My favorite book – or AJ Nuest and Jezebel’s Wish
Today I have my dear friend AJ Nuest visiting. I have to tell this little story and then I’ll jump in the round pen with AJ and Jezebel’s Wish. When I first sold to TWRP my lovely editor *waves to Nan* suggested I look at some of their covers for style and tone ideas for my book. While skimming the many pages I came across this beautiful book with a black horse running through the snow. It had absolutely no qualities I could use for my book but I read the excerpt and knew I would have to read that book. I’d never heard of the author, but knowing she was a fellow WRP author, I had hopes of getting acquainted some day. I still had that star struck feeling of meeting all these awesome authors that I was now a small part of going on. Well, with the excitement of my own book, I forgot who the author was (and didn’t find time to look it up again for a long while). Not long after I joined The Wild Rose Press Yahoo loop a wonderfully friendly woman began cheering me on with each step of my book. Her name was AJ Nuest. Then one day I visited another blog and there was that book. The one I HAD TO HAVE! Then I realized it was AJ’s. I had no idea she was the author until that day. Have I mentioned my really BAD memory lately? I think it was two weeks later that I won her book on another blog. I was in heaven. I’m so proud to call AJ, and so many WRP authors, my friend. They truly are an amazing bunch of talent.
That’s my story. Just needed to share what a wonderful woman AJ Nuest is.
Much heartfelt thanks to Calisa for hosting me at her blog today, and for being such an incredibly supportive friend. I loves ya, babe!
Ditto! So let’s find out more about you, sweetie.
- Usually when there is a truly damaged hero or heroine the other is scarred as deeply so they can grow and heal together. What made you decide Jezzy needs a ‘healthy’ hero?
I never purposely started out to make Matty a ‘healthy’ hero — and let’s face it, next to Jezzy, everyone looks healthy. However, I did intend for him to be strong enough to rescue her – from the past, from her mistakes, from the guilt she carries. To me, nothing represents love better than someone sacrificing their own happiness to help another. And Matty does this without hesitation for Jezzy, because unless she finds her way through the grief, neither of them can move forward. This is one of the key elements in Jezebel’s Wish. To show that without fail, helping another is ultimately the greatest reward we can give ourselves.
- If you could go anywhere in the world but could take only one item that wasn’t a book- what would it be? (discounting the obvious; clothes, toiletries, etc)
Does this place have power? Then hands down my laptop. If you’re taking reading away from me, I’ll write – and make up my own darn stories. Ha. So There!
Haha. I’ll let you have that one.
- When you were writing JW, what was the theme song? Does it still apply now that the book is published?
I didn’t have one. Which is really strange since I’ve sound tracked the entire manuscript for Flicker, my latest WIP. Maybe this is because I’ve yet to find a song that emulates the emotional intensity of Jezebel’s Wish?
I kept humming “Run For the Roses” while reading JW. I know- that’s a song about a young horse winning the Kentucky Derby, but still- the emotional outage suits Jezzy to me. It’s about winning the ultimate prize, and she did.
- If you could talk to either Jezzy or Matty (for real), who would you talk to and what would you say to/ask them?
Neither. I would spend the entire afternoon in the barn, grooming The Reverend. I would share all my hopes and dreams for the future, tell him everything about my family and life, and then we would go for a long ride, listening to nothing but the creak of the saddle and the quiet hush of the forest. Sounds like the perfect day to me.
Me too. I love that horse. He looks nothing like my Sonny, but inside? Yeah.
- Before I submitted my soon to be release HOME, I told friends/family that if it didn’t sell somewhere that I would indie publish it just because I truly believed in that couple and their story. Did you ever think of JW in that way before it sold, or would it have ended up in the box under the bed?
Since Jezebel’s Wish was one of my first stories, I wasn’t really aware of the indie publishing market as a choice to getting the story out there. In retrospect, I think I would have kept submitting until it was contracted somewhere. I’m sure one day I’ll take the plunge into self-publishing, but I’m not quite there yet.
Me neither. Boy am I glad HOME sold! I’d have been forced to back that bullet and dive in and I’m not sure I could have then or now.
- Sometimes when I begin a new story and get stuck it’s because one of my main characters isn’t up for the job. When Matty came to you for the first time did you know he’d be the man to heal Jezzy, or was he even the first hero you interviewed for the role?
Generally, and because my writing time is so limited, by the time I sit down to pluck away at the keys, each character I envision is pretty well rounded out in my head. And because Matty is so strong, both physically and emotionally, he was in really sharp focus before I had the chance to get him down on paper. No other man could have saved Jezzy, in my opinion. He needed to be really secure in who he was and what he wanted, and not afraid to face Jezzy’s demons, while at the same time exhibiting a deep sense of empathy and patience.
- I love Jezzy. I told you throughout reading the book that I loved her, I ‘got’ her. We have an industry full of editors and authors who tell us not to write a hero or heroine the reader won’t feel empathy or sympathy for right away, or at least very soon after the book starts. Or at least like. What made you decide to break the mold, go against a proven route and risk everything for Jezebel?
Honestly, I had NO IDEA I was ‘breaking the mold’, as you say, or that I had ventured into uncharted waters with Jezzy. Truth is, even though I’ve always been an avid reader, my tastes generally gravitate toward the fantasy genre. Not until JW hit cyberspace did I realize my story was ‘different’ than your typical romance. One friend recently told me the reason this story gets such an intense reaction is because Jezebel’s Wish falls into the Women’s Fiction genre. But because of the beautiful relationship between Jezzy and Matty, it’s also a romance. Since its publication, I’ve come to the conclusion my writing tends to blur the lines between genres. And that’s just fine with me.
My take on Jezebel’s Wish by my lovely and talented friend, AJ Nuest~
I honestly felt that this was Matty’s story more than Jezzy’s. Why? Because he didn’t have a personal conflict, I think. So this became the path to his happiness after caring selflessly for others all his life– giving his all to a broken soul with no thought to himself. He knew she might leave– I know he did (even if that was just in the back of the author’s mind)– he knew and yet he persevered. It was almost as though he needed to prove to himself that he could save her, one last battle before he could settle down and let happiness claim him. Yes, it was about Jezzy, her fears, pain, self-loathing– but it was really Matty’s success story in the end for me.
And for fun:
What’s your favorite number? 7 – cliché, I know. But it’s always brought me luck. I also have a special fondness for the number 3. Faith, hope, and charity. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Past, present, and future. Body, soul and mind. Three is a significant number.
My number is 2-unity. But 5 is also another significant number. The 5 wounds of Christ. When you fly- window or aisle seat? Aisle seat, because I love to watch the scenery, usually with a notebook and pen in hand.
Your favorite living person in the world? (husbands and significant others exempt) My daughter, Lily Belle. The best way to describe her is “a beam of light”. She’s incredibly beautiful (and in case you think I’m biased, here’s a photo), effervescent, has limitless energy, and illuminates my heart with her constant joy. The way she views life is astonishing to me. And she is always singing, even while she eats. A dear friend of mine recently had the opportunity to meet Lily Belle, and afterwards my friend looked me straight in the eye and said, “You DO know your daughter is a fairy, right?” When I laughed, my friend said, “I’m dead serious.” Makes sense, I guess, since Lily Belle spends a large portion of her time sitting in the trees around our property…playing with butterflies…while she sings.
I’m pretty sure I know who deemed Lily Belle a fairy and I fully agree. She’s a beauty. I can almost hear her sing.
Haunted by nightmares, tormented by guilt, Jezebel came to Redemption Ranch to escape the past—except now she’s stuck in the middle of nowhere with no redemption in sight. When her mother pushes her into riding lessons with local veterinarian Matthias Saunders, Jezebel balks. Sure, the doctor is gorgeous, but he’s completely obnoxious and knows how to push every one of her buttons.
Only her deep connection with The Reverend, a gentle stallion who guards her darkest secrets, has her agreeing to spend any more time with Dr. Saunders. Caring for the stallion is the first bright spot in her life in months, and if being around the horse means she has to deal with Matthias Saunders, then so be it. Surely a city girl like her can handle one country vet—even one with disturbing blue eyes. Can’t she?
Jezzy stopped. “I thought I was having a riding lesson.”
“You are.” He nodded toward the empty paddock. “Go in.”
“Go in?” Jezzy propped a hand on her hip. “You sure you know what you’re doing? Because it was my understanding that an actual horse is needed for a riding lesson.”
“Don’t you think it would be wise at this juncture to leave the understanding up to the professionals?”
Jezzy rolled her eyes. “You’re making this way too easy. Professionals? Please. Don’t get me started.”
“Why not? Getting you started is exactly what I’m here for.”
Jezzy’s jaw dropped. She didn’t quite know how to interpret that remark.
He held out the rope. “Now go in. And take this lead line with you.” Steely blue determination glinted in his eyes. There was no way he was going to give in.
Jezzy snatched the lead line from his hand and stormed through the gate, then turned when he closed it behind her.
He put a foot on the bottom railing and rested against the gate, facing the horizon. “Take the chair to the center of the paddock and sit down.”
“And just exactly how is that supposed to teach me to ride?”
He cocked an eyebrow. “You want out of the deal?”
Jezzy’s fist clenched tight around the lead line. What she wanted was to march back to the fence and smack his face.
AJ Nuest lives in northwest Indiana with her loving husband and two beautiful children. She is the Senior Editor for Still Moments Publishing, and the author of two contemporary romance novels.
Visit her on the web at:
Facebook: Tattered Pages http://tinyurl.com/3qvxyn6
Jezebel’s Wish Buy Links:
The Wild Rose Press: http://tinyurl.com/446f7r3
Thanks for dropping in AJ. And to one lucky commentor you can have your own copy of Jezebel’s Wish if you leave your email in the comments.
Posted on 10/12/2011, in Interview, The Wild Rose Press, Welcome and tagged #TWRP, AJ Nuest, Calisa Rhose, excited, giveaway, guest, Jezebel's Wish, Nan Swanson, Writing. Bookmark the permalink. 63 Comments.
I emailed her AJ so let me know if you don’t hear from her. Dang- if I’d known this today I could have just told her at the rwa meeting today! Oh, if only I’d had internet today. 🙂
AND THE WINNER IS…ALICIA DEAN!! Whoo Hoo! And just in case anyone is wondering, my fairy picked the name from a hat so I know it was fair. Alicia if you see this, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll zip over your free copy!
Great getting to know AJ and her book!
(And yes, her daughter IS lovely!!)
Glad you made it Jennifer! You have a chance to read AJ’s baby now, too.
Your blog is so spring-timey! I loved visiting this morning.
*Sighing some more* Thanks, AJ. Sweet dreams tonight for sure!
Here’s Matty!! Look! http://ajbooks.blogspot.com
*Waving hanky in the air* What? This is fun! Happy tears are GOOD, AJ.
Yes, yes, I’m a firm believer in crying — and not just good tears. Gotta have me a good cry about once a week. Cleanses out all the gook.
Okay, fine, now I’m blubbering like an idiot! Stop! We’re supposed to be having fun not weeping!! I’m going back over to where Matty is tied to the bed…I mean, being held hostage.
P.S. I love you, Arial. I’m so glad you got to meet Lily Belle and the rest of my family. Such great, great friends. I am truly blessed Sigh…
Hey, ladies!!! Sorry I’m late. A little swamped these days. GREAT interview, Calisa and AJ! I have to say, when I read JW, I balled my eyes out and I called AJ up to curse her. She didn’t answer her phone, so I left a message: “I have a headache and it’s all your fault! I balled my eyes out *sniff, sniff* reading Jezebel’s Wish, *sniff, sniff* and curse you for writing such a heart-wrenching, emotional story! Now I have to go take some Advil or something.” LOL!
I’m proud to say I was the one who saw Lily Belle’s wings. 😀 I asked her, “Do you know how big your wings are?” She shook her head. I put her arms up over her head, like she was reaching out to hug the sun, and said, “They come out all the way to here where your hands are.” She got the biggest smile on her face. What a sweet pea!!!! Love that little girl! (Ok, crying now!) Thanks for blessing me with your little fairy daughter, AJ!!
Hugs to all of you!!!!!!
That’s my two pence…
I just KNEW it was you who said it, Arial! I’m glad we decided to extend the visitation to Friday. And I’m thrilled you made it by. I didn’t call AJ but she may have received more than a few text messages. *if I keep going do you think she’ll blush and cry again?*
Seriously- I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!
I’m hooked – can’t wait to read this one!
Kristi, do not delay! READ THIS BOOK!!! If you don’t win it here- you have to buy it. Have. To. *from twrp’s site preferably :)*
LOL! Kristina, you are so funny. We’re doing the draw on Friday, so keep those fingers crossed! Thank you so much for the great vote of confidence!!
Okay! We’re holding Matty hostage until Friday! WoooHooo!!!!!
Holding. Matty. Hostage. Calisa, you keep coming up with these phrases that curl my toes! Y’okay! Let’s hold him hostage! I can’t even TELL you what a wonderful visual that is!
I didn’t say anything about a bed, AJ. But now that you mention it… THAT’S a visual I can get into!
I loved hearing how you ‘met’ The Reverend before you met the author Calisa – LOL. It is one stunning cover and the story inside is just as great – I agree : ) This is one of those stories that stay with you. AJ did a wonderful job alright : )
AJ – your fairy is BEAUTIFUL. And the name Lily is one we almost called our own daughter. Its a magical name, entirely fitting for such an angel.
Being a horse person, the Reverend on the cover naturally drew me in. The artist (Rae Monet wasn’t it?) did a spectacular job with that one capturing the essence of the book.
My cover was actually designed by RJ. I got soooo lucky in having her — right from the get-go this story has been blessed. She did a studenous job. It actually finaled in a contest. 🙂
Isn’t that so totally COOL, LaVerne? And so serendipitous, right? Wow. It’s like Calisa and I were destined to meet…okay, that maybe sounds a little weird…
I’ll take weird! 🙂 Now, how far is Indiana from Oklahoma? *gets the atlas and flips pages…*
Enjoyed the blog, Calisa and AJ. Already bought the book and loved it. “Smiley face here.”
Thank you so much, Nancy! The outpouring of support from my fellow WRP authors never ceases to amaze me!! Hugs and thanks again!
Hi AJ…wonderful blog post. Calisa, thank you for introducing us to such talented and interesting people on your blog (the authors and characters that live inside them ). I LOVE the idea behind this story and I, too, am curious to get to know these amazing characters (and curious about why Jezzy is haunted/guilty). I love it when a flawed character comes alive in a book and makes us love him/her. As a TWRP author (and editor), I’m thrilled to hear such high praise for the company. I’m very proud to be a part of a publisher who not only recognizes great stories, but allows authors to bend, twist, and/or break a few rules. 🙂 Best of luck, AJ, and congratulations on your success!
Hi Alicia. It’s a pleasure for me to meet and have a chance to introduce so many to the wonderful world that it The Wild Rose Press and its authors (and editors :)). I’m excited to know I’m succeeding with my blog. I couldn’t do it without the wonderful people who visit and my guests. Thank you!
Alicia, you are one lucky, lucky girl to be working for such a great organization. I’m a little green here! 🙂 Thank you so much for the kind words. Jezzy is definitely a little prickly in the beginning, but as her story is revealed, it’s my sincere wish everyone learns to love her as much as I did! Cheers and thanks for stopping by!
Oh, thank you, Jill! How totally cool for you to say such nice things. I really appreciate it, my friend! Off now to check in with Amie over on your blog! 🙂
AJ and Calisa, thank you for sharing such a deep inside look at Jezebel’s Wish. I love that story. It is so rich, textured, and full of life.
>This is one of the key elements in Jezebel’s Wish. To show that without fail, helping another is ultimately the greatest reward we can give ourselves<
OK, that does it. Off to buy this book.
Can't tell you how many times I've been told my characters were coming off unsympathetic, and how I've had to re-write stories, often feeling I left some of the passion behind. I'm so glad you found a publisher willing to take a chance on an "unsympathetic" character in the beginning.
LOL Lynne! Yay! Glad to hear it! Although, now you realize, I’m going to be pestering you for feedback. I sincerely hope you do enjoy the read! Thank you so much for making this a great day!!
Don’t buy it yet Lynne! You could win it right here!
The book is now on my Kindle – I hope some other lucky person wins it!
Lynne Marshall you just moved to the top of my Most Favorite People List! Thank you for purchasing a copy of Jezebel’s Wish!! Now I’ll be expecting feedback when your done! Chewing a thumbnail until then!!
AJ, I do love that cover! Book looks wonderful, best of luck! Enjoyed the interview, you two!
I love that cover too. First time I saw it, I wept buckets. Literally. The cover artists so keenly turned into the exact feel of JW through that cover. And The Reverend…so a great, great horse. Love him!
Hi Neecy! So nice to see you here! You know those times zones — only works for me when I’m having one of those days where I’m looking for five o’clock somewhere. Thanks for stopping by to read about JW!
AJ if you’re late I don’t know what I am… LOL
This was a great interview with you and Calisa!
Your book piqued my interest.
It’s nice to meet you.
Thanks for dropping by Ceecy! You’re entered to win a copy! I have your email if you win.
Hi J.D.! Thanks so much for stopping in for a visit. JW is definitely an emotional story — but I must say, I wouldn’t have it any other way. This story has really made some waves, and I think in the end that’s what is all about. Glad to see you here!
Hi Gale! Thank you so much for adding JW to your TBR list! Those words are music to an author’s ears! LOL Glad to see you here!!
Good Morning Amy Lou! Thank you so much for all the kind words about JW. Oh Matty…*gush, gush*. Yep, a girl just canNOT get enough of Matty. Sigh…he reallly is the best hero EVER! At least in my humble opinion…
Love ya, Sweetie! Thanks for stopping by.
Hi Cyeko! Thanks for stopping in. We’ll make sure to add your name to the give-away draw for a free e-book!
Yes. Let’s be nice to my cps who drop in. (Nooooo- that does not mean to rig the drawing. Random.org has control over that.)
Good morning W. Lynne! Actually, I’m the one who told Calisa about your chef. We’ve sorta been hoping to get him to “spread the wealth” if you know what I mean.
You and me, baby, sitting side by side as we click away on our laptops in this remote location Calisa has sent us off to. I’m THERE!
I’m so glad you enjoyed JW. Love ya!
ROFL. Ok. How about the laptops AND chef. Calisa, wanna join us?
Oh my word, that’s it! Bring it, baby! Altho…if Calisa joins us we may have to discuss the possibility of adding a cabana boy or two…assuming this random location is near the beach. I mean, let’s be civilized, right?
I’m definitely there Lynne! Heck yeah. And we can go to a remote island. Did I mention it will be stocked with Matty-look-a-like cabana boys? The inland streams are made of wine and chocolate. With all that sizzle I’m sure there will be enough current to run IBM!
Matty look-a-like cabana boys….that phrase makes me mushy all over. Fizzle-sha-zizzle, baby! Bring it!
You make me laugh, AJ!
Hi Sarah! Sorry you had to stop in and run. Come back later for wine!! And yep, I loves my fairy daughter! She’s the best!!
Good morning, ladies. Just wanted to stop by and check out AJ’s interview. AJ, sounds like Jezebel’s Wish is a beautiful story. I must say, it’s nice to see characters now and then who get to remain comfortable in their situation. He sounds really interesting. (and poor Jezebel too!) I wish you all good luck with it!
Hello Everyone! I’m so sorry I’m late. OY! Wednesdays are “late start” day at school so it takes a bit longer to get the kids up and out the door.
Calisa…oh my dear sweet, Calisa. I had no idea about how you saw the cover for JW prior to our meeting. Your story about wanting to read the book even before we met brought tears to my eyes. I am SO lucky to have met you, and I feel totally the same way about all the wonderfully talented authors at WRP. Seriously, an angel was smiling at me the day I signed my first contract there.
Thank you for being such a loyal friend, and for cheering on the message behind JW! Big hugs to you for hosting me today!! Now it’s time to return some more comments!! Whoo Hoo!!
That’s what great friendships are built on, AJ. Always learning about each other. Always sharing with each other. Always being there to support one another. Love ya Babe!
I’ll have to duck out a while this afternoon for a parent/teacher conference for the first grader- but I’ll return after four.
Thanks for a great interview. AJ your cover is beautiful and after reading the excerpt Jezebels’ Wish is on my TBR list.
Hi Christine. You said it. Everything about this book is PERFECT! Everything.
Amy- you are so right about the POV. AJ does such a wonderful job that I ‘knew’ Matty without his POV. An incredible piece of art. And you’re so right that Matty doesn’t save Jezzy. But man he does a good job making her pull up the boot straps and work for her own happiness, doesn’t he? *SIGH* I love Mathias.
AJ!! WAKE UP!!!! The party is raging and your presence is needed!
Just wanted to stop by and tell everyone–Good morning! Jezebels’ Wish is definitely a must read! It does break some rules–well, it bends them a whole lot–and it pushes the genre envelope, but in a good way. I LOVE that it’s told entirely from Jezzy’s POV. The reader doesn’t need to know every little thought that Matty has–we know he’s wonderful, patient and caring. And what more could a girl need–oh, sinfully good looking! Check. LOL If Matty had as many issues as Jezzy, they would have never made it together and the book would have been overly emotionally charged. For those of you who haven’t read it, Matty does NOT save Jezebel. He simply stands beside her encouraging her to save herself. What a guy!! 🙂
Hi Calisa and AJ…congrats on a wonderful interview!
AJ I love your trailer and cover…PERFECT. Read through the blurb and I have to say you have my interest. I wonder about Jezzy, what she’s done in her past that tortures her. And curious to read more about the man that looks past her faults. He already sounds like a hero for that!
Congrats on your success!
Sarah- I’m so glad we offered a good stall for you. Have a wonderful day!
Lynn- Lol definitely give that man a raise! Dig in and enjoy!
Hi Cheryl- I’m so glad you made it over. Good luck on the book drawing. I use Random.org.
Hey Calisa. Just wanted to drop by and say howdy!
Great interview. Sounds like a good read.
Have a great day ladies. My email is: email@example.com.
Hi Calisa. LOL My chef? I think it’s time to give him a raise and a bonus. Mind if I try the chocolate cream cheese?
Hi AJ. Great interview ladies. I LOVED JW. I “got” the characters, rode that emotional rollercoaster with them. And AJ I totally agree with the laptop thing. If I can’t have a book, I’ll write my own. lol!
Good morning Aj and Calisa! How are you both today? I’m sitting in my kitchen putting off heading to the day job and reading about JW was just the stall tactic I needed. 🙂
Calisa, no time for a treat. Just wanted to say hi.
AJ, you know I love ya! And Lily Belle is SO TOTALLY a fairy. Seriously.
Hi AJ, I am SO excited to have you here today! Thanks for coming. Grab your treat of choice (sorry I couldn’t steal Lynn’s chef so I catered). I have all flavors of coffee and later today I’ll put out the wine and chocolates. For now, how does chocolate cream cheese sound?
I can’t wait to get this shin-dig underway!!! And give away a copy of Jezebel’s Wish!