Thank you for taking the time to interview with us. AJ's newest release is Tempting Sin which came out in March 08. Bending to Break, her full length paranormal novel became available in paperback in January 08!
Tempting Sin: http://www.cobblestone-press.com/catalog/books/temptingsin.htm
Bending to Break – eBook: http://www.cacoethespublishing.net/?q=node/105&book=72
Bending to Break – Print: http://www.cacoethespublishing.net/?q=node/48&book=15
1. When/how did you know you wanted to write?
AJ: I’ve always wanted to write, I just never thought I was very good at it! LOL. I started writing short stories, getting critiques. The more I read, the more I studied how it was done. How things were described, how details were weaved into the story without overwhelming the plot.
I haven’t mastered the art, probably never will, but I’ve gotten to a point where I feel comfortable and I’m okay with that!! What really messes me up is “Head Hopping” and when I think about it too hard, I can’t write anything!! It’s best to just write and forget everything else.
2. How long did it take you to become published?
AJ: I was writing for about three years, posting here and there. I was actually contacted by Cacoethes Publishing about a holiday piece I posted (Holiday Nectar). They asked to see the rest of it and I about shit a brick! I never dreamed I’d actually get published. Once I was accepted it gave me the confidence I needed to submit other things and work with other publishers.
It also made me think about what I wanted (in terms of writing). I’ve re-evaluated my goals and can’t wait to share my stories with everyone.
3. Who are some of your favorite authors?
AJ: My real favorites are the series books. I really enjoy starting a series that I know will continue with the same characters in the next book. Often times I’m not ready for the story to end, so LKH and Charlaine Harris have to be some of my favorites.
4. Who do you count as your literary influences?
AJ: LKH is a big one. I love the power, the action, and the seductive nature of her books. Blending horror and romance is just genius and hard to pull off. I think she does it well and I’m very interested to see where her Anita Blake series will go. I have to admit, I never got into her Meredith Gentry series.
To be honest, I’m influenced by every paranormal book I pick up. I love seeing how other authors convey their message and put their own unique spin to things.
5. How long does it usually take for you to research a book?
AJ: Research? *Looks around* What? I have to admit, I’m horrid at research. I’ve got a close friend (who I’m working on co-authoring with) who is brilliant in all things demon. I normally just pick her brain. Her google kung foo is amazing.
6. Many authors are doing strictly e-books, do you think this is just a trend, or does it spell the end of real books?
AJ: I don’t think it is a trend, but I also don’t think real books will ever go away. It’s nice to sit back and relax with a nice paperback. Personally I enjoy both a book I can read at work on my computer screen and one that I can take into the bath with me. I think we live in a world of instant gratification. It doesn’t get easier then clicking a button and getting a steamy book in that instant. When I’m feeling too lazy to go to the bookstore, you better believe I’m all about surfing the net for a good novel.
7. How long does it take for you to write books?
AJ: This is a good question without an answer!! Some days when the muse is having her wicked way with me, I can write 10-15k per day. Other times, I can barely squeeze out 2k in a few weeks! She’s a wicked devil, that muse. I completed Bending to Break, about 40k in roughly two weeks. It took me a few weeks to write the first 50k. (I’m not sure if there was an answer in there… lol).
8. Is there any character in your books that you can really relate to?
AJ: Funny you should ask that! I let my cousin read Bending to Break (I tend to be secretive when it comes to my smutty novels where my family is concerned). She said she really saw a lot of my character traits in Kayden. From what she liked, what she wore… It was interesting to hear from someone who knows me so well. There were things I didn’t even realize about myself that I put them in there.
9. Do you see yourself writing in the same genre in 10 years? If not then what?
AJ: I definitely plan to stick with Paranormal Romance. If anything changes, it will be the lines that hold the genre together. I love murder and mystery, if I can put them all in one novel you bet your ass I’ll do it! I dabble in contemporary, but it’s not a passion. I’m not compelled to write it like I am with my other stuff.
10. What advice do you give to those who are just starting out or trying to become published?
AJ: Don’t be shy and don’t be afraid of rejection. Really, it’s not personal. Either your story will fit, or it won’t. Take all the criticism you can and let it help you shape your story. I was terrified of submitting and it held me back. Just get yourself out there and try. You’ll be sorry for the rest of your life if you never try. What ifs will haunt you in the middle of the night!!
11. What do you do when preparing to write a story?
AJ: Talk about it to anyone who will listen? LOL. I try and write down as much as I can. Research what I need (or ask my smarty pants friend!) Mostly, I just think a lot about it. I get certain scenes or dialogue pieces stuck in my head. I can’t sleep unless I write them down.
12. Where do your story ideas come from? Do you use people you know as characters sometimes or even sometimes a certain event from real life happenings?
AJ: The flow of ideas seems never ending some days. I get inspired by everything! Sometimes I’ll see or read something and think what if… from that all kinds of ideas sprout forth. I was listening to Beethoven the other day and I was so moved I started writing on a coffee splattered envelope I had in the car!
13. What is your favorite part of writing?
AJ: The editing process for sure. I love getting critique. It’s really helpful for me to know what works and what doesn’t. It’s always a trip to see how someone else sees something. To me, it’s just a bunch of words on a paper. If I read it too much it becomes distant and unconnected.
14. Do you have any projects you are currently working on?
AJ: I have a ton of stuff I’m working on, but none of them seem to be going anywhere. If I do too many things at once, nothing gets done. I’m co-authoring a series with my good friend Issa West. I’m also working on some short, erotic shape shifting stuff. My main sights are set on a shape shifting trilogy I’ve plotted and planned out. Once I hone my writing skills I’ll get to work on it. Right now I’m afraid I’ll frak up the intricate (and if I may say so, riveting) plot.
15. Did it take a lot of rejections for you to finally get published or was it pretty easy for you?
AJ: I wouldn’t say it was easy. I’m the most impatient person in the world. So far, I haven’t gotten any rejections, but I also haven’t submitted that much either!! I just sent something new to Cobblestone, so we’ll see how it goes… I’m terribly nervous about it. It’s written in 1st person (something I rarely do) and it’s a bit… out there. *Shakes head* I’m trying to forget about it. If CP doesn’t want it, there is a chance I’ll find a different home! Remember, don’t take it personal!
16. Do you write your stories out with pencil and paper first or do you work straight on the computer?
AJ: I try, I really do, to write the old fashioned way, but I just can’t do it. Well, that’s not exactly true. Tempting Sin was done with a pencil, but the revision process was done by computer. It was a disaster when I managed to uncurl my fingers from around the pencil.
17. You just recently were published. How does it make you feel?
AJ: It makes me feel amazing, terrified, and slightly shy and I’ll tell you why! Writing has opened this new side of me, one of which no one has seen. My family is on me like vultures to read what I’ve written. But the thought of them reading my erotic scenes… I don’t know. Just doesn’t sit well with me!! Blood, sex, guts, it doesn’t define me, but I sure think about it more than I should!! LOL. On the serious side, getting published was a goal that I had, and now that I’ve accomplished it, I’ve set some new goals to tackle.
18. Getting back to your books coming out soon. Tell us a little about what to expect from them.
AJ: Most of what I’ve written is already out. If Pain & Pleasure is accepted, you can expect a highly erotic, fantasy piece that is intensely personal. It was written in 1st, so you really get a feel for what the heroine is feeling and experiencing. It was meant to be erotic, not so much romantic. It’s dark, and fantastical, and yeah, I really love it. If I had to show one piece that really described what I truly felt and what I really enjoyed writing, it would be that. Blood, death, sex, its all in there.
As for my other pieces, I’m working on some lighter paranormals. Quirky, sexy, dominant. You can’t go wrong with alpha males and hot sex.
19. When and where can we purchase your books?
AJ: You can always find my stuff on my website: http://www.ajhampton.com I’ve got buy links for everything. My paperbacks are sold at Amazon, but it’s cheaper to buy them through my publisher: http://www.cacoethespublishing.com. You can find Tempting Sin (and hopefully soon Pain & Pleasure) at http://www.cobblestone-press.com. Again, my website is probably a good starting point. I’ve written a variety of things. Contemporary, holiday, fluffy, sexy, M/M, paranormal… the list can go on an on!
20. How do you feel about fans doing fan fiction and/or roleplaying on the web based on your or other author's works?
AJ: I’d be so totally honored. To me it’s a high form of a complement!! And, I’d be as involved as I could. But, I think there are some legal issues with reading such fanfictions. But, I’d be as supportive as I could. :)
I’d like to close with some links to my site, my blogs, yada yada! LOL. Also, I’m always giving away bookmarks, so email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your snail mail address.
And lastly, my Email: email@example.com
Make sure to return here from Saturday to Monday to enter AJ's contest for a chance to win Bending to Break. Thanks once again for spending this time with us, AJ!
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Disclaimer (because we don't have a choice): The views expressed by the guest blogger do not necessarily reflect those of The Deadly Vixens.