The Last Ghost
by Jamie Blake
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Release Date: October 1st 2018
Christian Orland is dead, and everyone in his life is doing their best to understand what happened.
Especially Woe, the sixteenth Fatality, who knows that she was assigned the wrong case when she stopped his heart, but also knew she had to do it, or risk being destroyed herself.
Woe only handles expected death, and not many people expect to die in an accident. However, not many people have the history of Christian Orland. That history is now tormenting his brother Noah, the keeper of all of Christian’s dangerous secrets, his childhood friend Ellery, who he once swore he would love “until he died,” and his girlfriend Melissa, who can’t understand why she is the only person not haunted by ghosts.
Woe teams up with the Fatality who she thinks should have had Christian’s case, and the ghosts of Christian’s past to try to solve the mystery of how he ended up as her case. As they try to unravel some of Christian’s lies, they begin to uncover something far more sinister.
Together, the most important people in Christian’s life and death must work to restore order from the chaos his death caused in the lives of those who loved him, and in realms he could not imagine, before free will is lost forever.
The Last Ghost excerpt:
The sixteenth Fatality was surprised to find herself on a bridge, but that was where her appointment book told her to go, and thus, that was where she went. Not that she had a choice either way, but she didn’t mind, she liked the order, the predetermination of things. Car after car drove by, and she watched them, looking closely, knowing all the while that they couldn’t see her. A little after eight in the morning, she noticed a car moving erratically on the bridge. She watched as the car seemed to spin, and then crashed through the wooden guard rail and into the water below. She looked over the edge of the bridge as the car; front end first, began to sink into the depths. She peered down the road, waiting for another car to come, some passerby to notice the broken guard rail, someone to help the passengers. After a few minutes passed, she began to wait for someone entirely different.
Knowing that too much time had gone by for there to be a legitimate chance of rescue, she floated down to where the car had entered the water, looking around expectantly for the twelfth Fatality to come and bring a life to an end. He didn’t come. She started to panic, aware of the pain the people in the car must feel. She felt the familiar pulse of the appointment book as the realization began to overtake her.
“This is wrong. This is not how it is supposed to be,” she murmured, as she dove into the water, passed through the passenger side door of the car, and gently took the right hand of the young man, unconscious and bleeding in the front seat. Her icy touch went up through the fingertips, up the arm, and across his chest as it stopped the faintly beating heart.
She pulled herself out of the water, dry, but still shivering, and walked back towards the bridge to wait. For a Fatality, she hated the process of death. She had heard that she did not have the glamorous part, that there were various other beings that could comfort humans. Beings whose presence was welcomed, as they said their last goodbyes, or made the pain stop. That was not her assignment. Eventually, sirens blaring, the rescue workers came, and it was with a dull throb that she realized they were already too late by the time that she got to the bridge that day.
She had three other appointments that morning, all in hospitals, which was where she normally lingered. She knew some of the other Fatalities who spent time in hospitals, but was not in the mood to socialize with them, to tell them about her terrible day. She never truly felt like one of them anyway. Instead, she knew where she had to go, she just didn’t want to visit that place.
1. What is your writing process? Do you aim for a word count daily or maybe just a scene?
A. This may be unusual, but I do not write every day. When I do sit down to write, I try to write about 1,000 words at a time. I don’t wait for inspiration, but I try to find time in my schedule, for two or three times a week. I try to put on music based on what I think my character might listen to help me get in the right mood and then I write.
For editing, I can’t recommend enough reading it out loud. That may be the only way it works for me.
2. What sort of research did you do for this book?
A. The biggest research I did was into the ICD-10 codes. In The Last Ghost there are 16 different fatalities, which are the embodiments of death, based on the cause of death. I had to learn a lot about the different official causes, and which are most likely to decide which cause would get which Fatality.
3. What are you working on now? Any chance of a sequel? I am currently working on a book about a championship winning high school girls’ basketball team, and whether you make your own luck—even bad luck.
I had always contemplated The Last Ghost as a stand-alone, but lately I have been thinking about a possible sequel.
4. How did you come up for the idea of your book?
The Last Ghost was actually inspired by an optical illusion. There’s an illusion called a subjective contour which is when your brain fills in the edge between things, even if there is nothing there. I was thinking of that as a metaphor for ghosts. At the same time, I had some tragic losses when I was a teenager, and I found there were not a lot of books that explored what I was feeling—that there was a mistake. Then, the Last Ghost sort of asks the question, what if Death thinks they made a mistake? So together, that question and the idea of the subjective contour created The Last Ghost.
5. Just for fun — what TV shows or movies have you really enjoyed (or disliked?) recently?
I love TV. My biggest recommendation for tv is The Good Place. I didn’t watch it in season 1 because I thought it was over-hyped. Turns out when they were saying it was the funniest thing on TV, they were correct, it is the funniest thing on TV.
About the Author
Jamie Blake writes smart books for young adults and teens. Born in Massachusetts, she is the third of four sisters, which by literary tradition makes her the bookish one. Jamie earned degrees in literature at the University of Rochester and public policy at Cornell University. She was an elementary school teacher in North Carolina before moving to Upstate New York, where she lives with her family, including identical twin cats. The Last Ghost coming October 1, 2018 from 50/50 press is her first novel.
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