Eternally Yours by Gina Ardito
It makes you wonder about what life after death is really like.
JODIE DEVLIN’S SUICIDE is not the end, merely the beginning. With her future as a living human being irrevocably destroyed, she must become an employee of the Afterlife until a new existence can be created for her. In the realm on the other side of death, she’ll learn how to retrieve ghosts who have lingered too long on Earth. If only she didn’t have to work beside a good-looking, arrogant man who baffles and challenges her at every turn.
It’s no wonder Luc Asante is so bitter toward women. His former wife ordered him taken off life support, condemning him to service in the Afterlife as one of Death’s bounty hunters. Now he has a trainee—a female trainee who’s as soft-hearted as he is hard, as impulsive as he is methodical. In a place where perfection is the norm, she revels in her imperfections just to drive him nuts.
Traveling through time and space to bring peace to lost souls, Jodie and Luc will be forced to come to terms with their differences and their pasts, to discover a love that might bind them for eternity.
Gina Ardito’s Dream Interview for Eternally Yours
Gina Ardito says the idea for Eternally Yours came to her when she kept hearing three words in her sleep one night. Those three words? No, not “I love you.” The words were “Death’s Bounty Hunter.”
“The next morning,” Gina says, “I sat with my family at breakfast, and we all began brainstorming. What would Death’s Bounty Hunter do exactly? And how would someone get that job?”
The result of all that brainstorming is Eternally Yours, a book that explores the idea of what happens to love after we die:
After one too many disappointments, Jodie Devlin took her own life. Too bad her suicide is only the beginning of her troubles. Until a new future can be created for her, Jodie will serve as one of Death’s bounty hunters, retrieving souls who haunt Earth. She’ll need smarts, charm, and trickery to convince these specters to give up the ghost and move on. Of course, these same skills will come in handy for verbally sparring with her bull-headed, know-it-all trainer.
It’s no wonder Luc Asante is so bitter toward women. His former wife ordered him taken off life support, condemning him to employment in the Afterlife. Now he has a trainee—a female trainee who’s as soft-hearted as he is hard, as impulsive as he is methodical. In a place where perfection is the norm, she flaunts her flaws just to drive him nuts.
If they weren’t already dead, working together would probably kill them.
Q. What makes Eternally Yours unique?
A. Eternally Yours is meant to make you think about who you are, what lessons life has to teach you, and how love transforms us in every lifetime. In creating this story, I combined my love for three different genres of romance: contemporary, paranormal, and historical. While most of the story takes place in the Afterlife, the characters are contemporary with snarky dialogue, and there’s a lot of historical drama, thanks to the characters’ past lives. If I’ve done what I set out to (and I think I have), the story will resonate with you long after you’ve reached The End.
Q. How much of yourself do you put into your characters? What about people you know?
A. Every character I write (even the bad ones) in every book I write has something of me. Luc has my sarcastic edge, and I’d love to own his collection of t-shirts. Jodie got my soft, gooey center. When it comes to people I know becoming character “fodder,” I do tend to use traits, habits, and tics that I’ve noticed. So…yeah, no one’s immune. But it’s never mean-spirited.
Q. What’s your writing process like?
A. Chaotic. I call it “crack addict writing.” I wake up early in the morning and write before I head off to the day job. At work, I write on my break and lunch hour. After I come home, I write until it’s time to cook dinner, then write again until bedtime. When I’m deep into a story, nothing short of nuclear attack will drag me away. Once I’ve typed The End, I take a week or two off to reconnect with family and friends, then start the process all over again.
Q. What’s been your favorite reaction to the book so far?
A. I don’t have a lot of reviews, but the ones I have are all extremely positive. One reviewer on Amazon wrote, “The author’s voice is singular, funny then serious when needed, and jammed with an imagination totally outside the box. In fact, I don’t think the author has ever even seen a box.” I loved that!
Q. In this story, you cover topics like suicide, karma, and past lives. How did you write about such sensitive subjects?
A. Very carefully! Building a world in the Afterlife is a delicate balance. Our views on what happens after we die are extremely personal. Therefore, I realized from the first page this book was going to touch on subjects that might make some readers uncomfortable. In fact, the book opens with my heroine committing suicide. I can’t tell you how many publishing professionals advised me to change that opening to something less controversial in order to sell the story to a traditional house. I refused. The story hinges on my heroine’s death being not only untimely, but unplanned as well. I did, however, minimize the death scene so as not to totally alienate my readers.
Q. Coffee or tea?
A. As a general rule, coffee. But there are certain times when nothing is better than a good cup of tea: rainy days when I don’t have to leave the house, when I’m not feeling a hundred percent, or in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep. Coffee is my jump-starter, tea is my relaxation.
Q. If you could pick your “dream cast” for the movie, which stars get the leads?
A. For Luc, it’s always been Johnny Depp (I describe Luc as having movie star-slash-pirate looks, an homage to Johnny’s Jack Sparrow). Jodie is a toss-up between Jordana Brewster and Mila Kunis. For Sean, I’ve always pictured Simon Baker.
Q. I would imagine you had to do a lot of plotting for a book like this. What’s your secret? Outlines? Chapter by chapter summaries? Post-Its?
A. Umm…none of the above. I don’t plot my books—not even this one. If I know what will happen too early in the story, I lose interest and rush to the end. It’s important to me that I be as surprised by what comes next as my readers. This, of course, means I write myself into corners. Often. Every time this happens, I play with the scenarios, review what’s come before, until the perfect next step comes to me. And it always does.
Q. This is Book I of the Afterlife Series. When will we see Book II and what can we expect?
A. Book II is titled In Your Dreams and will be released in September 2013. This time around, Sean Martino has become burned out in bounty hunting and is transferred to a new department in the Afterlife. He’ll become a Probation Officer, charged with making sure attempted suicides who’ve survived don’t try again. Since he’s in an entirely different realm than those he monitors, the only way he can communicate is through their dreams. What he didn’t count on is Isabelle Fichetti, a former child star who wants to kill herself to avoid a slow, painful death. When he and Isabelle discover they can communicate even when she’s awake, they form a bond that will transcend realms and change them both.
Q. You’ve called Eternally Yours, “The legendary book of my heart.” What do you mean by that?
A. Every author has one book that is written from someplace deep inside the soul. Eternally Yours is that book for me. It combines my love for the romance genre with some of my core beliefs. I really poured myself into every scene. Want to know who I am and what I stand for? Read this book. It’s all me. I always say, if I died tomorrow, I’d be elated that I left behind Eternally Yours for others to read and enjoy.