About the book:
Even being dead isn’t enough to get you out of maths class.
Dying wasn't on sixteen-year-old Riley Richardson's to-do list. And now, not only is she dead, but she's stuck in a perpetual high school nightmare. Worse still, she's stuck there with the geekiest, most annoying boy in the history of the world, ever.
In a school where the geeks are popular and just about everything is wrong, Riley has become an outcast. She begins a desperate quest to get back home, but her once-perfect life starts to unravel into something not nearly as great as she thought it was. And maybe death isn’t really that bad after all...
Welcome to Afterlife Academy, where horns are the norm, the microwave is more intelligent than the teachers, and the pumpkins have a taste for blood.
Amy (Once Upon a Series): For the readers, what’s your name & where do you call home?
Jaimie: Hello! I’m Jaimie Admans, much too close to being 30 for my liking, and home is a tiny, boring village in South Wales, UK!
Amy: What three words would you use to describe Afterlife Academy?
Jaimie: A paranormal romantic comedy! Or death after life - that’s three words and that’s really what the book is all about!
Amy: How long did it take you to write Afterlife Academy?
Jaimie: It was about a month to get the first draft down, but that’s the easy part. I do quick and messy first drafts and worry about fixing them later! It was another four months to get it edited into readable shape, and then another couple of months of final tweaks and preparing it for release!
Amy: Where did you get your inspiration for the Afterlife Academy? Was it simply just from thinking about going to school when you were dead?
Jaimie: That’s it. It’s often hard to pinpoint where the inspiration comes from as it’s usually just a fleeting thought or seeing something written somewhere or a picture or watching the news, any small thing can spark off a snowball effect of thoughts that end up being a book plot. For Afterlife Academy, I was just thinking about teachers and how strict they are, and I thought ‘I bet they’d even make you finish your education if you were dead!’ – Lightbulb moment! Things snowballed from there – the idea of a previously popular girl being dumped in a school where suddenly no one likes her, being stuck with the uncoolest guy she knows, classes specifically for dead kids, etc. Things quickly spiral when you start thinking about them!
Amy: What were your school experiences like? Did you ever skive like Riley did when she was alive?
Jaimie: Very much so, I’m afraid! I skived whole days rather than the odd lesson here and there though like Riley does, so I was pretty much worse than her! And, like Riley, maths was my most-hated subject! We had a horror of a teacher for maths, and all she ever accomplished was to give everyone in her class a life-long hatred of maths!
Amy: What made you want to write Riley as a once popular character and Anthony unpopular but then vice versa in 'Afterlife Academy'? Or did they do this themselves?
Jaimie: They did a lot of it themselves. I started with the idea that Riley would experience the opposite in death than she had in life, and that this geeky boy who she thought was a loser would become the popular one while nobody liked her. Everything else the characters did by themselves. I never intended the relationship between Anthony and Riley to develop as it did, I never intended that she was the main person who bullied him in their previous life, all that backstory made itself up as I went along!
Amy: So, you find characters end up leading the novel to places you hadn't predicted?
Jaimie: The theme is usually in place before I even start writing, so it generally stays the same, no matter how many characters try to derail it! So often, you write in what was supposed to be a minor character and they end up taking over the whole book and getting a sequel written about them! You can’t argue with the characters though, once they start leading, you just have to follow!
More about Jaimie: True or False!
She likes goats (and sheep) as friends... "You can't live in Wales and not!"
Jaimie Admans isn't a pen-name... "If I was using a pen name, I would have chosen something much easier to spell than this!"
She owes a lot to caffeine (and also edible goodies... perhaps some food contains caffeine too?)... "I owe everything to tea and chocolate!"
She loves the ‘bad guy’ in novels... "Particularly if they’re not outright evil and you find they do have a not-so-bad side too."
She's done research for novels... "I’d like to meet a writer who hasn’t! Reindeer pregnancy was probably my weirdest, unexpected, research topic!"
She's good at angry birds... "I'm rubbish at it! That's why I play it so often - only to get better at it, honest!"
She's written (includes writing now) one YA novel... "I’ve written a few, some to be released later this year!"
She dislikes natural hair colours... "I don’t dislike them, I just haven’t had a normal hair colour for years now! In fact I’m considering whether to dye mine back brown and just leave parts of it pink. I’d have to leave pink in there somewhere, I wouldn’t be me otherwise!"
She's published traditionally... "I’m all indie and proud! Like most writers, I would love a traditional publishing deal..."
She finds editing easy! "I can get a first draft done in a few weeks – it’s the editing process that takes much, much longer! I hate editing with a passion, but there's also a great satisfaction in it because you know you're making a better book! But it never gets any easier to cut sentences you love or scenes you thought were really clever! My novels usually get re-written four or five times before they go off to a professional editor..."
Thanks Jaimie for taking the time to answer our questions today. It has been great learning more about you and your writing process! Now for the readers... here are the dates and destinations for Jaimie's blog tour that starts tomorrow. Please go forth and stalk!