Mermaid & Friends: Vanessa Barneveld Swims with the Mermaids

Friends, I had a very special day planned for the lagoon today. I was all set to welcome the fabulous Vanessa Barneveld, whose YA novel, THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE, debuts in four short unnameddays, on October 21. I’m a huge fan of this book — not only is it fun, fresh, and touching, but it’s all delivered in Vanessa’s smooth-as-butter voice.

So you can imagine how excited I was when Vanessa agreed to dip a toe in the lagoon. But alas, due to travel difficulties (Vanessa lives in Australia, after all), she couldn’t make it. But not to worry. She promised she would send a replacement. Ah, here comes someone now…

KEIRA: Hi. I’m Keira and I’m clairvoyant. But I’m not your interview guest today. I’m just here as a ghost interpreter.

PINTIP: Ghost interpreter?

KEIRA: Not everyone can see, hear or talk to ghosts, but I can. I’ll relay everything Jimmy says and does for you and your readers. (Whispers) He’s a shameless flirt, so watch out.

JIMMY: (Coughs) I can hear you, Keira.

KEIRA: Whoops.

PINTIP: OMG. You mean you’re Keira and Jimmy? From the book?!

KEIRA: Where else? Why are you so surprised?

PINTIP: (Stutters) No reason. I was just expecting someone, you know, real. In more than one sense of the word.

JIMMY: Do I get a say in what you call this article, Pintip?’Cause I’ve got some ideas. How about Ghost Host? Ghost Host with the Most? Ghost Host Post?

KEIRA: Enough with the rhyming.

JIMMY: Interview with a Vampire Jock?

KEIRA: You’re a ghost, not Dracula.

PINTIP: Uh, those are very…nice suggestions, Jimmy. I’ll give them serious thought. (Clears throat). Why don’t we get on with the interview? So, Jimmy. Wow. I’ve never talked to a ghost before. What’s it like in the afterworld?

JIMMY: Can’t say I was thrilled about dying at seventeen, but now that I’ve gotten used to it, the ability to walk through walls is kinda cool. I had to learn how to get around. After a while, I figured out all I have to do is think of a location and I’ll be there in seconds.

(Long silence)

KEIRA: (Squints, looks around) Jimmy?

(Crickets chirp)

JIMMY: I’m back! I went to Antarctica just then. Pretty cool. Okay, what was I saying? Oh, yeah, travel. I plan to hang around for the Super Bowl. Gatecrash a luxury box.

KEIRA: You could sit on the goal posts if you wanted to. The horizontal bar thingie.

JIMMY: (Laughs) Glad you clarified that, Keira.

PINTIP: Can ghosts taste or touch?

AfterlifeKEIRA: Weirdly—and I never understood this—Jimmy felt a lot of physical pain in the early days of his afterlife. I likened it to phantom pain that amputees get. It’s something to do with nerve endings. Don’t ask me why ghosts get it.

JIMMY: I’m all healed now, in case you were wondering. I can’t feel a thing.

PINTIP: I’m so glad you’re no longer in pain! What do you miss the most about being alive?

JIMMY: Playing football in front of a home crowd. Hearing everyone stamp their feet on the bleachers. I miss the entire cheerleading squad. My car… But, you know what? None of the material stuff really matters. What I miss most is my family and friends. And I especially miss my brother, Dan. We fought in the days before I died. I loved him. I wish I told him when I was alive.

KEIRA: (Chokes up) He knows.

PINTIP: (Blinking back tears, too) I bet he does. So, out of all places, why did you show up in Keira’s bedroom?

JIMMY: Hey, I had no choice. Another ghost, an old lady, found me, said she knew someone who could help. Before I knew it, she was pushing me through a wall and into Keira’s bedroom.

PINTIP: Did you know Keira before you died?

KEIRA: We were in different classes. He was a senior and I’m a junior. The awful irony is that I was invisible to Jimmy when he was alive.

JIMMY: That’s not true! I noticed you. (Lowers voice) Keira with the long black hair and sexy silver eyes—

KEIRA: They’re gray.

JIMMY: Whatever color they are, they’re pretty.

PINTIP: Very smooth, Jimmy. What were your first moments like being a ghost? Did you know you’d been murdered?

KEIRA: Hold it! I don’t think Vanessa wants us to talk the murder.

JIMMY: Who’s Vanessa?

KEIRA: She’s that author I told you about. Our story—your story—wouldn’t be out there for everyone to read if it weren’t for her. Or her incredible critique partners. Or her agent. Or her editor—

JIMMY: Ha! I get it. No spoilers. Well, the afterlife was confusing for the first few days. When I “woke up” after dying, my head just killed.

KEIRA: That’s a really unfortunate choice of words.

JIMMY: Okay, I had a huge headache. Pain that was worse than any concussion I’d ever gotten playing football. There were big gaps in my memory. It felt like I was living a dream.A very intense, confusing nightmare. My death really hit home when I saw my buddies at school and they walked right through me. Keira helped me deal with all of that.

PINTIP: Sounds like Keira has a lot of wonderful qualities. Your brother Dan certainly noticed. Did you suspect any attraction between these two while you were still alive?pintip

JIMMY: (Shakes head) I was too wrapped up in sports and my own life. I had no clue about those two. Dan keeps to himself. But now that I know Keira a lot better, I think the two of them would be great together. He’s an artist. She’s a creative type, too. And she’s got sexy silver eyes.

KEIRA: (Fidgets nervously) No comment.

PINTIP: What about you? Any cute ghosts in the afterworld?

JIMMY: Hey, forget ghost girls. These Waterworld Mermaids are freakin’ gorgeous. Can I have your number, Pintip?

KEIRA: Nuh-uh-uh, Jimmy! Pintip’s gorgeous and smart and talented, but she’s married. With kids. Go find a mermaid your own age. I know one called Ariel. She really wants to be part of your world.

JIMMY: Under the sea?

PINTIP: Unfortunately, I think she might be taken, too.

JIMMY: (Sighs) I guess ghost girls it is.

PINTIP: I’m sure you’ve got them lined up along the pearly gates already. Thanks so much for being here, you two! And give my love to Vanessa!

KEIRA: Thanks, Pintip! We will!

Aren’t they adorable? If you want to know what Keira and Jimmy look like, click here to see the book trailer.

Vanessa will be giving away a digital copy of THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE and a $10 gift card from Amazon to one lucky commenter.

IN ADDITION, because we are so proud of our awesome CP, Kimberly-Mermaid and I will also be giving away another copy of THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE, along with a lavender-themed gift basket. The gift basket is in honor of Keira’s grandmother, also a ghost, whose presence is always preceded by the scent of lavender.

Four awesome prizes! Two lucky winners!* One amazing book! Comment away!

*restricted to U.S. and Australian residents.

BLURB: When the one boy you crushed on in life can’t seem to stay away in death, it’s hard to be a normal teen when you’re a teen paranormal.

Sixteen-year-old Keira Nolan has finally got what she wanted—the captain of the football team in her bedroom. Problem is he’s not in the flesh. He’s a ghost and she’s the only one who can see him.

Keira’s determined to do anything to find Jimmy’s killer. Even it if means teaming up with his prickly-yet-dangerously-attractive brother, Dan, also Keira’s ex-best-friend. Keira finds that her childish crush is fading, but her feelings for Dan are just starting to heat up, and as the story of Jimmy’s murder unfolds, anyone could be a suspect.

This thrilling debut from Vanessa Barneveld crosses over from our world to the next, and brings a whole delightful new meaning to “teen spirit”.

BIO: Vanessa Barneveld lives in Australia. She has one husband, two cats, and three Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® nominations. When she’s not writing, devouring chocolate or dreaming of going into space, Vanessa works as a closed-captioner for the deaf and audio describer for the blind.

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67 thoughts on “Mermaid & Friends: Vanessa Barneveld Swims with the Mermaids

  1. Wow, I came here expecting to see Vanessa talking about her new book. I never expected a ghost medium and the ghost host with the most! You’ve just made me more determined to get hold of your story as soon as it’s available. It sounds too good to miss.

    I’m hoping Vanessa is working on a follow up book too. Fingers crossed!

    1. Hi Annie! Thanks so much for coming by! Aren’t Jimmy and Keira the cutest? I was so thrilled to meet them. It’s not every day you get to interview a ghost, you know… Lucky us, this book will be available on four short days! Ahhhh!!!!!

  2. Hi, Annie! Yes, Keira and Jimmy elbowed me out of the way. They were *so* excited about meeting the very generous Pintip, Kim, and all the lovely mermaids. I am indeed working on a follow-up book. I can tell you Keira and Jimmy are getting up to some mischief right now!

  3. Hi, Pintip, Kim and the Waterworld Mermaids! Thanks so much for hosting my characters at the lagoon today! Wow, how about that prize pack? Can’t wait to see who wins. xxx

    1. Hi Vanessa! Thank YOU so much for letting your characters come out to play. They certainly enjoyed getting a tour of the lagoon — don’t worry, too, we kept those fruity cocktails far from their reach, since they are underage, you know! 🙂 Jimmy is already begging to come back, and he has an open invitation to hang out with the mermaids anytime! As do you! Congrats on this fantastic book debut, my dear friend. I am so proud of and excited for you. Xxx

      1. Aw, it’s my pleasure, Pintip. Thank *you* for your help in reaching my goal of publication! I couldn’t have done this without my CPs! x I’m glad Jimmy and Keira behaved for you. Well, I was more worried about Jimmy, but it looks like he’s stuck to mocktails and sodas. I’d keep an eye on him around the lagoon if I were you! 😉

        1. Keira was perfectly behaved, of course, but that Jimmy… Nah, I’m just kidding! They were both lovely!

  4. Hi Pintip! Hi Vanessa! Hi mermaids – cool pictures! Hi Keira! Hi Jimmy! Hi Dan (kinda wishing he’d turned up!). This is turning into the Waltons saying goodnight. Vanessa, huge congratulations on the release of THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE – and did I see a rave about your debut on the USA Today site this week? I think I might have. How exciting is that? Jimmy and Keira are obviously stars in the making, as are you, my friend!

    1. Thanks so much for coming by for a swim in the lagoon and saying such lovely things about us! I will miss swimming in your personal lagoon. 🙂 We are all beyond excited about that review. We, as in me, Keira, Jimmy and Dan. Goodnight, Jim-Bob…I mean, Anna!

    2. Hi Anna! You’re right – I do wish that Dan has turned up, as well! Although I’m not sure how the lagoon would’ve reacted to so much cuteness… And Michelle Monkou’s review on USA TODAY was pretty amazing, wasn’t it? Thanks so much for coming by!

  5. What a fun post, Vanessa and Pintip and, of course Jimmy and Keira! 😉

    I’m looking forward to getting my copy of this book – everything I’ve read about it so far sounds fabulous! I have a pre-order in so I’m expecting it to arrive on my Kindle for PC in 4 days – actually I feel as though there ought to be a countdown clock so I can say the number of hours too! Congratulations, Vanessa! I’m so excitied that your release date is nearly here!

    1. Oh, Sharon, you pre-ordered This Is Your Afterlife? Thank you so much! Jimmy’s sending you a HUGE hug and kiss right now, and Keira really hopes you love her story. I do have a countdown clock on my site — I love watching those seconds tick down. 🙂

    2. Thanks so much, Sharon! I’m just as excited as you are about this book release!! Although maybe not as excited as Jimmy and Keira – lol! Thanks for stopping by!

    1. Erika, isn’t her premise the best? I’m sure you’ll love this book – I know I did! Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Hi Vanessa and Pintip, what a fun interview! I so enjoyed reading it, and felt it gave me a real taste of the book to come. I’m so looking forward to reading THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE – not long to wait now. Congratulations on the wonderful advance reviews, Vanessa!

    1. Hi, Kandy! Thank you for swinging by. So glad you enjoyed this intro to my characters. I’m pretty sure Jimmy can’t wait for his chance to be out in the spotlight next week. 🙂

    2. Hi Kandy! I’m so glad you enjoyed the interview! Thanks for joining us here in the lagoon.

    1. Thanks so much, Julie! Aren’t her characters wonderful? And you haven’t even met Dan yet…

  7. Loved the interview! Your characters are wonderful, Vanessa. Sounds like a fantastic read! Thank you for swimming in our warm, welcoming lagoon today!

    Hugs and all the best! 😀

  8. KEIRA: Wow, Jimmy, look at all these nice comments!
    JIMMY: Ah, my fans!
    KEIRA: You wish!
    JIMMY: Do you think Vanessa will be mad that we’re commenting on blogs now?
    KEIRA: Nah, she’ll be happy that we’re keeping an eye on the lagoon while she sleeps.
    JIMMY: Sleep?! She can’t sleep! She has to be here with us.
    KEIRA: Vanessa can’t help it. She lives on the other side of the world. It’s almost midnight where she is now. But she’ll be back in the morning. When it’s morning where she lives. In a few hours’ time.
    JIMMY: Promise?
    KEIRA: I promise.
    JIMMY: Okay, well, I’ll just hang out by the pool with Pintip…

    1. Ha ha ha!!! You can hang out with me anytime, Jimmy! Just don’t let me catch you ogling any mermaids. 🙂

  9. Congrats on your new book, Vanessa!!!!!!!! So excited for you! And welcome to the Mermaid lagoon!

    Ooohhh, I love lavender – my most favorite!

    1. Hi, Kerri! I love lavender, too, which is why Kim and I were so excited to do a lavender gift basket! Thanks for coming by!

  10. What a super fun interview! Although I kinda wish Dan had made an appearance. Maybe next time. 🙂
    I can’t wait for the rest of your readers to find you, your story and your wonderful voice, Vanessa!
    Congrats, congrats! I’m super excited for you and for THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE. I can’t wait for the next installment. 😉

    1. Aw, you are so sweet, Kim! Thank you! I can’t thank you and Pintip enough for helping me whip this book into shape and for letting us dip in your fabulous lagoon. Dan wanted to let his brother and Keira hog the spotlight, ’cause that’s the kind of guy he is. 🙂

  11. I loved this interview and getting a chance to “meet” Jimmy and Keira! And of course the lovely Pintip was an amazing interviewer as well! I am officially intrigued and would love to read This is Your Afterlife when it comes out. Congrats Vanessa and best of luck on your debut!

    1. Thanks so much for coming by and saying such lovely things, Lana! I really must apologize to Pintip for sending Jimmy to the interview without warning. I thought she handled him well, though. 😉

    2. Thanks for coming by, Lana! I think you’ll love This Is Your Afterlife. It’s totally up your alley !

    1. Hi Amy! We had so much fun doing this interview. I’m glad you liked it, too. Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Such a fun interview! I’m looking forward to reading THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE, Vanessa. Congratulations on your debut!

    1. Hi Steph! Thanks so much for coming by! Can we start celebrating now? *champagne popping* 🙂

  13. I loved this interview, Pintip! I’ve fallen for Vanessa’s characters. What a great premise. And now I must know who killed Jimmy. Looking forward to reading this!

    1. Hi Meg! I’m so glad you liked Vanessa’s characters! They are so wonderful! Thanks so much for coming by!

    1. Yay, Asa! Glad you love the characters! I hope you enjoy the book just as much! Thanks for your comment, Dreamweaver sister!

  14. And the winners are…. Cheryl for the book and gift card from Vanessa!!! And..
    Meg for the book and lavender gift basket from Kim and me!! Congrats, ladies! We’ll be in touch!

  15. Whoo-hooooo! Congratulations, Meg! Congratulations, Cheryl! I hope you love your prizes.

    Thanks so much to Mermaid-Pintip, to Mermaid-Kim, to *all* the Mermaids, and to everyone who commented. I had so much fun splashing around in the lagoon!

  16. Wow, thanks so much, Vanessa and Pintip! I’m thrilled to win!! I can’t wait to read THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE, and to go shopping. 🙂

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