Tuesday, January 13, 2015



  Can you tell I am excited about doing this ?  hehe  Please welcome Author, and my dear friend A.J. Baczek to my blog today.  She so kindly is letting me do a giveaway of one of her books, and I am super excited.  I was suppose to do it a long time ago but with the holidays and some other things going on around here, I am only now getting to it.  So, without further ado, here is my interview with A.J. Baczek.  This particular interview is for her awesome book WITHOUT CONDITION.  I loved this book!  LOVED IT!  You can read my review here.

(seriously the sweetest cover)

ME:   Is there a message in your novel that you want 

readers to grasp?

A.J.:  Without Condition is a novel about learning to love unconditionally, but also about learning to receive that same kind of love. It's about learning to let people in, and learning to let go of the past. I would hope that readers could walk away from the story with a sense of hope, with an understanding of what it means to be loved, or to love someone else, through the hard times, mistakes, and rough emotions.

ME:  What was the hardest part of writing your book?

A.J.  This was a tough question. I guess I would say the hardest part of Without Condition was making sure I portrayed a genuine relationship between Jason and his son. As a woman, and as someone who is not a parent, I wanted to make sure I painted a believable picture. I also found myself asking some random questions of my friends who do have children, simply because I wasn't even sure if my portrayal of a six-year-old boy was anywhere near accurate.

ME:  If you had to choose, which writer would you 

consider a mentor?

A.J.:  I hope she doesn't mind me admitting it here, but I'd have to say Michelle D. Argyle. Her friendship came about sort of randomly, and I've learned a lot from her both as a writer and as a person. I've been known to go back through her blog posts when I need inspiration in a certain area. She's also been kind enough to help me through some of my own writing dilemmas. She's a wonderful person and a very gifted writer. Sometimes I still can't believe a "real" author is friends with someone like me! :)

ME:  I love Argyle as well.  You both inspire me :)

ME:  What genre do you consider your book(s)?

A.J.:  It might be boring, but I tend to throw my work into the general fiction/contemporary fiction category.

ME:  I don't think that is boring...I love fiction and contemporary fiction :).

ME:  Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to

 them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to 

deal with the bad?

A.J.:  For the sake of keeping this short, I'll say yes, I read them, and no I don't respond. As for handling negative reviews, the biggest thing I tell myself is that readers are entitled to their opinion. As a reader, I have books I adore, and books that I absolutely hate. It's a matter of personal preference, and in the end it's impossible to hit that five-star target with everyone. I have to release a product that reflects me and the story I want to tell, and if it doesn't resonate with every single reader, that's okay. 

ME:  Is there a certain type of scene that's harder for you to write than others? Love? Action?

A.J.:  I would say scenes that involve emotional tension (namely anger) are probably among the toughest (but they are also a lot of fun!) There is an intensely emotional chapter in Without Condition that took me months to piece together. I had to keep walking away from it, and finding the right words to portray what was really going on was a challenge. In some conflict scenes, I've found it easier to knock out dialogue, then go back and fill in movements and internal monologue later.

ME:  Do you have any strange writing habits (like 

standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

A.J.:  Someone gave me a waterproof notepad for Christmas as a joke, so if I wanted to write in the shower, I totally could! My quirkiest habit is probably texting or emailing notes to myself in the middle of the night. If I get a brilliant idea after I've gone to bed, I'll grab my phone and type myself a quick note. I've learned the hard way that no matter how much I believe I'll remember it in the morning, I never do. The best part is knowing that those notes to self would probably be complete gibberish to someone who's not living in my head.

ME:   How much research do you do?

A.J.:  It really depends on the story. My research for Without Condition was pretty limited. Most of it came down to some basic Internet searches for fact checking, and I did consult friends who were able to give me insight into subject matter I wasn't familiar with. I've found that first-hand experience is way cooler than anything you find online, so if I know someone who can give me a real, personal perspective on a certain topic, I'll talk to them.

ME:   Why do you write?

A.J.:  Because it is SO MUCH FUN. I love telling stories, and if I could never share them with anyone else, I'd still write them. My characters demand to be heard in one way or another. 

ME:  I love being able to talk to you about your characters and know that you understand how real they are to me also.  Even when I might not like them...hehe

ME:  Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.

A.J.:  The cover for Without Condition was designed by the talented Michelle Argyle, under her design name Melissa Williams Cover Design. It was an honor to work with her--she knows her stuff! Plus, she spent extra time adding "beautiful man hair" to the stock photo to make it more closely resemble my main character. I still swoon when I look at it. ;)

ME:  Argyle is indeed talented.  I love that you worked with her, and then I got to see the end result before anyone else ;)....hehehehe  It is such a sweet cover.

Thank you so much A.J. for visiting the blog.  I adore your writing and am looking forward to the next book.  I love being able to tell people I am friends with an author.  Makes me feel happy inside.  Keep writing and I will definitely keep reading :).  

This giveaway is for US participants only.  Sorry about that.  It's for shipping reasons.  Please enter though :)  You will love this book.

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