Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Hi everyone! I’m AJ Renee and I’m 34 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
The correct answer is everywhere. I’m an army brat and air force wife. I consider Florida home as that is where all our family is. While born and raised here on the mainland I also consider myself Puerto Rican.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I went to the University of Central Florida and graduated with a Master of Science in Criminal Justice and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. I married my husband and we continued our lives within the military community as he too is an army brat. We’ve moved four times in the past eleven years and I gave birth at three of those locations to my daughters. I love reading romance, traveling, and spending time with my family and friends.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I’m in the editing stage with my next St. Fleur story, Taxed by Love. I’m really excited for this story to reach readers. I haven’t nailed down a release date, but it will be out sometime this Fall. In November I’ll also be apart of another anthology piece, Craving Billions. I can’t wait for readers to meet all these characters!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
My writing formed around tragedy. After losing one of my best friends suddenly, I couldn’t get over the fact that she never got her own happily ever after. An idea formed, and I wrote it as a form of grief therapy in 2014. The story, Widower’s Aura, shaped into more than I could have imagined, and I took a huge leap of faith by releasing it in 2016.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I know I’m a writer, but I’m still coming to terms with that fact—if that makes any sort of sense.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Giving my friend her happily ever after, even if only in a fictional world. Keeping a part of her alive and sharing her with the world.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Oh, I hate coming up with titles. Ha Ha It’s the worst process if it doesn’t hit you upside the head. Some of my stories take time to put a title on it and others just work immediately. Taxed by Love was an easier title as both the characters work with numbers and it’s a play on the words too. Love is wonderful but sometimes it can be taxing. This title was more of an ‘a-ha’ moment.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
No. I write how the characters come to me. A few of my stories are in first person while the others are in third. Sometimes I’m the outsider watching the story unfold and at other times the characters want me to feel it as if we are one.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The fun part of writing is being able to sprinkle in parts of yourself or others. For example, in Widower’s Aura Sofia loves photography so much that she opens her own business. I love photography but have never mastered it enough to do so. In Always Mine some of the characters you meet through my hero, Marc, are based on real family members I hold dear to me.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I like to write based on places I’ve been. If I haven’t been to a place, I’ll do a lot of Google searches on their maps program to get a real lay out of the land and area. It’s much easier if you’ve been there to experience the culture in a town. I have family in New Orleans and have been there countless times and have a deep love for the area. Choosing to locate my small fictional town of St. Fleur outside of New Orleans was an easy decision.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The images are stock and I’ve designed them all myself except for Winter’s Surprise which was created by Cover Me Darling.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Love. It always comes back to love. Love one another and try not to allow the negative to hold you back.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
There are so many wonderful writers out there. Some I’ve read and others I haven’t had the chance to yet. I’m a huge fan of Julie Garwood, Kathleen Brooks, H.J. Bellus, Betty Schreffler, and Carina Adams to name a few. They all write great romances that pull you in.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I have a few friends who knew what I was working on and were my first fans before the story was released to the public.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
There is so much you do when you write that I don’t think anyone truly realizes until they do it themselves. It’s absolutely a career.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. I’ve taken my time crafting these characters and working with an editor that I really am proud of how these books have turned out.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learn something each time. I have noticed that I make less of my old mistakes. I’m sure I’ll come up with a new one to drive my editor crazy with.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Depends on the book. I envision Olivia Munn physically as Sofia but in the end it’s what the actors can do to bring these characters alive.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Keep at it. When going over your story use the Read Aloud function in Word. It’s an amazing tool to catch your mistakes. Get a good editor who will help you polish the story to be something memorable. Learn from your mistakes and improve each time. Lastly, avoid the drama. It’s not worth the heartache.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
They inspire me and drive me on. Thank you for having faith in me and loving my characters as much as I do.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m in the middle of editing and haven’t had time to read.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I was a huge fan of the Babysitter’s Club as a kid.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My kids and life. I’m a pretty emotional person so I’m quick to laugh, anger, cry, etc…
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
My readers. I’ve gotten to know some in my reader group, St. Fleur Belles, and I hope to meet them one day. Fantastic group of ladies.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I run, read, and play video games.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed are two of my favorite shows. I’m watching Pretty Little Liars now—I’m a bit behind on becoming a fan of the show. Ha Ha.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Guineosen escabeche is my all time favorite dish. It’s a Puerto Rican dish with green bananas, onions, and chicken gizzards.
Hot Pink is my favoritecolor now and if the music sounds good I’ll listen to it.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I’d work in the police department.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
I’d spend every minute with my girls and husband after calling those I love.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
She loved with all her heart.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Yes! These are all the links to my social media. I don’t send many newsletters out unless I have some real news to tell you so no spamming worries there. If you follow me on Amazon or BookBub they will notify you when I have a new book coming out. I try to keep my website as up to date as possible and you can see what signings I’ll be attending there.
NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP: http://bit.ly/2bdqx9f
B+M Bites: https://bookandmainbites.com/users/20529
St. Fleur Belles Reader Group: http://bit.ly/2bmtFmI
About AJ Renee
AJ Renee is the author behind the St. Fleur series, Beauty Unmasked, Winter’s Surprise, Surviving Paris, and Finding Love at the Falls…. She’s a military wife and mother to three young girls. She graduated from the University of Central Florida with her Master of Science in Criminal Justice and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology while working at the library.
She loves to write steamy romance with suspense and a happily ever after. When she isn’t writing or interacting with her readers, you can find her spending time with her family or reading. AJ enjoys traveling, researching family history, and all things New Orleans.
Books by AJ Renee
No Going Back
Taxed by Love – August 29, 2018
Social Media links:
B+M Bites: https://bookandmainbites.com/users/20529
St. Fleur Belles Reader Group:http://bit.ly/2bmtFmI