An Interview with AJ Wallace
I mentioned last Sunday I would begin including author interviews in my blog. I’ve decided to make them stand-alone posts. Crime thriller writer AJ Wallace is up first. AJ is an Air Force veteran and has been an avid reader since a young age. A few years ago, AJ decided to pick up the pen (or in modern times, a keyboard) and begin writing.
What are your ambitions for your writing career? To take it as far as it will go or nowhere.
Which writers inspire you? So many of those: Patricia Cornwell, Alex Berenson, Catherine Coulter, David Baldacci, Harlan Coben, Michael Connelly to name a few.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? Charley Faraday is an FBI Special Agent – Behavioral Analyst. Sean Murphy is an FBI Special Agent Investigator.
What are you currently working on and what is it about? Book 4 of SES: Waterlogged. Murphy and Charley travel to Tampa to investigate the gruesome death of a young woman.
What drew you to write in this genre? Personal preference.
How much research do you do? I do more research than the amount of words written.
Have you written works in collaboration with other writers, and if so: why did you decide to collaborate and did it affect your sales? No.
When did you decide to become a writer? After the death of my mother in 2012. She had encouraged me my entire life. I owed her that much to try.
Do you write full-time or part-time? I write when I’m inspired.
How often do you write, and do you have a special time during the day to write? I don’t write daily, due to research and other responsibilities. I write when it strikes me.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? No.
Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand? PC MS Word.
Where do your ideas come from? My head. LOL! A lot comes from my dreams.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you? Mostly, I’m a pantser. I have a general idea. I’ll make notes and then hit the keyboard. Most of the time I know the ending. The rest comes from ideas and creativity. Such as, I wrote the finale to a book titled Tangerine five years ago. I have to do the rest. Those who read my novels are familiar with Tangerine, the obscure character who’s an unknown serial killer.
What is the hardest thing about writing? Editing
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? I’m not sure if you mean my current manuscript or the last book published. I’ll go with the last book published, since my current writing is in its infancy. To answer: Detail and the research it required.
What is the easiest thing about writing? Nothing is easy about writing.
How long on average does it take you to write a book? It depends on the content and the amount of research needed.
Do you ever get Writer’s Block, and do you have any tips for getting through it? I’ve been lucky so far. I become frustrated, but that goes away and I return.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors? I read a lot and I listed my favs, who are my inspiration in question 2.
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books? I like both. But I enjoy the feel of turning the page.
Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you? No, I have help.
Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit? Yes, by chapter not book.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process? A cover should provide a clue to the story and capture the eye. Which is subjective.
How are you publishing this book and why (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)? Independent publishing – because I don’t have the time or patience to jump useless hoops for publishers. From what I’ve seen so far, smaller publishers don’t provide marketing, their editing is substandard, and the art isn’t any better than some I have seen which were created by the writer.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around? I have total control over my work. I don’t view it as a disadvantage.
Would you or do you use a PR agency? No.
Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books? No.
What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book? None. I’m not in this to make money.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? I haven’t paid much attention to them since my first novel.
Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you? No.
What’s your views on social media for marketing, and which of them have worked best for you? For the amount of work and time it takes to use this method, the return in minimal.
Any tips on what to do and what not to do when writing? I don’t know how to answer this. Vague question. Each writer is an individual and I don’t think it’s possible to copy how others manage their time or procedure.
Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work? I did giveaways with Amazon. But I don’t think it had any impact on sales.
Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures? None.
Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future? No.
What do you think of “trailers” for books, and do you have a trailer/will you create one for your own work? I’ve never purchased a book due to a trailer.
Do you think that giving books away free works and why? Not much. Tried, added little to my pocketbook.
If you hired someone else to format your work, how did you select them and what was your experience? N/A
How do you relax? Video games, such as RPGs, shooters, listening to music.
What is your favorite movie and why? I don’t have a favorite. There are many I enjoyed.
What advice would you give to your younger self? This would take a book for me to answer. Plus, what I would say could hurt someone I know.
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? I’m not much of the groupie type. I appreciate those who contribute to society but sitting down with them in person isn’t a goal.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Don’t stop.
Where do you see publishing going in the future? Perhaps the day is coming when printed books will be obsolete.
Is being a writer a gift or a curse? I don’t consider myself a gifted writer, nor is it a curse.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing as far as content? Pleasing my readers.
Did you come across any specific challenges in writing? What would you do differently the next time? In all my works, the largest challenge is making sure it’s realistic. Which is why I do a ton of research.
What do your fans mean to you? I don’t have ‘fans’. But I’ve conversed with a few who have followed with me in Charley and Murphy’s journeys. I appreciate their feedback whether good or bad.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day? Insomnia
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you? I don’t remember. I assume it was an elementary requirement.
What motivated you to become an indie author? It wasn’t about becoming an author, but fulfilling my mom’s request. If she had never encouraged me, I wouldn’t have made the attempt.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote? Not really. In school we were required to write short stories, but I don’t remember it.
When you develop characters do you already know who they are before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go? My characters tell me who they are.
Tell us about your writing process and the way you brainstorm story ideas. Writing process? Do you mean an outline, etc? An idea will come to me, and I’ll write a short synopsis and go from there. I don’t brainstorm. I ponder.
Where is your favorite place to write? In my cave (Private home office).
What marketing strategies do you find most helpful? Any resources you would recommend to other authors or aspiring authors? All the marketing questions were above. I don’t market. I don’t do this to make money, I do it because I enjoy it. Basically, it’s a hobby, a stressful one, but if I never published another novel it wouldn’t bother me.
There you have it–a glimpse into the mindset of author AJ Wallace. Check in again next week for another author interview. Until then, why not check out one of AJ’s novels? Sideways Eight Series: Mindfield, Devil’s Door, Fortitude
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