This week I got Sharon K. Connell’s Newsletter where she published my interview. I’m very grateful for that interview and I love how she showed me and my books. Thank you very much, Sharon!
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A. J. Alexander is a talented classical musician who has won several music contests in her youth. She is an accomplished skier and loves to swim, amongst other sports.
She works for a global corporation as a part of the management team and travels a lot, also internationally.
A.J. Alexander lives in Southern California with her three beautiful active and demanding cats. In her rare free time, she loves to meet friends or go for long nature walks.
A. J. learned reading and writing at the age of four and realized quite early in her education that she loves painting pictures with words. During her school time, she won poetry as well as short story contests. Later on, she participated in writing and poetry workshops to learn the craft. During her time at university, her education as a writer turned toward creative as well as journalistic writing. A. J. published several poems and short stories under a pen name.
Currently, she is working on ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series, her first book in the series, ‘Soul Taker’ was published December 15, 2018, the second book, ‘Sundance’ is on the market since August 2019 and the third book in the series will be published in spring 2020. Writing fantasy books has always been her dream, and she looks forward to sharing her work with her audience. The need to write a novel had been nesting in her head for quite some time.
A.J. Alexander descends from an internationally extended, politically and entrepreneurially active family and was privileged to enjoy an excellent international education. In her spare time she volunteers for charity events, fights for animal rights and when needed serves as an interpreter to help great causes.
So now, let’s get into my interview.
What is the first book that made you cry?
Oh, I remember that day as it was yesterday. In the book, I read there was this beautiful, strong black stallion supporting our hero, and the horse died. I cried hot tears.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
If it would exhaust me, I’d not be a writer.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
The ‘need’ to become published as quickly as possible. Within that process, they just ‘leave out’ a few steps and don’t have a book at the end but some amateurish, poor result of a sloppy but fast project.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
In a way both. I am working on a book series, ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series. But I don’t want people to be ‘lost’ when they have the chance to buy book three in the series, I still want them to feel comfortable with the book and enjoy the read without the feeling of having missed something they should have read. I’d like each book to stand on its own as well as being part of the series. That’s my dream.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Start networking earlier.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
It did slow my process down since I had to take far more time for marketing now.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
I think I was about ten years old when I realized how powerful words are. Ever since then I tried to use them wisely. As much as they hold – they also can kill.
Do you base your characters on real people?
Not entirely no. Some of my characters do have certain habits, speak in a particular manner of people I know or resemble them a bit. But my characters are fictional and that’s how I like it.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Six. Book 4 to 8 and an additional few stories in the series are either with the copyright lawyer, with the editor, I’m still working on them or are waiting until I pick up my work on them.
How many hours a day do you write?
That depends on what else I do. I cannot live off writing – I do have a job.
What did you edit out of your most recent work?
That was a part I like very much while I drafted the book. But during my work to type the draft into the computer, re-reading that paragraph, it just seems enormously awkward and does not really belong there anymore. I therefore deleted the entire paragraph.
Boy, have I been there, AJ. And it just kills you to have to do surgery on something that sounded so good when you write it, too.
How do you select the names of your characters?
First I pick names that I think match the character’s look. I search for them online, important to me is normally the meaning of the name and the origin. If I find the first names I like, normally I pick about 12 to 15 names, then I start doing the very same thing with the last names. After that, I start limiting the lists to the six or seven I like the most. I list the first names on the left, the last names on the right side, then I ‘connect’ the names that sound the best to me and combine the perfect meaning for my character. And that will be the name.
What are you working on now?
Currently, I work on ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series and usually I work on several books at once. For example, I type in the drafted book seven right now – to the same time I write additional stories and book 8.
Who is your favorite author?
There are so many talented authors, it is very hard to pick one.
What is your all-time favorite novel?
In what genre do you write?
Young Adult Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
AJ, I’d like to thank you for being a part of my newsletter this month. I know my readers have enjoyed getting to know a little more about you.
Readers, if you’d like to contact AJ about her books, writing, or to find out even more about her, check out her links below.