Today I have contemporary romance author AJ Harmon on my blog. She recently released her First Class novel series as a box set.
Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born and raised in Perth, Australia, to English parents and now reside in Oregon, USA. I consider myself to be a perfect mix of Aussie, Brit, and Yank!
What or who inspired you to start writing?
I began writing on a dare. I was encouraged to read a novel by some friends and when I reported back that I wasn’t overly impressed, they dared me to write a book…so I did!
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It wasn’t until I quit my day job, after I published my third book, that I truly considered myself a writer. Now I am proud to tell people what I do for a living.
How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?
I think it would be very difficult to write stories and NOT have my personality and experiences in them. All the female characters I write have a little bit of me in them, whether it is a physical or emotional trait. For example, Katy is pretty blunt, a lot like me. Janie is at times unsure of herself and often thinks she is lacking in certain areas of her life. Again, I suffer from that, too, just like millions of other women. Maureen loves her children so much, that she often meddles a little and frustrates her children. Again, that’s me!!
Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?
Having finished writing the First Class series, I am now really excited about the next one, Sky Romance Novels, the first book being released in 2014. It is a different format than FCN, in that all the stories don’t revolve around one family. SRN will have lots of different story lines weaving in and out and will not need to be read in chronological order.
What is the best thing about being a writer? The worst
The best thing is being able to set my own schedule. The worst is also being able to set my own schedule! 🙂 In order to be a writer you must have a lot of self-discipline, something I sorely lack at times.
What fuels you as an author to continue to write?
Feedback from readers who love my books is a wonderful boost to my confidence and desire to put out well-written stories. I love reading emails from fans who tell me how they relate to my characters and sit impatiently waiting for the next book to be released. There is no greater compliment for me, and no greater inspiration to continue doing what I love.
How do you conceive your plot ideas?
Plots come to me at night, usually when I’m trying to go to sleep. Quite often it’s just a scene that plays in my head and then the ideas just flow. A lot of my writing gets done after 10 pm!
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I don’t outline the story if there are a limited number of characters, but in SRN, my new series, there are more storylines woven into one book, so an outline for each is definitely needed so that the stories come together at the right point.
If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?
I would certainly be Janie from First Class to New York. She’s experienced a happy marriage and has two sons that she adores and isn’t looking for a second love. But when she literally runs into the man that will become her future, her whole world turns upside down and she has to come to terms with the loss of her husband and realize that she has a whole future waiting for her. I feel connected to Janie in a way that I really can’t put into words. (Bad sign for a writer, huh? 😉 )
Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?
I chew on ice and roasted almonds when I write. And I also need to be listening to music, preferably instrumental.
If you could meet two authors, who would you pick and why?
That’s difficult to narrow down to two, but the first would definitely be Jane Austen. I read her books as a young girl and they totally shaped my view of love and romance. I still read them often and it feels like coming home. The second would probably be Rosamunde Pilcher. I love the way she develops her characters on paper and am in awe of the way she connects the reader to all the characters in her books. She is a master.
About the Author
AJ was born and raised in Perth, Western Australia, and currently resides in the United States. She has been married to the love of her life for 28 years and has two grown children, and a dog named Max. She is an avid reader, writer and wannabe chef.
She published her first romance novel First Class to New York after accepting a challenge from a friend to write a book. She self-published the book on November 17, 2012 in Amazon’s Kindle eBook store as a contemporary romance.
AJ Harmon’s First Class romance series is available in paperback on Amazon and for digital eBook download from the Kindle store. She has released all nine of the books in this series of contemporary love stories, including a boxed set that includes a bonus novella, and is currently working on the first book of her new series that will be released in 2014.