Imagine waking up to find Napoleon Bonaparte, Janis Joplin and Count Dracula in your kitchen eating Froot Loops. For Claire Anderson, this crosses the line. Big time. To make matters worse, they’re on the lam and can’t be returned to sender until In Between, the afterlife way station, can arrange transportation to pick them up. In the meantime, Claire tries to contain this motley crew, hoping to stave off an international incident. How do they manage to walk among us? Will Claire succeed in repatriating them? And at what cost? THE AFTERLIFE COACH is a humorous tale of second chances, self-awareness and, for those among us who make bad choices, demonstrates just how hard it is to die happily ever after.
When I began writing The Afterlife Coach, I had no true idea who Janis Joplin was. Of course, I knew her as an iconic '60's singer who had overdosed, but nothing about who she was as a person. To be honest, I didn't much care either as I wasn't a fan of her music. That all changed when I began researching her. As with all of us, she was exceedingly complex, but I was surprised to learn how much pain she was in. Ironically, she didn't like the drug scene - even banning it from her apartment at one point - and had been hurt repeatedly by many of those around her. While my novel is humorous, in my opinion, there's a need to temper the funny with pathos so as to engage you, the reader, and to enable you to experience the depth of the characters. This short insight into Janis comes directly from her real life. She actually did make the comment about being on stage and going home alone and, along with other examples in the book, provides a glimpse into who she was and how she perceived the world. By the time I finished writing, I had fallen well and truly in love with this formidable, complicated woman.
In this excerpt, Claire unexpectedly finds Napoleon Bonaparte in her living room, watching CNN. While the rest of us may very well check ourselves into an institution or expire on the spot, Claire is absolutely floored. And panicked as she has worked very hard to ensure that her former life never, ever collided with her present. To make matters worse, Claire is blissfully unaware that there two more of the defunct sleeping upstairs. Stumbling upon Napoleon sets up the conflict Claire faces throughout the book. She has been struggling through some difficult times and feels wholly ill-equipped, and unwilling, to deal with this squatter. The scene also provides preliminary insight for the reader into both Napoleon's personality as well as the juxtaposition of his life as a dead man. He’s been dead for 200 years and here he is, intent on watching the news. I purposely expose few details in order to pique the reader’s curiosity as to how Napoleon got there and what he’s doing in Claire’s house.
If every journey of the snooping wife begins with a single step, Julia Baxby takes a giant leap when she uncovers a hidden stash of sex toys in her husband’s office. How long has this been going on? Did Stephen move their family to London just to be closer to his mistress? And really, how many of these things does one man need? Heartbroken, Julia realizes that there’s not enough chocolate in the world to handle this on her own. So she enlists the help of her two closest friends, Catherine the alluring forensic entomologist (corpses, flies,) and François the irrepressible Frenchman and together they embark on a hilarious quest filled with a motley cast of characters, a shape-shifting mother and a whacked-out plan for revenge. What happens next is even stranger than anything Julia could have imagined, forcing her to confront the astounding truth and its life-changing consequences. Snoop is a laugh-out-loud romp chronicling one woman’s misadventures as she careens into the reality behind her husband’s double life.
In this excerpt, Julia and her family are on their way to start a new life in England. The excitement and hope are momentarily dashed as her fear of flying rears its ugly head. What Julia doesn't know is that the turbulent flight foreshadows the myriad ways her life is about to change and how precarious the outcome will be. They say you should write what you know. Well, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I used to love flying. We're talking exhilaration, awe every time the mighty engines roared. And then, this EXACT situation happened to me - only I've spared you the more gruesome and frightening details. Suffice it so say that I am now a terrified flyer, something I have yet to forgive British Airways for. But like Julia, I keep getting on planes and facing down whatever life throws at us. Even if at times, as will happen for Julia, it appears there's no way out.
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