Friday, June 5, 2015

Secret Worlds Author Spotlight: A.J. Colby

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Today, I'd like to welcome A.J. Colby to my blog. Born and raised in England until the age of thirteen, A.J. moved across the Atlantic and settled in Colorado in the mid-nineties, where she has resided ever since. Enchanted by science fiction and fantasy from an early age, she has made it her life’s mission to one day pen her own story filled with vampires, werewolves, and ghouls (oh my!).

A.J. lives in the shadow of the majestic Rocky Mountains with her fiancé/manager/pimp, Mr. Awesome Sauce and their horde of feline minions. When not writing she divides her time between reading, playing World of Warcraft, and collecting sewing machines and neurosis.
JET: Can you tell us about your most recent book?
My latest release was the follow-up to my debut novel and picks up a couple months after the events of Hunted. Whereas Hunted was an introduction to Riley and some of the other key players in the series, Bitten gives us a glimpse into the world she inhabits. Riley finds herself having to navigate Denver’s supernatural community while trying to figure out who is killing vampires and werewolves.

JET: What drew you to urban fantasy?
I’ve always been drawn to fantasy, especially anything involving vampires or werewolves. When I first came across urban fantasy I instantly fell in love with the juxtaposition of these classical monsters set against a modern stage.

JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?
One of the hardest things for me is staying focused. I’m definitely a bit of a “pantser” (though I’m working on being better at plotting out my books) so sometimes it’s hard to keep the story heading in the right direction. My characters have a tendency to veer off in different directions from what I had in mind. I also suffer from a serious case of ADOS (Attention Deficit... Ooh Shiny!), and can easily get distracted by one of my many other interests.

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?
I think finally reaching the end of my first novel was the most rewarding/favorite part of the journey so far. Since then I’ve completed another novel as well as a short story and have another one of each in the works, but there’s nothing quite like the first time you’re able to write “The End.” It’s been a long time coming (20 years), and to finally reach that point was like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. I might even have cried a little.

JET: Which authors had the most influence over you growing up?
Anne Rice definitely is at the top of my list simply because Interview with the Vampire was my first introduction to the world of vampires, and gave birth to my love affair with the creatures of the night. Next would have to be Jim Butcher – the Dresden Files gave me a glimpse into what our world would be like if all the things that go bump in the night really existed. It was after reading Jim’s work that I knew I wanted to take a modern approach to my own writing.

JET: When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?
After reading Interview with the Vampire for the first time. I was ten years-old and instantly knew that that was what I wanted to do with my life. I’d always been drawn to writing stories as a kid, but it wasn’t until that point that I really felt the drive to write come to life. Since then no matter what other pursuits and hobbies I’ve developed, I always return to writing. My fiancé swears that I get a bit temperamental if I don’t write regularly ;o)

JET: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?
So far, my research hasn’t required me to do anything really crazy. I probably know more about the behavior of wolves than I ever thought I would, and know every single word or term you can use to describe smell. I don’t know if you’d consider it an interesting fact or not, but I discovered a breed of wolf I’d never heard of – the Maned wolf of South America. It’s a strange looking creature with a gorgeous russet and black coat and very long legs. I actually had intended to style my werewolves after the Maned wolf, but my fiancé says they look really goofy! Oh well, I think they’re cute.

JET: Of all the novels and stories you’ve written - which one is your favorite? Why?
Hunted of course has to be my favorite simply because it was my first. It’s kind of like having a first love – others will come along, many of which you’ll like better, but your first will always have a special place in your heart.

JET: Any advice (from a writer’s standpoint) for the novices out there?
Beyond the usual “just write” that everyone says, my biggest recommendation is finding a support group. Writing is typically a very solitary activity and it’s all too easy to get stuck in your own head. It’s a huge help having others to give you an outside perspective. The online community of KBoards is an awesome archive of knowledge and advice from fellow writers in all stages of success, but it’s important to have a local network of people too. Sometimes you just need someone to say “Come have a beer.”

JET: All right - now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten...starting with Cat or Dog?
Definitely cat. My fiancé and I have horde of fuzzy minions, and I’m always on the lookout for another. Their names are Severus, Lucius, Silas, Viktor, and Sammy (Samantha Be Wild).

JET: Steak or Tofu?
Steak. No self-respecting author of a werewolf series would eat tofu!

JET: Beach or Mountains?
Mountains, but then I’m biased because I get to look at them every day.

JET: Country or Rock-n-Roll?
Rock-n-roll, baby!

JET: Leather or Lace?
Hmm... that’s actually a hard one; each other has their own allure. I think if I had to choose just one though, I’d have to go with leather. It’s all about the smell. Mmm.

JET: Vamps or Wolves?
As blasphemous as it may be for me to say given that my main character is a werewolf, I’d have to say that vampires are my favorite. It harkens back to my introduction to the world of fantasy.

JET: Star Trek or Star Wars?
Star Trek for sure. My dad introduced me to Star Trek was a kid, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Captain Jean Luc Picard is my dream man.

JET: Paper or Digital?
As much as I love the convenience of being able to carry around thousands of books on my cell phone or tablet, there’s nothing that compares to the experience of reading a physical book. It’s such a sensory experience – the feel of the paper beneath your fingers, the sound of the pages turning, the smell of the ink on the page. Digital can’t even come close to that.

JET: Twilight or True Blood
True Blood just because of Eric Northman. Vikings are hot, undead or not.

JET: Coffee or Tea?
I’m a Brit, so of course my only possible answer is tea. But none of that iced crap. It should only be served hot with milk and sugar.

JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you're working on now? What's next?
I’ve got another short story, and the third Riley novel, Unleashed, in the works. It’s been several months since Riley was thrust into the middle of a plot to overthrow the Shepherd of the City and got a crash course in supernatural politics. Meanwhile, Holbrook has been busy running the Denver field office of the newly formed Arcane Investigations Bureau, and now they’re eager to get out of town for a break.

Family tensions and old prejudices are sure to make the trip to Holbrook’s hometown of Larkwood, TX an interesting affair, and when locals start turning dead up all eyes of course turn to Riley. It’s up to Riley and Holbrook to find the murderer before she ends up behind bars, or worse.

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about A.J. Colby and her work on her website or on Paranormal Book Deals

Thanks for swinging in today!
Until next time,


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