AJ Nuest is an award-winning author, with several RWA chapter contest wins to her name, her debut novel for The Wild Rose Press was releases this past summer and we were recently able to sit down with this up and comer. So please welcome AJ for A little Q and A torture. 😉
Hi AJ, thanks for taking the time to visit with us:
Shucks, thanks. You make me blush! Ahem, So can you tell us a little about yourself so my readers can get to know you?
AJ: Well, I’m a married mom of two school aged kids, I live in NW Indiana where my dear husband and I run our own home-base business, I am both an e-book and freelance editor, and when time allows, I write.
Who were your influences?
AJ: Throughout my entire life I’ve been a voracious reader. It started with the Little House on the Prairie books, progressed into the Nancy Drew series and just got worse from there. Whenever someone enters my bedroom, they usually take a wide-eyed look around and say, “Wow. Have you read all those books?” The sad truth is I’ve read most of them several times. To ask me to name an influence is like asking me to choose a favorite star in the sky. How about, “Everyone who has ever had a book published?”
Hehe. I know the feeling! What inspired Jezebel’s story?
AJ: Honestly, the only inspiration I had for Jezebel’s Wish was the image of a pair of worn, brown cowboy boots, sitting in the corner of a chic, Chicago apartment. I knew they belonged to my heroine and that they were a reminder of a love she’d left behind. Other than that, I just sat down and began writing. As you can see, I’m a bit of a panster (ha, ha).
Nothing wrong with that!
AJ: It wasn’t until the story came into focus that I really began to see who Jezzy was and what had happened to make her abandon love.
Now that Jezebel’s Wish is out, what can curious fans expect from you next?
AJ: I’ve got a contemporary romance in production with The Wild Rose Press entitled She’s Got Dibs, that I hope will see the light of day sometime later this year or early 2013. After I finished JW, because of the deep emotional element, I really needed to write something fun and quirky and highly steamy.
Oh, I can attest to that! Jezebel’s Wish tugged at my heartstrings, I must say.
AJ: That’s where Dibs came from. It was a step back from the intensity of Jezebel’s Wish. So while my goal with Jezzy was to make everyone cry, with Dibs I’m hoping to make everyone laugh. I’m sorta evil that way.
Who called you evil? 😉
AJ: I’m also shopping around an edgy inspirational entitled Flicker, and am preparing to self-publish the first in a three part fantasy series called Rowena’s Key. I’ve gotten some great feedback from this little novella, and in my opinion, it’s hilarious.
(note: AJ didn’t mention this but She’s Got Dibs and Flicker placed in HeRA (Heartland Romance Authors) Show Me The Spark! Contest in 2010) So you are a “Jackie-of-all-trades” so to speak. If you weren’t a writer, what career might you have pursued instead?
AJ: Well, now that I’m an editor, I guess I would have to chose…editor. I really do love the written word. So much that I spend most of my time at the computer. Editing is a ton of work, but it can also be highly rewarding. I love building relationships with my authors, seeing the stories come into focus. From both sides of the desk, working in the publishing field is a total blast.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
AJ: How about the blurb and excerpt from Jezebel’s Wish?
Sound good, let’s have it.
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.
Let me just say, having read this book, folks, ladies, I think you’ll love it. Thanks AJ, any final thoughts for us? How can readers learn more about you?
AJ: There are several ways for folks to get in touch with me, and I LOVE hearing from readers. If the mood strikes, don’t hesitate to pop me a note at any of these locations.
Jezebel’s Wish Buy Links: