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Thursday 28 April 2016

ℚ♫ Whereafter: Afterlife [3] - Terri Bruce

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Whereafter (13 March 2016, Mictlan Press, 291 pages), a Contemporary Paranormal Fantasy, book three of Afterlife series.

Author Q&A | Synopsis | Teaser | The Series | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops

A very warm welcome to Terri Bruce; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

Here at BooksChatter we love music; do you have a music playlist that you used in Whereafter, or which inspired you whilst you were writing it?

"I definitely write to music and for this series, I tend to listen to a lot of dark, moody music—Lana Del Rey, Florence and the Machine, things like that for Jonah and a lot of Garbage for Irene (“Stupid Girl” by Garbage is Irene’s theme song :-) ). For Irene, I also listen to a lot of “determined” music—sort of angry, edgier stuff, but still dark, like Muse and AWOLNATION.

For Whereafter, while writing Jonah’s sections, I listened to a lot of very dark stuff, because Jonah is in a very bad place, emotionally.  He’s in a lot of pain—he feels all alone in the world and like he’s been abandoned by the one person he really cares about—so to get into that frame of mind, I dug into a lot of emotional stuff."

What was the inspiration for Whereafter?
"Whereafter (Afterlife #3) is the third book (of six) in my Afterlife series.  The series tells the story of Irene Dunphy, a thirty-six year old party girl, who dies and is stuck on earth as a ghost.  She eventually figures out how to cross over to the other side, and she has to learn how to navigate the afterlife and figure out how to spend eternity.

It’s also the story of the friendship that springs up between her and a fourteen-year-old boy named Jonah Johnson.  Jonah is alive, but he can see dead people—thanks to a meditation he learned from a book he found in his school library.  Jonah, in many ways, is older than Irene (he’s certainly more mature), and he knows a lot more about the afterlife (it’s his obsession) so he becomes the rock Irene leans on during her journey.

Whereafter is the book I’ve been dying to write ever since I wrote the first book in the series, Hereafter.  Everyone who has read Hereafter wonders why Jonah stays friends with Irene—she’s rude, snarky, and has a major drinking problem.  Some people felt the relationship was somewhat abusive, and many readers didn’t understand why Jonah put up with Irene.  In Whereafter, for the first time, Jonah is a Point-of-View character, and we get to see his side of the story.  I think readers are going to be happy to finally get inside his head and see what’s going on there."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"There’s a lot of me in the book—surprisingly, though, it’s all in Jonah, not Irene.  Growing up, I struggled with not feeling like I fit in, with being depressed, and thinking suicidal thoughts.

Everything Jonah feels is something I felt at his age.  Irene, in many ways, is the person I wish I could be—she’s beautiful, tall, brash, does what she wants, says what she wants, and doesn’t put up with stuff.  I love how just how brash she is.  She gets to say the stuff I wish I could say to people."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about your cover for Whereafter - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"I LOVE my cover art so much—the artist is Shelby Robinson, and she is amazing.  She has done the artwork for all three books.  She found the amazing cover model, Chelsea Howard, and did a custom photo shoot for these books.

For the first time, we also feature Jonah on the cover (yay!).  In this cover, the wheat field they are standing is the setting of Irene’s part of the story—she’s in a combination of the Elysium Fields of Greek Legend and the Wheat Fields of Osiris of Egyptian mythology.  The Tarot cards are related to Jonah’s part of the story; Jonah is into afterlife mythology but he kind of sneers at “metaphysical stuff” like crystals and Chakras and Tarot cards.  However, he ends having a Tarot card reading that is a pivotal scene in the book."
Why should we read Whereafter and the Afterlife series? What sets it apart from the rest?
"My Afterlife Series is a little different from the usual afterlife and paranormal fantasy stories in that it combines elements of afterlife mythology from every culture and religion on Earth (past and present).

I love mythology, and I also really love researching the origins of myths.  Most related myths usually all stem from the same original story, and one day I wondered what the common origin story was for afterlife mythology.  If all the stories were, in essence, describing the same thing—the same place/afterlife—what would that place look like when the stories are all so different.

In addition, as I mentioned before, I wanted to write something that wasn’t the usual romance tale—I wanted to write about an unusual friendship and about a story that didn’t feature a romance.  I wanted to focus on the female character and her personal journey."
Can you tell us something quirky about Whereafter, its story and characters?
Pooka "These books combine all of the afterlife mythology from every culture and religion—past and present.  So there’s a LOT of hidden Easter eggs in them.  All of the world building contains layers of mythological references.  But they contain other stuff, too, like obscure historical figures.  For instance, in the second book, Thereafter, Irene meets a Chinese philosopher named Gao—he was a real person.  In the first two books, Irene is helped by a little black and white cat that she calls a “Pooka” (a Welsh folk tale creature), which is actually modeled on my real life cat (named Pooka because she’s not very cat like and I suspect she’s some kind of folk talk creature in disguise).  So there are tons of things like that hidden in the books.

During the month of April I will be participating in the “A to Z Blogging Challenge” and every day I will be posting a video blog (on my blog at in which I reveal all of the hidden references to afterlife mythology and “Easter eggs” hidden in the series.  I encourage everyone to stop by each day and check out the videos—you’ll have a chance to see just how much research went into this series and hopefully everyone will find the videos interesting as well as fun!"
Who would you recommend Whereafter to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"These books are for fans of mythology, those who like chick lit or women’s fiction crossed with fantasy elements, contemporary fantasy, ghost stories, and life-after-death stories, as well as fans of cross genre works like Neverwhere, The Night Circus, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Peony in Love, Cloud of Sparrows, Her Fearful Symmetry, and The Sparrow.

There’s not really any trigger warnings, though Irene has a drinking problem and Jonah is struggling with depression, which might bother some readers."
If you could / wished to turn Whereafter and the Afterlife series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"This is a really tough question, actually!  For four years now, ever since Hereafter was first published, I’ve been racking my brain, trying to come up with an actress to play Irene.  It’s tough.  I think I’d have to go with an unknown because I don’t know of anyone who fits the bill.  Allison Scagliotti might be perfect if she was just a little older (Irene is 36).  Jaime Murray and Alicia Coppola would be almost perfect (the right mix of sweet and snarky) but they are a little too mature—and I don’t mean to say that they’re too old; I mean, when you look at their faces and in their eyes, they are mature, grown-up, thoughtful women.  Irene is very immature. You’d never mistake her for someone’s mother or someone who could be maternal.

Allison Scagliotti Jaime Murray Alicia Coppola
As for Jonah, I haven’t seen anyone who would be a perfect Jonah.  I think we’d have to go with an unknown.

For Andras, Javier Bardem might be really good or Pablo Echarri (but he’s Argentian, rather than Spanish), Joaquín Furriel (another Argentian), Cauã Reymond, though he might be too young (Andras is 30-35ish) and he’s Brazilian, or Leonardo Sbaraglia (though, again, he’s Argentinian, rather than Spanish/from Spain).

Javier Bardem Pablo Echarri Joaquín Furriel Cauã Reymond Leonardo Sbaraglia
I don’t know—readers, what do you think? Any suggestions on who should play Irene?"
What do you like to write and read about?  Do you stick to a particular Contemporary Paranormal Fantasy or do you like to explore different ones?
"What’s interesting is I tend to read different genres than I write.  I love to read historical romance, YA fantasy and science fiction, and a lot of non-fiction.  I WISH I could write YA or romance, but I love to read them so much, but maybe I feel that there are so many good books in those genres, why bother writing any?"
What is your writing process?
"Is there supposed to be a process?  In that case, I think I’m doing it wrong…"
What is in store next?
"I’m working on editing a “Blade Runner meets The Usual Suspects” science noir story that I’ll be shopping to publishers soon, and I’m working on a science fiction novel that started out as a space-opera “sci-fi western” and is morphing into a much more sobering, almost hard sci-fi mortality tale about a group of space miners trying to survive on an abandoned mining outpost in deep space.  I’ve also got a bunch of short stories coming out in various anthologies (there are a couple that were recently released/that are available now, as well).

The next book will be titled, “Whenafter.”  There is no release date set yet, but I have already started working on it.  Whenafter will feature the return of a character from Hereafter, and finally, readers will get some answers to some long-standing, unanswered questions!

Whenafter Description:
In The Afterlife, Nothing Is As It Seems…

Just as she’s found the doorway from the Great Beyond back to the land of the living, Irene Dunphy’s plan to return home as a guardian angel is derailed by a surprise attack from an old enemy.

Swept into the afterlife plane inhabited by the Nephilim, Irene is forced to call in a favor from the mysterious Samyel—the Nephilim who used her to bring him to the afterlife and then promptly abandoned her.  He’s her only hope of survival and escape—if he can be trusted to deliver on past promises.  But will Samyel help her—or betray her?"
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"I currently have two cats.  One of them is a little black and white cat, named Pooka, who is featured in Hereafter and Thereafter.  Yup, the cat that guides Irene in the afterlife is modeled after my cat—she is the most un-catlike cat I’ve ever had, which is why we named her Pooka (a Pooka is a Welsh folk creature that takes the form of a black or black and white dog, horse, or other animal (often a cat or rabbit) that likes to play tricks on humans.  In Thereafter, Andras (the Spanish knight traveling with Irene) even refers to the cat as a pooka."
Hello gorgeous Pooka - you're a star :-) Lots of belly rubs to you!

Thank you so much for sharing Pooka with us, Terri and thank you for chatting to us about yours Afterlife series!

"I want to thank you once again for letting me stop by and chat about Whereafter.

For those that love afterlife mythology or want to learn more about the Afterlife series, during the month of April, I will be participating in the “A to Z Blogging Challenge,” and every day, I will be posting a video blog (at in which I reveal all of the hidden references to afterlife mythology and “Easter Eggs” in the series.  I encourage everyone to stop by each day and check out the videos!

You can also sign up for my newsletter to stay up to date with all my latest news.  In addition, I love interacting with readers, so please feel free to email me or connect with me on Twitter."

Available NOW!

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