AJ, please tell us about yourself and your writing.
I am a multi-published, award-winning author who writes romance across a multitude of genres, sometimes even mashing them together. I tend to get bored easily and, so far, writing across lines has kept me challenged. I live with my husband, two kids and a variety of spoiled pets in NW Indiana, and between helping my husband run our home-based business, laundry, cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring, tutoring and fixing boo-boos, spend the hours glued to my laptop.
What does your writing space look like?
We have a really small house so I sit at the dining room table while I write, and everything I have to deal with is spread out on the table before me. Right now there is a pile of bills, my calendar, the checkbook, a spiral notebook, three pens, a calculator, a hair clip, an unlit candle, the school year calendar, some receipts, a card I need to send out, I card I received with a gift (I need to send a thank you), some insurance information, a bank statement and a bottle of water. There is also the napkin holder and two sets of salt and pepper shakers. LOL I guess I function best in organized chaos.
How long have you been writing?
Well, forever, but I only seriously sat down and wrote my first story from start to finish five years ago – when my youngest started kindergarten. So I guess the answer is since 2008.
Do you have a process for coming up with character names and book titles?
It really depends on the book. With my latest WIP the heroine’s name came to me right away – which was super weird because after I’d written about half the story, I did a little research into her name and found a really cool myth behind it that I worked into the plot. It was one of those eerie hair-raising coincidences that still sorta freaks me out when I think about it. For the rest of the characters, I had to do a little more work. Because quite a few of them are from 15th century England, I did some research into old English names and then literally used the alphabet, naming the characters in sequence as I went along...until I got bored and just started using whatever name I wanted. LOL As far as titles are concerned, I usually always have a working title for my projects, but these can change right up until the story is complete...and pending the publisher’s approval.
Please tell us about your current work in progress.
Right now I’m working on a four part series of fantasy romance novellas for the Harper Collins UK Impulse Line. And, I must say, I have had an absolute BLAST writing these stories. I’m really thrilled they were picked up by this publisher because the line is very forward-thinking and this allows me a certain freedom I’m not sure I would find at another Big Six. The first installment in the series is quite contemporary – but the story also contains elements of a classic fairy tale. I’ve always been in love with the genre of fantasy and tend to read those books for pleasure, so to write it has been both incredibly fulfilling and challenging. I love that. After this project is complete, I’m going to try my hand at a romantic suspense, but after that, I have another fantasy series planned. I’m quite sure I’ll be with this genre for a while.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three modern conveniences would you take with you?
Easy. I bet this answer is the same for all authors. My laptop with a wireless transmitter, a really good book and my husband (although, I’m not sure how “modern” he is).
Do you write with music going in the background? What are some of your favorite types/bands?
I can’t write with music playing. I’ve tried and I always end up singing along. I’m really into lyrics (no surprise there) so I tend to get distracted by the words and then I get no writing done. I do however have music going a lot when I’m not writing and, when I find a song that invokes a certain emotion I may be hoping to create within a story, I play the song repeatedly until the emotion is really close to the surface. Then I go in and write the scene. Right now in my CD player you would find, Owl City, 10,000 Maniacs, Evanescence, Neon Trees, and Bruce Springsteen.
What is your favorite book genre? Who are your favorite authors?
Hands down, my favorite genre is fantasy, hopefully with a strong element of romance. In fact, if there’s no romance I get sorta irked. I mean come on, ya gotta give me something. My favorite authors right now (and this could change on a dime) are Jacqueline Carey for her Kushiel’s Legacy Series and her Sundering Series, and Patrick Rothfuss for his King Killer Chronicles. Both of these authors are outstandingly brilliant. Like, over the top I could only hope to write something so fantastic one day, brilliant.
Do you have a favorite character from your books? Who is it and why?
My most favorite character is Immanuel Emery Diller from my edgy inspirational novel entitled Flicker. He’s in his early 70’s and is sorta a combination between Mary Poppins and The Wizard of Oz. In the story, he befriends my heroine and adds a moral compass to her life. He’s the kind of guy I would love to just sit and talk with for hours. I would ask him about the meaning of life and his take on theoretical physics vs. religion. The only problem is that Iman is a LOT smarter than me, so writing his scenes were always tough, tough, tough. Because I’m very attached to this story, I haven’t found the right publisher for it yet. I may end up self-publishing it in the end, because I don’t want anyone messing with it. LOL They say each author has within themselves one great story of the heart. Flicker is mine.
Tell us something strange or interesting about yourself.
Um, I’m left handed and I change my hair color approximately four times a year. Drives everyone in my house crazy.
Favorite food? Pepperoni Pizza with mushrooms and black olives, extra sauce.
Favorite color? Red.
Favorite animal? Humming bird.
Biggest pet peeve? Passive-aggressive behavior. If you’ve got something to say, just say it. Especially if it’s a problem that has to do with me. I can’t fix it until I know the issue and I don’t like having to guess.
Dream car? If I could have any mode of transportation, I would get a brand new Indian Chief motorcycle. Of course, I’d have to learn how to actually drive the thing, but I want one. They are just so darn beautiful! And cool. And they rock. I want one.
True love does not exist…or so event planner Tessa Adams learns the day she gets jilted—twenty-four hours prior to walking down the aisle. One-night stands are much easier, and with sexy philanthropists like David Brenner, how can she resist? Now if she could just get rid of him. Had she known the biggest event of her career would be working for David’s father, she would have cut and run. Instead, she’s unwittingly become a part of his parents' plan to destroy his life-long dreams. Will sacrificing her love protect him or be the ultimate betrayal?
Wealthy and gorgeous, David Brenner seemingly holds the world in the palm of his hand—his generous heart and infectious smile are just two in an endless stream of attractive qualities. But the one thing he wants, he can’t have—a repeat of the passionate night he spent in the arms of a skittish Tessa Adams. His family’s far-reaching power threatens to crush their dreams. To prove his love, he would risk everything…but will the return of her ex-fiancé be their final undoing?
“Dibs.” He extended his hand.
Frowning, she accepted his greeting. “Dibs on what?
“No.” He chuckled. “That's my name. Or well, actually, my nickname. Either way, it's what everyone calls me.”
“O-o-okay...” The guy definitely had the smolder covered...and those incredible ice-blue eyes. Yikes!
“And you are?”
“Oh, Tessa Adams.” She laughed.
“And everyone calls you...?”
Her frown returned. “Tessa.”
“Oh.” He scanned her face. “No nickname, huh?”
“Not that I recall at the moment.”
He pressed his full lips together as if restraining a smile, eyes twinkling with merriment, and handed her the notepad. “Here's your confirmation number. The room's at the Waldorf Towers over on Park.”
Two suites at the Waldorf? In this mess? What was he, a wizard? “Wow, great. Thanks so much for the help.”
“Glad to be of service.” He retrieved his briefcase and started down the corridor, abruptly stopped, and peered at her over the perfect slant of his shoulder. “And don't worry, Tessa, I'll think of a good nickname for you.”
She offered him a blank stare. “Hey, knock yourself out.”
Mischief danced along his lips before a grin broke free and he continued down the hallway.
“What a whack job,” she muttered.
She’s Got Dibs, won 1st Place in the Contemporary Category, Heartland Romance Authors, Show Me the Spark! Contest, 2010.
She’s Got Dibs received a “highly recommended read” from USA Today’s Happy Ever After reviews! See the entire review here.
Find AJ Nuest on the Internet:
Email: ajnuest at yahoo.com