Welcome to your next chance.
Chaz Dominguez is a professional Babysitter in New Orleans, helping to integrate the recently deceased into their new and improved lives. Though Fresh Start has always been the only game in town, resurrection isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Nine lives are all a person can get—and a powerful group of desperate, high-level Nine-Timers will stop at nothing to possess the keys to true immortality.
Now the only hope for Chaz and his family—and the human race—lies in the secrets locked away in the mind of Angelique, the beautiful, mysterious Newbie he must protect . . .
Make sure you stick around to the end. We’ll be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card, plus 3 signed copies of Afterlife.
Where do story ideas come from?
Writing a book is all about taking an idea and playing with it. Sort of like teasing a cat with a string. You move the string and the cat follows. You start with an idea — what if dogs could fly? — and then you move through your story, seeing what would happen as a result.
Even though there are no new ideas (all of our ideas are based on something already in existence), you can still come up with something that feels new and fresh. Part of this is accomplished by world-building, part of it is accomplished by creating three-dimensional characters. But a lot of times, it all comes down to that original idea, the ‘what if’ that spawned your book in the first place.
What if people didn’t have to die?
That was the basic premise in Afterlife: The Resurrection Chronicles. The world that evolved out of that premise became intricate and complicated and dangerous. Still, in the beginning, the premise was a simple one-line idea.
If you’ve ever read any social science fiction — things like The Children of Men by P.D. James or Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick or Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury — then you know that in these imagined worlds, one small change can make a big difference. It can turn everything inside out.
This was exactly what happened with Afterlife. Nearly everything in the world changed when I removed death from the equation. And yet, despite my one-line premise, halfway through the book, I knew that I still needed something else. I needed some element that would show what my characters had lost in their pursuit of immortal life. Remember the old adage, show don’t tell? Well, my story was in need of some showing.
Then one day while driving to work I got another idea.
I passed a truck, all painted with pictures of children playing. The signs on the truck were written in Spanish, so I’ll never know what the true purpose of the vehicle was, but I knew almost instantly that I had found my missing ingredient. Before I got to work, I had toyed with the idea of that truck until it transformed into something dark and dangerous. It became The Underground Circus: a world-wide, black-market organization that temporarily provided people with that one thing they secretly longed for above anything else — children.
See, a world without death must also be a world without children. In the near-future world of Afterlife, very few children were allowed to be born each year. So inside each person was a hunger for the family that they couldn’t have.
Every writer explores new territory when she writes. I didn’t know until I really dug into
this book that one of the tragic repercussions of jumping from one life to the next would be the breakdown of the family unit. In the end, besides being a good story, Afterlife also became a cautionary tale: Be careful what you wish for.
So, my question for you today is this: What book have you read that had such a unique story premise that you still haven’t been able to stop thinking about it?
I’ll share my answer too, in the comment section, later in the day. But right now, I’m eager to hear your thoughts.
And I’d like to thank the folks here at Literary Escapism for inviting me today. I really appreciate it!
With twenty years’ experience in publishing, Merrie Destefano left a 9-to-5 desk job as the editor of Victorian Homes magazine to become a full-time novelist and freelance editor. Her first novel, Afterlife: The Resurrection Chronicles, released on Sept. 28, 2010. She loves to camp in the mountains, walk on the beach, watch old movies and listen to alternative music—although rarely all at the same time. Born in the Midwest, she now lives in Southern California with her husband, their two German Shepherds and a Siamese cat.
Contest Time! Merrie has graciously offered to give away a $25 Amazon gift card, plus 3 signed copies of Afterlife. All you have to do is answer this one question: What book have you read that had such a unique story premise that you still haven’t been able to stop thinking about it
As always, there’s more ways of getting your name in the hat (remember, these aren’t mandatory to enter, just extra entries):
- +1 for each place you post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, twit it, share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your answer.
- +1 to any review you comment on, however, comments must be meaningful. Just give me the title of the review and I’ll be able to figure it out from there.
- +1 If you are a follower of Literary Escapism on Facebook and/or Twitter
- +10 Purchase any novel through LE’s Amazon store or the Book Depository sometime during this contest and send a copy of the receipt VIA email for your purchase to: jackie AT literaryescapism DOT com. Each purchase is worth ten entries.
There is one thing I am adding to my contests now…the winner must post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out.