Today I play host to writer AJ Best. I asked her some rather intrusive questions and she was game enough to answer.
TKT: We’ll start with some of the usual questions, like, how’d you get into reading, writing, falling down the rabbit hole, and all that fun stuff?
AJ Best: How did I get into reading? Hmmm….I think it started sometime in first grade when my mean nasty….oh, you didn’t mean that way. OK, start over. I got into reading when summer hit and my dad was working. I was pretty much left to run amuck since the town was like super safe and white-picket-fenceish. (Yes, I do make up words!) I would head to the library and read all day long. They had summer reading programs and I always finished. I was basically at the library from the time it opened til my dad was due home from work. It was a lot of fun actually.
I think I got into writing the same way, teachers being a pain in the but…etc. Oh not that one again? Well my REAL writing started in 7th grade when my mother got me a manual typewriter. (For those of you too young to know what that is….I’m not talking to you anymore.) And I wrote my first poem. Wanna hear?
Lazily we walk along the beach
You and I hand in hand
Nature has its things to teach
We listen and learn
But never turn
To see what we left behind
Not bad for some young twit who had no idea what the ‘real’ world was all about. Now I’m a young twit who doesn’t know what the ‘real’ world is all about, but the poem makes more sense now.
TKT: What do you write…mostly?
AJ Best: Mostly I write words. (I know – smart butt. But better a smart butt than a dumb butt.)
I can’t tell you what I mostly write. My actual adult writing life has yielded so many types of writing. I started with a very nice women’s fiction piece (which has yet to be finished), then I wrote a short that had a semi-erotic nature (waiting for an acceptance), next on my list is a Germanic folktale turns erotic. I am having a blast with that one. But as my muse stomps on my brain while I lie peacefully in bed, I have a vampire story rattling around so hard in my brain I can hardly hear myself sleep. So I will write nearly anything. The point of all my stories is to bring a bit of ‘real’ life into everything that I write. I don’t believe that every story is going to end happily ever after (HEA). Yes, we all want it to, but sometimes, it’s happily for now. And I want to have that in my writing. I know I read about all this HEA and sit there and fume because my life doesn’t work like the books or the movies. But if I can add some ‘real’ life in my books, I hope that they can be a little more relatable.
TKT: I know what you mean about keeping a realistic angle. I try to do the same. Anyways, you used to do publicity for Champagne Books. And I’m sure you’ve read your fair share of books that those talented authors have written. (hmm, I wonder if she’s read my book yet?) How’d that hone your skills at writing?
AJ Best: Yes, I do read! And quite a bit actually. I feel rather guilty when I am reading and not writing, but I just can’t seem to stop myself. :) I’ve learned that some of the things that I don’t like in other writers, I can avoid in my own writing. And I love to read some that show me the world instead of telling me about it – and it helps me to do the same for my readers. (**ducks** I haven’t read your book yet. **checking Kindle** where is it?)
TKT: So, AJ, I hear you speed read. What’s the fastest you’ve ever read or the quickest you’ve finished a book?
AJ Best: Depending on the book, I can read it in about 6 hours. (Harlequins) I’ve read the Eclipse book in a little over 24 hours, and I’ve read The Stand (over 900 pages) in about 3 days. I just recently tested my reading and they say that I read nearly 500 words per minute. So that gives me about 2-3 novels a week. I love it.
TKT: Wow! I'm impressed! If you couldn’t write, what would you do? A little birdie told me you love cooking…a chef, maybe?
AJ Best: I’ve always wanted to open a restaurant, but I am very intolerant of others wishes when it comes to seasoning my food, so I think that maybe cooking for others in their home so they can freeze and eat later? I’m a Food Nazi, my way or no way!
TKT: Hmm, that sounds like the makings of a chef for real! If you combine some fancy knife-chopping kills - oops, I mean skills, now we're talking! So, moving along, you’re also the all-knowing guru of all things modern, convenient, and novel to appease the incessant curiosity of the curious? Does this mean you spent a lot of time in front your Internet access devices?
AJ Best: Well, I have my computer normally within reach of me wherever I go in life. And if that doesn’t work, I have my iPhone, or the iPad, or someone else’s computer near me. I’m rather addicted and can’t help but keep up with all things fun and great. I’m such a nerd. The local teachers actually call me up and ask me how to do thing on Power Point and other software programs. I’m not sure why me, except that my fiancé is the computer nerd for the local school district.
TKT: What’s the most fantabulous meal you’ve ever made?
AJ Best: Oh, it would have to be the one that I just made this summer. I love zucchini and this recipe just blew us away. http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/06/zucchini-and-ricotta-galette/ I was so happy with the results that we are going to be planting about 12 more plants this year so we can make it more often.
TKT: Mmm, sounds yummy. Okay, if you could meet only one of your favourite writers, who would it be?
AJ Best: I’m not sure that I could say right now. It used to be a resounding PIERS ANTHONY, but I have come to love so many other authors. I would love to meet you in person. Does that count? Can we please have a martini?
TKT: Last nosy question. If you got caught picking your nose by a famous writer you admire, what excuse would you use to cover your embarrassment? I told you it was a nosy question.
AJ Best: I’d have to tell them that the boogie was poking me in the nose. If that didn’t stop them, then….oh well. Boogies happen.
TKT: Haha! Well, then, with such a spot on practical answer we’d really have to hook up for a martini—in person!! Thanks for putting up with me and sharing a little bit about yourself.
AJ Best: Thanks so much for having me here, and since you have picked my brain and I have picked my nose, I think it’s time to hit the road. Bye y’all, come see me at www.ajbestwrites.com any time.