How an idea became an *idea*
RIP vol. 1: Choices After Death.
I had a weird idea about ghosts a few years ago. I thought, “Hmm, what if someone could interact physically with ghosts as if they were flesh and blood? And maybe that person is the only one capable of touching ghosts, and they can touch this person back. That would be all kinds of messed up.”
I agreed with myself in the middle of that sleepless night. That would be messed up. I pictured some flustered person engaging in fist-fights with ghosts that were invisible to everyone else. So much potential for fun. But where was the potential for depth?
Then I thought of Serissa, and everything fell into place.
Specifically, I thought of this scene:
Rip leaned against another tree and slid into a sitting position. He noticed the grass sticking through Serissa’s bare feet. “So I have to decide, basically, the course of my life from here on out—assuming, of course, I’m not simply losing my mind.”
Serissa stood her ground, summoning Rip with her finger. “Give me your hand.”
Rip climbed to his feet and stepped forward, hesitant. He reached out, unsure what to expect from a dead, intangible girl.
Nor did the dead, intangible girl know what to expect. She had no idea if this would work, but her lips curled up in the anticipation that it might. Serissa slowly interlocked her fingers with his, and they both squeezed.
Contact. Solid contact.
“You’re warm,” Rip said, feeling a soft human hand, indistinguishable from any living person’s.
“Only to you,” Serissa said, smiling at her first physical sensation since…in a long time.
Then I knew I had a series. Admittedly, at first I thought I had a television series, but I knew I had something.
I pictured this recently deceased young woman, this sociable woman who had become isolated in death, and I pictured her touching someone for the first time since dying—nothing sexual, not even romantic, just a simple holding of hands, a special sort of friendly intimacy.
Then I thought, “This must happen.”
Everything snowballed from there. I developed this world in which all ghosts are people who aren’t quite ready for Heaven or Hell yet. They weren’t too good or too bad in their lives, and now they have to choose whether to work toward Heaven or settle on waiting for Hell to claim them. The catch is that they don’t know for sure these places even exist. They might spend their afterlives on their absolute best behavior, working super-hard to help people, and it might be for nothing.
This is Serissa’s dilemma, and it drives her bonkers. It sure is hard to hold onto anything when you’re an intangible ghost.
She’s one of my favorite characters to write. It’s between her and Amena or Sela from my sci-fi series, Earths in Space. For me, Serissa makes the book, and I consider the story about her as much as it’s about Rip, kind of like how Mary Poppins is also about Mr. Banks.
RIP vol. 1: Choices After Death would be nothing without Serissa.
RIP vol. 1: Choices After Death
Ghosts are people, too, but not all ghosts choose to be good people.
Rip Cooper must overcome his fears and kill dead people to prevent them from corrupting the living. This young loner learns he can perceive ghosts with his five senses as if they were flesh and blood, and he’s just as solid to them — pretty much the only solid thing, in fact. He works alongside an impure “angel” and his ex-best friend’s ex-girlfriend as they teach him how love can lead to strength.
RIP vol. 1: Choices After Death features the first four novelettes in this coming-of-age and redemption story: “Touch,” “Alone,” “The Crazy Line,” and “Point B,” plus the short story “Strength.”
The e-book is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Diesel, and Smashwords.
And coming soon…RIP will be in print!
For a chance at winning a digital copy, please enter this giveaway, which runs Nov. 14 through Nov. 18:
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