AJ Mullican is a prolific writer in a diversity of genres. She writes everything from poetry and thrillers to sci-fi and erotica. She has experience in self-publishing as well as having her work accepted by a traditional publisher. She is a well-rounded writer with a lot of enthusiasm for the craft.
Let’s Get to Know AJ:
Q: It looks like you have published several books, can you tell us a little about your books and what genre(s) they are?
A: Sure! My first published novel was Whispers of Death, a supernatural thriller, that I self-published. Next came Abnormal, which is New Adult dystopian sci-fi, with the sequel Escaping the Light due later this year. I also have shorter works, some novellas and some short stories, published in various anthologies, which are for the most part currently on pre-order. Conjuring Asylum, a short story in the free collection Hexes and Handcuffs: A Limited Edition Collection of Supernatural Prison Stories, is the standalone precursor to my new paranormal erotic romance novella trilogy, The Mage Asylum Trilogy: Palmore’s Home for Wayward Mages Paranormal Romance Collection, which is now available for pre-order as a set.
Q: Did you self-publish some of your books? If so, please tell us a little about your experience and why you decided to go with a traditional publisher on some of them.
A: I self-published my first novel, Whispers of Death, for two reasons: One, I was incredibly anxious about the query/submission process—not rejections, but the process itself. Two, I was too impatient to wait on the process. I wanted it out in the world right then, so I did it myself.
For Abnormal, I was planning on the same process because of the submission anxiety, but a friend of mine had beta read it for me and just happened to be starting up a small traditional publishing business, so they asked me to submit! I’m glad I did, because it feels good to know that the Abnormalverse (as I now call it) has a home.
With The Mage Asylum Trilogy, I returned to self-publishing because of the genre I chose. I don’t know the first thing about which large or small publishing houses accept erotic romance, and again, I got impatient. I’m really excited for that trilogy, and I hope it does well.
Q: How did you came up with the idea for the Abnormal series? How many books do you plan to write for this series?
A:The title struck me first when I started brainstorming the ideas for Abnormal. I got to thinking, “What might be considered ‘abnormal’ in the future?” That, and the current political climate, spurned a world where money has the real power, and if you don’t have money, it doesn’t matter how much physical or mental power you have. I originally didn’t plan for a series, but as the story went on, it became clear I couldn’t tell everything in one book. I left it at a cliffhanger (I know, I know), and then started on the second book while I was seeking beta readers for Abnormal.
As of right now, I have six books planned for the Abnormal series, plus another six in a spinoff series that I am calling Abnormal Lineage. I also have found fun ways to incorporate side characters from the series into a novella and a couple of short stories for other collections and anthologies, thus expanding the world.
Q: What other books do you have planned to write/publish? Any upcoming release dates?
A: As I mentioned above, The Mage Asylum Trilogy is available for pre-order now, and its release date is July 1, 2020. I don’t have a specific date for Escaping the Light yet, but it should be within a few months or so, because I’m sending out Advance Review Copies right now. I have two novellas in box sets that are currently on pre-order: Wicked Souls: A Limited Edition Reverse Harem Romance Collection, due to release in September, and Askew Ever After: A Limited Edition Contemporary Romance Collection, releasing in December.
I want to start at least one more paranormal or urban fantasy romance series, possibly delving more into the reverse harem subgenre, but that’s more of a twinkle-in-the-eye thing than a solid concept yet. After having written several romance novellas now, I have found that it’s something I enjoy and want to explore more in-depth.
Q: What messages/emotions would you like readers to come away with after reading your books?
A: Depends on the book! Ha-ha. Whispers of Death has a message of redemption. With the Abnormal series, I want people to question the status quo, but I also want them to connect with the characters and the interactions between those characters. With The Mage Asylum Trilogy, I hope my readers enjoy the plot—and the spice!
Q: What or who inspired you to start writing and how long have you been writing?
A: I’ve been a bookworm since I was a little kid, and I dabbled in writing most of my life. I wrote poetry and short stories for a high school journal, and back in the days of MySpace I had a blog of poetry that I poured myself into. I had two prior anthologies of poetry and short stories up on Amazon that I self-published, but that was some of my earliest serious work, and I recently removed them from Kindle because I want my work that’s up to reflect who I am as a writer now, not who I was aspiring to be.
My biggest author influences have to be Darynda Jones and Patricia Briggs. They tell amazing stories, and their worlds are comprehensive, in-depth, and seamless. I can only hope to aspire to a fraction of that with the Abnormalverse.
Q:Do you have a writing routine/creative process? Where/when do you usually write?
A: I have a routine of mostly writing during the wee hours. I have chronic insomnia, so since I wake up super early and can’t get back to sleep, I write in the mornings, when my husband is asleep. Of course, as for most authors with day jobs in the current times, I’ve had more free time to write during the day as well, which will have to be an adjustment to switch back once quarantine is lifted.
My creative process is evolving and changing with each new book or story I write. I started out almost 100% “pantser,” which means I wrote without much of a plan. I’m currently a “plantser,” meaning I have a general plan of action but not a formal outline. I have a feeling I’ll eventually evolve into a full-blown “planner,” because I’ve started creating maps and timelines and all kinds of organizational things to plan the fourth Abnormal book.
Q: Do you have any favorite writing tools that you like to use?
A: I like to use the Evernote website/app, because I can take notes on my phone or laptop and it syncs between the two. I am an old-school Word user when it comes to drafting/editing/etc., but I am starting to use notebooks for my scrambled plans to help myself get into a more organized mode. I also recently discovered using Photoshop to create maps that help me visualize the world I’m creating.
Q:What do you enjoy the most about writing?
A: Reading through and feeling the emotions that I hope my writing invokes in the readers. Seeing the words on the page, and knowing those words came from me.
Q: What is the most difficult part of the writing process for you?
A: Getting started! It took probably six or seven drafts of Escaping the Light before I got a good start, and at least three of the third installment. Nearly all of my works have multiple starts before I get to the “right” one.
Q:What advice do you have for those who are thinking about writing a book and getting it published?
A: My biggest advice is always to keep trying. Keep writing, keep reading, keep learning. But do learn. Don’t assume your writing is perfect the first time. Get critiques, get feedback, get editing, and get better with the responses you get from those. Learn from it all. The more you learn, the better you write, and the better it gets.
Q:What do you think makes a good story?
A: A good story evokes some kind of emotion in the reader—something visceral. I’m not talking about the kind of story where you get annoyed at bad writing or grammar, but the kind of story where you feel you know the characters and feel you are in the world the author has created.
Q:What are some of your favorite books/authors to read?
A: As I mentioned above, I love the works of Darynda Jones and Patricia Briggs. They are, without a doubt, my two faves. I love the Charley Davidson series by Darynda (I’m still working my way through the last three in the series), and the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia. Both authors have created vast, rich worlds that draw me in and leave me wanting more.
Q:What other interests do you have besides writing?
A: I also am active in historical reenactment (pre-1600) in the Society for Creative Anachronism. I make most of my own historical garb, as well as do hand embroidery and fencing with rapiers. (Blunted tips, of course!) I also enjoy spending time with my husband at home, watching TV or movies, and hanging out with friends.
On Twitter and Instagram my handle is AJMullican,
Facebook author page: https://facebook.com/AJMullicanAuthor
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