I introduced myself to A.J. Adaire when I saw her book Sunset Island as the #1 Lesbian Fiction book on Amazon. Yes, I had a fan girl moment. LOL. I’m delighted to welcome her to my Author Spotlight event.
Twenty years ago, I wrote my first book just to see if I could do it. The novel occupied space on my bookshelf, unread for nearly twenty years until, one day while in a cleaning frenzy, I considered disposing of the neatly stacked but now age-yellowed pages. As I began to read the long forgotten work, I was surprised to discover that the story was enjoyable! Editing and retyping the first book provided a new sense of accomplishment and additional tales followed. Completion of This is Fitting encouraged me to write four more romance novels. I Love My Life and Sunset Island were followed by Awaiting My Assignment and its sequel, Anything Your Heart Desires and One Day Longer Than Forever
Now retired, there is all the time in the world to write. I live on the east coast with my partner of twenty-eight years. Because we love a challenge, we provide a loving home for two spoiled cats instead of a dog! In addition to writing, any spare time is devoted to reading, mastering new computer programs, and socializing with friends.
EG: What a wonderful success story. I love hearing about your journey. And can I say your cat is beautiful? I had two Siamese cats years ago while in college. At the moment I have an orange Tabby, Peyton who guest stars in one of my books. LOL
I asked AJ some questions about her current release Sunset Island.
1. Who is your favorite character in this book and why?
Like most of my readers, my favorite character is Lindy. She is someone with whom I’d enjoy spending the day. I especially enjoy her playful personality and openness to engage in new adventures. Like me, she is both a teacher and an author, so I suspect we’d enjoy chatting.
2. What inspires you for your stories?
I guess I’d have to say the characters inspire me to tell their story.
Most ideas for my stories come to me when I’m driving my car or doing a mindless, repetitive task. I’ve yet to master the ability to sit down at the computer and say to myself, “Okay, what shall I write about today?”
For me, the hardest part of a story is to decide the basic scenario, which is how the two lead characters will come to reveal their attraction for each other. In a ‘straight’ romance, where the main characters are male and female, the potential for a relationship is always assumed to be there.
In writing a same-sex romance, the author always needs to decide first if the characters will be ‘out’ lesbians, two women who have never experienced a same-sex attraction before or, lastly, if one character is a lesbian and the other historically straight. If both characters are open about their sexuality, it’s no more difficult to develop a story line than it would be for a male/female pairing.
It gets trickier if any of the other scenarios exist. So, once I determine the basic scenario, I try to figure out how they’ll reveal their feelings to each other. Once that part is clear, I begin to develop the rest of the story by making some brief notes. Only then, after all that has occurred, am I able to sit down to write the story and allow the characters to reveal the rest of the story.
Sometimes the characters surprise me. For example, in Sunset Island, the original story was to be Ren and Brooke’s. As I was writing it, I realized I didn’t have enough substance for a novel for those two characters. Lindy presented herself to me, and in order to move the story forward, Brooke had to ‘go.’ When I killed off Brooke, my partner called me a murderer for two weeks. Then she, too, fell in love with Lindy and peace was once again restored in our household.
EG: I laughed out loud reading about your killing off of Brooke. LOL. Our creative process appears to be very similar. I get a lot of thinking in while driving.
3. Tell us something no one else knows about you.
I can’t abide the taste of peanut butter despite the fact that Ren and Lindy, my main characters in Sunset Island, each relied on it as one of their primary sources of sustenance.
EG: OH NO. I’m going to side with Ren and Lindy on this one.
4. What genre classification would you put on your book and what would you consider the heat level of the romance?
I write ‘Lesbian Romance.’ As to heat level, depending on the book and which characters are involved, the love scenes tend to be “warm” to “hot.” All love scenes are loving and consensual. My books are easy to read, feel good, f/f romances with not too much angst. The characters may encounter day-to-day obstacles often faced by real people, but the ending is always happy…they are romances after all!
EG: I love the way you’ve described this. Feel Good! F/F Romance.
5. When did you start writing and what kicked off your passion to be an author?
I began writing twenty years ago. I used to buy lesbian novels from Naiad Press, back in the late 80’s. During a huge snowstorm we were snowed in and I was bored because I’d already read all the books I’d purchased. I said to my partner, “I think I could write one of these stories.” She dared me to try. So, I wrote my first novel just to prove I could. Twenty years later, after I retired, I had more free time and began again, initially by editing the first book. For the other books, I have no excuse!
More information about my stories, and about me, can be found at the following sites:
Owning a beautiful Inn on a private island off the coast of Maine—what could be more conducive to happiness? Ren Madison is certain her life couldn’t be more perfect. She treasures her loving relationship with her older brother Jack, his wife Marie, and dotes on her niece Laura. She has a passionate and supportive relationship with her partner Brooke, and a successful business that doesn’t require her undivided attention, allowing her ample time to pursue her true passion, her art.
Then, in an instant, Ren’s idyllic world crumbles. Concern grows that Ren may never fully recover from her loss.
Marie runs into an old college friend, Dr. Lindy Caprini, at a convention. Lindy, a multi-lingual professor, divulges that she is looking for an artist to illustrate the book she’s writing. Marie instantly suggests her artistically talented sister-in-law, Ren, as someone to do the illustrations. To make working together on the book easier, Lindy takes a year sabbatical from her job, breaks off her relationship with her boyfriend, and moves to Ren’s island. Ren soon discovers that the beautiful and mischievous Lindy is a talented author and a witty conversationalist. Their collaboration on the book leads to a close, light-hearted, and flirtatious friendship. Will their collaboration end there?
Chapter 1: Look At Those Eyes
Ren Madison watched out of the office window of the marina she owned with her brother, Jack, as the door of the out-of-state car opened and a pair of feet clad in comfortable shoes hit the gravel of the parking lot. A grin slowly curled her lips as the rest of Dr. Lindy Caprini emerged from the sports car. The woman stood and stretched before she slowly pivoted to take in the scenery, finally stopping to enjoy the gorgeous view of the ocean.
The picture on the university’s website certainly didn’t do her justice. Look at those eyes. I’d love to paint her. Collaborating with the lovely Lindy to illustrate her book should prove to be extremely pleasant working conditions, indeed. Ren made a mental note to call her sister-in-law, Marie, to thank her again for referring her to the alluring Professor Caprini.
Lindy pushed her sunglasses to the top of her head and tilted her face upwards, eyes closed, soaking in the warmth of the sun. As if she felt Ren’s eyes on her, she turned to glance at the window of the marina office where the dark haired woman sat watching. She smiled and tossed a jaunty wave before turning away to retrieve her coat from the back seat of the car.
Sad that her ability to ogle unobserved was no longer possible she closed up the file she was working on. Ren stood, quickly strode to the door, and went outside to welcome her visitor.