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.