AJ Jarrett is best known for her Nehalem Pack and Warriors of Light series. She continues to write great novels while still finding time to read and for her family. Her paranormal romance novels keep readers hooked from start to finish, eager for more.
What got you interested in writing m/m fiction?
I’m an avid reader of this genre and that is what initially led me to write MM fiction. It was a Lorelei James’s book that I first read a story involving two male supporting characters that were in a romantic relationship. Just that little bit intrigued me and one day I just woke up and told my husband that I wanted to be a writer. It’s as simple as that. Not real exciting I know but that’s how it happened for me.
How did you begin your career and how did you grow your fan base to be so humongous?
I actually wrote a short story for a review website, The Long and Short Reviews, The Luck of the Irish. It was just a short story but it was my first step into becoming an author. Then from there I created my Twist of Fates series and then my Warriors of the Light series, follow by the Nehalem Pack.
Humongous? I’m not sure about that but I do have loyal readers that are just awesome. I still get excited when I get a good review or an email from a reader telling me they like my work. I think the readers know what they like and if you can hook them with the title, your blurb, or excerpt they commit to your book.
Has living in the Midwest influenced your writing?
Only in that a lot of my stories take place right here in the Midwest. I like to write about what I know and growing up in the Midwest made using this area as my back drop pretty easy. And I like the idea of showcasing the area in where I live.
Who is the LAST person you’d want to discover you write m/m fiction and how do you think they’d respond?
I really don’t have anyone I wouldn’t want to know. I will say this some people are very judgy and I can’t live my life by what they think is right or wrong, acceptable or unacceptable. If you ever meet me in person I’m pretty straight forward, what you see is what you get. And if someone doesn’t like me for what I write then I’d have a few choice words for them, none of them pretty, but that’s on them.
Does having four children effect how you write? Do they make it more difficult for you?
Yes it does! More kids are popping up in my stories and it’s all because of my kiddos. And yes at times they make it very difficult. Right now they are on summer vacation and getting any writing done is near impossible. The louder my children get the quieter the voices in my head get which is very frustrating. But that is just being a mom and a writer. My husband helps a lot with them and that makes it somewhat easier. But I won’t lie I can’t wait until school starts back up.
Why do you think so many women love to read m/m?
That is a very good question. I think it’s because it’s something different. For me I grew up reading MF romances and the idea of a story involving two men never occurred to me so when I came upon this genre it shook me to the core and I absolutely loved it! I think everyone’s reason is different for as to why they like MM books but it still boils down to good writing. If it’s interesting and takes your mind away with these characters that’s all that matters.
What was it like to write Devon Carsten, and how did you accurately portray the reason for his revenge?
Writing the character of Devon was pretty easy. He’s the nice, handsome man, with a good heart that you would want to find and bring home to mom and dad. I actually portrayed Devon after my husband. An honest man who’s just trying to live his life and be happy all the while taking care of his family.
The situation Devon and his brothers find themselves in is pretty scary. I put myself in his shoes and thought how would I react? I get pretty involved and emotional while writing and that’s how I am in my everyday life. React first then think which isn’t always the best course of action. Devon is an intelligent man but when his family is put in danger he only does what he thinks is best for them and sometimes unwise decisions are made but for a good reason.
What are you currently working on?
Book 15 in The Nehalem Pack series. This is Peyton and Levi’s story. As it is summer vacation for my lovely children, I haven’t been able to write as much as I’d like but I’m still on schedule to complete it in about another two weeks. I’ve learned I can’t ignore my characters for too long or my brain will explode.
Tell me about your writing process from idea to finished draft? Do you rewrite to death? Do you outline?
It always starts as an idea. From there I outline what I want to happen in the story and how I want my characters to fair within the story. Rewrite? Not often. If something doesn’t feel right I typically catch it in the very beginning of writing so I change it up then. Usually that happens when I have a character portraying the bad guy or vice versa. Here’s a little tidbit. Landen from Book 13 of the Nehalem Pack series was originally going to be the villain but I grew to like this character so he went from villain to unlikely hero.
How long does it typically take you to write a novel?
That depends on a lot of factors, my available time, story length, characters, plotlines, but typically it takes me 3 to 4 weeks to have a story completed. When my mind starts going and the characters are talking I can literally write all day long.
What was it like to participate in the ‘Love is Always Write’ event on Goodreads in 2012?
I did that on a whim. It was a last minute decision on my part because at the time I was still a fairly new author and trying my best to write and submit stories. I was lucky enough to get one of the last remaining pictures and letter and I got to say between the picture and the letter the story practically wrote itself. It only took me a week to write that story. I loved the characters and the plot I came up with. It was a lot of fun. If I had more time I’d love to participate again.
What advice do you have for those thinking about writing gay romance and what advice do you have for those who are trying to build an audience from scratch?
If you’re a writer thinking about writing gay romance, do it. You’ll never know unless you try. See where your characters take you. I’d never tell anyone not to try something. Just make sure you’re comfortable with what you are writing and that you enjoy it.
And building an audience? That is still a mystery to me. I promote, participate in blog tours, guest on other author’s blogs/websites, and submit books for reviews. Every author is different on how they go about it. And a lot of it is word of mouth. If readers like your work they let it show and they tell you and others.