Thursday, April 14, 2011

FREE Book Giveaway-Interview With Author AJ Nuest



Welcome! I had the pleasure in interviewing author AJ Nuest.

After reading the below interview with AJ, don't forget to leave a comment because one lucky person will win a FREE copy of her book, JEZEBEL'S WISH. This event runs Thursday through Saturday morning, and winners are restricted to the U.S. or CAN.

BIO: Author AJ Nuest lives in a small farming community in Northwest Indiana with her loving husband and two beautiful children. She is the author of two contemporary romance novels.

Thanks for being here, AJ. It’s a pleasure.

Thank you so much for having me, Kelly. The honor is truly mine.

#1- Tell us a little about yourself outside of your writing career…

As the Mom of two young kids, as well as assisting my husband with our work-from-home business, my time is pretty limited. We own about three acres of land, so during the summer gardening and landscaping is a high priority. Other than that, I’m cook, seamstress, laundress, school volunteer, chauffeur, tutor, cheerleader, nurse, fix-it man, and professional cuddler.

#2- Can you tell us about the book in this giveaway and where the inspiration came from?

Jezebel’s Wish originally stemmed from an idea to base a story at my Mom and Dad’s 40acre horse ranch in Northern Wisconsin. That part of the country is so beautiful, filled with unspoiled wilderness, and I knew it would provide an amazing canvas for my story. Jezzy is in the midst of a horrible tragedy, and returns home seeking an escape. What she finds there is help and healing, despite her efforts to keep everyone at a distance. She’s holding onto a dark secret, and this causes a lot of tension throughout the story. When her past is finally revealed, the emotional impact is really nice. I recommend reading the story within arm’s reach of the tissues.

#3- How do you handle the negative reviews and critiques you receive?

I could say I handle them like a mature adult. That negative feedback doesn’t bother me and everyone has their own opinion. But that would be a big, fat lie. I usually stomp around for a few hours, cry, call my Mom -- who listens with the patience of a saint -- and tell her all about what so-and-so said about my writing. Then, I clean. This purging generally takes about four hours, but afterward I’m calm enough to return to the computer, re-read whatever criticism I’ve received, and digest the information. If a review is bad, I try to glean some pertinent tips for my next WIP. If the criticism comes from a critique partner, I weight my options, consider character development, and then generally make changes accordingly.

#4- Any plans to write in a different subgenre of romance?

I’ve got one manuscript under consideration at The Wild Rose Press in the Champagne line, and another WIP at an inspirational house in Minneapolis, so yes, I write all subgenres. Actually, my next three planned novels are a fantasy, a romantic suspense, and then a bit of a period piece. I bore easily, so each time I craft a story I need to “up the ante”. My first two novels were written in third person, but my current WIP, Flicker, is written from first person POV, and the chapters flip through time. My next challenge will writing from two perspectives, and then several, and then maybe I’ll go back to third person again, just to mix things up a bit.

#5- Assuming you get any time to read, what authors do you like to read, and were there any books that stand out from your childhood as favorites?

I MAKE time to read. There’s no GETTING about it. If I don’t read, I won’t grow as a writer, so it’s a priority for me. As a kid, I read whatever I could get my hands on. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Nancy Drew Mysteries, Laura Ingalls Wilder are the ones that stand out, but I wasn’t fussy. Anything worked really. I would go to the library and pick out whatever book struck my fancy. My tastes now generally lean toward fantasy - Tolkien, King, Asimov, Goodkind. I adore Jacqueline Carey and Lois McMaster Bujold. Last summer I read The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman, which I loved, and right now I’m reading The Name of The Wind by Patrick Ruthfoss, which is outstanding. Seriously, I have to pace myself because I can’t put the book down. I’m still that kid that goes to the library and picks out whatever book strikes my fancy. However, since becoming an author, I find I’m a little pickier. If the story doesn’t grab me within the first few pages, I don’t continue.

#6- Are there any upcoming releases we would like to know about, and could you give us your web site so readers can check it out?

I’m so, so, SO excited that Jezebel’s Wish is releasing this month from The Wild Rose Press. I love to hear from readers. Please contact me anytime at:
www.ajbooks.blogspot.com
ajnuest@yahoo.com
www.twitter.com/ajnuest
Facebook Page: Tattered Pages

#7- This about concludes it. Thank you again for joining us. Is there anything else you would like to share?

Just a big thanks to Kelly! It’s been a pleasure being here!

53 comments:

Kelly Moran said...

*NOTE* Please be sure you are leaving your email addy in your post, or letting me know where to find you, IE: Facebook, Goodreads, Blogger, etc, so we can contact you if you won.

Be sure to follow the blog, as I had some blog trouble!

Comment away for AJ...:)

Margie Mijares said...

This sounds like a really good read. Just in case I don't win, I'm going to Amazon right now and add it to my wishlist!!! Hope AJ's sales go through the roof!! margie at mijares dot net

Amie Louellen said...

Great Post, AJ! So excited for the release of Jezebel's Wish!

AJ Nuest said...

Thanks for the great support, Margie! You rock!

Carol N Wong said...

Beautiful Cover! I would really like to see that part of Wisconson that you set the book in. I noticed that you are from Northern Indiana. It is always great to meet a Hoosier writer. I grew up in Indianapolis but I feel that my great home is in Southern Indiana around Nashville and Bloomington where autumn is so beautiful with the rolling hills. I would really love to read your book.

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

AJ Nuest said...

Amie, you know how I feel...but in case you forgot, love ya' babe! I'm pacing around the house, waiting for tomorrow. Maybe I should clean...nah...

Ozzie said...

AJ, congradulations on your book Jezebel's Wish. Its really good to see new authors that really shine. On that subject though, your comment that you don't continue a book that doesn't grab you within the first few pages made me do a double take. My question is do you really think that is fair to the author? Or more importantly do you think that it is fair to you that you put it down so quickly? I have read Stephen King for a bunch of years and he is one author who really drags out a book in the begining but steps it up in the middle somewhere. I have read a bunch of books that started out slowly and turned out to be really really good by the finish. If I were an author I think I would want my readers to at least give it a good look over before giving up on it. What are your thoughts?

AJ Nuest said...

Hi Carol! I tease a lot about how Wisconsin is so boring, but in all honesty, it's one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. Nothing holds a candle to Indiana's skies, tho. I still find myself staring in wonder... Thanks for stopping by!

AJ Nuest said...

OZZIE! You're awesome! I'm so, so glad to see you here. Seriously, dude, we have to get together and talk books. I miss you. Here's the deal...ever since becoming an author myself I've found my eye has been trained to pick out technical issues, editorial mistakes, plot holes, etc... Because of this, I've found my list of favorite authors has shrunk. It stinks, but there you go. A book doesn't necessarily have to start out with a BANG! I enjoy soft starts just as much as the next guy. However, if I don't connect to the characters - or find that key element that piques my interest, I find I get bored with the story. Usually, I give it a couple of tries, but invariably, the book waits on my nightstand...unread. King is still one of my favorites just because he puts his characters in such unique predicaments. Because I know what to expect from him, and that if I continue I won't be disappointed, I read his work even if I'm not immediately drawn in.

Vonnie Davis said...

I'm looking forward to the release of your book, keeping my fingers crossed for great sales and awesome reviews. As for growing that thick skin to handle reviews, I don't know if a writer, actor or artist ever achieves that. Our work is such an integral part of us. Best of luck.
vonnie.davis at ymail dot com

Kelly Moran said...

Hey! As a fellow Wisconsinite, we have a lot to offer! LOL. Like, um... Miller, cheese, brats, and 2 serial killers. Okay, not a good example, but WI can be beautiful.

As for putting a book down after a few pages, both sides are correct. A lot of readers do that. As a writer, you have to pace a book well and we have mechanics hammered into us. But, some just start slower, so try to forge on.

Keep the great comments coming! xo

AJ Nuest said...

We put our hearts and souls into them, don't we, Vonnie! I'm not good with bad news, period. Or anyone changing the schedule. Those are the two areas Mom doesn't handle well. Thanks for stopping by and the continued support! ((Hugs))

AJ Nuest said...

Kelly, I am PSYCHED to be here! Whoo Hoo!! Loving you blog, too. Just beautiful!!

Ozzie said...

Thats what I was looking for, the character connection. For aspiring writers, what advice would you give to help with character connection/development?
And yes we do need to get together and talk some books.. Its been a while!!

AJ Nuest said...

Ozzie - over a beer, maybe a steak on the grill..it's all good. Dude, what are you, testing me? In my humble opinion, an author MUST connect on either an emotional or physical level in order to draw the reader in. Putting your characters in a situation where the reader can say, "Boy, have I ever been there..." will make them want to turn the page and keep going. Now, you don't necessarily need to do that on the first page...or even the first chapter, but setting up that hint of "what's going on here..." will snare the reader's curiosity enough so that they will WANT to find out. THEN, adding in that emotional element so they connect with your characters will ensure they enjoy a satifying read...and hopefully recommend your book to everyone they know.

Kelly Moran said...

Adding my two cents on character connection... Really make them realistic and relatable. Make what they do and say realistic. Make us want to root for them. Avoid cliches. Have good body language. Don't reveal too much too soon. Don't be repetitive. And avoid narration--SHOW not TELL.

This help?

AJ Nuest said...

Amen, to all Kelly said...

Jim Alt said...

Your mother-in-law was a high school classmate of mine. She has been talking about your new book for so long I did not realize it was not out yet. I hpoe I win it.

AJ Nuest said...

Hi Jim! Thanks for stopping by. Without a doubt, I am surrounded by an incredible support system. I could never have written a word without so much love and help!

Ozzie said...

Yes it does help. Thank you both for your input. Sorry AJ, didnt mean to put you on the spot. I thought I would challenge you with some tough questions so you will be ready to hit the talk show circuit. You never know, someday you could be on Opra and she would ask these same questions..
Honestly though, thank you for the input. I can only imagine how tough it is for you guys out there and I admire your bravery in putting it all out there for everyone to see and even critique. Keep it up!!

AJ Nuest said...

Talking about books and writing is pretty much my most favorite subject in the world (outside of God). Ask me anything, at any time. As for Oprah? From your lips to God's ears, buddy. :-)

Lynda Bailey said...

AJ~
Best of luck with Jezzy's release tomorrow - and with your podcast tonight!

AJ Nuest said...

Thanks, Lynda! For those of you that don't know...I'll be jittering out an excerpt from Jezebel's Wish tonight on Edin Road Radio, 6:30 pm EST. Hope ya'll can come for a listen. http://www.edinroad.com./

DarleneLF said...

I can hear the excitement in your voice for you release day tomorrow. Congratulations! I can't wait to read Jezebel's Wish!

Jennifer Jakes said...

Hi ladies! Congrats on the release:)
What you said about becoming an author changing the way you read -- SO TRUE. I joke that learning to write has ruined reading for me.LOL
I have trouble turning off my internal editor (even when I'm writing something new).
Great post! Wishing you many sales, my friend:)

AJ Nuest said...

Thanks, Darlene! I'm so overwhelmed by all this. The story was put to bed almost seven months ago, so it felt like the release would NEVER get here. I seriously can't believe it's tomorrow. I've been like a kid awaiting Christmas. Thanks for always being there for me!

AJ Nuest said...

Right, Jen? Even with really accomplished authors, I rework the sentences. It's a rare, rare, rare occasion I get so lost in the story that I completely quit editing. But when I do...BAM! I know I've got something really special in my hands. Those are the authors I go back to again and again. And while enjoying those "smart reads", my own level of writing improves.

Lynne Roberts said...

Hi AJ!

Congratulations on Jezebel's Wish. It sounds wonderful! Good luck with your submissions!

lynne (at) lynneroberts.com

wlynnchantale said...

Great post AJ! I can't wait for the release. I'll be listening tonight. Congrats on JW!

AJ Nuest said...

Thanks, Lynne! So many projects, so little time!:-)

AJ Nuest said...

Oh sweet, Telly. Thanks so much for your constant support and friendship. I couldn't do this without so many wonderful friends!

Milly~ said...

I'm very intrigued by this book and to know it takes place in Indiana (where my husband was born) is so cool. Keep writing and don't let the negative Nellys get you down.

AJ Nuest said...

Thanks Milly! Writing is such an intrinsic part of me, I don't think I could EVER let it go! Thanks for stopping by and good luck with the contest.

Elaine Dykstra said...

I can not wait to read this newest novel. My daughter (an Amy too) & I enjoy reading inspirational books.

AJ Nuest said...

Well, hi Elaine. How totally AWESOME to hear from you! I'm so, so, SO blessed to be surrounded by such a supportive/extended family. Jezzy's not the inspirational story you may have heard me talking about - that one's still in production.:-) However, this one is a great read. Very emotional so get those Kleenex ready! ((hugs))

Arial burnz said...

My turn!!! I'm sitting online right now waiting for your podcast to start. SOOO excited to get your book and perhaps I'll win the autographed copy! WOOT!! Congratulations, AJ!

Hugs,
Arial ;)

AJ Nuest said...

Go girl! Your name's in the hat. I'll have LB pull the names tomorrow! Woot! Thanks for all the love and support, Arial. ((hugs))

Lisa said...

Hi! The book sounds really good! Enjoyed the interview.
Lisa

Kathleen said...

We are all so proud of you, and wish you the best. You have worked hard, and accomplished one more of your goals in life...and we are blessed to have you in our family..God bless you!

AJ Nuest said...

Hi, Lisa. I had such fun writing this story. Thanks so much for stopping by to check out Jezebel's Wish.

AJ Nuest said...

Hi Grandma, Cookie! I'm sending those blessings right back atcha! I can't thank you enough for all the support and "spreading the word" for me! Whoo Hoo!!

AJ Nuest said...

My most sincere thanks to Kelly Moran for hosting me today! What an awesome blog and great friend. Thanks, Kelly for getting my release off to a great start!

Kelly Moran said...

Glad to have ya. I'll pick the winner Saturday morning. Keep the comments coming. xo

Sarah Butland said...

I know this is a book I would greatly enjoy and who to pass it along to once I'm done.

Great interview once again, Kelly. And AJ, I love how you simply make time for reading and admit to not finishing a book if it doesn't grab you. I used to think the book worthy of my time since it was published but now understand a published book is not for everyone.

Too many books, too little time :)

AJ Nuest said...

Hi Sarah! Thanks so much for stopping by. I TOTALLY agree with you...way, way too many books. I actually get a little giddy in the library. :-)

Maeve said...

Awesome post, AJ! Best of luck with ALL the genres - but I know you won't need it. You're an awesome writer! :-)

sophie meyers said...

Hi AJ,

Jezebel's Wish sounds like a great book. I know I will enjoy reading it. Enjoyed the interview. Congrats to you!

Kelly Moran said...

Saturday, April 16th, 8:15 a.m.

And the winner is...Sophie! Grats, you'll get an email soon.

Big thanks to AJ for being here, and come back soon, everyone!

XO

AJ Nuest said...

Thanks, Maeve! You're the best. Thanks so much for all the support. I really appreciate you stopping by to visit! ((HUGS))

AJ Nuest said...

Thanks, Sophie! You're in luck! Congrats on being our lucky blog winner. Jezebel's Wish is on its way to you! I hope you enjoy!

Anonymous said...

AJ,

Congrats on the release of your book. I am so excited for you.

Christina M.

*Lisa* said...

congrats, Mom (Sophie) and remember to let me borrow the book when you are done reading it! ;)

AJ Nuest said...

Yay, Christina! FABULOUS to see you here! I miss you, we must have lunch soon. Thanks for stopping by, sweets!