Today we have US-based author AJ Nuest in the spotlight talking about her latest release, She's Got Dibs.
1. Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
I’m 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.
2. What number book is this? First? 100th? 200th?(Nora only!)
She’s Got Dibs is actually the third story I ever wrote—probably one of the reasons why it took five long years to get it from conception to publication. :-)
3. Everyone who writes knows it's not easy - what methods do you use to keep at it on days when it would be so much easier to go shoe shopping?
Here’s a secret, I hate shopping. I really do. I’ve always been a home body so my favorite days are those when I don’t have to go anywhere and can just stay at home, happily clicking away at the keyboard. Does this mean I never get writer’s block? Heck, no. During those days, I usually find something mind-numbing to occupy the time (like cleaning my much-neglected house) while, internally, I work through whatever troubling plot points may have me stumped.
4. What is your top promo tip for other authors?
If you’re a newer author hoping to build a following and gain some recognition, and your publisher allows you to do so, see if you can list your book free for a short period of time—say three to five days. I recently did this with She’s Got Dibs and the results were outstanding. Because of the momentum built by those free days, coupled with the reviews generated, sales on She’s Got Dibs surpassed my other current releases by a long-shot. I highly recommend listing your book for free if allowable.
5. How does writing fit into your day? Or does your day fit in around your writing?
Wel-l-l...it sorta depends. I have two kids, and my husband and I own a home-based business, so most days during the summer I’m running damage control. LOL Typically, I’ve got about six things vying for my attention so, as you can imagine, I have to be very careful with how I schedule my time. I usually handle what I can in the morning and then dedicate the afternoon to writing. Once the kids start school, however, my schedule is a little more open. I can concentrate easier and have large blocks of quiet time so my productivity is much better. However, if I’m writing for a deadline, all this goes straight out the window. Then everyone generally knows—Mom’s on a writing rampage so leave her alone.
6. Keeping fit: Do you have an exercise regime to counterbalance all those hours sitting at a computer?
Yep, I sure do—but not by choice. I can’t imagine anyone exercising by choice. LOL About six months ago, I started experiencing a strange arrhythmia in my heart. It steadily increased in frequency and severity until one day I finally relented and went to see a cardiologist. I had to wear this really obnoxious Holter Monitor for 24 hours, submit to a stress test, etc., etc. In the end, the diagnosis was PVC (pre-ventricular contractions) but, thankfully, mine are the type that are non-life threatening. My choices were to A) take medication to control them or B) add an exercise regimen to my daily routine. As much as I hate exercise, I hate taking pills even more. I always have every single side-affect listed on those darn labels (and yes, I’m fully aware this may be my own paranoia because I read the labels, but there you go). So now I ride my pedal bike an average of six miles per day, at least five days a week. Since I’ve been at it for a while now, it’s become a habit. And I have to admit, doing this has also helped my stress level, my migraine pattern...it’s bolstered my confidence and mood... So, I guess in retrospect, those PVCs were a blessing in disguise.
7. What was the most fun part of writing this book?
Writing the dialogue! I love writing dialogue, and the quips between the hero and heroine in She’s Got Dibs—they are just so much fun! You know those times when you’re having an intense “discussion” with someone, and then a day later you have this light bulb moment, slap your hand to your forehead and say, “THAT’s what I should have said!” LOL Well, being a writer, I have all the time in the world to formulate the perfect response. I get to walk around for a day or two or even a week, thinking of the ideal comeback. To me, that’s one of the best parts of the writing process...could be because I never have the perfect comeback in real life.
8. Could you be friends with any of your heroines?
Absolutely. In fact, on many levels I am my heroines. I generally write from a very deep emotional level. In order to do this, I have to really draw from my personal experiences in order to submerse myself in my characters. So, turns out, I end up being every character in the book.
9. Have you ever written a hero you'd be happy to run off with?
Um...all of them? LOL I honestly fall so deeply in love with my heroes while writing them. I really do. There isn’t one of them I wouldn’t be happy to ride off into the sunset with.
10. At what point in your career did you actually start to feel like you were a writer?
I’m still waiting for this day. LOL I’ve always told myself, the day I’ll feel like a true writer is the day I run across a complete stranger reading one of my books—like either in an airport or maybe checking the book out at the library. When I see that stranger with my book in their hands, that’s the day I’ll know I’m a writer.
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?
She’s Got Dibs won 1st Place in the Contemporary Category, Heartland Romance Authors, Show Me the Spark! Contest, 2010, and received a “highly recommended read” from USA Today’s Happy Ever After reviews!
You can connect with AJ via her website, on her blog, on Facebook, Twitter or check out the She's Got Dibs Pinterest page.
She's Got Dibs is available from Amazon and Amazon UK.