Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I Do by AJ Pine Interview & giveaway

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  I Do by AJ Pine If Only #3 Publication Date: November 16, 2015 Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
I Do Cover

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Synopsis: A new adult romance from Entangled's Embrace imprint...
Sometimes you have to trust your heart to find out what home really means. Duncan McAllister is marrying Elaina Tripoli tomorrow. Except--he's missing. Jordan, Noah, Griffin, Maggie, and Miles arrive in Greece for the festivities to find frantic messages from both the bride and groom. Noah and Griffin set off to find Duncan while Jordan, Maggie, and Miles try to salvage what should be a day of celebration before the wedding. But the Americans have their own baggage. Noah's got a surprise planned for Jordan that has to go perfectly. Griffin's keeping life-changing news from Maggie. And Miles--well, he wasn't looking for love on this trip until a Greek sous chef named Alex rocks his world. The race is on for Duncan to make it back to Elaina before she decides not to take him back at all. For Noah to make sure his monumental plan goes off without a hitch. For Griffin to tell Maggie the truth without losing her. For Miles to admit that letting himself fall in love is worth the risk. Happily Ever After waits at the finish line…if the four couples can make it on time.
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Other Books in the If Only series...

If Only #1 Cover

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Synopsis: Sometimes it takes crossing an ocean to figure out where you belong.
It's been two years since twenty-year-old Jordan had a boyfriend—which means it's been forever since she, well, you know. But now she’s off to spend her junior year in Aberdeen, Scotland, the perfect place to stop waiting for Mr. Right and just enjoy Mr. Right Now. Sexy, sweet (and possible player) Griffin may be her perfect, no-strings-attached match. He’s fun, gorgeous, and makes her laugh. So why can’t she stop thinking about Noah who, minutes after being trapped together outside the train’s loo, kisses Jordan like she’s never been kissed before? Never mind his impossible blue eyes, his weathered, annotated copy of The Great Gatsby (total English-major porn)…oh, and his girlfriend. Jordan knows everything this year has an expiration date. Aberdeen is supposed to be about fun rather than waiting for life to happen. But E. M. Forster, Shakespeare, and mistletoe on Valentine’s Day make her reconsider what love is and how far she’s willing to go for the right guy.
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What If #2 Cover

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Synopsis: Sometimes it takes letting go of the past to find out who you want to be.
During his semester abroad, Griffin Reed almost gave his heart to a girl who loved someone else. Lesson learned. Now he’s home, where following in his father’s footsteps may not be what he wants, but it’s what his parents expect. It might be taking the easy road, but he doesn’t see a way out.
Something that could have killed Maggie Kendall took away the person she used to be instead. Her condition makes her dependent on sticky notes, photos, and medication just to get through each day. The last thing she needs is a distraction—or someone new to disappoint.
What they refuse to see is they are perfect for each other. Maggie makes Griffin want to be a better man, and he makes her believe a future is possible. But these two have to find a way to share the secrets ripping them apart, if they’re ever going to have a chance at happiness.
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A.J. Pine
AJ Pine writes stories to break readers’ hearts, but don’t worry—she’ll mend them with a happily ever after. As an English teacher and a librarian, AJ has always surrounded herself with books. All her favorites have one big commonality–romance. Naturally, her books have the same. When she’s not writing, she’s of course reading. Then there’s online shopping (everything from groceries to shoes) and, of course, a tiny bit of TV where she nourishes her undying love of vampires and superheroes. And in the midst of all of this, you’ll also find her hanging with her family in the Chicago burbs.

Author Q&A with AJ Pine (author of I DO)
1.  When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I think it was always sort of there, lingering in the background. I’m a huge reader, and every time a story gave me a book hangover, I always thought, “Wow, I wish I could do that.” But it wasn’t until 2011 that I finally sat down at the laptop and tried.
2.  How long does it take you to write a book?
Haha. Depends on my deadline. But really, the drafting stage is my favorite, and I can do that fairly quickly, in six to eight weeks. But then there are multiple rounds of edits after that, on my own and with my editor. The drafting happens quickly. The making pretty takes time.
3.  What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I have a day job as a high school librarian, so this is tough. It starts with plotting out my novel with a 2-4 page synopsis. Then I either write early in the morning or late at night, but the main rule is that I write every day and try to hit my target word count (I make a calendar so I know where I should be each day). And if I don’t hit word count (like I didn’t yesterday…oops), I recalculate the calendar.
4.  What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
If I’m writing at home, it has to be quiet. Every little thing distracts me when I’m in my own environment. That means not even having music playing. But if I’m at Starbucks (my office away from home), I’m totally good with the ambient noise. Even the music. In fact, I actually like it. I guess that means when writing becomes the full-time job, I probably won’t be making a home office.
5.  How do books get published?
I can only speak from my experience, which is part traditional, part non-traditional. I got my first contract with Entangled via a blog contest where I had to pitch my novel in three sentences to (the person who is now) my editor. I won the chance to send her my full manuscript. And from there I won a two book contract. At the time all of this was happening, I was querying agents with another manuscript. That manuscript connected me with my agent who then submitted that particular book to publisher and eventually sold it to Berkley/Intermix.
6.  Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Everywhere! For real, everything I experience from my day-to-day interactions to books I read or movies I watch—it all sparks some sort of plot bunny. I’m writing one series right now yet have a whole other one mapped on in notes because when an idea strikes, I don’t want to forget it.
7.  When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I wrote my first book only four years ago. It was a YA dystopian story. Only a handful of friends and my then 4th period English class (I used to be an English teacher) have read it. But you never know. It may make a resurgence someday.
8.  What do you like to do when you're not writing?
READ! Audio books are my savior because I have so little time to sit down with a book or my Kindle. Also, I have two amazing kids who think my laptop is another appendage, so when I can take a day or night off, my first priority is to do something fun with them. I’m lucky they’re so patient with me and that they think it’s pretty cool that their mom writes books. The only problem is that my 10 year old daughter keeps asking when she can read them. Yikes.
9.  What does your family think of your writing? Answer is above.
10.             What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I’m a reader. I’ve always known the power of fictional characters, of wishing they were real and missing them when a book is done. But I didn’t realize I’d feel this way about the characters I made up as well. I Do is the final book in my If Only series, and it’s so bittersweet to be done. I think I gave all my characters the happily ever afters they deserve, but I will really miss them. This series, especially I Do, was so much fun to write, and I will really miss hanging out with this group.
11.             How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve written eight books and one novella. As of I Do’s release, five will be published. One will stay hidden on my laptop—maybe until the end of time. The novella releases in February. And my new adult contemporary series launches in April. I don’t know if I can call any particular book my favorite, but I will say of the If Only series, Griffin and Maggie were my favorite couple to write, which is funny because when I introduced Griffin’s character in book one, he wasn’t supposed to be so likeable. I had one idea for him, but once I started writing him I knew he was going to need his own book and the girl who could challenge him—and that was Maggie. 
12.             Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Honestly, I’m not an expert. I’m still learning every day. Chuck Wendig did a great post on this recently HERE. He says it much better and funnier, but I agree. To be a writer at all, you have to do the thing. Write. Every day if you can. And then finish what you start. Even if that first book never gets published (*waves* Hi! I’ve got a lovely dystopia book 1 in a series for you!), it is a learning experience to do it. To write it. To say, “Look. I made all these letters into words and words into a story and omg I wrote a book!” I think every book I write benefits the next book because I’m always learning something new about the craft, about myself, about what works best for the stories I want to make. I have a couple friends who, on more than one occasion, have said they wish they could write a book. And I always say the same thing. “You can’t write the book unless you write the book.”
13.             Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Yes I do! I interact with readers daily in a reading group I share with fellow authors Lia Riley, Jennifer Blackwood, and Chanel Cleeton. It’s called Our So-Called Group, and you can join us HERE. I also love when readers tweet me after having read and loved a book. But the best is when I get individual emails or messages from readers telling me how a book touched them. That happened quite a bit with What If, Griffin and Maggie’s story. In that book Maggie survived a big health scare, and I was really nervous about getting her experience right, and it was really great to hear from several readers who had been affected by the situation in real life that I had done right by my character.
14.             Do you like to create books for adults?
YES! I Do is my final New Adult novel for the time being. I have an NA novella that is part of an anthology of stories taking place in the 80’s releasing in February, but after that my next series is Adult Contemporary Romance. The first book, The One That Got Away, releases in April. All books take place in Chicago and center around a brewery that is owned by the hero in book one. Think Central Perk in Friends, but it’s beer instead of coffee. Keep an eye out for my Kingston Ale House series!

15.             What do you think makes a good story?
Well, I write romance for a reason. I love love stories. So for my taste, whether I’m reading YA, NA, or Adult, I want a love story. I want characters who are flawed because they need room to grow, and I need someone to root for. And not that I don’t read books without a happily ever after (I enjoy a good ugly cry every now and then), HEAs are my favorite.
16.             As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Sooo many things! But I think the one dream I’m still working on is being a singer in a band or in a Broadway musical. I think I might have better luck writing these goals into a book than actually seeing them come true in real life. But you never know…
17.             What Would you like my readers to know?
While I Do is the third in a series, it works as a stand alone. Most of the characters are introduced in the first two books, but their back stories are weaved into I Do so you know where they’re all coming from. If you’re looking for a whirlwind weekend in Greece with four romances, a wedding, and an engagement, I think you’ll enjoy I Do. Remember—I love a good HEA. You just might find four in I Do.

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