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 days, 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.
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.
KEIRA: (Squints, looks around) Jimmy?
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?
KEIRA: 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.
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.