The Afterworld Saga, #2
by Sandy Goldsworthy
Publication date: August 29th 2016
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
AFTERLIFE is the highly anticipated sequel to AFTERMATH by Sandy Goldsworthy. This exciting Young Adult mystery romance is a must-read.
Everything seems perfect for Emma Bennett—she has a new set of friends she adores and a boyfriend she is crazy about. But when Emma sees a picture of her hunky boyfriend kissing another girl, she begins to question if his love for her is real. As she searches for the truth, will Emma be exposed to the dangers of another world?
Ben Parker enjoys the role of high school student and boyfriend to the love of his existence. Juggling his social life with his job in the Afterworld’s Bureau of Investigation is supposed to be easy for the decorated undercover agent. But when some kid captures a photo of him in a precarious position, he’s faced with lying to his girlfriend or erasing her memory. Instead, Ben makes the worst decision of his career. Now, forced to face the consequences, he loses the only thing that matters to him—Emma.
When seemingly insurmountable obstacles separate the lovers, will the two soul mates be able find their way back to each other?
Grab book 1- Aftermath – for FREE:
It was a moment of sheer stillness.
Between the impact of the crash and the point the victims acknowledged it happened, an ugly calmness flooded their minds. In that tiny interim of time, they couldn’t quite determine if they lived or died. When they slowly opened their eyes, humans were often afraid to look anywhere but straight ahead. Until their vision cleared, victims had trouble understanding if they were safe, injured, or if their condition was serious. It was the point of in-between when pain was not yet recognized and uncertainty flourished.
The exact same feeling occurred when one transitioned.
“Emma,” I whispered, removing the invisible web I cloaked over her prior to the accident. The intricate weave of the net held her in place during impact. She couldn’t see the neon blue glow, but I could, and so could headquarters. Severing my tether and going off grid to tell her the truth about me only worked when I wasn’t using excessive powers.
Crashing into a hundred-year-old oak tree was cause for use of excessive powers. Except, I hadn’t worried about the consequences—at the time.
“Emma,” I called again. This time, I put my hand on her neck. My fingers searched for her pulse. I pressed the tip of my forefinger on her vein and felt the slow, steady thump. Slight pressure increased her pulse to the speed of mine. In seconds, she opened her eyes. “Shhhh. It’s okay. You’re okay.”
She blinked. When she looked forward, all she saw was me. Moments passed as her mind recalibrated her location, the accident, and the escape from the tavern. When she teetered on recalling our conversation and the confusion of me telling her who I was, I knew I had to compel her.
It was the right thing to do.
I stared into her eyes and watched her pupils dilate. In that instant, she was mine. I could make her do anything I wanted—tell her a lie she’d believe as truth, make her forget I cheated, or have her remember our past life together. She was under my control.
“Ben?” Emma whispered. My concentration was broken by the softness of her voice. My chance to compel her was lost.
“Yes, I’m here.”
“What happened—?” Emma tried leaning forward, but the space around us was constricting. Emma’s door was crushed inward, her seat shifted to the middle of the vehicle. The front bench seat was now diagonal and further back than its original position. It rested inches from Emma’s knees. The 1980’s Chevrolet sedan was now a part of the tall oak tree.
“Shhh. We were in an accident. How do you feel?”
Emma looked around, her eyes widening. Panic crossed her mind, and I held her hand.
“It’s okay. Are you hurt?” I asked, although I already knew she was fine. I had protected her, after all. She calmed when I stroked my thumb over her fingers.
She shook her head.
Lights glowed from behind us. Distant voices sounded, and I knew it was a matter of time. I placed my hand on the inside of her wrist. Squeezing gently and only for an instant, I was able to increase Emma’s blood pressure long enough for the alcohol content to dissipate. A blood test would be the first test run at a hospital to verify if intoxication was a factor. It would be devastating in Emma’s mind if her aunt learned she’d been drinking. If only I could do the same to Lucas and Brinn.
A flashlight shone in the rear window, and someone yelled. “Anyone hurt?”
I cleared my throat and called back. “We’re pinned.”
“Aaaahhh.” A moan crept up, like a crescendo, from deep within Brinn’s diaphragm. She extended her hand toward Lucas, but she stopped when she realized the dashboard filled the gap between them. “Lucas?” she croaked.
He didn’t answer.
Grab book 1- Aftermath – for FREE:
Sandy Goldsworthy was raised in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, blocks from the rocky shores of Lake Michigan. As a child, she fantasized about becoming an author. She jotted story lines in spiral notebooks and drew images of characters that never came to life. Her passion for putting pen to paper began when her high school English teacher inspired her to be more descriptive in her work. Ever since, Sandy dabbled in creative writing, searching for that perfect shade of red and that character you want to get to know.
A graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Sandy is the YA author of the paranormal romance series, The Afterworld Saga. She spends her days managing corporate client programs, and her nights and weekends drafting new plot lines in spiral notebooks. She resides in southeastern Wisconsin with her husband, two children, and an energetic puppy. Learn more at www.sandygoldsworthy.com.
Q&A WITH SANDY GOLDSWORTHY
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
It’s the ultimate love story that lasts more than one lifetime.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I have enjoyed writing since I was in high school. I dabbled in fiction back then and took a creative writing class—which I loved—but I didn’t take it up seriously until about five years ago.
What motivated you to start writing?
I enjoyed writing ever since high school when my teacher challenged me to be more descriptive. She didn’t want to read that the front door was red; she wanted to see the shade. It was very motivating to me, to slow things down a bit and detail the setting.
What was the inspiration for your story?
The concept of Ben Parker’s character came to me a few years ago. I had a very visual dream about a train derailing. Railcars tumbled off a ridge, landing on top of each other in a ravine. There was a young man on the train that was untouched by the accident. Once everything settled, he pulled victims from the crash site and escorted them to heaven. I ended up writing a short story about this, and eventually, Ben’s character came to life.
What kept you going throughout the writing process?
Initially, writing was just a hobby I did it in my spare time. But after a friend invited me to join his writing group, I began to take it more seriously and set writing goals. That really helped me stay on track knowing I had to finish a set word count, by a certain date. I also had a lot of support from my family and friends. They encouraged me to keep going any time I felt like giving up.
Who is your most meaningful character and why?
That’s a really tough question… like asking a mom to pick her favorite child!
I really enjoy all of my characters (even the dark ones), but if I had to pick just one, I’d choose Ben as the most meaningful. He spent decades searching for the love of his existence, so his dedication and perseverance is remarkable to me. As an agent in the Afterworld’s Bureau of Investigation, he proved himself loyal and committed. Overall, he’s just a good guy—someone you’d want on your side.
How has this story touched your life?
In Aftermath, Emma Bennett experiences the loss of a parent and is faced with moving to another state to finish high school. I had a similar experience growing up, although I was much younger than Emma. Nonetheless, I could relate to the feeling of abandonment and starting over that Emma faces.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a published author?
Great question! I would highly recommend joining a writing group or a workshop. Getting feedback is critical to any author. I’d also suggest reading your story out loud. Trust me, it sounds completely different than what you think it says when you’re reading silently. Lastly, once you’ve reached the point of sending queries out to publishers or agents, be patient. You will get lots of rejections, so expect it and don’t take it personally. Don’t give up. When you get rejected, send out another query.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
When it comes to writing, I’m really a creature of habit. I work best if I’m in the same room, same place, and even the same day or time of day. I’ve tried switching it up a bit, but I’ve found I wasn’t as creative.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?
To relax! Initially I plotted, but after a while, I found it difficult to write within the outline I created. It became unnatural and didn’t flow right. When I let loose and relax, the story takes on a life of its own.
Where did you get ideas for your books?
That’s an excellent question. I’ve always believed in heaven—that there was something beyond the world we knew. The concept for character, Ben Parker, came to me in a dream several years ago. I had a very vivid image of a train derailment and one man that appeared untouched by the accident. In my dream, he pulled the victims from the wreckage and escorted them to heaven. I began to think, “What if there are angels among us… right beside us and we didn’t know it?” I ended up writing several short stories and eventually Ben and his agents came to life.
What age group do you think best describes your reader and Why?
Since my characters are high school students, I would say the target age would be anyone 15 and up. When I wrote the series, I kept adults in mind, too. Ben has existed decades and has a more adult attitude compared to his peers, so I think anyone would enjoy it.
What do you think makes a good story?
For me, a good story is about great characters and a good plot. Personally, I love twist in the storyline, to keep me on the edge of my seat. But having a character I can relate to is important.
If you could pick one actor to play a character in your book in the movie version, who would it be?
It’s interesting that you ask that question. I think many authors picture a model or actor for our characters as we write the story. In my case, I started writing a few years ago, and those actors are now too old to portray a high school student. But I always pictured Kelly Preston as Barb Carmichael—Emma’s aunt.
What song best describes your book and why?
Breakeven by The Script. It doesn’t really describe the story, but it was on my playlist when I conceived the series, and it gave me the sense of what Ben was feeling, having lost his wife decades earlier.
Who are some of the people that influenced your love of writing?
Honestly, I was a closet writer for years. Every time I read a good book, I thought, “I can do this.” So I guess other author’s stories influenced me. Once I told people I was writing, I had a great network of friends and family that encouraged me.
What projects do you have up and coming?
I am currently working on book three in the Afterworld Saga.
Is there anything else you want to share with your readers?
Thanks so much for everything you do. Without readers, there would be no authors!