I'm very excited to have Adrian J. Smith on my blog today, a very engaging woman and author. She currently has two exciting series she is working on, and if you read below, you're going to find something revealed here first!!!! Here's an introduction ...
Adrian J. Smith, or “AJ” as she is often called, is a part-time writer with an epic imagination, sharp wit, and kind heart that gets her into a bit of trouble when it comes to taking in all the neighborhood stray cats. Being obsessed with science fiction, Smith often goes off on tangents about the space-time continuum. She is also a part-time lunatic with a secretive past. It’s been rumored that she was once a spy for the government, but anyone who has gotten close enough to know the truth has never lived to tell the tale. When traveling around the world on various classified tasks, Smith requires the following be provided: buffalo jerky, mimosas, and eighty-six pennies. This is all we know about the reclusive woman.
Adrian, tell us what made you decide to try to become a published author? How did you get started?
I have always wanted to be published, since I first started writing when I was twelve years old. I think I just thought it would be really cool to see my name in print. The more I wrote, the more I just wanted to share my stories with other people who would love the same type of stories. That’s still what it’s about to me. I was asked one time whether or not it would make a difference if I was published, and I have to honestly say the answer is no. It wouldn’t matter. I would still be writing and sharing my stories to the best of my abilities.
As for starting in the publishing world, that happened by sheer luck and amazing people. I met someone on twitter, and poof, had a publisher less than a year later! Go figure.
We know what your bio says. Tell us one thing about yourself that you think might surprise us.
I have a Muppet phobia, and I was once stuck on a bus with forty-four kids for six hours while they watched the new Muppet movie. Nightmares for weeks.
Do you remember what it was like, the feeling you had when your first book was out there in the world for everyone to see?
Yes, why I do remember what it was like. I suppose you want me to describe it and that’s hard to do. I believe I was utterly speechless for about twenty minutes when I first heard from my publisher about her wanting to publish my book, which is the strongest memory I have. I remember coming home and reading the email and going, “Um…um…um…” I couldn’t even tell my mom; I had to forward the email to her, which she didn’t get. So hours later when she was walking home from work, I called her and told her.
And Oh. My. God. The woman starts going up to strangers on the street and telling them that her daughter was going to be published while I was still on the phone with her! Talk about insanity, but that was the best part. That is the part I always want to remember—the feeling of utter joy and pride from my mom.
Once the book came out, which I now realize was the actual question, there wasn’t so much joy or feeling. It just an overwhelming feeling of success and relief. No more work to do on it! I should also mention that I had the flu when it came out, so I wasn’t really feeling or thinking much!
First I want to ask you about James Matthews. Tell us about her and her trilogy, without spoilers of course!
Without spoilers? Can’t I just say what happens in every single book so that no one has to read it? Umm…James Matthews is a firefighter who has started to become a bit disillusioned with the job. It’s not what she expected or wanted it to be. Instead of going to fires, she mostly goes to medical calls. However, James has been to one house fire where she saved a two-year-old girl, Lily. Two years later (where we come into the story), James keeps having recurring nightmares about Lily and the fire.
I should probably mention that James is a woman at this point just to make that completely clear. It is not just a typo. James also has a super-secret lover who probably has more secrets than James does. Now, I’m not going to mention this super-secret lover’s name, because I do want that to be an experience when you read it.
The first in the series follows James through her nightmares and her struggling relationship. Of course a few more things happen, but that would mean spoilers, so I’ll just shush now. The second book, Dying Embers (which will be out this December), is actually a prequel to Forever Burn. I have to say, it is very interesting to write the prequel after the sequel. Dying Embers focuses on the start of James’ relationship with her super-secret lover and how all that went down. It’s quite amusing and funny in certain places, but I’m a bit biased.
[Aaron's note: Over there --> you can see for the first time the cover for Dying Embers!!!!]
The third novel in the trilogy is called Ashes Fall and takes places eleven years after Forever Burn. I’ve just completed writing that one and am in the editing process. Ashes Fall focuses on James and her furthering relationship with Lily and said super-secret lover. I’m sure that if you read the first book, you’ll be wondering how this happens, so you’ll just have to read this one too. Lily is struggling throughout this book with everything that has happened in her past, as is James. So the third book is far darker than the first time, and the tension is ramped up.
I’m fairly sure that I put James through so much that if she were real she might punch me, or hand me over to her super-secret lover’s ex-fiancé. (Yeah, wrap your mind around that one, I dare you.)
You also have a series working that you’ve just started called the Spirit of Grace. Give us a taste of what this series is about.
This series was so much fun to write. It follows Sheriff’s Deputy Grace Halling for a few months (least the first book in the series). This is a mix between a crime novel and a COPS episode. We only see Grace and follow her; however, we do run into so many other people.
In the first novel, Grace thinks everything is great and fine until she runs into Police Chaplain Amya Stone. Then her world is thrown a bit off-balance. Not only is hopelessly and helplessly attracted to Amya, but her best friend and mentor, Daniel Mason Brady, is retiring. Throughout the first novel, Grace’s personal life starts to get bumpy and her work life is just downright scary.
Officers are being targeted solely for the fact that they put on their uniform and step out of their homes to protect the city. People start to die and chaos starts to reign down.
Throughout all of this, Grace keeps running into a particular teenager that she can’t stop from helping. Peter is a nineteen-year-old drunk who just loves to spew Bible verses and really hard questions that Grace can’t even conceive of answering.
Each chapter is designed for a day in the life of Deputy Halling, with some small interceding chapters on Grace’s personal life. Grace is strong and stubborn as a Sheriff’s Deputy, but when it comes to her personal life, she has no idea where to step without losing her footing. She makes quite a contradiction that I quickly fell in love with.
I also completely fell in love with Peter.
If there is one character you would really like people to meet, who would it be?
This is such a hard question because I have a lot, though many die (NOT a spoiler, I swears it!). Only one? Yeesh. I’m going to have to say Peter from For by Grace. Mostly because he reminds me of me in one sense, and in another someone that I would be best friends with. It’s a tossup between him and Addison from the James Matthew’s series. Addison stole my heart and hasn’t given it back yet.
The tagline on your website says “A Torch in the Wind”. I’m wondering if this phrase has some sort of special meaning to you?
The meaning is symbolic. There is always a light somewhere, and something is always threatening to put it out. However, if the light is strong enough, tenacious, willing, and brave enough, it will always prevail. Yet, it must also come to an end and die out. I don’t expect writing to always be this close to my heart. I do have a career that I’m working toward which is my number one passion.
What other ideas do you have bouncing around in your head?
Those are secret! I always have ideas bouncing around in there, to the point where often times it’s way too much to deal with. I’ve recently started a new serial (not series, but a serial) that involves witches, vampires and all sorts of fun creatures. I’m about a quarter of the way through the first book in that one.
Likewise, I have spoken with my co-writer, and we were talking about writing a new book this fall. Writing goes so much faster with two people, but the editing of said writing goes so much slower. We already have one that we’re working on editing, and I’m hoping that we’re done with that by October but that might be wishful thinking.
In November, I’ll be writing the sequel to For by Grace and the second in the Spirit of Grace series. And I’m sure I’ll find other little projects here and there to write on. I’m not very good at staying still or taking breaks.
So yes, plenty of ideas, always working!
What about being published and the book industry in general has most surprised you?
Surprised me? My senior project in high school was on the publishing industry and the different kinds of publishing, so I wasn’t ever shocked by anything in regards to that.
I would probably have to say is the authority people give me solely for the fact that I have a book out. It’s like suddenly I became a real writer, not just one that piddles around in the dark of night with a computer. People want my advice, they want to hear how I did it, they want to replicate that—and I’m sitting here going, get your own story! Mine’s not all that cool!
What other things besides writing do you have going on that keep you busy?
Everything! I run a writing group each week, I have blogging (though I don’t do that every day), I’m a full-time student working on my Master’s degree, I’m a part-time worker at a church, I’m a freelance copy-editor, I watch TV (currently in the middle of a West Wing and Star Trek: Enterprise rewatch), I read books, I crochet, I have two kitties that I love to play with (Rusty the Wonder Kitten and Seeley), and I have friends. I do actually hang out with friends! I have a bar that I haunt more days a week than I would care to admit.
To close the interview, I have ten questions for you, plus one. Here they go!
- What is your favorite word? Fuck. Can I say that? Definitely my favorite word. It can go in the beginning, middle or end of any other word and still make sense!
- What is your least favorite word? Suddenly
- What turns you on? I’m not sure how to answer this so... a smart mind and quick wit.
- What turns you off? Lying and creepiness.
- What sound or noise do you love? Why can’t this be smell? I have a great one for smell. I actually love the sound of silence. It’s very calming to me.
- What sound or noise do you hate? Thunder. I hate it. It scares the crap out of me.
- What is your favorite curse word? I believe I already answered that! Ha!
- What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Attempt? President of the Universe
- What profession would you not like to do? Anything that involves a fast-food chain.
- If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? Seeing as how I don’t believe God has a mouth since I don’t like to anthropomorphize God that would be hard to do. I think I just want to feel overwhelming love, comfort and peace.
- What question have you never been asked, that you wish someone would ask you? What drive or motivates you to keep bettering yourself and to keep working toward your goals, and how do you keep on track with all of that?
Adrian, thanks so much for spending time with us. Can you let us know where to follow you, and where we can go to purchase your work?
Why yes I can! And I’m a twitter addict!
To buy the pretties! You can go here
Rudy and Trish are the main characters in our two published short stories in the "Evernight: Romance in a World of Darkness" anthologies. You can get to know them as well as get 23 other great stories! Here's where you can find them: