Interview with Terri Bruce, author of Hereafter and Thereafter

ThereafterTourBanner_851x315 Book Description :

Nothing in life is free. Turns out, nothing in the afterlife is, either. When recently-deceased Irene Dunphy decided to “follow the light,” she thought she’d end up in Heaven or Hell and her journey would be over. Boy, was she wrong. She soon finds that “the other side” isn’t a final destination but a kind of purgatory where billions of spirits are stuck, with no way to move forward or back. Even worse, deranged phantoms known as “Hungry Ghosts” stalk the dead, intent on destroying them. The only way out is for Irene to forget her life on earth—including the boy who risked everything to help her cross over—which she’s not about to do.As Irene desperately searches for an alternative, help unexpectedly comes in the unlikeliest of forms: a twelfth-century Spanish knight and a nineteenth-century American cowboy. Even more surprising, one offers a chance for redemption; the other, love. Unfortunately, she won’t be able to have either if she can’t find a way to escape the hellish limbo where they’re all trapped.

18776744

Today I welcome the lovely Terri Bruce to the blog for an interview. Terri is the author of Hereafter and Thereafter. Two books which I’ve recently read and really enjoyed. I’m pleased to have the opportunity to ask her some questions…

I’m so happy to be here today, thank you so much for inviting me, Chrissi! I actually met Chrissi through Top Ten Tuesday when we started commenting on each other’s posts and I’m a regular reader of her blog, so it’s an honor for me to be here today.

How long have you been writing for?

I’ve always written; in grade school, they had us write a story every year, which we then made into a book – we printed it neatly on nice paper, drew pictures to accompany the story, and then sewed it all together with a cardboard wrapped in wall paper for covers. I think that was my favorite thing we did all year and I still have those stories (thanks Mom for keeping them!). It wasn’t until 2001, however, that I really set out to write a novel “for real,” and that’s when I started working steadily toward becoming a professional author.

What inspired you to write Hereafter and Thereafter?

The idea for the Afterlife Series came to me one day while I was driving (as so many ideas do); I thought about how different all the stories are of what happens to us when we die. If all the stories stem from some common story or belief what might that original story look like? How could we reconcile all these different “truths” about what happens, and all the various superstitions related to ghosts and how to bury the dead and such, and what would the afterlife look like if all the stories were true in some way? Around the same time, the character of Irene came to me—a strong-headed, complex woman who isn’t really good or bad and who is just sort of treading water in life—and her struggle to deal with her early/unexpected death. The two ideas came together and Hereafter was born.

Can you see yourself in any of the characters?

LOL – well, none of the characters are “me” per se, but a lot of Jonah’s depression is pulled from my own memories and experiences as a teen. Whenever I hear someone say they wish they could “go back” to being a teen/kid and do it all again, I think, “NO.WAY.” I would never go back—being a teen was awful!

My husband, on the other hand, will tell you I’m a lot like Irene. When I’m doing the final editing of my books, I read the entire story out loud to my husband. When I’m reading Irene’s parts, especially when she’s losing her temper, he usually starts laughing and says, “And that’s exactly how you say it, too!” That usually gets a pillow thrown at him. 

Both books come across as very well researched about the afterlife. Did you have to research quite a bit or have you always had an interest in it?

I love mythology, especially the origins of myths. Throughout history, cultures borrowed from each other, building on each other’s mythology and stories. If you go back far enough, you can find the common origins of those stories—that’s the stuff I find really fascinating. When I came up with the idea for Hereafter, I thought about all the stories/myths related to what happens to us when we die that are out there, and how different they all are and I wondered what the common, underlying story(ies) were—what were the common, unifying threads? And to take it one step further, if all the stories were true, how could they be reconciled? That was the challenge I set up for myself with this series: to create a cohesive vision of the afterlife that included ALL of the myths from every culture and religion on Earth from throughout all of history. So the research has been quite extensive and incredibly interesting; I have a giant three-ring binder full of my research and I’ve worked as much of it as I can into the series.

If Hereafter and Thereafter were made into movies, who would you cast as Irene?

This is a really tough question, actually! For three 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. Alison 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.

I don’t know—readers, what do you think? Any suggestions on who should play Irene?

What’s your favourite scene in Thereafter and why?

There’s a couple of scenes that I really like, for different reasons. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the creation of the horse because I feel very clever for making the Chinese myth of burning paper items to send them to the dead true/literal and because…HORSE! Can you think of a WORSE traveling companion for Irene than a horse? Writing Irene’s reaction to the horse was a lot of fun.

I love the initial letters from Jonah to Irene because of what he doesn’t say. In Hereafter and Thereafter, Jonah is a bit of an iceberg in that most of what’s going on with him is below the surface. He doesn’t give up how he’s feeling very easily and the reader has to work for it a bit. Spoiler alert but that changes in Book #3.

And finally, I really love the scene where Andras comforts Irene outside the hotel. I thought I managed to hit just the right tone with how Andras responds to Irene’s distress and how Irene responds to him.

What’s next for you writing wise?

I’m working on finishing up Book #3 of the series (there will be six books total) and I’m working on a science fiction story that’s sort of Firefly meets Battlestar Galatica—that is, cowboys in space who must look for a new home when theirs is destroyed.

Quick-fire questions!

Currently reading?: Weight of Worlds by Alma Alexander (short story collection) and re-reading Federica by Georgette Heyer.
Favourite author?: I have to pick just one?! That’s a toughie, but I have to say Terry Pratchett—if I see his name on a book I buy it, even if I don’t know what it’s about.
Favourite place to write?: I imagine out story lines in the shower and car, but I jot notes anywhere I am (I keep a notebook on me). I do most of my typing on my laptop while sitting on the couch in the living room.
Favourite fictional character?:Ooooh, another toughie! Hmmm…I don’t know. I don’t think I can pick just one. Possibly Lord Vetinari from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Books.
Book you wish you had written?: The Night Circus; the writing was really gorgeous in that book. I wish I could write that lyrically.

About Terri and where to find her:
untitled

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.

Email:      tbruce@terribruce.net This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website/Blog:     www.terribruce.net
Goodreads:    www.goodreads.com/TerriBruce
Facebook:     http://www.facebook.com/authorterribruce
Twitter:     @_TerriBruce

Book Buy Links (available at all major book retailers)
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Thereafter-Afterlife-Series-Volume/dp/0991303628/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8
Barnes & Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/thereafter-terri-bruce/1115324247?ean=2940149344697
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/423765

Click HERE for an amazing giveaway including

2 $50 Amazon gift cards
5 signed paperback copies of Thereafter (U.S./Canada Only)

Thereafter

18776744

How did I get it?:
Received from the author in exchange for an honest review. This has not affected my opinion of the book!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Hereafter

Synopsis:

When recently-deceased Irene Dunphy decided to “follow the light,” she thought she’d end up in Heaven or Hell and her journey would be over.

Boy, was she wrong.

She soon finds that “the other side” isn’t a final destination but a kind of purgatory where billions of spirits are stuck, with no way to move forward or back. Even worse, deranged phantoms known as “Hungry Ghosts” stalk the dead, intent on destroying them. The only way out is for Irene to forget her life on earth—including the boy who risked everything to help her cross over—which she’s not about to do.

As Irene desperately searches for an alternative, help unexpectedly comes in the unlikeliest of forms: a twelfth-century Spanish knight and a nineteenth-century American cowboy. Even more surprising, one offers a chance for redemption; the other, love. Unfortunately, she won’t be able to have either if she can’t find a way to escape the hellish limbo where they’re all trapped.

Thoughts:

After enjoying Hereafter, I was looking forward to picking up the sequel Thereafter. Terri Bruce kindly sent me a copy as part of the blog tour for the book. I was interested to see what happened next for Irene.

I thought Thereafter was just as enjoyable as Hereafter. Hereafter told the story of Irene’s journey to the afterlife. Irene has now reached the afterlife, and it keeps on surprising her and the reader too. Once again, Irene grows so much as a character as she struggles to adapt.

Even though, in Hereafter, Irene had just died and was struggling with dealing with that, I felt Irene was more vulnerable in Thereafter. Especially without Jonah right by her side. Irene is unprepared and alone in the afterlife. She’s still determined though, which is admirable, considering the massive changes that have came her way.

Something I really enjoyed about Thereafter were the interactions between Irene and Jonah. I loved the letters between the two.

Thereafter may not be the most ground-breaking book, but I thought it was enjoyable, easy to read and a good series to invest in if you have an interest in the afterlife.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Hereafter

19489642

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Why let a little thing like dying get in the way of a good time?

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?

Thoughts:

I have had Hereafter on my radar for a while now. I do read a lot of YA books, so I’m always on the look out for something adult/paranormal/fantasy! I thought Hereafter didn’t have the most likeable main character, but it was an enjoyable book nonetheless.

Hereafter starts with Irene and the girls. They’re spending a night out drinking. However, the night doesn’t end well for Irene. Irene wakes up on the side of the road, unaware of how she got there, or why no one has helped her. Irene drives back home and realises things aren’t how they should be. She has so many missed calls, the post has piled up, and her mother isn’t paying any attention to her whatsoever. Irene freaks out, but things are about to get even more strange. Irene bumps into 14-year-old Jonah, who has a strong interest in the afterlife. Jonah breaks the news about her death to her. Together they attempt to get Irene to the afterlife, but it’s not as easy at it might seem.

Hereafter captured my attention. I didn’t immediately warm to Irene. I actually found her quite annoying. Once she had met Jonah and started to work out what to do next, I started to like her. The interactions between Irene and Jonah are incredibly fun to read. Irene really develops as a character. She goes from being quite crappy to Jonah, to actually enjoying and needing his company. Their relationship reminded me very much of sibling relationship.

I feel like Terri Bruce really researched into the different theories of afterlife. It was intriguing to read about different traditions. Yet, it didn’t feel like it was too factual. It was cleverly written into the story. The reader learns as Irene learns.

I enjoyed Hereafter, it may not have been the fastest paced or action packed book, but it is intriguing and worth a look at if you’re looking for a paranormal read. It may not focus much on being a ghost, but its focus on afterlife will interest many.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

WWW Wednesday #65

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Click on the image to get to her blog!

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Click on the image to get to her blog!

Welcome to another WWW Wednesday!  To participate in WWW Wednesday, you need to answer three questions.

•What are you currently reading?

•What did you recently finish reading?

•What do you think you’ll read next?

Click on the book cover to get to the Goodread’s page for the book.

What are you currently reading?

20877628I’m about halfway through You’re The One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher. I really enjoyed Giovanna’s first book, and so far I’m enjoying this book. It’s very easy to read so far.

What did you recently finish reading?

18776744I recently finished Thereafter by Terri Bruce. I read this for the upcoming blog tour. It was intriguing, but didn’t particularly blow me away.

What do you think you’ll read next?

15740944I’m intrigued to start The Sound by Sarah Alderson. I haven’t read anything by this author yet, but I’ve heard some great things!

What are you reading this week? Please feel free to leave your answers or links in the comment section below! Happy Reading! 🙂

 

 

Stacking The Shelves #57

Click on the image to take you to Tynga's blog to learn more!

Click on the image to take you to Tynga’s blog to learn more!

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared!

As ever, click on the book image to get to the Goodread’s page!

Bought:

19489642 14288998

Hereafter by Terri Bruce has been on my radar for a while now. I’m hoping to read this book soon! I’m attempting to get up to date with the majority of my series, so I pre-ordered Into The Still Blue by Veronica Rossi, it arrived this week and I’m very much looking forward to finishing the series.

NetGalley:

18579800 18599820 19780812 20728920

If you’ve visited this blog before, or regularly come back, you may have noticed that I can never stay away from NetGalley. It’s an addiction I tell you! Luckily, I’ve got my NetGalley ratio above the 80% ratio that they recommend, so I feel less guilty about requesting new pretties! 😉 Out of this selection I’m particularly looking forward to Tease by Amanda Maciel.

ARCS received/donated

Random House

13260749 17997707 17999143 18213013

I was supposed to be attending the Random House event, but I was unwell so couldn’t go. My lovely friend picked me up a goodie bag though, with these four books. My copy of Echo Boy by Matt Haig is signed. I can’t wait to read it. Bird by Crystal Chan seems to be really popular too. I’m reading Running Girl by Simon Mason with Luna for our ‘Comparing’ feature next month. I’ve read The Name On Your Wrist by Helen Hiorns as an e-book, but it’s lovely to have a ‘real’ copy. If you click on the book image for that particular book, it’ll go to my review!

Oxford University Press

18486825 20559839 untitled 17522283

I received final copies of Who Framed Klaris Cliff? and Storm and Stone. I have read and reviewed these already, book images go to my reviews! I’ve heard good things about The Private Blog of Joe Cowley by Ben Davis, so I’m looking forward to reading it! Disregarding the freaky cover of Replica by Jack Heath, it actually sounds very good!

Hatchette Children’s Books

17204984 20359867

I’m so excited to read Riot by Sarah Mussi. I’ve heard some brilliant things about it! It might have to be bumped up the TBR list! I also like the look of Between the Lives by Jessica Shirvington. I also received a copy of The Moment Collector by Jodi Lynn Anderson.

What have you received this week? Have you read any of the books in my haul yet? Feel free to leave your link to your Stacking The Shelves post and I’ll come by and visit!