Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Welcome Guest Author AJ Nuest!

I'm so pleased to have a fellow Wild Rose Press author here visiting today! Welcome, AJ Nuest!  Please share a little about yourself, your genres, any other pen names you use.

I’m originally from Northern Wisconsin, but now live in Northwest Indiana with my husband and two young children. I don’t really have a set “genre”. I write across lines because I find the challenge intriguing. I bore easily, so I consistently up the ante to make the writing more difficult. A good way to do that is cross genres because they each have a distinct style. Eventually, I hope to have several stories in several genres, but I will always publish under AJ Nuest.

Oh, a fellow genre-hopper! Me too! Okay, tell us a little about your latest or upcoming release.

JEZEBEL’S WISH is set at my Mom’s horse ranch in Northern Wisconsin. I knew that part of the country would make a beautiful backdrop for my story. The pristine white contrasted against the agony of what Jezzy is living. I also needed to take Jezzy out of her element, away from the city, so she would have no choice but to deal with her issues. Nothing handles that better than wide-open country. 

Writing what you know always infuses a story with authenticity! Which character is your favorite and why?

In this story, Matty, the veterinarian hero, is my favorite. Jezzy is going through a difficult time and really struggles finding a path through her grief. Matty handles her in such a great way - pushing her when she needs it, calm and patient after he’s broken through her defenses. Tender, supportive, but he’s not about to take any guff. He’s a great hero.

Mmm…Matty sounds great! As the author, what surprised you about this story?

I never expected the story to be so emotional…or dark. I’m a bit of a panster, so often my characters have a history or take a certain action that surprises me. But, I love this part of the writing process. Without fail, discovering who my characters are is what brings me back to the laptop time and again.

Oh, we have so much in common! Card-carrying pantser here myself! Will there be any sequels or other books in the same series?

Not for this story, but I am working on a fantasy series that will take part in three books. The Willow Tree will be my first series, my first novel written from several perspectives, and my first foray into fantasy. See? There’s that “upping the ante” thing I was talking about.

Awesome—congrats on the new project(s)! What was the hardest thing for you about writing JEZEBEL’S WISH?

I can’t say or it will ruin the story. But whenever anyone reads JEZEBEL’S WISH, I’m fairly certain they’ll know the scene. It’s fairly obvious.

Hmm…who’s as curious as me, now??? So, what are you working on right now?

I’m working on an “edgy inspirational with romantic elements,” entitled FLICKER. This story is my first experience writing from a first person perspective, the chapters flip through time, and the novel spans fifteen years of my heroine’s life. And I must say, the journey has been astonishing. Writing from first person POV really had me living inside my heroine’s head. It was cool.

I really enjoy writing in first person, too—it’s actually where I started my writing career! What happened to the first book you ever wrote?

FORGETFUL HEARTS was published in May 2008. You can read the blurb on my blog. :)

Great—check it out everybody! What do you find easiest and hardest to write?

Easiest–verbiage. Usually by the time I sit down at my laptop, I know my characters so well I can hear their voices in my head. Their conversations play like soundtrack in the background until I get them down on paper.

Hardest–moving time. I hate moving time. But I had to get good at it with FLICKER because the book spans so many years. Again, there’s that challenge thingy. In retrospect, tackling that part of the writing process to such an extent really honed my ability with moving time.

Interesting! Have you incorporated actual events or people from your own life into your books?

Of course. My mom and sister are both characters in JEZEBEL’S WISH, and I’ve used other friends or combinations of people I’ve met over the years to create characters. But my heroes/heroines are always genuine, and I don’t really write from my own life experiences (not a lot of exciting things happen out here in the sticks). Rather, I create certain obstacles for my characters, and then I put myself in their shoes, keying into their emotions until I work out how they would react.

I like that. Okay, is there a theme or message that runs through your work?

Not really. All my stories are really different, and they each have their own message. In JEZEBEL’S WISH, the message is “be careful what you wish for.”

JEZEBEL’S WISH is sounding more and more intriguing—one for the TBR pile for sure! Of all the characters you’ve ever written, who is your favorite and why?

Immanuel Emery Diller from FLICKER. He’s not the hero, but man, I just love that guy. He’s got all the answers, you know? He’s sort of my heroine’s conscience, counselor, and best friend all rolled into one. The only problem is he’s way smarter than me, so his scenes are tough to write.

Aw, he does sound like a compelling character.  Okay, now, just for fun:

Milk chocolate or dark chocolate? Milk Chocolate! Dark chocolate…bleck. And don’t mess up the milk chocolate with fruit or mint or anything. It’s already perfect the way it is.

Salty or sweet? Depends on my mood and the time of day. I must have sweet after lunch, a cookie or a piece of chocolate with my afternoon coffee. But I love salty if the family is watching a movie at day’s end. Popcorn smothered in butter and salt! Yum!

Bed or kitchen table? Oooo…bathroom counter?? (Oh, mmm, mirrors!)

Beach or mountains? If I had to choose, I would say mountains. I’m not really big into heat. And I love natural rock formations, trees and wildlife. The first time I visited Yellowstone, my entire perspective on life underwent a drastic change. About six months later, I moved out of the city to a more rural area. One of the best decisions I ever made.

Give or receive? Give. And then give some more. But do it with love. The rewards are limitless.

Okay, let’s hear more about AJ’s latest, JEZEBEL’S WISH:

Haunted by nightmares, tormented by guilt, Jezebel came to Redemption Ranch to escape the past—except now she's stuck in the middle of nowhere with no redemption in sight. When her mother pushes her into riding lessons with local veterinarian Matthias Saunders, Jezebel balks. Sure, the doctor is gorgeous, but he’s completely obnoxious and knows how to push every one of her buttons.

Only her deep connection with The Reverend, a gentle stallion who guards her darkest secrets, has her agreeing to spend any more time with Dr. Saunders. Caring for the stallion is the first bright spot in her life in months, and if being around the horse means she has to deal with Matthias Saunders, then so be it. Surely a city girl like her can handle one country vet—even one with disturbing blue eyes. Can't she?
Jezzy stopped. “I thought I was having a riding lesson.”
“You are.” He nodded toward the empty paddock. “Go in.”
“Go in?” Jezzy propped a hand on her hip. “You sure you know what you’re doing? Because it was my understanding that an actual horse is needed for a riding lesson.”
“Don’t you think it would be wise at this juncture to leave the understanding up to the professionals?”
Jezzy rolled her eyes. “You’re making this way too easy. Professionals? Please. Don’t get me started.”
“Why not? Getting you started is exactly what I’m here for.”
Jezzy’s jaw dropped. She didn’t quite know how to interpret that remark.
He held out the rope. “Now go in. And take this lead line with you.” Steely blue determination glinted in his eyes. There was no way he was going to give in.
Jezzy snatched the lead line from his hand and stormed through the gate, then turned when he closed it behind her.
He put a foot on the bottom railing and rested against the gate, facing the horizon. “Take the chair to the center of the paddock and sit down.”
“And just exactly how is that supposed to teach me to ride?”
He cocked an eyebrow. “You want out of the deal?”
Jezzy’s fist clenched tight around the lead line. What she wanted was to march back to the fence and smack his face.

Thanks for being coming on the blog! Where can we find you on the web?
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING MY GUEST, AJ!  Folks, leave AJ some love & ask some questions! 

Thanks for reading,
Laura & AJ
I'm doing an exciting giveaway tonight at 8 p.m. for busting through 10,000 site visits in under a year! All blog followers will be eligible, and I'll announce the giveaway contents later today on twitter! So follow along! And thanks so much!


Laura Kaye said...

Welcome to fellow Rose AJ Nuest! Glad to have you here!

Joya Fields said...

I love the idea of a setting that contrasts the heroine's mood, AJ. Congrats on the great reviews and what an interesting idea for a book. Best wishes for continued success! :)
And keep inviting these wonderful bloggers, Laura. Always fun! :)

Laura Kaye said...

Thanks for stopping by, Joya! I really like the contrast, too!

wlynnchantale said...

Great interview AJ.

Congrats on the book. So far I'm loving JW. Can't wait to read the other titles you've mentioned.

Amy said...

Great interview, my friend!

AJ Nuest said...

Laura Kaye ROCKS THE FREE WORLD! Thank you so much for having me today, Laura! You're blog is drop-dead gorgeous! Just like you! Wheee...

AJ Nuest said...

Joya! Thank you so much for the continued support and always stopping by to say "Hi!" I'm so excited about the JW release. And with friends like Laura, it's been a total blast doing all this promotion!

AJ Nuest said...

Hi Telly! Only through continued support and the wonderful friendships I've made since becoming a writer (like yours), am I able to spread the word. Thanks for always being there for me! Love ya, babe!

AJ Nuest said...

Hi Amy! Thank you so much for dropping in for a visit! I'm truly blessed to be surrounded by such great friends. ((hugs))

Emma Lai said...

I had to chuckle at bathroom counters, AJ. They definitely don't get enough play! :) Congrats on Jezebel's Wish.

Laura Kaye said...

LOL Leave it to the erotic writer to notice and comment on the bathroom counter!!! Love you, Emma Lai!!!

Thanks for stopping by and supporting AJ, everyone!!

NOW, go buy her book! :)

arialburnz said...

Great interview AND blog, Laura!! I loved the questions and your interaction and follow-up comments. Really engaging!

AJ - You're a sweetie, as always, and again you made me LOL and smile. You're a hoot, woman! I just love ya!

I'm with Emma...I chuckled at the bathroom counter comment. Hee hee! It's amazing how these seemingly benign questions tell so much about a person! (Of course, now I have to scrub my brain of the images of AJ and her hubby having sex on the bathroom counter.) :\

Laura Kaye said...

Thanks Arial! Fun comment!

DarleneLF said...

Beautiful site, Laura!
JW is next on my TBR list, AJ!
Great interview Ladies!

Laura Kaye said...

Thanks Darlene--I'm glad you dropped by! And thanks for supporting AJ!

Don't forget folks--if you read Jezebel's Wish, please review it: on the Wild Rose Press buy page, good reads, amazon, your blog, etc.!

AJ Nuest said...

I am CRACKING UP! Funny isn't it how nothing other was needed in that question other than those two locations, followed by a two word answer, and yet, EVERYONE knows what we were talking about! Uh oh, my husband just asked me what was so funny...

Jennifer Jakes said...

I'm reading Jezebel right now!!! :)Yay!

Loved the interview.
Thanks ladies.

Laura Kaye said...

Awesome Jennifer! Thanks for dropping by!

AJ Nuest said...

Jennifer Jakes is a cool chick who writes western stories that ROCK! Look for Rafe's Redemption out NOW!

Sarah Grimm said...

Did someone say bathroom counters? There's one of those in my WIP (and a mirror scene in my upcoming release).

AJ - Can't wait to read Jezebel's Wish! It's been on my TBR list since it's release, I just need to find the time!

Oh, and huge congrats on the fabulous reviews! Woot!

Laura Kaye said...

Thanks for dropping in, Sarah! Jennifer and Sarah are other Roses with great titles, everyone--check all these authors out!

AJ Nuest said...

Thank you, Sarah! I heard someone ELSE has been getting some great reviews! :-) Not Without Risk is on my summer list - if it EVER gets here that is!

Sarah Grimm said...

Thanks Laura!

AJ - if you were in Michigan with me, you'd believe summer was never coming. Brrr...

AJ Nuest said...

Not much better here in NW Indiana, Sarah! I think we've had one or two warm days so far...and our heat is still on. Brrr is right!

Laura Kaye said...

AJ--It was so much fun having you here today! Y'all made it a ton of fun! Come back any time! :)

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