Laurel Schmidt

What If the Only Way to Live Again Is to Learn How to Be Dead?

How to Be Dead — A Love Story by Laurel Schmidt explores what it means to be fully alive — even in the afterlife. A tale told with humor, heart, and intelligence, it celebrates the power of memory and the lifesaving potential of an excellent espresso.

Frances Beacon, longevity guru and best-selling author of Sex, Drugs and Social Security, is at the peak of her second career when a New York City cab catapults her into the afterlife. Shocked, confused, and royally pissed, all she wants is to go home. Instead, she's enrolled in the University of the Afterlife, where over-achiever Frances turns into a dropout after being hit with a tsunami of obstacles.

She spars with a host of bureaucrats, misogynists, and a mysterious Court that can condemn her to frigus repono — permanent cold storage. But her fiercest opponent is her own heart, the force she must explore and embrace to win her freedom.

In this compassionate, comedic saga of self-discovery, Frances learns that the only way to live again is to learn how to be dead.

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Praise for How To Be Dead

Rich in ideas, How to be Dead explores reincarnation and how history shapes our lives.  Characters from suffragettes to a Victorian life-coach breathe life into the afterlife. These inventive, often feminist figures speak in quick-witted, soaring prose that give power to the themes. Bantering dialogue is a consistent pleasure throughout the book, and the climax, when it comes, is clever: just when readers will be sure that Frances has failed, the novel turns. From there, we learn the story of Mac (the romance), and witness a breakthrough that will ring bells of recognition—and likely trigger tears.

Takeaway: A fiery fictional take on life and death sure to engage anyone who wants to rediscover that “life is a gift.”

Great for fans of: Camille Pagán’s Forever is the Worst Long Time,



I was riveted from the second I picked up this book. Laurel Schmidt has a way of creating relatable characters and telling a story that kept me on the edge of my seat until the very last page. And I don’t think a paragraph went by where there wasn’t a sentence or two that made me think, “How the hell does she do that?” So brilliant, so funny, so smart. I was impressed with how she managed to weave in so many elements-- what makes us tick, past life experiences, unseen connections with others, different historical periods, and of course, the afterlife--while keeping it all grounded and humorous.

I loved the main character. Her journey from total confusion and irritation following her death to the utmost of clarity by the end of the book was laid out in such a brilliant way, taking us readers along for a very satisfying ride and parallel experience. And what a delicious ending. This was one of the most compelling novels I’ve read in a long time—truly an exciting and life-affirming read! — DANNY MILLER, JOURNALIST, CINEPHILED.COM

This book has it all---romance, history, sci-fi and dogs! It’s a cornucopia of literary fun. – BARBARA ROSENBLAT, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK

Watch For It!

The audiobook for How To Be Dead—A Love Story read by the Audie award-winning narrator, Barbara Rosenblat.