I’d like to welcome A.J. Locke today. A.J. Locke writes Urban Fantasy. Her upcoming release is Affairs of the Dead.
Tell us a little about yourself, A.J. How did you start writing?
Writing was something I always loved, and I started writing my first book when I was fourteen. It was very much an escape from the real world, and I loved throwing myself into my stories. I actually hand wrote my first four books in notebooks; my first book started on computer paper!
What drew you to this particular genre?
I love that with Urban Fantasy I have the ability to weave supernatural elements into a real world setting; to me it’s a very open genre where you can do almost anything. I love novels that are all encompassing, so with my books I like being able to have action, romance, mystery, etc, all in one.
(Anne) I have to admit, I haven’t read much Urban Fantasy, though I’m very intrigued. Frankly, I haven’t done much reading at all lately *sigh*. I miss it.
Have you ever considered another genre? And if so which one?
Last year I started writing a Paranormal Romance story, which isn’t a huge stretch from Urban Fantasy but it does have different elements to it. I haven’t finished that story as yet but I hope to.
Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, outline, or…?
With me usually an idea pops into my mind and once I have that spark I start to make notes on characters and setting. I used to be a plotter and had to have a pretty substantial outline before I started writing, but I’ve becoming a panster with my last few books; after I have the basic story idea I just start writing. It’s a lot of fun that way and I love seeing my ideas grow or change as the story comes out.
How many hours a day to you spend writing? Do you have a routine?
If I’m really in the writing zone I can write pretty much all day but I do take breaks because, well, my fingers need it! Plus after writing for any stretch of time I just need to do something else for a while before getting back to writing.
(Anne) I need to be in that zone too. Not always easy.
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what would it be?
I’d tell myself to be less hasty when it comes to trying to get my work out there and to try and build relationships with other writers, have other eyes look at my work and offer their critique. Just to take my time and make sure I’m really ready to try and get published. I definitely started the query process way before I should.
Do you have any tours/events planned that you’d like to let us know about? Where can we find you over the next little while?
Affairs of the Dead releases on April 19th so I will be touring a few other blogs over the next few weeks, this is actually the first stop! You can find me guest blogging with these bloggers and fellow authors:
April 17th – Ally Shields
April 24th – Marie Carhart
April 24th – Niecey Roy
April 29th – Fel Wetzig
May 3rd – Shehanne Moore
May 8th – Marie Hall
May 14th – Antonia Vanzandt
(Anne) Well, I’m honored to help you kick off your tour.
Tell us a bit about your current release. What inspired it?
I remember the idea of “helping the dead” came to me and I started thinking about a story where the main character’s job was to help ghosts with their unfinished business so they could cross into the afterlife. I got really excited about it so I started jotting down ideas and started writing pretty soon after. Then there came a point where I was telling someone about it and they mentioned that it sounded like the television show Ghost Whisperer (which I’ve never watched), and I had a little bit of a panicked moment where I thought my story was too close to the premise of that show. However the book came to encompass so many other things that I became comfortable with the fact that the novel was unique onto itself.
(Anne) I watched and loved Ghost Whisperer. I think it’s a great concept. Now I’m really eager to read Affairs of the Dead.
I want to thank A.J. for joining me today. I wish her well on her release, it’s only days away, and I would love to extend an offer to come back and show us the cover, maybe let us meet the characters, and, of course, we’ll tell you where you can buy the book.
So, now a peek at Affairs of the Dead, an Adult Urban Fantasy by A.J. Locke
Necromancer Selene Vanream helps ghosts settle their affairs so they can fade to the afterlife. However, after her rule breaking methods of helping her clients lands her in trouble, she’s downgraded to tracking ghosts who hide out, since ghosts that linger too long become murderous beasties. And here Selene thought having an affair with the boss would get her out of trouble, not into it.
While tracking, Selene finds Ethan, a ghost who claims he was kicked out of his body and someone else jumped in. Reanimation, the power to resurrect the dead using souls of the living, would be the most likely explanation if only it added up to how Ethan became a ghost. What’s worse, partnered with Micah — a one night stand who turned hostile after –, Selene investigates brutal murders that turn out to be linked to Ethan.
When an unforeseen complication with Ethan arises and puts Selene’s life in danger, she suddenly has very personal reasons to get his body back. Throw in a shifting relationship with Micah and a suddenly possessive boss, and Selene will learn just how much trouble you can get into when you don’t follow the rules.
Excerpt: (Beginning of Chapter One)
I was in a strip club trying to help a ghost get laid, which was challenging, but not impossible. It was just extremely taxing on the necromancer extraordinaire (me) who had to channel energy into the ghost to make her corporeal enough to entice one of the stripper boys. Technically what I was doing was illegal, but it was my job to help ghosts settle their affairs so they could move on to eternally ever after, and Julia’s unfinished business was that she’d died a virgin. I’d made it as easy as I could for her by starting at a strip club; if she couldn’t get some here, I wasn’t sure how much lower I could scrape the barrel.
Julia’s prolonged virginity was an enigma to me, even though she told me that she’d been waiting for her soul mate. I just didn’t understand why that meant she couldn’t hit up a bar, get drunk, and have a fun, regret-filled weekend that included the walk of shame. At least she’d have been in better shape once soul mate came around.
“What do you think about him?” I asked, pointing to one of the three oiled up men who were gyrating for the benefit of all the screaming women. He had blond hair and green eyes, and wasn’t overly muscular. Julia looked at him then quickly looked away. I took that as a sign of approval.
“I think this was a bad idea,” she stammered.
“This was a fantastic idea,” I said. “And it will work, don’t worry.”
“No, I mean, I don’t think I can do this. I waited my whole life for my soul mate and now you want me to just—” she stole another quick look at the stripper, “I don’t think I can do this with some random…stripper man. It’s so indecent.”
I rolled my eyes. “Julia, you’re a ghost; you no longer have the option of being discerning. And if you don’t wrap up what’s keeping you around, you run the risk of turning into a monster. Then it’s an even bigger pain in the ass to get rid of you. So let’s call our efforts here at Bump and Moan choice A, and murderous monster choice B. Which choice would you like to make?”
“A,” Julia said, but she didn’t sound happy about it. I smiled, and grabbed a couple drinks off the tray of a passing waitress. I set them down in front of Julia.
“Drink,” I said. “This will help.”
“I’m a ghost,” she said. “I thought I was unable to eat or drink.”
“You can feel the effects of the alcohol since you’ll be working off my energy, so drink up. I’ve pegged you as a light weight so I think two drinks will be enough.”
“But how is this supposed to help?” she asked, frowning.
“Because its job is to help,” I said.
Author BIO :
A.J. Locke is an author and artist, originally from Trinidad, now residing in New York City. Affairs of the Dead is her debut novel, and other than writing she enjoys reading, drawing, painting, graphic design, and watching too much television.
Still to come – check back after April 19th, when the Affairs of the Dead goes live, to find out where you can by the book.
To connect with A.J.