Name : Adrian J. Smith aka AJ
Where are you from: The middle of nowhere of the middle of nowhere, aka Western Kansas USA
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc :
I grew up all over the US, and I’ve lived east, west, north, south and now in the middle of the country. I have a Bachelor’s degree in religion with a focus on theology and Christian history as well as a Master’s degree in Divinity. Currently, I work full-time and I copy-edit part time and I write part-time. (My spouse says I’m insane and need to learn how to do nothing.) But I love it. I love being busy and trying new things and challenging myself.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’ve released about four novels this year and three short stories, so it seems as though the latest news is never ending on my part. In October I released Unbound (Quarter Life #1) which is the first in my new urban fantasy series, featuring vampires and witches and all sorts of crazy creatures. In December I’ll release the last in my Spirit of Grace series, Grace through Redemption, this is a police procedural, and Grace is probably one of my favorite characters to have written. Oh! And on a personal note, I’m pregnant and expecting in February, w00t!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing when I was about twelve. It was mostly for self-therapy. I wrote prose and poetry that was all non-fiction/memoir style. I filled notebook after notebook with it. I switched into writing fiction when I was introduced to fanfiction with the lovely world of Lord of the Rings. Two of my best friends and I wrote a whole crazy LOTR fic that is beyond novel length for sure.
It wasn’t until I was in graduate school that I really started writing original fiction and thinking that I might actually be able to publish it. It was more a challenge to myself and a way to de-stress than anything I meant to turn into a job. I did treat it like a job though, meaning I would write 20-40 hours a week, and low and behold, my stories took off!
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I always considered myself a writer. Okay, well that’s not really true. I probably didn’t consider myself a writer until graduate school. I wrote in college and high school, but it was more free and random and inconsistent. Once I started writing almost every day, but definitely every week, that’s when I probably called myself a writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book, Forever Burn, was inspired mostly because I wanted to write a semi-realistic firefighter book with a kickass lesbian heroine in it. I say semi-realistic because it is urban fantasy; however, the firefighter parts are pretty realistic depending on the fire department.
I was really disappointed with the lack of lesbian books to read out there, and I found a love in the love they created on the page, so I’ve stayed in that genre as much as I’ve been able to. I worked along side a fire department in college, and I remember hearing countless times how they’d complain they never saw a fire and only went to medical calls anymore. It was highly amusing the one night there was a fire in the area because it was as if every single engine that could showed up just to see it and be a part of it.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
People say I do! I’m not sure if I could describe it. I definitely tend to write action and plot. Romance isn’t really my thing. There is romance in my books, but it’s not a major plot point or device in the high majority of them. I like to keep the pace up, so there’s always something happening and going on.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
That really depends on the book. My ex actually named Forever Burn for me because I was at a total loss as to what to call it. My Spirit of Grace series is all named with scripture (Grace dates a chaplain, so it makes sense, I promise, that and religion/Christianity has quite a role in the books). Unbound was difficult for me to name. I had the series name well before I had the title for the book. I titled it simply because Faye, my main character, is completely bound in secrets in the beginning, and you can imagine what happens in the end.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The main message is that love is love, people are people. Stay true to yourself as much as you can and you’ll be the happiest you have ever been. If that means loving whoever or just really wanting to punch someone in the face, then it needs to happen. The line UBU IBME (you be you, I be me) is something I learned in middle school and it’s stuck with me throughout my life. Being authentic to who we are is the best possible way to live.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
This one depends on the book. Spirit of Grace series is quite realistic in the sense of what street or beat cops do daily. My others are urban fantasy, so as much as I would really really love for my vampire to be real, I don’t think she is. Sadly. All the emotions are real, the emotions, the interactions with people, and often times some of the conversations my characters have are conversations I’ve had with people only with a twist.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Both and more. Some are things that have happened to me, like a kid biting one of my characters asses (totally happened to me!), others happened to people I know (see Grace series for LOADS of examples), and others I just make up as I go. I think pulling from reality and imagination helps make everything relatable and interesting to the reader, and of course, to me.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Books? For sure Ascension and the Winds of the Foreland series by David B. Coe. Not gonna lie, that’s what got me back into reading for pleasure and taught me worlds are as inventive as they come. As for mentors, I’ve had quite a few. My memoir and writing professor in college was certainly one. She encouraged me to be as creative in memoir writing as possible, which I loved. She also taught me the rule of the comma splice, which I’m sad to admit, took about the entire semester for me to even somewhat understand and grasp the concept of.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m reading Business Makes Strange Bedfellows by E. E. Ottoman and Silence Out Loud by Geonn Cannon right now.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Loads! I review for a LGBT review blog (shout out to Inked Rainbow Reads!) and so I end up reading a ton of new authors. Aidee Ladnier, Annie Anthony, Renae Jones, Lila Bruce, Alicia Joseph just to name a few.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Currently I’m editing Grace through Redemption (Spirit of Grace #3) to release in December. I’m editing and doing the last few chapter writes of Lost & Forsaken (Missing Persons #1) – A Detective Grace Novel for release in June, and I’m plotting (and if you ask my publisher I’m definitely writing already) the sequel to Unbound called De-Termination for release in Oct 2016. This is novels only; I’m also editing and writing and publishing short stories all over the place.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Entity? Interesting phrase. The writing community in general, but definitely my publisher and her other authors have supported me a lot throughout my writing life. They supported even before I published with her.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I’d love to write as a full-time career when I retire from my day job. I absolutely love my day job and wouldn’t give it up for the world right now. I can and will continue to do both as much as I can, but I don’t anticipate being a full-time writer until I retire. I do still set goals though, 2-3 novels published a year and 2-3 short stories published each year.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
My latest? Just the amount of time it took me to write it. Unbound took me over a year to write. It made it better, I know that for sure, but it also made a lot of continuity errors I had to go back in and change later on. It hasn’t hit shelves yet (TOMORROW!) so I’m not sure what readers are saying. I’m sure I’ll regret/wish I could change something about it in the upcoming months. I always do for every single novel. I just try not to dwell on it. If I did, I’d never get another book written.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My interest originated mostly in being able to escape reality. I found it a way to connect with my friends at the time, a way to hang out with them. We’d write stories after stories together and pass them off from class to class in the halls. When my best friend moved to Arizona, we’d literally snail mail entire hand written manuscripts back and forth to each other.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Absolutely I can!
This is from Unbound (Quarter Life #1)
Molly watched Caroline descend before going up to her own office in the attic.
Pressing a hand over her heart, Molly turned to see Joel sitting on the long couch in her darkened office. She flicked the light on and glared before sitting down next to him.
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know. I mean she’s not really lying because I would be able to tell you if she was lying, but there is something else going on you have no idea about. You haven’t even scratched the surface of it.”
“I’m serious, Molly. She’s bad juju.”
“Bad juju?” she repeated.
“Uh huh,” Joel said as he got up and headed toward the door. “Bad juju.”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Keeping up with the editing. It takes many rounds of editing to make a book a book and I find there’s a particular time each year where I get behind and spend months catching back up (PS that would this time of year).
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
It’s so hard to pick a favorite author. I usually love them for different reasons. I love David B. Coe because of the worlds he creates, same with Erik Schubach. I love Nora Roberts because hello! Romance!, and I love Alicia Joseph because I’ve never had a writer be able to connect with me on such a personal level in a novella before.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I don’t travel much at all for my books specifically. Now, part of that is because I’ve traveled a lot in general, another part of that is my books are mostly urban fantasy so I get to make 90% of it up anyway. As for books rooted in the current universe and are not of paranormal origins, I try to actually keep my books vague for a reason. I personally don’t like to read books set in a specific place that I know well because usually it’s wrong, and that bothers me. However, I have considered a few times making it specific. We’ll see in the future if I ever do.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Most of my covers have been designed by Heidi DeCausemaker. I love her work! Unbound was designed by Stacy O’Steen, and for my new ones yet to be released who knows. It’s always a surprise and adventure.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
To keep writing, with Unbound anyway. I wrote it as fanficiton original, debated many many times as to whether or not to turn it into original, but seeing as how the only thing that was left as fanfic in the fanfic was one character I figured it wouldn’t be too difficult. Boy was I wrong. It was hard to rewrite it as original, and it took me well over a year to complete. I wrote about 35,000 words of it, so about 1/3 of the story and then just stopped for 12 whole months. Talk about crazy.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learn something from writing every book. Tenacity was what I learned when writing Unbound. Don’t give it up.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
I always get asked this question. Keep writing. If you enjoy it, write because you enjoy it. If you don’t, might be time to find a new hobby. If you want a career out of writing, make a plan, stick to it but allow for flexibility, and it’s going to take a long time to see that plan to completion.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I love you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
First book!? Hahahaha no. I was like two, seriously. Well not seriously, but that was ages and ages ago. My favorite book for awhile was King of Another Country by Fiona French.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
A lot of things. I’m pregnant; it happens at the snap of my fingers and I honestly can’t tell you why. In before I was pregnant, not a lot of things. I love humor based in reality, like if it’s funny because I could actually see it happening, then I’ll laugh. Crying is a tougher one. I’m not a huge crier in general, so I’m not sure I could tell you that one.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
There are so many people. I really just want to sit down and talk with them and listen to what they have to say. A lot of leaders of movements, for example.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
haha, interesting question. I want my legal name only written on there so it’ll be hard for people to find me!
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Yes, for sure. I crochet. I make scarves for donation to domestic violence shelters in southern California, I love watching certain television shows, I read books as a hobby, I love photography and I just got a really awesome camera last year that I’ve been figure out.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Right now I’m watching Big Bang Theory. I also love Battlestar Galactica, How I Met Your Mother, I LOVELOVELOVE Frozen. Just to name a few.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I love cucumbers, camouflage is my favorite color and I love listening to Christian radio (not the preachy kind, the kind with actual music on it).
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I have my dream job, which is part of why I love where I am right now. I’m a minister, ordained and vetted. I have two congregations that I pastor, and I love them both dearly.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it? I do! It’s https://adrianjsmith.wordpress.com/
Amazon Authors Page http://www.amazon.com/Adrian-J.-Smith/e/B00B94LSPW/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1
Unbound (Quarter Life #1)
By Adrian J. Smith
Bisexual F/F Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Acquitted Books, LLC
Cover Artist: Stacy O’Steen
Release Date: October 1, 2015
Length: Novel / 350 pages
Amazon USA: http://amzn.to/1izgmNU
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/1JdnkgG
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1YfZewY
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1YfZuMg
Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1NzMjkx
Manipulating a powerful witch isn’t as easy as Faye hoped.
She infiltrates Molly the witch’s mysterious house under the guise of needing help. And the guise of being harmless. Totally not a vampire at all. Unfortunately, Molly’s secrets are difficult to discover. She’s almost as good at hiding things as Faye herself.
Molly’s staff are as weird as they are distrustful, but Faye begins to win Molly over. Then A mob boss discovers what Faye’s after. Faye finds herself putting her life in Molly’s hands.
Will secrets doom their relationship, or will they form a powerful team?
Other Works by Adrian J. Smith
Spirit of Grace series
For by Grace
In the Beginning (Amya’s Take Out #1) short stories
Fallen from Grace
Grace through Redemption (TBR Dec 1, 2015)
Missing Persons – Detective Grace
Lost & Forsaken (TBR Jun 1, 2016)
James Matthews series
Quarter Life series
De-Termination (TBR Oct 1, 2016)
Across Worlds: Collision by S. A. Snow
Memoir in the Making: A May-December Romance
Loneliness Ebbs Deep (co-written with Rachael Orman)
Deathscape (TBR in 2016 from Less Than Three Press)
“Quarter Life: Energy Feed” in Love is a Mess anthology
“A Blizzard’s Blow” in Young Love, Old Hearts anthology
“Magnetism” in Downpour anthology
About the Author:
Adrian J. Smith, or “AJ” as she is often called, is a part-time writer with an epic imagination, sharp wit, and kind heart that gets her into a bit of trouble when it comes to taking in all the neighborhood stray cats. Being obsessed with science fiction, Smith often goes off on tangents about the space-time continuum. She is also a part-time lunatic with a secretive past. It’s been rumored that she was once a spy for the government, but anyone who has gotten close enough to know the truth has never lived to tell the tale. When traveling around the world on various classified tasks, Smith requires the following be provided: buffalo jerky, mimosas, and eighty-six pennies. This is all we know about the reclusive woman.