Sunday Surprise

And it’s a guest! A fellow fantasy author! Many of the new followers probably already know her, but I’m delighted to introduce her to everybody else! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome A.J. Flowers!

banner-820x320.gifWhere do you live and write from?

I live in Detroit and I typically write in a comfy chair looking at the snowy landscape (or active squirrels!) – This is also my cat’s favorite pastime. Sounds peaceful? I forgot to mention I’m usually tuning out my husband’s videogames or TV shows lol.

Why do you write?

I have an inexplicable urge to be creative. I tried art, photography, and while I was decent at those, writing held the most freedom. I can create entire worlds with the only limit being my imagination! It’s the best pastime there is!

When did you start writing?

Like most writers, as soon as I could pick up a pencil! I wrote poetry and stories throughout high school, and I wrote my first novel in college.

What genre(s) do you write?

Fantasy and most of its subgenres.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I write, or work on writerly tasks such as editing and marketing, pretty much any free moment I get. That means fifteen minutes in the morning, fifteen at lunch at my day job, maybe an hour when I get home, and then as many hours as my husband can handle on the weekends! I love writing and I’ll never get enough.

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?

My main strength is that I don’t suffer writer’s block like I see from many other authors. My problem is I have too many stories in my head to write and I have to pick one (or three). I focus best when I make a daily schedule and make a plan of what I’m going to be working on for the next few months. That keeps me focused rather than getting caught up in a hundred different storylines.

Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?

I just sit down and start writing. No inspiration necessary, although I do enjoy the occasional Skyrim soundtrack to get me in my own head. I wouldn’t say I put myself in my stories, but every writer will take and borrow from their own life. I’d say that in my first novel, Fallen to Grace, I relate to Azrael and her struggles of being so different from everyone else, and learning that being different could mean she could make a difference in the world for the better.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I used to be a pantser, but after trashing over 100k in words, I started doing a hybrid method of loose, bulletpoint outlines paired with letting the words take me. I have gotten faster at writing. I target 1-2k words on a workday, and 10k words on a weekend.

Tell us about your latest book

My latest book would be Rise to Hope, book two in the Celestial Downfall Trilogy. This is really a trilogy from the heart. Most of the reviews are readers completely taken aback. They didn’t expect this story and praise how unique and broad the world-building is. I love books from Robin Hobb and Mercedes Lackey, but I wanted to write that kind of magic system in the style of Unearthly or Angelfall. So my angel fantasy was born and I just love it. I’m glad readers seem to love it too!

While this is a difficult niche to market, I don’t regret writing it. I’m constantly trying out new strategies to get my work in front of readers. I’ll be hosting an Angels & Magic boxed set with 15 other authors this summer, so I’m super excited to see how it turns out!

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

Indie published all the way. I had a traditional publisher interested in my angel series, but once I looked at the pros and cons, I realized I wanted to go indie. Angel fantasy is a small niche and difficult to market, and publishers didn’t hide the fact they had no plans to help me market—yet they’d take 90% of my royalties. I can hire my own editors and cover designers, so if a publisher isn’t going to support my visibility, I don’t see the benefit.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

I’m wrapping up the Celestial Downfall Trilogy of course, but I’m also writing a bonus standalone novel with it! I’ve had a beautiful cover commissioned and am already shoving it off on it’s long-term pre-order.

AJ Announcement post

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

My goal is to improve as a writer with each book I write and to get my work in front of readers who will love it. I studied writing for two years before I took the plunge into publishing. I constantly am reading craft books, listening to marketing podcasts, and am delving into the community of indie authors to learn from them, as well as support them too. It’s a great community and I love being a part of it. I can’t wait to see what 2018 holds!

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

There are so many successful authors out there that sometimes it can get intimidating. The best advice I was given was to “keep my eyes on my own paper.” I write at my pace, and I write what I love. I have a small, but strong, readership and it is growing every day. Last year, no one knew who I was. This year, I received a comment on my blog from a lady who was in a lot of pain and said my stories were the only thing that helped her to escape from it. It made me cry! So it just goes to show, I’m doing something right, and I’m going to keep doing it!



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1 Comment

  1. Beautiful covers and great advice! It’s so easy to compare yourself to everyone else and feel unsatisfied because you don’t have whatever it is you think they do.

    Liked by 1 person

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