Posted on 12/19/2018 at 08:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
Many romance authors write happily-ever-after endings for their readers.
AJ Renee is no exception to that statement, although there is one person for whom she writes who isn’t exactly a reader.
That person is a close friend who died unexpectedly.
One of the hardest parts of this loss, for Renee, was how her friend never got her own happily-ever-after in real life.
And then, one day, it occurred to Renee that she could grant that friend’s memory a happy ending by writing a story.
Finishing the novel didn’t mean the story was over, though. A few years later, Renee decided to publish it ... and keep writing.
Widower’s Aura, the book written in honor of her friend, launched a whole series of its own, and she’s written several other standalone novels as well.
Here’s more about her writing journey, in her own words.
SADYE: Did you write much as a kid or show a wild imagination?
AJ: As a child, I would never have described myself as creative. Looking back, all the signs were there.
I loved playing cops and robbers, painting, trying to sketch my forever home, and during the hormonal years of puberty poetry became my outlet.
I loved reading the Babysitters Club novels as a kid, but once schools forced books, I was done.
As a teen, my sister presented me the Harry Potter books, and I reminded her I wasn’t a child. She insisted, and I read Sorcerer’s Stone to shut her up.
Needless to say, by the end of the day I was knocking on her bedroom door asking for Chamber of Secrets.
During my college years, I snuck in Julie Garwood books between textbooks, but my love of reading didn’t blossom until after all the required readings stopped.
SADYE: Which authors have affected your writing style or inspired you?
AJ: I’m a huge Julie Garwood fan, and I’ve read all but a few of the new ones. She inspired my love for the romantic suspense genre.
Once I found authors who gave the dual perspective, I fell in love with that style. Being able to get into the hero’s mind kind of blew my mind.
I like dipping into both of my leads’ heads; it’s allowed me to bring my readers on their journey.
SADYE: Which of your romantic leads would you be most likely to become involved with? (My apologies to your husband for asking!)
AJ: So many choices! I’m a stubborn and strong-minded female, so I know I’d strangle Marc or Viktor.
Noah’s love for his daughter and Jesse’s patient and loving heart are easily a tie for me. I must admit, even as I say that: Rocco’s strong and silent nature is sexy as hell.
Such a hard question!
SADYE: Do you ever foresee writing mysteries or thrillers, since you have degrees in criminal justice and psychology?
AJ: I wouldn’t be opposed to it. I mixed both of those degrees because of my curiosity surrounding serial killers.
The “why did they do it” drew me in, and if an idea came to me for a story, I would be all over it.
I’m a big fan of romance novels, so it’s what comes naturally to me.
SADYE: What is your favorite part of being a writer, and what part do you struggle most with?
AJ: Bringing an idea to life is my favorite part. Writing a story and watching the characters become real to me is amazing!
Another favorite for me is the readers. I’ve met so many wonderful people along this journey.
Marketing is the hardest. I’m of the mindset that either I’m a good fit for a reader or I’m not. I don’t want to shove anything down anyone’s throat.
In this industry, I know I need to remind and show readers I’m here, and it can be a tricky beast.
The second hardest is balancing it with my home life. At times one area receives more attention than the other and it’s not fair to my daughters or husband.
SADYE: What has been your proudest or most rewarding moment?
AJ: Looking at my shelf of published books is indescribable.
No one can take that from me. I brought those characters to life.
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Categories: Author Interview