Afterlife Book One
Genre: Paranormal/Contemporary Fantasy
Date of Publication: January 20, 2014
Number of pages: 369
Thirty-six-year-old Irene Dunphy didn't plan on dying any time soon, but that’s exactly what happens when she makes the mistake of getting behind the wheel after a night bar-hopping with friends. She finds herself stranded on earth as a ghost, where the food has no taste, the alcohol doesn’t get you drunk, and the sex...well, let’s just say “don’t bother.” To make matters worse, the only person who can see her—courtesy of a book he found in his school library—is a fourteen-year-old boy genius obsessed with the afterlife.
Unfortunately, what waits in the Great Beyond isn’t much better. Stuck between the boring life of a ghost in this world and the terrifying prospect of three-headed hell hounds, final judgment, and eternal torment in the next, Irene sets out to find a third option—preferably one that involves not being dead anymore. Can she wipe the slate clean and get a second chance before it’s too late?
“Come.” Samyel gestured, indicating that they should follow him. “We must go.”
“Go? Go where?”
“Away. Inside. Or they will see.”
“Who will see what?”
The dark glasses revealed nothing as he stood impassively for a moment. “Everyone.”
Samyel was attracting a lot of attention. The crowd moving around them was giving him a wide berth, and he was the focus of a lot of strange looks, which just confirmed that he wasn’t dead—people could see him. Irene knew that it looked like a seven-foot tall man in a trench coat and dark glasses was talking to himself in the middle of the sidewalk. It wouldn’t be long before the cops came to investigate.
Irene gestured for Samyel to lead the way. “Fine. Let’s go.”
Irene heard another choke of protest and glanced at Jonah. There was a silent exchange of mouthed words, pantomimed gestures, and angry, exaggerated looks.
“Don’t be crazy,” Jonah hissed. “You can’t go with him!”
“You’re the one that always wants to stop and talk to every weirdo we meet,” she countered. “And what do you mean ‘you’? We’re both going.”
“Uh uh,” Jonah said. “This is your idea. If you get murdered, I’m not saving you.”
With an exasperated look, she motioned for Jonah to follow and set out after Samyel, who was nearly out of sight. Jonah reluctantly followed. Irene gave him a wry look as they trailed, side by side, a few feet behind Samyel. “You know, at some point, we’re going to have to talk about your propensity for picking fights with people bigger than yourself.”
“A really bad habit that you should stop.”
Jonah’s expression turned unreadable for a long moment, as if he was debating with himself, and then he looked away, stuffing his hands in his pockets and bowing his head to stare at the sidewalk as they went.
“I’ve changed the password, by the way, so you can’t do that again,” he said darkly.
She grabbed his arm, pulling him to a halt. “Jonah, listen to me. It’s not that I don’t appreciate you trying to protect me. I do. Even when it’s annoying and misplaced, like with Ernest. You’re the bravest, sweetest guy I’ve ever met, but I’m dead. You’re not. I’m already probably going to Hell for dragging you along on this adventure. Don’t add being the cause of your death to my list of crimes, okay?”
The tips of his ears had turned pink and his head was down, shoulders hunched. Then, to her surprise, he suddenly looked at her, his eyes inquiring as he searched her face. She didn’t know what he was looking for, but he was gazing at her so earnestly that she blushed.
Welcome author Terri Bruce :
For people who haven’t heard of Hereafter, make a brief description.
On the surface, Hereafter is a story about a woman who dies and finds herself stuck on Earth as a ghost, and how she learns to deal with all that comes with that—the emotional baggage of dying before you’ve really lived, the regrets, the letting go and moving on, figuring out how to navigate the afterlife, etc. However, Hereafter is really a story about friendship, self-discovery, and learning to forgive yourself.
What does your family think of your works?
Very sadly, my mother died in 2009, before I became published. I have no doubt she would have been thrilled, but not sure she would have liked the swearing in my books. :-) Everyone else is wildly supportive and seems to like the books, which is a good feeling. However, there is one drawback: when I was writing the love scene in the sequel to Hereafter (which is due out May 1st), I kept thinking, “My father is going to read this.” That made something already kind of awkward and uncomfortable (I’m not good at writing the love scenes – I just start laughing the whole time) even more awkward and uncomfortable!
Are you an early bird or night owl?
None of the above? LOL! I like to joke I’m only good between the hours of 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. I’m not a morning person—at all—and I like to be in bed by 10:00 pm so I can read for a while.
Name a book you wish you had written.
All of them! LOL! Seriously, I always think everyone is a better writer than me. I especially wish I could write lyrically like Erin Morgenstern in The Night Circus or could write a fresh and engrossing story like The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneger or could write a book of devastating beauty and tragedy like The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle or The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell.
What do you do, besides writing?
I work full time as a grant writer for a non-profit organization. So I get to write for both my day and my night jobs. Grant writing is a different kind of writing, more analytical at times, more marketing/audience focused at time, which is nice. It’s a different facet of writing, using a different part of the brain.
Do you have any hobbies?
Way more than I have time for! I love to crochet, bake, make stained glass, and horseback ride. I’m hoping to learn how to knit, do glass fusing, and learn to do flamework (glass bead making) sometime in the near future.
What are you reading right now?
I’ve been waiting for
by Vera Nazarian. It’s the third book in the trilogy, and I’m dying to know how
it all ends. I’m going to download it tonight! Cobweb Forest
Name your favorite books.
Too numerous to name but among my favorites are T.H. White’s Once and Future King and Tennyson’s Idylls of the King. I reread them both once per year, usually around my birthday. I also love Pride and Prejudice, The Three Musketeers, Jane Eyre, The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell, The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, and The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle.
Best reward as a writer?
When someone tells you they liked your work. There is no better feeling in the world!
Biggest trouble you faced as a writer?
The “spot o’ trouble” I had with my publisher last year (2013). That was pretty awful. I’m just now getting back on track with the re-release of Hereafter and hope things are smooth sailing from here on out.
How do you react to a bad review?
I don’t really believe there is such a thing as a bad review. I don’t like every book I read, so I don’t expect that other people will, either. If someone doesn’t like my book, I feel bad, because I want to be universally loved and adored (who doesn’t?!), but for me, I focus more on the positive reviews. As long as there’s one person out there that liked what I wrote, then I’m going to keep writing.
Do you review others’ books? Are you nice or are you mean? :P
I do not officially review books. As an author, it seems weird to be publicly critiquing others’ work. However, when I do share my thoughts on a book, I try to be fair and factual—this is what I liked, this is what I didn’t like. I would never purposely be mean nor would I ever attack the author’s character, intelligence, talent, etc. There’s a saying, “love the sinner, hate the sin.” Well it’s the same with critiquing a book—an author is not their book. A book can be dumb, but that doesn’t mean the person who wrote it is dumb. One book doesn’t represent the entirety of their talent or personality (it’s kind of like acting—the character is not the actor and vice versa). Conversely, just because a book is brilliant or moving, don’t assume the author is brilliant or even a nice person :-) You have to separate the two and treat them like two separate entities, because they are.
Do you like singing or dancing? Does music inspire you?
I love both and am horrible at both. I am completely tone deaf. I tend to listen to music and sing along with it while I cook, and one of my cats used to claw my leg and howl to get me to stop. Apparently, my singing even offends cats.
What are your favorite TV shows?
I have a hard time finding good, engrossing t.v. shows—too many seem like they have a concept for the show, but not really a narrative storyline mapped out from the get go with an exit strategy (how it all ends), so they get in over their head, get really convoluted, and start making stuff up that makes no sense, and it all falls apart. Battlestar Galatica, Heroes, Fringe—all examples of shows I really loved that fell apart (to me, at least) at the end. The narrative just didn’t make any sense (Doctor Who, a current favorite, is starting to fall into this category, too).
Farscape is probably my all-time favorite show. Man, I loved that show. I was so sad to see it go. Sherlock, Game of Thrones, Treme, and Doctor Who are all current favorites (poor Treme is wondering how it got on this list! :-)).
Babette’s Feast (so sad!), The Inspector General, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Lord of the Rings trilogy, Star Wars, Pirates of the
Caribbean, The Mummy…so many
Favorite food? Do you cook?
I do cook (and bake)—quite a lot. It’s just my husband and I, so I often bring food into work and feed the people there. Really, I should have been someone’s little old Italian grandmother. As for favorite food, well, that’s hard to say. There’s so many that I like. But I rarely say no to any form of cheesecake. And I love crème brulee!
What thing you wish you could stop doing and you can’t?
Do you have a nice relationship with your fans?
My fans are ridiculously, insanely, over-the-toply awesome people and I adore them. Seriously, since becoming an author I have met the nicest, kindest, most supportive, most generous people, and I feel so humbled by them.
Amazing interview! TYVM Terri! You made me giggle with the love scenes thing :)
Help celebrate the re-release of HEREAFTER back into the wild at the Online Release Party January 21st from 12:00 pm EST (noon) to 12:00 am EST (midnight). Join Terri and over a dozen special guest authors—including Alma Alexander (“The Secrets of Jin-Shei”) , Gail Z. Martin (“Chronicles of the Necromancer”), Barbara Ann Wright (“The Pyramid Waltz”), and Jennifer Allis Provost (“Copper Girl”)—for games, giveaways, and other shenanigans.
So please stop on by and bring your friends—the more merrier!