I recently contacted AJ Harmon in hopes that she would do a featured Ropin Romance author interview with me. She agreed so here we go : ) – Thanks for taking the time to do this AJ! For those of you who have not met her or read her work you definitely should head on over to Amazon and check her stuff out!
First question, Is AJ your real name or is it a pen?
Both!! It is my initials but those closest to me call me AJ. The world knows me by my first name but writing really is a very personal thing so I decided to go with my nickname and let the readers use AJ too.
What was the first book that you ever wrote and how long did it take you from start to finish?
The first book I wrote was First Class to New York. It took my 5 weeks to write, the words just pouring out of me. I didn’t even know they were inside me lol And then the rest of the series came and I couldn’t shut it off!
What about romance drew you in?
I’ve read romance since I was a young child, starting off with Jane Austen. I love historical romance but I also love contemporary romance. I love to read and fall in love with the characters – they become real to me. I believe in happily ever afters and I want to read that in books. Reading is an escape from real life and what better way to escape than with a feel-good romance?
Do you find it hard to often compete with other authors that are in the same genre and are friends with?
I am relatively new to this Indie game and almost everyone I have met have been positively marvelous. It’s exciting to be able to congratulate other authors on their success and have them congratulate me when I’ve achieved a milestone. I really don’t think there is a better group of people to be associated with. And I don’t think of it as competition. There are more than enough readers to go round.
What is your biggest motivator when it comes to being an author?
I love having readers reach out to me and tell me how one of my books has affected them in a positive way. I had a lady come up to me at a book signing and tell me her husband had recently passed away and reading about Janie in First Class to New York, also a young widow, had helped her through her grief. Wow!!! That was better than any paycheck I could have ever received. I was so humbled that day and I remind myself that while I love to write and get great enjoyment and satisfaction from it, I write for the readers.
Is there a story behind the whole Las Vegas story & swag?
I LOVE to fly! I’ll go anywhere! So when trying to come up with ideas for swag I just picked things that every traveler needs. My good friend, Sandie, helped me by making all of the beautiful make-up brush rolls and I just had fun thinking of other stuff to giveaway. I have “Las Vegas” luggage tags on all my suitcases 😉 As for the story, my husband and I were in Vegas a few years ago and on the flight was a bachelorette party. That memory popped into my mind when I was trying to come up with an idea for the next book and it snowballed from there.
Does any specific review stand out to you and if so why?
I don’t read all the reviews but I do read a lot of them and I appreciate any review, whether it’s a one star or a five star, as long as its honest! But I have to say that my husband and I love the review that says the author must have a great lover in order to write such amazing sex scenes – that one is certainly memorable 😉
Who is your biggest supporter?
My family! My husband, son and daughter. They are my biggest cheerleaders. My husband, Brad, and my son, Christopher, work with me full-time and it’s amazing how supportive they are. I love them very much and couldn’t be in this business without them.
Can you tell us a bit more about the books that you already have on the market?
I have the First Class Novels series which is 9 novels and 1 novella. It is about the Lathem family of Manhattan and there are 7 sons that we get to fall for throughout the series. I also have my Sky Romance Novels series that currently has 2 books in it, San Diego and Las Vegas. This series tells the stories of certain passengers on a flight to a particular city, the name of the book, and are not connected so they don’t have to be read in order, unlike the First Class Novels. He’s No Saint is my first stand alone and tells the story of a tortured Catholic priest who is hiding from life when he meets the woman who will turn his world upside down.
Any new projects you would like to share with us?
I am currently working on two books. A Choice for Claire is a standalone and will be released in December, and Chicago, the next Sky Romance novel, will be released in the spring of 2015.
What do you think the most difficult thing about being an author is?
For me that would be self-discipline. I find that I am distracted easily, especially by Facebook, and need to force myself to work some days. It’s also hard when I set my own deadlines because I can easily push them back… and often do 😉
Who does your book covers?
My son does all my covers – I tell him what I want and he does it. Then I realize that wasn’t what I wanted at all so we work on it together and come up with the final product. It’s a great collaborative effort.
If you had to sum up your take on yourself as a person in 5 words what would they be?
I am a creative and loving wife and mother wants to enjoy life to the fullest. (More than 5, I know!) So 1. Creative 2. Loving 3. Wife/partner 4. Mother 5. Happy
What advice would you give to new authors just starting out?
Work hard. Ask for advice but be prepared to earn your way. Aim high and keep focused on your goals. Most importantly, write books that people will want to read – it helps when it comes time to sell them 😉