Vance Alfaro is the “ghost-hunting hottie” we meet in Psyched, the guy who hardly knows Aisi but decides to man up and stick with her through that long, dark night. He’s a freshman in college and he’s studying paranormal phenomenon, but other than that, what do we really know about him? In this exclusive interview with him just for my readers, you get to meet the ghost-hunting hottie!
Us: So, Vance. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Vance: I hate questions like this! I don’t know how to sum myself up in a sentence or two. I guess I should go with the basics. My hometown is Webster, New York, on the shores of Lake Ontario, but right now I’m a freshman at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire. I’m youngest of four boys. For kicks we eat chili and light blue darts while our poor mom yells at us to tell us how disgusting we are. My dad works a lot but he joins in when he can.
Us: Blue darts?
Vance: Uh...let me put it this way. If you do it wrong, you end up in the emergency room.
Us: Okay then! Let’s talk about college. You’re seriously going to school to study ghosts? How did you get interested in that?
Vance: People don’t study paranormal phenomenon unless they have a reason to believe in the first place.
Us: Sounds like you have a story to tell.
Vance: I do. Most people think I’m crazy, my dad especially, but I know what I know.
Us: So what do you know?
Vance: I grew up not too far from the Webster rural cemetery. I heard weird sounds when I was growing up, especially on moonless nights. My dad always said there was no such thing as ghosts. We’re church-going people, so he taught me to believe in guardian angels and stuff like that, but he always thought that any spirit around here had a mission to protect us. Keep us safe. He didn’t think a spirit could get stuck here.
Us: So tell us about the first ghost you ever saw.
Vance: It’s that obvious, huh? Okay. I was walking home from school one day. Usually I’d walk with my brothers, but for some reason I was alone that day. I was about 13. As you go around a bend and up a little hill before you get to my neighborhood, there’s an old stone cottage set back from the road a bit. Overgrown weeping willows kind of hide it so it’s not easy to see unless you know it’s there. That house always kind of creeped me out, but I’d never had to walk by it alone before. The house has this historic marker that I never stopped to read with my brothers there. They just wanted to throw stones and see if we could break some of the windows because the place has been abandoned for years, unless you count the occasional homeless squatter or pot party.
Us: Did you stop to read the sign this time?
Vance: Yeah. I did. It said the house was one of the first built on Nine Mile Road, back in early 1700’s, and it gave the names of the original owners. For some reason I said their names out loud. As soon as I did...wow. We’re not too far from a river where I live, and this little stone cottage is close to it. So this mist rolled in as I said their names, and at first I didn’t think much of it. I mean, it’s upstate New York. Storms roll off the lake all the time, and there’s often fog in the river bottom. I just wanted to hurry home so I didn’t get drenched when the storm hit. As I started to walk away, something in the upper windows caught my eye and I stopped to look. At first it looked like gray curtains blowing out a window, but as I looked closer I saw a face. The sad, crying face of a woman. The mist rolled in and blocked my view of the window. The wind suddenly picked up and I heard this shriek that was definitely not the wind. It’s a good thing I didn’t pee my pants right there. I ran up the hill and once I got out of that little valley where the house was, the mist was gone.
Us: Wow. That’s insane!
Vance: I can’t even explain how much it scared me. Later, I looked up the name of the woman on the marker and researched her history. Turns out she died under suspicious circumstances. She was a newlywed and her husband had just finished building that house for her. Another woman in town wanted to marry her husband, and after the woman came to visit her in her new house, she got really sick. Rumor is she died of poisoning.
Us: Where did you find all this out?
Vance: Old newspapers. Libraries. The local historian. Stuff like that.
Us: Sounds like you take a very academic approach to your ghost hunting.
Vance: Aw, man. That makes me sound so boring! I just want to help these people if I can. That poor woman has been stuck in that house for 300 years, trying to find a way out...If I can help a lost soul like her, what I do is worth it.
Us: I think this brings us to Aisi. Isn’t that what she does? Help send others to whatever comes next? Oh, look! I think you’re blushing!
Vance: Aisi is seriously amazing. She’s haunted in ways a ghost hunter like me isn’t. She’s smart and sassy, and I think she’s the strongest and most beautiful girl I’ve ever met. She’s a tough nut to crack, though.
Us: What do you mean, she’s haunted? Can a person be haunted?
Vance: The stuff I go looking for? It looks for her. It wakes her up at night. It’s all around her and she can’t avoid it. If that’s not haunted...
Us: Gotcha. Last question: Team Edward or Team Jacob?
Vance: I don’t even know what that means. Is this about hockey or something?
Us: Never mind. You’re such a guy. Thanks so much for chatting with us, Vance!
So far, great reviews:
"This is one of those books you just can't put down. What I love about Psyched in addition to a great, spooky story is strong characters and narrative voice. Aisi is the most awesome chick, strong-willed, sassy, and deals with some crazy stuff happening with a spunkiness that I loved... Psyched is well-written, riveting, surprising and genre-busting. Teens will love this book, but it definitely has a more wide-ranging appeal."
"Aisi Turay is one awesome girl. She has power to see the dead...as in their souls...This is a great read, filled with suspense. I NEVER knew from one chapter to the next what was happening. It is well written and a very enjoyable...and a bit scary!"
Psyched is part ghost story, part suspense, part demon-hunting thriller, part budding romance.It's the story of a girl named Aisi who's doing her best to keep it together for her wreck of a family. She is smart, sassy, and sarcastic enough to keep things interesting. When she meets Vance on the single worst day of her life, she finds a guy who just might be the first person ever to get her, to believe in her, and to out-random her with bizarre observations at the worst possible moment. There's just something about him that she knows she can trust.
Together, Aisi and Vance wander through the memories of others to unlock the secrets of her past while battling a demon who wants to ensure she never finds what she's looking for. Aisi vanquishes demons all the time, but Malus Indolus is too strong. And he has plans for her...and her family.
Psyched is Juli's second novel, the first as an indie writer, and her first experiment with her true love as a reader: paranormal fiction. Her debut novel Beyond Perfection is also available.
You can find Juli on Twitter, Facebook, and her blog.