Please welcome the glorious, the amazing, the wonderful Anette Darbyshire to the StudioBlog.

Let’s get cracking with an insightful interview with one of the nicest authors we’ve ever met! Plus, there’s an excerpt from her latest book to enjoy afterwards. What more could you want? Let’s go!

Studioenp: Pepsi or Coke—or something else?

Anette Darbyshire: Does prosecco count? I do like a nice, ice-cold Diet Coke, although I had a Pepsi Max the other day and I liked that, too.

Studioenp: Which season do you like best and why?

Anette Darbyshire: I love autumn because of the stunning colours. I don’t cope with heat very well, so it’s always a huge relief when it starts to cool down. The other bonus is that the pesky wasps go away. I hate wasps with a vengeance. I also love it when the evenings start to draw in so I can light candles and put the fire on. I guess that’s the Dane in me.

Studioenp: What’s your fondest childhood memory?

Anette Darbyshire: Every summer I would visit my family in Denmark. As they didn’t see me very often, I always got spoiled rotten. And I could stock up on salty liquorice. I often think back to those holidays and wish I could go back one more time. Unfortunately, my family there are all dead now, so even though we do visit every now and again, it’s not the same. I’ll always have the memories, though, which I’ll always treasure.

Studioenp: Do you have a best friend—who is it?

Anette Darbyshire: My husband. He is my rock and my soulmate. Otherwise, one of my oldest friends is a guy called Henrik. We met in Copenhagen when we were eighteen and have been best friends ever since. He’s as camp as Christmas, outrageous and I love him to bits. He lives in Berlin now and I only get to see him every couple of years when we pop over for a long weekend. It doesn’t matter how much time has passed since we last saw each other, we always pick up where we left off.

Studioenp: Do you have any quirks?

Anette Darbyshire: How long have you got? I was a goth in the 1980s and never got over what everyone called a ‘phase’. I still wear only black, still go to alternative clubs and concerts, and am still drawn to people who are as odd as I am. I’m also a bit scatty and forgetful, but most people who know me are used to it, so they just roll their eyes and accept it as one of my quirks. Oh, and I can twitch my nose like Samantha in Bewitched. Does that count?

Studioenp: Post-It notes or notebook?

Anette Darbyshire: Oh God, I’d be lost without my notebook. Post-It notes just aren’t big enough for all my scribbles and I’d only lose them anyway. Every time I get a thought or idea for a book I’m working on, I get my notebook out—no matter where I am!

Studioenp: What do you do to relax?

Anette Darbyshire: I love to read—who doesn’t? I’ve recently discovered Tai Chi and have nearly finished the Twenty-Four Form. I really look forward to my weekly lessons and always come out far more relaxed than when I went in. I also enjoy going to the café at our local airport with my laptop. I’m a big plane geek and love combining my love of aviation with my writing. Writing relaxes me. I lose myself in my characters and plot, and it has a similar effect on me as mindfulness does on other people.

Studioenp: Perfect three-course meal?

Anette Darbyshire: I don’t have to think twice about this. Scallops to start, a lobster or prawn main, and ice cream for dessert. I love seafood and could quite happily live off it, although I do like a nice rib eye steak as well. All washed down with a bottle of prosecco, of course.

Studioenp: What type of music do you enjoy?

Anette Darbyshire: I’m as quirky in my music tastes as I am in other ways. I’m a bit of a contradiction—my two favourite bands are ABBA and Blutengel (German electro-goth band). They couldn’t be more different. Frida, the red-haired singer in ABBA, has been my idol since I was about ten years old and I still adore her. My favourite genres of music are goth, rock, 1980’s indie, punk, new wave, electro. That said, I love a good pop song and some classical music as well. I told you I was quirky.

Studioenp: Do you dance like no one’s watching?

Anette Darbyshire: Absolutely. I did ballet when I was a kid and reached quite a high grade in the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus. I was never good enough to be a professional, but I was ok. The trouble is, whenever I try to dance now, my brain thinks I can still do it all, but my body is screaming at me to stop. I’ve got arthritis in my toes, probably from pointe work, so that limits me as well. That’s why it’s probably best that no one is watching when I dance now.

Blurb from Love in Another Dimension:

Do ghosts fall in love? Jemma is about to find out…

The morning after a drunken party, Jemma makes a life-changing pact with her best friend Alice. Fed up with being broke, she enrolls at her local college, determined to turn her life around. But on her first day she’s killed in an untimely accident and finds that she has become a ghost.

Terrified, she goes to find Alice in the hope that, by using her psychic abilities, her friend might be able to help her. Instead of making contact with Alice, though, Jemma meets Tom, an attractive but elusive ghost who explains that she in trapped in a dimension for people who weren’t supposed to die.

She vows to find a way out, but is torn when she develops feelings for Tom, whose own reasons for being there are darker than she could ever have imagined.

As time goes on, Jemma learns to adapt to her new existence and falls in love with Tom. But life as a ghost is never that straightforward. A dark, menacing spirit, an unhappy child and Tom’s traumatic past force Jemma into making a decision that could ultimately destroy her.

Will Jemma lose everything in order to make things right, or might eternal love be possible after all?

Excerpt from Love in Another Dimension:

A mist was moving across the dark and silent graveyard, making it look like an image from a horror film. The only movement was the odd ghost wandering aimlessly across the graves, each with their own tragic reason for being there. A living person might have caught a glimpse of them, their energy barely visible as a faint transparent light in the form of a blurry figure. If she had walked through this graveyard on her own in the dead of night while she had been alive, she would have been terrified. It was odd, but she was at ease here, somehow comforted by the fact that she was a part of this surreal supernatural scene.

Tom lay down on his back then pulled Jemma down next to him. Although the grass would have been damp and cold to a living person, Jemma only felt Tom’s warmth as she snuggled up to him. There were advantages to being dead, like not getting wet or catching pneumonia from lying on the freezing ground in December.

“I still can’t get my head around the fact that I can feel heat and air from you,” she mused.

Tom chuckled. “I know. One of Susie’s friends once said it has something to do with the energy that is left within us the moment we die. Apparently it never leaves us. Sometimes you can even hear the distant echo of a ghost’s heartbeat.”

Jemma lifted her head off his shoulder and placed it on his chest. Sure enough, the distant drumming that beat against her ear was unmistakable. “I can both hear and feel your heart.”

“It’s not real, but it is kind of comforting, isn’t it?”

“Mmm,” she murmured as she closed her eyes.

“Did you believe in ghosts before you died?” he asked, as he stroked her arm.

“No. Alice did and I always used to tease her about it. How about you?”

“No, I didn’t either. Even after I’d died I was skeptical. It took quite a lot of persuasion from Susie before I finally accepted I was one. And if someone had told me I would fall in love here, I definitely wouldn’t have believed them.”

Although it was too dark to see his face, Jemma could hear the smile in his voice. “Have you ever been in love before?” she asked.

“No. I’d had girlfriends of course, but I’d never met anyone that was special. Like you,” he whispered. “When did I last tell you that I love you?”

“About five minutes ago,” replied Jemma, giggling. “But tell me again.”

“I love you.”

“Pardon? I didn’t hear you.”

Tom raised himself onto his elbow then took a handful of Jemma’s hair and held her head in place as he stared down at her. “I love you, Jemma Haley.” Then he smashed his lips against hers and kissed her with a new urgency.

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