Genre: Contemporary fantasy/paranormal
Publisher: Mictlan Press
Date of Publication: March 15, 2016
Number of pages: 345
Word Count: 100,000
Formats available: Paperback and all ebook formats
Cover Artist: Shelby Robinson – artwork
Jennifer Stolzer – layout and design
How Far Would You Go To Get Your Life Back?
Stuck in the afterlife on an island encircled by fire and hunted by shadows bent on trapping them there forever, Irene and Andras struggle to hold onto the last vestiges of their physical selves, without which they can never return to the land of the living. But it’s not just external forces they’ll have to fight as the pair grow to realize they have different goals. Irene still clings to the hope that she can somehow return to her old life—the one she had before she died—while Andras would be only too glad to embrace oblivion.
Meanwhile, Jonah desperately searches for a way to cross over to the other side, even if doing so means his death. His crossing over, however, is the one thing that could destroy Irene’s chances of returning home.
Too many obstacles, too many people to save, and the thing Irene most desperately wants—to return to her old life—seems farther away than ever. Only one thing is clear: moving on will require making a terrible sacrifice.
Thank you so much for hosting me during my blog tour. I’m so excited to be celebrating the release of Whereafter, the third novel in my Afterlife series. I’ve wanted to tell this story, and knew what this book would be about, since I was halfway through with the first book, Hereafter. Originally, Jonah was just supposed to be a two-line character who told Irene she was dead, but he became so much more. Many readers wondered why Jonah put up with Irene and what was going on with him, and now, finally, they will get to find out. It was so much fun writing a story from Jonah’s perspective, and, of course, the new character, Char, was a total blast to write. I hope readers love her as much as I do!
Now, without further ado, I will turn the floor over to Irene, Andras, and Jonah!
1. If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?
Irene: No question... beach, sun, sand… preferably on a tropical island… with hunky cabana boys bringing me a never-ending supply of long island iced teas or mojitos!
(Jonah gives Irene a sideways look and frowns)
Irene: What? What’s wrong with that?
Jonah (rolls his eyes): Aren’t you at least going to read a book or something?
Irene (grinning unapologetically): Nope. Just me, my bikini, the cabana boys, and the sun tan oil.
(Jonah’s disapproving frown deepens)
Andras (cutting in quickly): I would pray.
Irene (her expression changing to exasperation): Of course you would.
Andras: A day of quiet, uninterrupted reflection and prayer… yes, that I would enjoy.
There’s a long pause. Irene and Andras look at Jonah expectantly.
Jonah (his ears turn red and he ducks his head): What?
Irene: So what would you do with your day? Let me guess—go ghost exploring?
Jonah (his blush deepening): No…not exactly. It would depend on what you… I mean… I don’t know. Never mind. Next question.
2. If you could spend the day with someone you admire (living or dead or imaginary), who would you pick?
Andras (answering quickly): The Grant Master of my order. He was killed, along with me, at the battle of Al Alarcos in 1195. (Andras pauses for a moment.) Perhaps, also King Alphonso. I would like to kneel before my king, in the flesh, just once.
Jonah: Oh wow, I have to pick just one? That’s tough! That’s one of the things I love about being able to visit the ghost realm—I can meet any dead people I want! Gee… I don’t know… I guess I’d love to meet all the kings and queens I’ve studied in history and Egyptian pharaohs… oh and Cleopatra! And Ghangis Khan! And Napolean! And Alexander the Great!
Irene (to Jonah): I’m sensing a theme here… you know all those guys started wars and invaded other countries, right?
Jonah: Yeah, I know… I just think they’re interesting is all
Irene: I had no idea you were so blood thirsty.
(All three grow quiet. Jonah and Andras turn to Irene expectantly.)
Irene (shrugging): Don’t look at me. I have no idea… I don’t really admire people or have anyone I particularly want to meet.
Jonah: That’s just sad.
Andras: I agree.
Irene (to Andras): I’m surprised you didn’t say you wanted to meet God!
Andras smiles placidly. “I don’t have to. I will be meeting him soon enough.”
3. What is your idea of perfect happiness? And, what is your current state of mind?
Irene (gesturing to Andras): “Go ahead. I already know what you’re going to say.”
Andras (smiles smugly): Perfect happiness comes with being content in the Lord—of being at peace and letting go of earthly desires. I have found this peace and am content. When I reach Heaven and take my place at the right hand of the Lord as a member of the Saboath—the Heavenly Host—then I will know happiness.
Irene (shakes her head): I have no idea what happiness is, honestly. I think the beach thing with the cabana boys comes pretty close though.
Jonah (glances at Irene with a look of uncertainty): Perfect happiness for me? I… next question.
4. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Andras: No virtue is over-rated.
Irene: They’re all over-rated.
Jonah: Being a kid.
5. Tell us 3 things about yourself that the readers do not know about.
Irene: Hmm…that’s a toughie… let’s see… well, my birthday is in March. I’m a Pisces.
Andras: I have managed to leave most earthly concerns behind, except one. I am grievously embarrassed by my attire in the afterlife.
Jonah (looks at Andras critically): Yeah, seriously dude, what are you wearing?
Andras: I was killed in battle and my clothes and armor were stripped from my corpse. These are my undergarments. I would dearly love to have some proper clothes and even more so, would love to have my armor and sword.
(Irene and Andras turn to look at Jonah expectantly.)
Jonah (glances at Irene): I… I was going to give up visiting the ghost realm. The day I met Irene, I was going to give it up. I’d been able to use the meditation that lets me see ghosts for a few weeks but hadn’t seen any ghosts, so I was about to give up trying. And then I ran into Irene.
Irene (looks surprised): Really? I can’t imagine you giving up on anything. You’re always like a dog with a bone when you get something into your head.
Jonah (blushes): Yeah, well—
Irene (interrupts): Wait, so you’re saying that if anything happens to you because of these ghost adventures it really will be my fault? Great. Thanks for that!
Jonah: No, I didn’t mean that. Running into you was the best thing that ever happened to me—
Andras (to Irene): All things happen by the design of God. You met the boy because you were supposed to—
Irene: Don’t start with that God stuff—
Jonah: Oh, look, I think they’re signaling that we’re out of time…
Andras grunted, the sound filled with suspicion. Irene bent down to tie her shoelace, as much to avoid eye contact as anything. When she straightened up, something in the distance caught her eye, shimmering like a mirage. She squinted, not sure she was really seeing what she thought she saw.
“You know, now might be a good time for you to tell me what it was like to live in a castle,” she said.
Andras shook his head, sadly, as if Irene had disappointed him. “You cling too much to the past. Forget the trappings of life. Free your mind from these longings, and so, free your soul. Only then will we be able to escape these shackles and enter Heaven to rest at the side of God.”
Why did he always have to argue about everything? “For God’s sake,” she said, exasperated, “just answer the question!”
Irene pointed to the hulking structure in the distance. “Because,” she said as Andras whirled around to see what she was pointing at, “correct me if I’m wrong, but that looks like a castle.”
“Wow!” Irene said, her eyes roving over the dark, crenellated structure hulking in the far distance. It gleamed dully, the color of burnt blood in a fading afternoon sun. “What the hell do you think that is?”
Andras grunted. “As you said—Hell.”
Irene frowned at him, but her lips quirked in amusement. “Why do you have to be so negative? It could just as easily be Heaven. God is supposed to live in a palace, right—the whole ‘my father’s house has many rooms’ thing? A castle is just a type of palace.”
Andras gave her a dry look. “Does that look like Heaven?”
Irene was on the verge of agreeing that the castle did not in any way look how she imagined Heaven when it shimmered, as if the fading sunlight had been redirected by mirrors. Light rippled across the castle’s surface and the dull, dark, burnt-blood color transformed into gleaming, bright, silver-white. Crisp white pennants flapped from the corners as if whipped by wind. Irene thought she could hear them snapping crisply.
Irene looked at Andras, and he looked at her. His expression made it clear that he had seen the same transformation she had. It was as if the building was trying to trick them into coming closer.
About the Author:
Terri Bruce has been making up adventure stories for as long as she can remember and won her first writing award when she was twelve. Like Anne Shirley, she prefers to make people cry rather than laugh, but is happy if she can do either. She produces fantasy and adventure stories from a haunted house in New England where she lives with her husband and three cats. She is the author of the Afterlife Series, which includes Hereafter (Afterlife #1) and Thereafter (Afterlife #2) and several short stories including “Welcome to OASIS” (“Dear Robot” anthology, Kelly Jacobson publisher) and “The Well” (“Scratching the Surface” anthology, Third Flatiron Press).
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