every part of this book, so having his handwritten poem on the front and a colorful pastel design taken from a piece of his artwork on the back were perfect touches. The idea to include the ripped page came from Ronaldo Alves, the cover artist, and I think it brought the whole idea together and reflected the contents of the memoir perfectly.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

I wanted to write this book because I pored over addiction memoirs when Adam relapsed, and then when he died, only to discover that the only memoirs that existed were written by addicts in recovery and their parents. There weren’t stories about what it was like to love an addict romantically, so I knew I had to be the one brave enough to write it. There are so many of us, lovers and friends of addicts, who just want to know we’re not alone, so I hope my book helps people feel less alone. And I think what makes this story special is that Adam’s voice is in it. I haven’t found a book like mine on shelves. It’s my hope that people will be able to find mine.

What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?

Writing this book was part of my grief and part of my healing. My goal was to have at least one person feel less alone after reading my book and I’m fortunate to have started receiving messages thanking me for sharing my story and sharing that I succeeded in making them feel less alone. I’ve also gotten messages thanking me for shedding light on issues and situations they didn’t know much about. It’s really been a dream come true.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

Funnily enough, each section of my book comes with a song recommendation that represents a period in my relationship with Adam. The soundtrack for the beginning is I Love You by Frank Sinatra. Adam would leave me messages singing this song and would yell “I love you, baby” from the mountaintops. We were so in love. The soundtrack for the middle is Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros because Adam moved back home to be with me after moving away and trying long distance, and because we could have lived together anywhere—we felt like home to each other. The soundtrack for the end is Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd. This is a song Adam used to sing and strum on his guitar. It’s symbolic because he sang “this bird you cannot change,” which I couldn’t (though I tried), and ultimately he “traveled on” to where I could not follow.

I made an entire playlist to accompany the book (which includes all the songs that meant something to us) on Spotify, called “Unconditional.”

You can buy the book here.
Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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