Tonight’s feature is for A.J. Lape, a fellow Ohio author. Thank you so much A.J. for joining the blog tour. Enjoy the interview everyone!
A. J. lives in Cincinnati with her husband, two feministic daughters, an ADD dog, a spoiled hamster, and an unapologetic and unrepentant addiction to Coca-Cola. She studied English, Journalism, and Political Science at Morehead State University and left the business world when her daughters were born. Her love for suspense and a good story was spawned from watching Mystery Science Theater with her sister during childhood. That and any B movie with comedic undertones they could get their hands on.
When she’s not riding that razor-thin line between creativity and insanity, she likes to read, watch too much cable TV, or cheer like a banshee at her daughters’ sporting events. She’s a huge hometown sports fan and loves to watch the Cincinnati Bengals and Cincinnati Reds whenever she can.
A. J. loves to connect with fans! If you would like to receive emails of upcoming releases, please sign up for her distribution list by visiting her homepage at http://www.ajlape.com and clicking the “contact” tab.
Find A. J. Lape Online:
Fifteen years ago, Darcy Walker’s parents thought it was a good idea to give her a unique name: Darcy, meaning “dark walker.” Whether that was a stroke of genius or stroke of stupid, they definitely nailed the irony. She lacks direction, her grades stink despite a high IQ, she’s boringly average–although flirting admirers claim otherwise–and God help her, she’s infatuated with a bad-boy.
A bad-boy that her hottie best friend, Dylan, wishes would get acquainted with his fist.
And, oh yeah, there’s that tattoo that was a royally stupid idea.
With her life spiraling out of control, everything changes when she skips class and finds a dead body…in fact, it gets worse. It jump-starts Darcy’s inner-verb, and her brain hardwired for action gets caught up in a situation she can’t let go.
Set in the fictional Cincinnati town of Valley, Ohio, Darcy falls into a world of threats, violence, and gangland exploits, chasing down every clue to finger the murderer. When a fellow misfit is arrested for the crime, Darcy goes from zero-to-sixty trying to clear his name—constructing aliases, breaking the law, everything that makes perfect sense to her, but reeks of Grade A Stupid to everyone else.
Trouble is…will she live to see 16?
1 When did you first start writing? I majored in English and Journalism in college so I’ve always had a pen or pencil in my hand, but my journey with the Darcy Walker Series came to me on Friday, 13th, 2008. That was a particularly crappy day—you can hear about it in one of those awful E True Hollywood Stories some day. I just picked up my laptop to “vent.” Darcy literally “walked” onto the page with her kick-butt heroine self and has never left.
2 Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be? I loved to write, that’s for sure. And I knew I’d either go into journalism, criminal justice, or police work.
3 What genre do you prefer to work within? Or do you mix it up? The Darcy Walker Series is a YA Mystery, but I’m also working on The Jude Nichols Saga which is urban fantasy.
4 Where does your inspiration for these stories (this story) come from? I’m influenced a lot by current events and pop culture. With Grade A Stupid, it really comes down to the fact that I have a soft spot in my heart for people that are wired a little differently than everyone else—who can’t fit their square-peg mind through society’s round hole. I wanted to create a character that people could identify with, who showed you that you could accomplish something when you put your mind to it, by simply embracing what makes you unique. (My muse just poked me in the ribs…) Let me rephrase, that’s not totally true. I didn’t set out to create this character. Darcy Walker sort of found me.
5 What has your publishing experience been like? I’ve had a blast, every step of the way. Some steps I’ve done easier than the others, but overall I wouldn’t change any of the lessons that I’ve learned.
6 Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? i.e. You listen to music, sit in a certain chair? I get up around 8AM, hurriedly go through emails, jump in the shower, take my ten year old to school, then come back home and crack open a can of Coke. Then I look at my notes from the night before because I’ll often map out my next day at midnight or beyond. I’m a major night owl…I’ve tried to conform to the normal world, but so far, conformity and I don’t mix. After I peruse my notes, I pick a song for motivation and say a quick prayer…I’m a pretty simple person.
7 How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books? I love weirdness…so if I’m writing an unsavoury character, rest assured, I’m going to give them a unique, gritty name. Most of the time, I research the true origin of a name, too.
8 In your most recent work, who is your favourite character and why? Right now, I’m writing No Brainer, book two in the Darcy Walker Series, and I have to say, Dylan Taylor’s voice is coming EXTREMELY easy for me. He’s Darcy’s best friend and they have a “flirtationship” that’s about to incinerate the planet.
9 Did you learn anything from writing your book? What was it? That when I hit a roadblock, the universe would open a door. I also found out that I’m not a quitter. Down deep, there are days in self-publishing where you want to throw up your hands and leave the stress behind. Don’t…hang in there, because the feeling of gratification you get for seeing a job through is like no other.
10 How did you/do you market your work? Social media, social media, social media. Facebook and twitter helped land Grade A Stupid in the Top 100 within 36 hours of its release. To say I was shocked was an understatement.
11 Can you describe the feeling you had when you saw your published book for the first time? Out of body, really. It was so surreal to see this person that had consumed my life for four and a half years to finally find the voice I thought she deserved.
12 Favourite authors? Karen Marie Moning and JR Ward. They mix action and suspense like no others.
13 Have you ever suffered from a “writer’s block”? What did you do to get past the “block”? Absolutely, but I think it’s like anything else in life. Don’t let it beat you. Keep writing, even if it’s only 100 words in a day. I promise that you and your muse will get back on track. When that’s happened to me, I usually find it’s because I’ve taken the story in a direction that my muse didn’t agree with. I wholeheartedly believe that your subconscious will speak to you if you take the time to listen.
14 What piece of advice would you give to a new writer? Don’t be afraid to ask for advice, don’t ever quit, and embrace the positive and negative feedback as learning experiences. That being said, don’t let “haters” drag you down. I know that’s easier said than done because you feel like you’ve failed a little if people don’t get what you’re trying to do. A good friend of mind told me to concentrate on those that love your character and don’t waste time trying to convert those that don’t. That’s the best advice I’ve ever been given because it sets your muse free to tell the story that needs to be told.
Are you working on anything new? If so, can you tell me about it? Currently, I’m finishing up edits on No Brainer, book two in the Darcy Walker Series, and hope to dive back into my urban fantasy series when done.