AJ Nuest, who I met at Blue Ridge Literary Agency, never fails to bring a smile to my face. She joins us to talk about her latest release “She’s Got Dibs.” I had started to read this delightful romantic comedy while getting a pedicure and was laughing so hard that the staff at the salon kept suspiciously shifting their eyes at me, perhaps wondering just what in the heck I was hiding inside my Kindle! The story kept me delighted all the way through.
AJ, thanks for joining us to today.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
How about a blurb and excerpt?
True love does not exist…or so event planner Tessa Adams learns the day she gets jilted—twenty-four hours prior to walking down the aisle. One-night stands are much easier, and with sexy philanthropists like David Brenner, how can she resist? Now if she could just get rid of him. Had she known the biggest event of her career would be working for David’s father, she would have cut and run. Instead, she’s unwittingly become a part of his parents’ plan to destroy his life-long dreams. Will sacrificing her love protect him or be the ultimate betrayal?
Wealthy and gorgeous, David Brenner seemingly holds the world in the palm of his hand—his generous heart and infectious smile are just two in an endless stream of attractive qualities. But the one thing he wants, he can’t have—a repeat of the passionate night he spent in the arms of a skittish Tessa Adams. His family’s far-reaching power threatens to crush their dreams. To prove his love, he would risk everything…but will the return of her ex-fiancé be their final undoing?
“Dibs.” He extended his hand.
Frowning, she accepted his greeting. “Dibs on what?
“No.” He chuckled. “That’s my name. Or well, actually, my nickname. Either way, it’s what everyone calls me.”
“O-o-okay…” The guy definitely had the smolder covered…and those incredible ice-blue eyes. Yikes!
“And you are?”
“Oh, Tessa Adams.” She laughed.
“And everyone calls you…?”
Her frown returned. “Tessa.”
“Oh.” He scanned her face. “No nickname, huh?”
“Not that I recall at the moment.”
He pressed his full lips together as if restraining a smile, eyes twinkling with merriment, and handed her the notepad. “Here’s your confirmation number. The room’s at the Waldorf Towers over on Park.”
Two suites at the Waldorf? In this mess? What was he, a wizard? “Wow, great. Thanks so much for the help.”
“Glad to be of service.” He retrieved his briefcase and started down the corridor, abruptly stopped, and peered at her over the perfect slant of his shoulder. “And don’t worry, Tessa, I’ll think of a good nickname for you.”
She offered him a blank stare. “Hey, knock yourself out.”
Mischief danced along his lips before a grin broke free and he continued down the hallway.
“What a whack job,” she muttered.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Holy cow, I learned a TON while working on She’s Got Dibs, but I’m not sure I can list everything here. Not unless you want this post to go on for days. J This story was one of the very first manuscripts I ever wrote and, consequently, ended up being a labor of sheer grit and determination to complete. I’m not even kidding. I originally submitted it to my publisher wa-a-ay back in 2009. The editor who received it loved the original version, but requested rewrites because the word count was too high. I cut and resubmitted. Another request for more revisions came in, so I cut more and resubmitted a third time. I think in total I submitted five times before I was finally offered a contract. On the flip side of this is that during this three-year contracting struggle, I became an editor. So, as you can imagine, once the contract was signed and the actual edits began, I cut more, and then I cut more, then more…etc.,etc. My editor’s edits were never as extensive as mine. Not by a long shot. I would guess I rewrote this story a total of eight times before I was finally satisfied with it. In the end, my editor finally said, “I’m terrified to send this back to you for fear you’re gonna rewrite it again. It’s done, AJ. Leave it. You only get to read for minor tweaks.” LOL
So, I guess the lesson learned was “don’t give up” and, if you’re a perfectionist like me, find a good editor you trust.
Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
I always fall so deeply in love with my heroes. I know it might sound completely crazy, but I do. There isn’t one of them I love more or less than the next. In my opinion, they are all sigh-worthy in their own special way. Writing the character of Dibs was no different—I completely fell head over heels in love with that guy. However, I also faced a bit of a challenge in getting him across to the reader because in She’s Got Dibs the story is told completely from Tessa’s POV (heroine). So I had to be really careful how I crafted his character through her eyes. In the end, I loved how this “getting to know Dibs” worked out because the relationship mirrors real life. Person A doesn’t really know Person B until they’ve spent time together—and even then Person A might filter Person B’s behavior because of past hurts. To me, and hopefully to the reader, it’s very apparent exactly how Dibs feels about Tessa right from the onset of their relationship, even though she doesn’t see it because she’s dealing with things from her past. Crafting the story this way taught me a LOT about paying attention to a person’s mannerisms and body language. It was definitely a fun project from that perspective.
Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
My intended audience is all lovers of Contemporary Romance. As for why they should read it? I’ve been told the story is full of witty dialogue, sizzling-hot steam and has a great emotional impact, but that’s kinda hard for me to judge. As the author (and an editor) all I see are the things I would have tweaked if I would have been allowed just one more round of edits (see previous comment from my editor). LOL
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I was gonna lie here and say, “Oh no! It’s perfect the way it is!” But I have a feeling none of your readers would buy that. I’m sure I would change things here and there, just because that’s the way I roll, but overall, I have to say I’m very happy with how the story turned out. One thing I KNOW I would change, however, is the length of time it took me to see this project through from start to finish. There was a long time I couldn’t work on the story because of other obligations, and this setback nearly did me in. Besides delaying the release of the book, I also lost my momentum. Let’s face it, when you’ve rewritten a story as many times as I rewrote this one, it’s hard to stay excited about the project in general. Add in nearly a year’s worth of lag time and you’ve got yourself a recipe for disaster. Again, this harkens back to how much work can be involved in crafting a story…as well as how much an author can learn in the process. It’s definitely been a long road on this one, but I’m thrilled with the release and can’t wait to see how the story is received!
She’s Got Dibs, won 1st Place in the Contemporary Category, Heartland Romance Authors, Show Me the Spark! Contest, 2010.
Author Bio: Award-winning author and editor, AJ Nuest, lives in a small farming community in NW Indiana with her loving husband, two beautiful children, and a bevy of spoiled pets. She and the cat are currently vying for dictatorship.
Here’s where to contact AJ on the web:
FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/amyjo.nuest
She’s Got Dibs Pinterest Page: http://pinterest.com/ajnuest/shes-got-dibs/
OTHER WORK BY AJ NEUST: