Please welcome author AJ Goode to my blog. The third book in her Beach Haven series, Their Love Rekindled, comes out next Friday.
What or who inspired you to start writing?
Laura Ingalls Wilder was my biggest inspiration. I remember learning to read with her Little House books, and I knew from the time I was about four years old that I wanted to be a writer like her. Of course, my life story is nowhere near as interesting as hers!
As far as WHAT inspired me, I had sort of pushed writing onto a back burner for a lot of years because I was just too busy to write. Then I was in a really bad car accident in 2011 and suddenly had a whole lot of free time. While I was recovering, my sister handed me a laptop and said, “Maybe this is the universe’s way of telling you to start writing again.”
What is the best and worst advice you ever received? (regarding writing or publishing)
The best advice I ever got was from Nancy Gideon. We have a mutual friend who introduced me to her, and she was kind enough to answer some of my questions. I was struggling with getting past the halfway point of my book, and she told me to just keep writing, get to the end, get it done, because you can always go back and make it better. But the most important thing is just getting that first draft done. That was so freeing! It changed everything for me.
The worst advice I ever got was from all the well-meaning people who told me not to pursue writing as a career when I was younger because it wasn’t a sure thing. I wasted a lot of years after listening to that advice.
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I do a little of both. I start with a very loose outline that changes and grows a lot during the process. I want to add, though, that I attended a writing workshop this summer led by Ami Hendrickson, and it really changed the way I structure my books. She taught us about “story beats” and I think it really made a difference in the way my newest book flows. I did a LOT more outlining this time around.
Please tell us about your current release.
Their Love Rekindled is the third book in my Beach Haven series. It’s the story of Cassie and Aaron, two former lovers who both feel that the other betrayed them ten years ago. It’s all about finding a way to accept and forgive things that have happened in the past, while figuring out how to move forward from therre.
What inspired you to write this book?
I started writing this series when I was in a really bad place in life, and this book was inspired by a feeling that it was time to put the past, in the past. It’s all about making peace with old hurts and giving yourself permission to move forward with life.
I also wanted it to have a sense of closure to it because it was originally supposed to be the last book in the series. Now, though, I think I have to go back and tell a few more stories about the folks of Beach Haaven.
Did you base any of your characters on real people?
I never base my main characters on real people, but I do with some of my secondary characters. For example, the restaurant owner is based on one of my co-workers, and the fire chief, Rollie Griswold, was named after the father of one of my best friends.The real Rollie passed away as I was finishing “His Heart Aflame” and I asked my friend for permission to use his name as a tribute to him.
If this book is part of a series, what is the next book? Any details you can share?
As I mentioned, this was originally supposed to be the last book in my series. But I really want to come back at least two more times to tell the stories of a couple of characters who keep popping up. The villain from the first book, Jacqueline, needs to be challenged to change her ways. And Tara Bartlett’s brother Jayson is eventually going to have to come home from overseas and deal with civilian life.
I’m also writing a trilogy that I’m tentatively calling “Love & Destiny.” It’s set in Beach Haven and features a few of the same characters, but it’s definitely its own self-contained story. It’s about three girls who visit a fortuneteller and ask the usual question of “who will I marry?” Each book then follows the story of one of the girls as she grows up and finds out whether her fortune comes true or not.
Everyone in Beach Haven thought Aaron and Cassie were the perfect couple. Right up until the day Cassie eloped with Aaron’s best friend, that is.
Now, ten years later, Cassie has been widowed and Aaron is asked to come home and speak at a memorial in her late husband’s honor. He’s got to find a way past his anger and hurt to forgive his old friend and his former lover, but he doesn’t expect to find that his feelings for Cassie are stronger than ever.
Cassie never expected to see Aaron again, especially since he’s made a life for himself in Texas all these years. She’s got no choice but to keep her distance from him because she knows he’ll never be able to forgive her if he ever finds out the truth she’s been hiding from him. But how can she keep her distance when just seeing him brings back all of the old memories of what they once shared?
About the Author
A.J. Goode discovered romance novels as a teenager, when she learned to sneak away with her mother’s collection of Harlequins and 1970’s bodice-rippers. She quickly fell in love with the happy endings and stories in which love conquers all.
She is also a single mother, a high school lunchlady, and a blogger with a knack for seeking the humorous side of every situation.
A.J. is a lifelong resident of Michigan, and her fictional town of Beach Haven is loosely based on the real town where she spent her childhood summers. The series is her way of combining her love for the beach with her addiction to romance novels.
You can find out more about her and her books on her blog.
You can pre-order Their Love Rekindled on Amazon.