MFT Interview and Giveaway with Merrie Destefano

Joining me today is the wonderful Merrie Destefano! Merrie is the author of Afterlife, and also the upcoming Feast: Harvest of Dreams. Also up for grabs is a copy of Afterlife to one lucky winner (please see giveaway details at the bottom of this post.)

Please welcome Merrie to the blog!

Merrie, you have 20 years of experience in the publishing industry! Did you always plan on eventually writing a novel?

I’ve loved writing for as long as I can remember. But as far as writing a novel, that desire first came to me when I was in my early twenties. I remember being over-the-top excited when I got an electric typewriter for my birthday one year (does that give you a hint how long ago this was?) So, I guess the answer is yes—I’ve always wanted to be an author.

For those unfamiliar with your novels, can you tell us a bit about Chaz Domingue, the hero of Afterlife?

Chaz was the main character in my first novel, Afterlife. His family owned the rights to the world-wide, billion-dollar, resurrection empire, even though they were all morally opposed to the process itself. Chaz and his family were One-Timers, people who chose to live one life, amongst a world of Nine-Timers, people hungry for as many lives as they could get. Chaz worked as a Babysitter, or someone who served as a guardian for people during that delicate and dangerous first week after resurrection.

What made you decide to write an urban fantasy, and what do you love most about the genre?

There are two things that I love about urban fantasy. One, the setting is familiar enough to be believable, yet different enough to be intriguing. Two, it has strong women characters. For years I’d read suspense and thrillers, but always hated how women were often used as victims to increase plot tension. In urban fantasy, women are rarely painted as victims. In fact, they often end up being the hero, the one with the ability to save the day.

What supernatural power would you like to have?

I’d love to be able to heal people, whether their illnesses were physical, mental or spiritual. I hate to see others in pain and I wish that I could take it away with a touch.

What kinds of things do you like to see in a good book?

Oh, great question! I love reading and I’m always delighted when I discover a new author or a new book. Things that I look for are:
 1. Extraordinary writing
 2. Captivating voice
 3. Excellent story-telling ability
 4. Realistic characters
 5. Believable world-building
 6. The magical ability to make me forget that I’m reading a book
 7. A story or character that takes me to a new world
 8. Well-crafted metaphors and themes
 9. Moral value
 10. An ending that lives up to the beginning

What makes you want to toss a book aside in frustration?

I must confess, if a book doesn’t hold my interest, I stop reading. I’m limited in how much time I have to read, so I try to read only the best books. Some things that will make me stop reading are:
 1. If I can’t connect with the main character
 2. Sloppy storytelling/poor writing
 3. Plot threads that don’t lead anywhere
 4. Meandering plot
 5. Implausibility
 6. And this one will cause me to not buy the author’s next book: an ending that wasn’t as phenomenal as the beginning.

Can you tell us something about yourself that not a lot of people know about?

Wow, that’s a tough question! I’ve had so many unusual things happen and they don’t often come up in conversation. Let’s see, which one to share…how about the fact that I’ve had a gun pulled me on twice—once when I was a runaway teenager and once when I was in the grocery store with my husband. Then recently I went to a gas station down the street and I was almost instantly surrounded by five men with guns who were taking down a young man who walked in front of my car. I didn’t know until later that they were undercover policeman. They didn’t identify themselves and I only happened to see a badge on the belt of one of the cops. That situation was pretty scary. For some reason, the first two—which were much more dangerous—didn’t frighten me.

Is there any news you’d like to share with us about upcoming events or projects (teasers always welcome)?

Yes! My second novel with Harper Voyager titled, Feast: Harvest of Dreams, comes out later this month, on June 28. It’s an urban fantasy set in a small mountain village in Southern California. The main character, Maddie MacFaddin, has gone on a little retreat and suddenly finds herself the target of a dangerous hunt, hosted by creatures from another world who feed on human dreams. The story combines supernatural intrigue with forbidden love and offers a new take on our ancient legends of vampires, werewolves and fairies. You can read the first chapter HERE and you can read more about the book itself on the HarperCollins site HERE  

Kristin, thank you so much for inviting me to My Bookish Ways! I had a great time chatting with you.

Visit Merrie at her website!

*Giveaway is for one copy of AFTERLIFE to one winner
*To enter, leave a comment for Merrie along with a way to contact you!


  1. Great interview!

  2. I'm loving the concept of the Resurrection Chronicles, sounds very interesting. Yay, more books for the to-read list!

    rachie203 [at] gmail [dot] com

  3. Afterlife caught my eye in the bookstore when it first came out so I read what it was about. It sounds like a good read!
    A gun pulled on her twice! Man, that's freaky!

  4. wow, this was a wonderful interview. I loved the two questions about what Merrie loved about a great book and what would make her dislike a book. I agreed with all of them. Especially the last one- A good book has to have an ending that lives up to the beginning. TOTALLY AGREE! I am always so excited to get to the end of a book to see how it ends, and have been disappointed on several occasions when the ending just wasnt how I expected it to be. Very awesome! And I can't wait to read Afterlife 🙂
    @adawnn1 – Twitter

  5. Merrie Destefano

    Kristin, Thank you SO much for inviting me to be on your blog today! It was such great fun to answer all of your questions. And I'm really enjoying reading all the comments too! Hello, everyone!!

  6. michellesheavenlyreviews

    great interview!

  7. Raonaid Luckwell

    Twice? Dang girl! With me I'd possibly going into hysterics. But I'm like you about not liking seeing people in pain. I hate when my friends are sad and I'm powerless to help.

    Raonaid at gmail dot com

  8. Great interview. Your books sound good. I love the covers.

  9. thefictionalbookshelf

    I enjoy blog posts with guest authors. It's nice to learn more about the person behind the book.

    I would love to win a copy of Afterlife

  10. thefictionalbookshelf

    eek. Forgot my email fictionalromance(AT)hotmail(DOT)com

  11. Very intriguing interview and the new book sounds great!! The gun encounters sounds freaky scary. Glad you didn't get hurt.

    Re: your comments on what makes you like/dislike books – it really comes down to compelling writing for me. I love writing that gives me a good feeling of the world it is describing, be it paranormal or Brazil. When I can smell the flowers and taste the local food, the writer has me hooked! 🙂

  12. Thank you for the interview.

    thegirlonfire27 at gmail dot com

  13. Thanks for the great interview!
    GFC follower

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  14. Linda: By the Book

    She's got good judgement on books, which only means that her book has got to be awesome. Was a runaway teen? Sounds like my kind of author.

    Lindadao2060 at yahoo dot com

  15. I don't know why but it's hard for me to just stop reading a book. Even when it's not holding my interest..I still read but I skim. I always feel like I'm going to miss It's good that you can just stop and go to another =) I've always wanted to read afterlife so please count me in. Feast sounds great as well..I got your newsletter and can't wait for the contests to start for goodies =) Thanks MBW and Merrie for the post.

  16. I love urban fantasy too, and one of the things that attracts me is that there are so many strong, female characters. I love seeing women kick butt, be successful, and not need a man to come and save the day.

    I'm looking forward to reading Afterlife. It's been on my wishlist, but I haven't had a chance to pick it up yet.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  17. Great interview!

    marieimy (at) gmail (dot) com

  18. Cool interview 😀 It's great to get a writer's perspective sometimes!

  19. hedgerhousehold

    Great interview. Looking forward to reading the book
    thanks for the giveaway
    jenhedger at hotmail dot com

  20. I recently read my first urban fantasy book and I'm hooked! I'd love to read Afterlife!

  21. Offbeat Vagabond

    Amazing interview. I can't believe you were held at gun point twice. That is the sort of thing that would keep me in my house or make me paranoid. Scary as hell. And it didn't frighten you? Are you crazy? LOL! You got some guts there lady. You hit it right on the head. That is exactly why UF is my go to genre. Damsels annoy me and the world is different yet unique. It is an escape. Your lists on what makes a good book and what makes a bad book were incredible. Although I must say, even when a book is bad, I still try to stick it through until the end. You never know if it might actual get a life in the end. Still, you know your stuff, thank you for sharing. Great interview and giveaway. This was a great read, I had this book on my TBR list for a while. Really would love this. Thank you guys 🙂

    drharleyquinn87 (at) gmail (dot) com

  22. omg! best part of this interview?

    –What supernatural power would you like to have?
    I’d love to be able to heal people, whether their illnesses were physical, mental or spiritual. I hate to see others in pain and I wish that I could take it away with a touch.–

    I love it!! thanks for the giveaway! and a great interview!


  23. Great interview. The book sounds wonderful. Please enter me in contest.

  24. What a wonderful interview and giveaway opportunity. Congratulations on Feast coming out – I will certainly be adding this to my wishlist. I love the premise. Do to think you will be writing series or is your primary interest in standalone books?


  25. Merrie,

    I loved the interview. I can't believe you've had a gun pulled on you, twice!
    I agree that urban fantasies are awesome b/c they have strong female heroines.

  26. I agree with Alba on the super power. I hate to see people in pain (ironically I'm premed). I have been following this author on Good Reads-great novels! edysicecreamlover18ATgmailDOTcom I would love to read and review these novels 🙂

  27. Sorry I feel like a dummy! I checked out your books on your site and Amazon after I left this post and Afterlife is noted to be book 1 🙂 answered my own question.

  28. afterlife sounds awesome and I loved the interview as well:-}I look forward to reading the book either way, vbarton24 at gmail dot com

  29. Welcome, Merrie, and great interview! I have to admit that because I don't have a lot of time to read, either, I get very frustrated when a book doesn't grab me in the first 1/4 to 1/3 of it (I try to give it at least 1/3 before I give up)! Too many books, and definitely not enough time! But I just know that I will love your book and I am very excited by this giveaway:)

    jwitt33 at live dot com

  30. Great interview! Merrie, you are a new author to me. I agree with all that you said Merrie about what you loved about a great book and what makes you dislike a book.


  31. dorkavecunespork

    It all sounds so interesting! And the plot of Afterlife reminded me of Repo Man: A Genetic Opera, which makes me like it even more.

    I completely agree with what makes you like/dislike a book, though I can forgive a lot when one thing (writing, plot) is outstanding.

    Mippi283 at hotmail dot com

  32. Jessica@a GREAT read

    I just love the covers of these books! They are so eyecatching!!


  33. Great interview. I can't imagine having a gun pulled on me once, not to mention twice! Urban fantasy is one of my favorite genres and it is because of the strong female characters.

  34. I enjoy the strong females in UF, too. Great interview! thanks for the giveaway

  35. Having healing as a superpower would be geat. Everyone usually picks flying or reading minds. Healings a good one.

    aliciacald at gmail dot com

  36. Thanks for the giveaway! I love strong UF heroines, so I'll definitely enjoy this novel.

    Sara M
    sara_UFblog [at] yahoo [dot] com

  37. Curious curious curious!



  38. I like strong female characters too.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

  39. I agree with the author's reasons for tossing books aside. Especially sloppy storytelling. I have grown a pet peeve recently for books that can't keep the timeline straight. First, you're reading about Sunday. Then the next day. Then the next day. Then on the next day, they refer to yesterday as Sunday. crazy.

    meredithfl at gmail dot com

  40. This looks like a great read, cant wait to get my hands on it!


  41. Sounds great!

    tommygirl828 (at) gmail (dot) com

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