Thursday, October 7, 2010

Guest Post & Giveaway - Merrie Destefano

Debut urban fantasy novelist Merrie Destefano joins us to today to introduce the fascinating concept of 'nine lives' in Afterlife, the first in a new series called the The Resurrection Chronicles. The book was released last week.

Here's the synopsis -
A jazz musician at heart, Chaz Domingue begrudgingly joins Fresh Start, the multi-billion dollar resurrection empire his family owns. Working as a Babysitter, a warrior-chaperone with more authority than the local mugs, he spends seven days guiding Newbies through the transitional period from one life to the next. But there’s something wrong with his current Newbie—a beautiful young woman with 50-odd years ahead of her. Her circuits aren’t firing right and she can’t remember her past lives. Somewhere within her subconscious mind lies a secret that could change the world. In her previous life she stole invaluable research, just before she was murdered. And the organization she secretly worked for will do anything to get the research back.
For a larger taste, you can read an excerpt on the HarperCollins website. I asked Merrie if she would expand on the research she did for the novels unique afterlife ideas and she has written this terrific post that makes me want to dive into the book right now! Merrie has generously contributed a signed copy of Afterlife for a giveaway for one lucky reader. To enter, comment on the questions that Merrie poses at the end of her post.

Merrie will be dropping in frequently to chat, so please welcome her to the urban fantasy community!

AFTERLIFE: The intersection of faith, science and the supernatural

I must confess, the science in my debut novel, Afterlife: The Resurrection Chronicles, is never really discussed in the book. My bad. The science is there, nonetheless—it thuds below the surface and affects the entire world, from the family unit to the judicial system to every major world religion. The story idea began with just a kernel, the concept that if we could find a way to lengthen the telomeres in our DNA (and please pardon my non-technical understanding of a very complex science), then we might somehow stumble upon the key to immortal life. So, I created a world where the science of resurrecting the dead was already in existence.

Human chromosomes (grey)
capped by telomeres (white)
In my novel, people have the choice to resurrect at the point of death, downloading into a brand new, custom-designed clone. The company that provides this service is called Fresh Start and every one of their clients is promised a new beginning—from a brand new body to a brand new identity to a brand new family, which may or may not include members of their original family.

But there are twists in this darkly shining future, for on top of my basic story premise, I layered some other concepts: i.e. that man wasn’t supposed to tamper with the cycle of life and death, and that everything is in a state of decay (the second law of thermodynamics).

In other words, nothing lasts forever.

Therefore, I created a limited cycle for resurrection. In Afterlife, people can resurrect up to nine times—and nine times only. The original DNA breaks down with each successive resurrection, a situation that causes a lot of problems.

Especially for Nine-Timers.

In this near-future world, people fall into one of two camps, One-Timers or Nine-Timers. And these two groups are as divided in belief systems as any political party or religious group can be.

See, Fresh Start and its resurrection monopoly happen to be located on the street corner where faith and science and the supernatural intersect. For the characters in Afterlife, the decision to jump from one life to the next—thus avoiding death—often cuts through relationships like a two-edged sword, dividing families and separating spouses. One-Timers, like the main character, Chaz Domingue, usually choose not to resurrect for either moral or religious reasons. For Chaz, it’s because he believes in another kind of afterlife, one where he can go to heaven and be reunited with his loved ones.

And while Fresh Start offers a temporary solution to the quest for immortality—500 years at best—there are others who want more.

Because nine times is never enough.

This is where the story line crosses over into the realm of the supernatural. The ability to resurrect, in the same body, without a clone, is one of the last thresholds that separates man from God. What happens when mortals dare to trespass on holy ground, stealing something that wasn’t meant to be ours, not now, now yet?
To find out the answer to that you’ll have to read the book. (Insert evil author laugh here.)

Ultimately, the story of Afterlife: The Resurrection Chronicles is a fast-paced mystery/thriller/romance/urban fantasy with social science fiction undertones. It’s a tale reminiscent of Pandora’s Box or The Monkey’s Paw, for the people in the book need to be careful what they wish for. And it’s also a story where elements of faith run throughout the book, like silver threads that have been woven into each and every character. It’s a tale filled with ‘what ifs’ that will make you stop and think about the choices you would make if this world was real.

So why not start now? I have a few questions for you, blog readers, and I’d love to hear your answers. Here goes:
  1. If this technology was available today, would you choose to resurrect instead of die? Why or why not?
  2. Would you want to stay in contact with your family members in your next life?

Thank you Merrie. I'd sure like to know how to sign up for my extra 8 lives!

Afterlife book trailer:

Important Links for Merrie Destefano:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | HarperCollins Microsite | HarperCollins Purchase

  1. Leave a comment responding to Merrie's questions to enter.
  2. One name will be drawn at random. Open to US/Canada.
  3. Giveaway runs until Midnight, Monday, October 18.  
  4. Leave a way for me to contact you.
  5. Links to this post on your favourite social media sites, blogs, etc., would be appreciated.


  1. Yes, I would choose to resurrect instead of die because I'd like to continue living, I don't want to leave this world.

    I'd want to stay in contact with some family members and not others in my next life. I'd like to pick and choose.


  2. Not entering as I'm not from Canada or the US, but I just wanted to tell you that this book sounds awesome! I'm so gonna buy it on my next bookbuying spree.

    As for resurrecting: I would so chose for it if only so I can read more of all the books I still want to read.
    As for staying in contact: I agree with Barbara E.

  3. I would chose to do it once if I was to die young. That way I could be with my children till they are grown and don't need my help anymore. I really enjoyed reading this book. It made me think. Most books just entertain me, but this one went deeper. I like the different POVs given. Does the next book pick up at the end of the first or do we get all new characters?

  4. That is such a tough question. I think this book sounds soooo coool! I love books that make you think about science and the intersection between it and faith.

    I think I might choose to resurrect but not nine times. I would want to be in contact or with some of my family; my kids, my mom, my husband. But some I might use the opportunity to cut some ties and really start a new life.

    Thanks for the great contest!

  5. I think having the option available would be too tempting not to try it at least once. And I'd like to stay in contact with most of the people in my life now. Book sounds great!

  6. I would resurrect instead of die. I always have things to do. I would keep in contact with my son only, not any of the rest of my family.

  7. I wouldn't choose resurection but if I was resurected I'd want to stay in touch with my family.

    sgiden at

  8. Yes, I would choose to resurrect. To life again with fresh eyes, but hopefully a wiser mind might be interesting.
    To pick and choose family members to stay in contact with would be my choice.

  9. I would choose to resurect once, just to see what it was like. I would really only want to do it though if I felt I had unfinished things in my life. If I live to a nice old age I think I would be content with once life.

    If I did resurect, there would only be select people I would want to keep in contact with, but that would all be dependent on if they chose to resurect too I guess.

    sleepingaurora at gmail dot com

  10. Barbara E.,
    Great answer! I have a feeling a lot of people would like to pick and choose their family members next time around. That's what people do in the book. =) Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  11. Sullivan McPig,
    *grin* Love your screen name! [That is your screen name, right?] Another great answer. I've asked this question on a number of sites and, as a writer, I was both surprised and pleased to hear how many people would choose more lives just so they could read more books. You rock!!

  12. Sharon S.,
    Hi! Wow, that's the first time I've heard that answer. That is so sweet! I'm so glad you got to read the book and that you enjoyed it. Yay!

    I'm currently just starting on the next book. I want to have it take place about 10 years in the future. That way, Isabelle can be old enough to take place in the action. I also want to introduce some new characters.

    Thanks for stopping by and for asking such a great question! *hugs*

  13. Leslee,
    You and I must like the same kind of books! I love things that make me stop and think. =)

    Great answer! I really like that you thought about reasons for wanting to resurrect and the fact that you were willing to try something different.

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  14. Bethany C.,
    I agree with you. I have a feeling that most people would be tempted to try it at least once. And after that, they might keep going. That's the premise I based the book upon, so it's interesting when I hear people say that.

    I really appreciate you taking the time to post a comment! =)

  15. Debbie,
    I have a feeling that your answer would be pretty common if we had this technology. There would be certain loved ones that you would want to stay in contact with.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and posting!

  16. SandyG265,
    Thanks for thinking about the questions and posting your answers! It's good to hear that you would want to stay in touch with your family. =)

  17. Michael,
    You raise a good point. You would be able to accumulate knowledge from life to life, although you have cut out 50 percent of your memories with each successive life. So to make room for more knowledge, you might have to sacrifice memories of your first kiss.

    Thanks for thinking about the book's premise!

  18. Ms. Laura,
    Hi and thanks so much for being here today! You raised another great point: What if you wanted to resurrect but someone you loved didn't want to?

    Imagine how tangled and twisted this could get over the centuries. If you wanted to stay in touch with your children, but you all died at different ages and points in time, eventually your ages would be too disparate in the next lives to connect. At least, that is the way I figured out it would happen.

    Thanks again for discussing the premise of the book. I appreciate your comment. =)

  19. I don't think I'd choose to resurrect because I think death is a natural part of life and to paraphrase Marion Zimmer Bradley "without death there would be no room for children and who would want to live forever in a world without children?"

    nilmortifi at

  20. Sorcha,
    Wow! You hit the nail on the head. I didn't talk about it in this post, but in AFTERLIFE there's a strict law that prohibits the birth of children unless you have a valid death certificate that proves someone in your family has died--and stayed dead.

    Life without children would be empty indeed. Glad to hear that you saw that side of the equation and that you posted your comment!


  21. I've answered this on other contest blogs as well, and will stick with my answer. I don't think I would want to resurrect. I don't know why. I guess just because there were difficult things that I had to go through--unavoidable life occurrences--that I would not want to relive.

    I most definitely would want to be in contact with my family members were I to have another life.

    Just something about cheating death by reliving again and again feels almost wrong. That it's like playing God or something. I'm not overly religious and my decision isn't based on my beliefs all that much anyway. But still my immediate answer is still no. One life is enough for me. :)


  22. I can't wait to read this book. :)

    I would not want to resurrect. I think I'm happy being a one timer.

    kweenmg at yahoo dot com.

  23. Hi, Merrie,

    Your book sounds really interesting and different!

    I think I would try resurrecting (once anyway!) to see if I could put to use the things I learned in my first life.

    Yes, I would definitely want to stay in contact with friends and family in the next life. That would be the biggest perk!

    karenwitkowski AT aol(dot)com

  24. I've been wanting to read this book and this post has definitely increased my interest in it.

    Personally, I love life so I would probably choose to resurrect. I also have a very small family (and no kids) and I like all of them, so any of them came back, that would be great, but if not, I'm used to being on my own so I'd just start all over again the next time around.

    jen at delux dot com

  25. No additional lives for me, thanks. I love reading UF--the creativity, the world building, the unique characters. There's so many possibilities! But my reality is that earthly life is the short delay I'll go through to get to something much better, Heaven. I wouldn't want to postpone that by staying on Earth.

  26. Jessica,
    Hi! I need to come up with some new questions, huh! Seriously, I have enjoyed hearing how people answer these questions so much that I wanted to ask them again.

    It's good to know that your answers haven't changed. That shows that you really thought about it the first time. =)

    Thanks for stopping by!

  27. Michelle Greathouse,
    I love your name! Thanks for commenting today. And do you want to know my big confession? I'd be a One-Timer too. Shhh. Don't tell anyone.


  28. Karen W.
    I'm so glad that you think AFTERLIFE sounds interesting and different. [Yay!] And I think that it's way cool you would want to stay in touch with your family if you resurrected.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  29. JenM,
    Thank you for stopping by. I like that you would be flexible if you resurrected--that you would love to be with your family but that you are independent enough to go it alone, too.

    And I'm thrilled to hear that you have been wanting to AFTERLIFE!

  30. LSUReader,
    What a beautiful post. I agree that our time here is very short. I too love the world building in both science fiction and urban fantasy. But for me, the promise of heaven is much greater than anything this world could ever offer.

    Thank for sharing that! I hope you get a chance to read AFTERLIFE and I'm glad you stopped by.


  31. Doug,
    Thank you SO much for having me on the SciFiGuy! I had a blast. I love how you added so many cool pieces of art to the post and all of the links. And I've really enjoyed chatting with your blog readers!

    And for you, eight lives, coming up!


  32. Yes, I would choose to resurrect instead of die. I would want to stay in contact with family members and others I was close to.


  33. Merrie I never answered the question myself but I think it is obvious from my comments in the post that I am all for the 9 timers. Your questions for readers (and their responses) are some of the most interesting I have had on the blog. Thanks you for taking the time to spend some time with us :)

  34. I would totally resurrect. I have two boys, I would love to have the extra time with them.

  35. I wouldn't choose resurrection because then it makes this life now almost meaningless. But if I had to choose resurrection then yes I would stay in contact with my family.


    spettolij AT gmail DOT com

  36. Yes, I would absolutely choose to come back! My first niece is about to be born and I really want to see her grow up. So yeah, if I died now, I would absolutely come back!

    The book sounds awesome, thank you so much for the giveaway!

  37. Forgot my email, really sorry about that :)

    infiniteshelf at gmail dot com

  38. Wow this is really a unique idea!!
    I love the whole notion of resurrection and I also love the fact that there's limitations, because if it was left you know kinda "loose" there would be no need for struggle.. But now it makes perfect sense and it's compelling1
    i will definitely be checking out the book!
    Thanks for hosting this interview! XD

  39. Yes, I'd want 8 extra lives because there's always more fun to be had than there is time to do it!

  40. Hi :)
    AFTERLIFE sounds like a great read.
    (I enjoyed the trailer too).
    I would definitely choose to resurrect because of my 'satiable curiosity (Kipling reference) - I want to see if we get off the planet, what technological advances are still to come, how society will change, how we as a race will evolve, etc.
    All the best,

  41. Afterlife sounds like a breath of fresh air....Such a creative twist... I am not sure that I would choose resurrection... Life has its up and downs... Im thinking that when its my time I will be ready...for a glance of heaven.
    havebookwillsurvive at

  42. Congratulations on the new release (love the cover). Boy, does it sound unique!

    I'd resurrect (unless the world really goes nutso)so I could do it again and try other educational opportunities and jobs.

    I'd stay in contact with my family if they decided to resurrect again too.

  43. I am not really sure. I think to start over would be great but would I have to do it all over again. It was a lot of work the first time and I am just not that sure.

  44. I think I would want to resurrect a couple times, to have all of the experiences I didn't choose the first time around.

    I would want to stay in touch with my family the first time but probably not after that, unless they were resurrecting too. It would be so strange to see my nieces and nephews get older than me.

    jennifer.thorburn (at)

  45. I would much prefer to die than resurrect. I'm hoping it's true and when I do die I'll be reunited with my 11 year old daughter who went on before me. Then, we can be together forever.

    won2xx AT gmail

  46. That's a hard one. Yes I would stay in touch with them, but I think I'd turn them all so I wouldn't have to live without them:P haha!

    I follow!

  47. I would not want to be resurrected instead of dying. I think that would minimize the significance of the things I have done and the relationships that I have had in this life.

    The problem with staying in contact with family members is that they would also have to have chosen to be resurrected, and if we all chose that would it really be a new life or just a continuation/repeat of the life we had already lead?

    jlynettes @ hotmail . com


  49. Prancis Harus Waspadai Kejutan Islandia

    Agen Bola Melaporkan Berita Olahraga Terkini dan terbaru - Lars Lagerback,Sang pelatih Islandia menyatakan timnya bakal mengejutkan Prancis dalam pertandingan perempatfinal Piala Eropa 2016. Kedua tim akan bentrok pada Senin 4 Juli 2016 dini hari WIB di Stade de France.
    Timnas Islandia merupakan salah satu tim kuda hitam paling mengejutkan di Piala Eropa 2016. Dikarenakan, mereka finis di atas Portugal kala fase grup, lalu mengalahkan Inggris dengan skor 2-1 di babak 16 besar.
    Kancah publik kagum dengan permainan Islandia yang memiliki pertahanan solid lalu cepat dalam melancarkan serangan balik. Sekarang, Gylfi Sigurdsson dan kawan-kawan akan melawan tim tuan rumah yakni Prancis di perempatfinal.
    “Anda selalu mencari kekuatan dan kelemahan setiap tim. Sulit mencari kelemahan Prancis. Saya pikir tidak akan terlalu berpengaruh mereka memiliki beberapa pemain yang absen seperti Adil Rami dan N’Golo Kante. Kualitas skuad mereka sangat bagus,” kata Lagerback, seperti dilansir Soccerway, Sabtu (2/7/2016).
    “Tapi, saya berpikir dan berharap kami bisa memberikan Prancis beberapa pertanyaan untuk dijawab. Mereka adalah tim dengan gaya menyerang dan itu memberikan kami kesempatan. Tapi, kami harus fokus pada permainan sendiri,” lanjutnya.

  50. Barcelona dan Neymar enggan memutuskan untuk saling berpisah

    Agen Bola Melaporkan Berita Olahraga Terkini dan terbaru - Baru-baru ini, Pemain asal Brasil, yakni Neymar dos santos, telah memperpanjang kontraknya bersama Barcelona hingga tahun 2021 mendatang.
    Nama Neymar kian terdengar di seluruh Eropa dan Dunia sejak dirinya mulai memperkuat Barcelona pada tahun 2013 lalu. Ia bisa bekerja sama dengan Lionel Messi dan menorehkan banyak gol maupun trofi bagi Barcelona.
    Padahal banyak klub-klub raksasa mengincarnya seperti PSG, Manchester United, hingga rival terbesarnya yakni Real Madrid. Klub-klub raksasa tersebut berani mengeluarkan uang banyak demi menebus pemain berumu 23 tahun itu.
    Namun, pinangan klub-klub besar tersebut harus kandas di tengah jalan. Pasalnya, pada hari Jumat (01/07/2016) siang waktu setempat, Neymar dan Barcelona tidak memutuskan untuk saling berpisah. Barcelona memperpanjang kontrak Neymar hingga lima tahun ke depan.
    Barca juga akan menaikkan harga pelepasan Neymar. Di musim pertama nanti ia dihargai sebesar 200 juta Euro, lalu di musim berikutnya 222 juta dan di tiga tahun sisanya ia dihargai 250 juta Euro.
    Setelah tiga musim memperkuat Barcelona, Neymar telah dimainkan sebanyak 141 kali dan menorehkan total sudah 85 gol sejauh ini bersama Barcelona.

  51. Italia Telah Mengeluarkan Segenap Kemampuan Terbaiknya

    Agen Bola Melaporkan Berita Olahraga Terkini dan terbaru - Leonardo Bonucci menegaskan bahwa Italia pulang dengan kepala tegak, pasalnya Italia dikalahkan oleh Jerman pada laga perempat-final Euro 2016. Bonucci yakin Gli Azzurri telah mengeluarkan segenap kemampuan terbaik untuk menghadang Jerman di babak perempat-final.
    Perlawanan sengit ditunjukkan oleh skuat Italia terhadap skuat Joachim low. Italia yang sebelumnya tak pernah kalah oleh Jerman pada turnamen mayor tersebut, tertinggal lebih dulu oleh gol dari Mesut Ozil pada babak pertama. Lewat tendangan penalti Bonucci, akhirnya Italia berhasil menyamakan kedudukan 1-1 di babak kedua.
    Babak kedua pun usai dengan hasil imbang diantara kedua tim tersebut. Skor 1-1 pun bertahan hingga babak perpanjangan waktu berakhir. Akhirnya ditentukan lewat drama adu penalti yang cukup menegangkan. Kegagalan Matteo Darmian dalam mengeksekusi tendangan penalti, membuat Italia kehilangan satu angka dari Jerman. Der Panzer memastikan diri sebagai pemenang setelah eksekusi penalti dari Jonas Hector berhasil menjebol gawang Gianluigi Buffon. Dan yang melaju ke babak semi-final adalah timnas Jerman.

  52. Pemain Portugal Mengaku Tegang Jelang Final Euro 2016

    Agen Bola Melaporkan Berita Olahraga Terkini dan terbaru - Blaise Matuidi berkeras ia akan coba untuk melakukan semua persiapan dengan normal, jelang pertandingan final Euro 2016 antara Prancis dan Portugal di Stade de France akhir pekan ini.
    Namun sosok berusia 29 tahun mengatakan bahwa nuansa ketegangan memang mulai menjalar di dalam tim.
    “Saya tidak pernah mengalami situasi seperti ini sebelumnya, final Euro. Terkait persiapan pertandingan, tidak ada yang berubah, semuanya tetap sama,” tutur Matuidi pada Goal International.
    “Saya terus berlatih, dan juga memakan makanan yang sama, tidur, itu semua hanya ada dalam pikiran anda. Saya mencoba untuk seminimal mungkin mengalami stress.”
    “Memang ada ketegangan yang saya rasakan. Namun begitu kami ada di stadion nanti, kami akan melupakan semuanya dan kami akan bermain dengan cara terbaik dan juga meraih hasil yang kami inginkan.”
    “Kami akan siap karena Minggu nanti akan menjadi pertandingan terpenting dalam hidup kami. Kami akan memberikan segalanya.”

  53. Ronaldo Ingin Rasakan Gelar Juara Bersama Timnas Portugal

    Agen Bola Melaporkan Berita Olahraga Terkini dan terbaru - Tak ada yang meragukan kemampuan Ronaldo saat dirinya berseragam klub. Bersama Manchester United, Ronaldo seakan membuat pendukung MU melupakan David Beckham. Bahkan beberapa titel juara juga telah berhasil ia genggam saat menjadi bagian dari Real Madrid.
    Namun untuk urusan timnas Portugal, Ronaldo belum pernah menggapai trofi untuk negaranya. Beberapa edisi Euro dan Piala Dunia, Portugal harus pulang sebelum mencapai partai puncak.
    Pada tahun 2004, Portugal pernah masuk kefinal tapi kalah dengan Yunani dengan skor 1-0. Tahun ini, Ronaldo cs punya kesempatan lagi main di partai final setelah mengalahkan Wales di semi final. Mereka akan bertemu dengan tuan rumah Prancis yang akan digelar pada akhir pekan ini.
    “Laga final ini akan sangat berarti yang selalu saya impikan, menang bersama timnas,” kata Ronaldo pada
    “Saya sudah pernah menjadi juara di berbagai kompetisi di klub dan di level individual, juara bersama Portugal akan menjadi pencapaian luar biasa.
    “Saya yakin kami bisa, rekan dan seluruh rakyat Portugal percaya. Kami harus berpikir positif bahwa pada hari Minggu nanti akan menjadi raihan juara untuk pertama kalinya,” tandas pemain 31 tahun tersebut.

  54. Sang Adik Pastikan Hazard Bertahan di Stamford Bridge

    Agen Bola Melaporkan Berita Olahraga Terkini dan terbaru - Adik dari Eden Hazard menegaskan bahwa winger asal Belgia itu akan tetap bertahan di Chelsea musim depan.
    Musim 2015-16 kemarin, Hazard tampil di bawah performa terbaiknya. Ia pun akhirnya gagal membuat Chelsea bertahan di zona empat besar.
    Menurunya performa pemain berusia 25 tahun tersebut membuatnya sempat disebut akan angkat kaki dari Stamford Bridge. Hazard juga sempat dikait-kaitkan dengan klub seperti Real Madrid maupun PSG.
    Namun Kylian Hazard, adik dari Eden, memberikan jawaban terkait teka-teki masa depan kakaknya tersebut. Ia menegaskan bahwa Eden akan tetap bertahan di Stamford Bridge.
    “Ia akan tetap tinggal di Chelsea, ia bahagia di Chelsea. Ia mencintai London. Bagus baginya berada di sana dan ia mengatakan bahwa fasilitasnya sungguh hebat,” tuturnya pada Goal International.
    “Ini adalah salah satu tim terbesar di dunia. Ia akan menjadi istimewa lagi bagi mereka di tahun berikutnya,” tegasnya.


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