Tricia: Today, we're visiting with AJ Nuest, author of She's Got Dibs. Hi AJ! Can you tell us a little about yourself?
AJ: Born in northern Wisconsin as the middle child of three girls, I now call Northwest Indiana home, along with my loving husband, two beautiful children and a bevy of spoiled pets. I am an award-winning, multi-published author and freelance editor. My hobbies include reading, gardening, cooking, fixing boo-boos, attending sporting events, tutoring, chauffeurring, cleaning, doing laundry and snuggling. The cat and I are currently vying for dictatorship. The cat is winning.
Tricia: When did you begin writing?
AJ: Well, I’ve always been a writer, but I didn’t seriously sit down and craft a story from start to finish until early 2008. Once that story went on to receive a publishing contract, I officially caught the author “bug”. I’ve been working on one story or another ever since, and find I am happiest writing romance across sub-genre lines. So far, I’ve completed a contemporary western romance, a contemporary romance and an edgy inspirational with romantic elements, which I am planning to self-publish as a serial in early 2014. In September of 2012, I signed with agent Dawn Dowdle of the Blue Ridge Literary Agency and we’re currently shopping around my romantic fantasy series.
Tricia: Can you tell us about She’s Got Dibs?
AJ: She’s Got Dibs won 1st Place in the Contemporary Category, Heartland Romance Authors, Show Me the Spark! Contest, 2010.
Here’s a peek at the blurb:
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?
Tricia: How did you get the idea for the book?
AJ: After I had completed my second novel, Jezebel’s Wish, I wanted to write something fun, witty and steamy. Although Jezebel’s Wish is and always will be one of my most favorite projects, the story is also very emotionally fraught. Consequently, by the time the manuscript had been put to bed, I found I needed to redirect my energies toward a project that was a little more light-hearted and fun. With Jezebel’s Wish, I made everyone cry. With She’s Got Dibs, my goal was to make everyone laugh. I’m evil that way…and, so far, based on the reviews the story has received, I accomplished that goal. :) The only thing I really knew about She’s Got Dibs when I began to write it was that my hero and heroine would meet in an airport, two strangers stranded during an ice storm which had grounded their plane. Because I’m a bit of a panster, I let the characters tell me what happened next. In the end, I fell just as much in love with them as they did with each other.
Tricia: Tell us about Jezebel’s Wish.
AJ: Jezebel’s Wish was nominated for 2011 Book of the Year by The Romance Reviews
Here’s a peek at the blurb:
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?
Tricia: What projects are you currently working on?
AJ: I am working on several different projects right now—the three book romantic fantasy series I mentioned above, a love–triangle period romance and a contemporary romantic suspense. Although, I must admit, the fantasy has consumed me. I absolutely love this story and believe I have found a genre I will continue to pursue moving forward. I’m a fantasy reader by nature, so this genre really speaks to me on a deep level.
Tricia: Of all your books, which was the most challenging to write?
AJ: Without a doubt, my most challenging manuscript was Flicker, my edgy inspirational that I plan to self-publish next year. The story spans fifteen years of my heroine’s life, is told from the first person POV, and the chapters flip back and forth through time. The reader receives a chapter in the present, then the past, continuing on as the story moves forward until the two timelines converge and all is revealed at the end. It was difficult to keep track of the two separate story lines while at the same time making sure they stayed intertwined—revealing things in the present which explained events in the past and vice versa. However, Flicker was also one of the most fulfilling projects I’ve ever completed. I’ve heard it said each author has within themselves one great novel which is the story of their heart. Flicker is mine. :)
Tricia: What inspires you as an author?
AJ: Off the top of my head, I would be hard pressed to come up with something that doesn’t inspire me as an author. :) Honestly, I find inspiration everywhere, as I think most authors do. Writing isn’t a conscious decision. It happens in the sub-conscious. So, to me, a person is either a writer or they’re not. If they are, they are constantly writing in the background while “real life” is happening in the foreground. In fact, I do some of my best writing in that semi-conscious state between sleep and being awake. It’s definitely a strange existence. One I wouldn’t recommend unless you are comfortable having several different voices going in your head all at once. LOL
Tricia: What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?
AJ: Read. Number one rule if you want to be an author is to R-E-A-D. Read authors you would like to emulate. Read authors both inside and outside your writing genre. Read books on the craft of writing. Read articles on the industry and market trends. Read. Read. Read. Can’t stress it enough. Other than that, don’t ever give up. Never. Keep the faith, follow your heart, and don’t ever give up on your craft. You will find success. Promise.
Tricia: Where can readers go if they'd like to learn more about you and your books?
AJ: Website: http://ajnuest.com
FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/amyjo.nuest
Author FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/amyjo.nuest#!/pages/Tattered-Pages/259835887466
She’s Got Dibs Pinterest Page: http://pinterest.com/ajnuest/shes-got-dibs/
***She’s Got Dibs will be FREE through the Amazon Kindle Select Program, June 25-29, 2013***
Excerpt for She’s Got Dibs:
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.