Born in northern Wisconsin as the middle child or three girls, AJ now calls Northwest Indiana home, along with her husband, two children and several pets.
Her works include SHE’S GOT DIBS, JEZEBEL’S WISH and THE GOLDEN KEY CHRONICLES releasing in April.
Q: Tell us about your new release.
The Golden Key Chronicles is a time-travel fantasy romance that was originally released in four installments through HarperImpulseUK—Rowena’sKey, Candra’s Freedom, Caedmon’s Curse and Braedric’s Bane. On April 17, 2014 the series is being released as a whole under the title The Golden Key Chronicles and includes a FREE bonus story! Whoo Hoo! I also just found out the book is going to print in May of this year! As you can see, I’m very excited!
Q: What led you to write this book?
Well, I’ve always had a deep love for the fantasy genre, and fantasy with elements of romance in particular. That’s the genre I gravitate toward when looking for something to read. I knew I would eventually write a fantasy romance, but wasn’t quite ready to tackle the world building and complex layering that are inherent in the genre when I first started out. After working as an content editor for a few years and writing two contemporary romance novels, I finally felt ready, so one day I just sat down and began the story. What I didn’t count on was having it turn into this epic story with a spin-off and four more installments in the works.
Q: Have you had an interesting experience in the research of one of your books?
I did, actually. With Rowena’s Key I had a really cool research experience. When I first began the story, I knew right away I wanted to use the name Rowena for my heroine. I have no idea why—other than I wanted a unique name and something that sounded timeless since she travels between modern day Chicago and 14th Century England. It wasn’t until I was about halfway through the story I found myself researching her name to find the etymology behind it. Turns out, there’s a famous Rowena from history, a beautiful femme fatale who won the Saxons a foothold in Kent by seducing the British King Vortigern. However, because of the lack of information surrounding her character, most historians regard her as fictitious. She’s also credited as being the original evil step-mother and the inspiration behind several fairy tale characters such as the witch in Hansel and Gretel, and the Arthurian sorceress Morgan Le Fay. When I read that, I knew I had to use it in my story. I took certain elements from the legend and wove them into the plot so that I didn’t mar the history, and I also gave a second side to the story. It was fabulous!
Q: What books have most influenced your life?
Tough question! Pretty much everything I read influences me one way or another. Here’s the thing. When a person becomes an editor, they don’t read the same way they used to. Everything within a story is given more scrutiny, more attention, if you will. When I read now, I pay close attention to POV, verb usage, dialogue, plot, characterization, GMC, you name it. If I like what I see I make notes about how the author crafted a certain scene or the set up to the conflict, etc., and try to emulate those qualities in my own stories.
Q: If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
My husband and I have discussed this topic at length. I think I’d like to live near Lake Tahoe. That location has everything. A person can go sunbathing and snow skiing all on the same day. And those views! WOW! Living in the mountains near a clear lake sounds like the idyllic spot to me.
Q: What is the one question you wish an interviewer would ask you?
What it’s really like being an author. It’s not at all what people imagine. At least, it’s not what I imagined prior to becoming an author. There is zero glamour involved—unless I decide to throw glitter at the screen. I spend most days glued to the computer in my bathrobe. I mutter to myself a lot and have a hard time concentrating on conversations because I usually have a stream of dialogue running in my head…and, according to my eleven year old daughter, I rarely finish my sentences. Sleep goes out the window. Forget sleep. Those days are behind you. These days, authors are basically responsible for running their own business so, besides the creative aspect, we also handle marketing, promotions, sales, contractual obligations, edits and deadlines. Then there’s the rejections, the reviews, the overall angst involved in waiting for a release. You must have the skin of a rhino and be slightly demented if you plan to succeed as an author.