Whereafter by Terri Bruce (Review, Interview AND Giveaway)

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000446_00074]




Book 3

Terri Bruce


Genre: Contemporary fantasy/paranormal

Publisher: Mictlan Press

Date of Publication: March 15, 2016

ISBN: 9780991303649

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

Book Description:

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.


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.

What I thought:

I loved the whole Afterlife series. It was exciting and so much fun to read.

I don’t know if I could pick a favorite book out of the series(so far) but, IF I DID, it would be this one.

In this book, the third in the series, we find Irene still stuck in the afterlife, which is actually more of a purgatory. She and Andras continue to search for a way to escape and on the other side, Jonah is trying to help as well. But if he crosses over it could be dangerous for everyone involved.

I got kind of an Alice in Wonderland vibe with Irene stuck in the afterlife. I think it was the obstacles and being stuck in one place, trying to get to another, and Irene being so confused.

I like how the book kind of goes back and forth and you get Irene and Jonah’s point of view. I LOVE multiple POV books.

Another thing that I LOVED about this book was the fact that one of the characters deals with a mental illness. That is happening a lot lately in books, and being an anxiety/OCD sufferer, its so awesome to see because its brings so much awareness.

The writing in this, as well as the whole series, was amazing. But you could really tell a difference in the growth of the writing from Book 1 to Book 3. And speaking of growth, the character growth in this book, and again, the whole series was really great.

I also really liked how this ended. Irene has finally made her decision. And now, I look forward to the rest of the series to see what happens next!

I give Whereafter 4.5 stars.

About the Author:

Terri Bruce has been making up adventure stories for as long as she can remember and 6450132won 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).






Writing/Book Questions:
Thank you so much for letting me stop by today to talk about my latest book, Whereafter! I’m really excited to be here and very excited to finally be able to release Whereafter—the long awaited third book in the series.

(1) How would you describe your writing process?
Controlled chaos? But without the control

(2) Do you have any strange writing habits?
I don’t think this count as strange because a lot of writers do them, but I tend to write a lot while I sleep. I imagine a scene or storyline that I might be having trouble with as I’m falling asleep—imagining it out almost like a movie. If I do that, then usually, when I wake up, I have the answer to whatever is wrong or stumping me. Often that answer comes to me in the shower, so I spend a lot of time running through the house, dripping wet, looking for paper to jot notes down on before I forget them! 

(3) What authors inspired you to write (if any)?
I’ve always written, ever since I was a kid, so I wasn’t influenced to write by any authors. But, certainly, there have been many books that have influenced my life: T.H. White’s “The Once and Future King,” was one of the most impactful books I have ever read. I read it once a year around my birthday just to remind myself that the struggle to be noble and good is worth it. Joseph Heller’s “Catch-22” influenced my social-political views, “The Little Prince” influenced my life philosophy, and Marianne Williamson’s “A Return to Love” has helped guide me in being my attempts to be the best version of myself.

(4) How do you choose character names?
Very painfully. I’m terrible at naming things (and book titles! I’m terrible at book titles!). Actually, the painful part is a fib. My characters usually tell me their names, but I also try to be intentional in picking a wide variety of names, especially uncommon names or names not common to me/where I live. So sometimes I spend a lot of time browsing baby name sites, trying to find different sounding names or names that are more popular in other countries or other parts of the world.

(5) Favorite Book(s):

Too many to name! Pride and Prejudice, almost everything by Charles Dickens, The Three Musketeers, Ivanhoe, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Chronicles of Prydain (Gurgi!), His Dark Materials series, Jan Karon’s “At Home in Mitford” series, anything by Terry Pratchett… the list goes on and on!

(6) Favorite Author(s):

Terry Pratchett for sure! Lloyd Alexander, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen… more contemporary I live Julia Quinn and Lisa Kleypas (yes, I’m a romance novel junkie!) and I’ve just discovered Scott Lynch (Gentleman Bastards series).

(7) What book do you wish that you had written?

Any book that makes me cry – Mary Doria Russell’s “The Sparrow,” Aryn Kyle’s “The God of Animals,” Phillip Pullman’s, “His Dark Materials” books, etc. I always feel like I struggle writing emotionally sad scenes and I envy authors with that talent.

(8) If you could pick one other job, besides writing books and what you currently do besides writing books, what would that be?

Something to do with animals—but not a veterinarian. Some kind of animal trainer maybe or work at a zoo or a shelter.

(9) What do you have going on right now? What can we expect next from you?

Well… I have a new book out! Whereafter, the latest book in my Afterlife series, released on March 15th! Whereafter (Afterlife #3) is the third book (of six) in the 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.

As for what’s coming up next, well, as always, I have a bunch of things in the works. There is, of course, the next book in the Afterlife series (Whenafter), which I’m working on; I’m also 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.

(10) Do you listen to music when you write? If so, tell me 3-5 songs on your playlist.

I definitely listen to music when I write—fun fact about me: I have two parts of my brain. They might be the traditional left and right parts, but one part is more analytical and is in charge of reading and writing skills. The other part is in charge of ideas and creativity. When I’m doing left brain stuff (like writing), if I don’t give the right side something to do, it starts day dreaming and  sucks the left part into the day dreaming and distracts me. So I listen to music when I write, read, cook or bake (when I need to follow a recipe), or whenever I need to study or do something that requires intense concentration. I’ve always been that way.

For the Afterlife series, I listen to a lot of dark and heavy stuff: a lot of Florence and the Machine and Garbage (Stupid Girl is Irene’s theme song; also, “The Trick is to Keep Breathing” for Jonah) and Lane Del Rey (Dark Paradise, in particular).

(11) Do you or have you incorporate(d) real life experiences into your books?
There’s so much real life stuff in my books! Irene’s recollection of her death by drowning is actually my memory of the experience. I nearly drowned when I was six and I’ve never forgotten it. Jonah depression is taken from my own experiences and my own struggles as a teenager of feeling like a misfit and being a lonely, nerdy outsider. In Whereafter, Jonah has a very emotional scene where he tries to describe why he’s suicidal and why he’s so desperate to find Irene, who he’s kind of pinned all his hopes of not being so lonely on, and all of that is taken from my own feelings and memories from that age.

In addition, many of my characters are drawn from actual history. All of Andras’s background and history is taken from historical research. Even though he is a fictional character, his family is real, the religious order he belonged to is real, the holding of Ucles is real, and the history of the battle of Alarcos in 1195 is all real. In Book #2 (Thereafter), Ian’s history and background are all real, though he himself is fiction. The Chinese philosopher Irene and Ian meet was a real person. There are actually a lot of hidden, real life people in the series. I do a lot of research and try to find real life people that match the characters I need/want for particular scenes. And in those cases where I don’t use a real person, I invent a person but I make all of their life circumstances as realistic as possible—such as Amy in Hereafter. She is not a real person, but her profession, where she lived (a boarding house in Boston’s South End), the way she dressed, the way she speaks, her social and political views, her slang/vocabulary, and even the names of streets she references are all historically accurate for the time period in which she would have lived. LOL—sometimes I feel like my Afterlife series is historical fiction masquerading as fantasy.

Crazy Questions:
(1) Have you ever been in a bar fight?

LOL—no; I don’t drink so I don’t tend to go to bars. But been in lots of “near scuffles” in my life.
(2) What is your biggest fear?

Being a coward

(3) What do you want written on your tombstone?

She always tried her best.

(4) Do you have any secret talents?

Alas, no. I can’t even whistle and I can only blink my left eye but not my right 😦
(5) What is one place you have never been, but would love to go?

I only get one?! That’s not fair! I want to go to China and India, in particular, but also Egypt and Scotland are high on the list.
(6) If you were a superhero, what would your name be? And your power?

I really want the power to set stuff on fire. Or something like Force Choke… which I suspect means I would not, in fact, be a superhero, but, instead, be a super villain.
(7) If you were an animal, what animal would you be?

I ‘m torn, because I love cats and would love to be one, but otters always look like they are having fun. Seriously, have you ever seen a sad looking otter?
(8) What is one thing you would like to accomplish before you die?

I’d like an opportunity to be courageous.
(9) If you could have an accent from anywhere in the world, what accent would you choose?

Oooh, tough one, because I LOVE accents! Indian, English, Irish, Italian, or French would be my top favorites.
(10) Do you have any tattoos? How many?

I wish! But, alas, I do not because I am petrified of needles. I got stung by an entire nest of yellow jackets as a kid and I have panic attacks around anything resembling a bee sting—having blood drawn at the doctor’s office, getting an I.V. put in, Novocaine shots at the dentist’s office, shots at the doctor’s office, tattoos, acupuncture… you name it. If it involves a needle, I freak out.
(11) Do you have any scars? From what? 

I’ve got a very awesome one on my knee from patella tendon repair surgery a few years ago. I’ve got a small one on one temple from jumping on the bed as a kid and falling and cracking open my head on the bed post.
(12) What is your favorite food and drink?

I love to eat, so there’s no way I can pick just one thing in either category!


I want to thank you once again for letting me stop by to 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 http://www.terribruce.net) 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.

Tour giveaway

2 $25 Amazon Gift Cards

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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