Friday, 10 January 2014

Author Interview with AJ Nuest

I would like to thank AJ for being my first author interview.  She is not just a brilliant writer but is a sweet, amazing person, I'm privaliged she agreed to this interview and allowing me to review her books.

The Golden Key Chronicles Release Schedule:
Rowena’s Key:  November 7, 2013
Candra’s Freedom: December 12, 2013
Caedmon’s Curse: January 9, 2014
Braedric’s Bane: February 13, 2014


1.  Where did you get the inspiration for the Golden Key Chronicles from?

Well, I’ve always been drawn to the fantasy romance genre. For entertainment/relaxation purposes, those are the stories I like to read. So I knew I would eventually write a fantasy romance. I also have a strange love of keys…and this weird fascination with mirrors. I always find myself doing a double-take, wondering what’s truly happening on the other side of that glass. In retrospect, it’s not surprising to me these two objects play an important role in the story, even though I didn’t set out to use them in such a way. I also didn’t count on the first book expanding into a four book time travel fantasy romance series.(O.O) It was more like I sat down to write the story one day,with just the barest sketch of an idea in my mind, and by the time I was done, I’d fallen so in love with the characters I knew I had to continue. The result was The Golden Key Chronicles.  

2.  Are any of the characters based on people you know? (Especially Caedmon).

LOL! I get asked this a LOT where my heroes are concerned. Honestly, it’s one of the main questions I know I can always count on. My heroes are not based on anyone I know, but overall they make the perfect book boyfriend. All of them really do. Ican say this with confidence because I always nail my heroes…they are always very clear to me. It’s the heroines I have trouble with. Weird, huh? Anyway, I think readers end up falling for my heroes because they’re not an Alpha male or a Beta, but rather a combination of both. I write Balpha heroes—men confident enough in their masculinity they have no problem telling the heroine how they feel or even shedding a tear if appropriate, yet they are fiercely protective of what belongs to them and will shred anyone who threatens the people they love. Ya gotta love the Balpha male, especially when he’s a tall, rock-solid, swashbuckling, half-blood gypsy prince from the 14th Century. YUM!

3. Do you have a place you like to write and why?

I write at the dining room table because I have to. It’s really the only spot that’s available until my husband and I are able to get some much-needed updates done to our home. Once those are complete, I have plans to move into a room in our house that will be designated as the office. I can’t wait. I’ll finally be out of the line of traffic.

4. How old were you when you first started writing?

I think I wrote my first actual story when I was in Jr. High, so that would make me thirteen? Lots of adolescent angst there, I guess. Prior to that, though, I wrote a lot of poetry. From as long as I can remember, my mom always made sure there was a blank book waiting for me under the Christmas tree each year, and those empty pages were always the best present I got. I would lock myself away for hours and fill those books with song lyrics, journal entries, lists of my favorite things...anything, really.

5. Will you be writing any more fantasy books?

Yep. I’m actually putting together a pitch for my agent right now for a three book fantasy romance series entitled Branches of the Willow Tree. It’s a really interesting concept I’ve been toying with for a while. I’m hopeful HarperImpulse will also contract this series so my fantasy stories can all stay with one publisher.

6. Can you give us a sneak peak of what your next project will be?

I have two that I keep vacillating back and forth on. One is the fantasy romance series I mentioned above. If I try to explain it, I’ll end up sounding like a loon. Trust me on this. Fantasy by its very nature can be quite complex, and the world building in this story is going to be challenging. Suffice to say it’s an epic tale of a far-off land where the characters face insurmountable odds only end victorious. And there’s a lot of romance. And danger.And a quest. And some time travel. LOL

The other is a romantic suspense. This story is contemporary, dark humor, murder mystery. I’ve not written any romantic suspense yet and I like to “genre hop” because I enjoy the challenge of writing something I’ve not done before (see above reference about world building). The hero in this one is an Irish Detective, and the heroine is a woman who works in the revenge business. Got a total clashing of lifestyles there. I hope to shop it out through my agent and see if the manuscript gets any bites this next year.
7. Do you have a support network for your writing?

Boy, do I ever. I have the best, most supportive, talented, brilliant women on the planet helping me each and every day of the week. And, as I place my hand on the Bible, I will swear to everyone right now that I would not be the writer I am today nor would my career be in the place it is without them. No way, no how. For a writer, having a group of loyal pals at your back is paramount to surviving the shark infested waters of thepublishing industry. Not only do they offer their unyielding support (they help me celebrate my victories, pick me up when I’m feeling low, give me a good swift kick in the pants when I need it) they also help with plotting issues, character development, marketing, and also critique my work. Nothing leaves my desktop without at least one of them reading my work. If you ever plan to be a writer, the first and most important thing you need to do is find yourself a strong network of knowledgeable writing peers.  

8. What items are on your desk?

Since my desk is the dining room table, right now there is a cup of coffee, two sets of salt and pepper shakers, the napkin holder,about eighteen pens (I’m a pen freak), my calendar, a stack of bills, my checkbook, notes from my kids’ school, a notebook filled with scribbleseverything from notes I need to send out, to the schedule of my release party, to bloggers I hope to contact, to story ideas including character names and my never-ending list of favorite words— a pile of extra Christmas cards I didn’t send out and a hair clip. LOL

9. Do you set time aside each day to write?  It must be hard with a family, dogs and cats to keep you busy.

It depends on the day and if I have a deadline. And it also depends on the time of year. Writing is definitely more of a challenge when my kids are home on summer break. Usually,Mondaynever work for writing. There is just too much to catch up on from the weekend, and since I help my husband run our home-based business, tend to set that day aside for emails, promotion, getting my mind wrapped around any commitments I may have made for the week such as interviews or guest posts I’m supposed to write (or trips to the orthodontist or basketball games or piano lessons). By Tuesday I’m usually itching to write, but that day doesn’t always work either. If I have a heavy promo schedule, then sometimes stuff trickles over from Monday into Tuesday. If I haven’t written anything by Wednesday, I’m pretty much insane and everyone here stays out of my way. LOL Usually from Wednesday through the end of the week, I write. I have to or things get wonky. It’s not good.

10. Any tips for aspiring writers just starting out?

READ! It is the number one most important thing any aspiring writer can do. Read authors you would like to emulate. Read books on the craft of writing. Read articles and blog posts on the publishing industry. Read anything and everything you can get your hands on. Read…and never give up on your dreams. No matter what.

Thank you, Jo, for the opportunity to do this interview! And thank you for being such a great friend and wonderful supporter of my work! I adore you!! x

AJ Nuest Bio

I am a multi-published, award-winning author who lives in the middle of a cornfield in NW Indiana. My loving husband, two beautiful children and a bevy of spoiled pets have agreed to stay and, in exchange for three rations per day and laundry service, tolerate my lunacy. While I spend most days happily ensconced in crafting romance across a multitude of genres, an underground coup has been percolating. The dogs just informed me the cat is secretly vying for dictatorship.
FaceBook Page:
Author FB Page:!/pages/Tattered-Pages/259835887466
Twitter:  @AJNuest


  1. Thank you so much, Jo, for posting this interview! I'm both humbled and honored I was your very first! You're an amazing woman and I'm so blessed to have met you! x

    1. aw thank you so much for your lovely comment, it has been a pleasure to review your books and to host an interview with you. Thank you for taking the time out to answer my questions. xx