Today I thrilled to welcome AJ Adaire.
It’s Been A Journey, or Had I Known Then… by AJ Adaire
They say ignorance is bliss. It was certainly true in my case. Back around twenty-five years ago, I sat down to write my first novel thinking that being an author was only about writing stories. When I say back in those days, I can hear the eyeballs of some of the younger readers rolling back in their heads. I’m going to have to risk it though, because timing is everything. The only lesbian themed novels available back then were what was known as pulp fiction books, many of which had very sad endings and not much going to help the reader feel good about herself.
Then, in the 1970s came Naiad press. I didn’t find them until the early 1980s. Readers complained that the stories were often error laden. I read one book that had been put together incorrectly that required searching for the proper remainder of the chapter somewhere in the book other than where it should be. I didn’t care because they were books that gave me hope that there was a happy ever after back in a time when my world was filled with fear. I was afraid to let anyone know I was attracted to other women. I feared I would lose people who were friends but didn’t know the ‘real’ me. I worried about the safety of my job if someone were to find out my secret.
A friend gave me a copy of Jane Rule’s Desert of the Heart around 1983. At the time the novel was published, according to Wikipedia, Rule was “a lecturer at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and because the novel dealt with Sapphic romance, her job was threatened.” Still, it was the first well written, well edited, polished story I’d read that depicted two women with the potential for a happy ever after. Around the same time, I read Anna’s Country by Elizabeth Lang, a wonderful story of a woman finding herself, in the loving arms of her neighbor, following her divorce from her abusive husband. I loved this story.
There were many hurdles, but in 1984 I found my own ‘happy ever after’. My partner and I became infatuated with reading every lesfic novel we could get our hands on. I would sneak into the local woman’s bookstore to buy them, while she parked outside, hand on the horn, to keep watch for someone we might know approaching the store. I always had one eye on the bookstore’s door, fearing someone would come in and see the stack of lesbian fiction I was buying. Once home, I still worried someone would find my stash of novels I’d carefully hidden away in my locked cedar chest. Still today, when I smell cedar it makes me think of my treasure trove of beloved stories.
One cold and snowy winter evening, having read all the Naiad books we’d bought, I tossed a particularly mediocre book down and said to her, “I bet I could write a book better than this one.” She agreed I could, and thus began my writing career. I wrote my first book, which I called This Is Fitting and let her read it. She deemed it good, and I contacted Naiad Press to see about submitting it. I explained that I would need to publish it under a pseudonym because I was fearful of losing my job if someone were to see it under my real name. The person on the phone that I spoke to replied, “Oh we understand.” Then, by telling me those authors’ real names, she proceeded to out two other authors they published who used a pseudonym. Needless to say, I scurried off the phone as quickly as humanly possible and set the manuscript on the bookcase. There it remained for the next approximately twenty years until I blew the dust off it and reread it. By then I was far enough removed from it to look at it critically. I found myself personally a little amazed that I liked it. It received a thorough rewrite. I typed it onto my computer, saved it to a floppy disk and, in quick succession, I wrote three more. By the time my somewhat circuitous and not painless journey to my publisher was over, no computers remained that read floppy disks and the stories had to be retyped again. At last my books found a home, and then the real work began.
Today, we come from a point where, as a reader, I was able to purchase every lesbian fiction book available to me every month to a time where there are a plethora of selections available, way too many to read in a month even for voracious readers. Aren’t we lucky? Now, on Amazon alone, lesbian fiction enjoys a top 100 list. Who could have even imagined?
Like me, many assume that an author’s job is to write. Back when I started my first book, that is what I thought. Once published, I learned that less than half the job is writing the story. The remainder of the task involves editing, proofing, and publicity or promotion. Other than meeting readers, I enjoy the publicity part the least. However, meeting folks who have read my books ranks right up there at the top with the sense of accomplishment of finishing another story. In that respect, my writing has been a blessing and a truly rewarding gift.
Of course, I don’t mean to diminish the creative outlet of starting with a blank page and, somehow, months later typing the end on a finished story. Completing ten books has provided an amazing sense of achievement for me. Still, the true gift of my stories has been the friendships my writing has brought me from across the world as far as Australia and New Zealand, Austria, Trinidad/Tobago, the Netherlands, Ireland, and England, as well as more local neighbors in Canada, and readers across the United States.
This summer alone, I have met readers who have become friends, from New Zealand, Ireland, England, and Pennsylvania. In December, we spent some wonderful times with reader friends from Florida. My life has definitely been enriched by my book connected friendships.
In March, I released my tenth novel, Match Me, a romantic comedy. For those of you who have ever fallen in love with an old friend, this one is for you.
What do Casey Harrison and Mica Baxter have in common? Apparently pretty much everything. Having known each other since high school, the two peas in a pod, long-time friends and business partners, are a couple in every way but one. That line hasn’t been crossed, due to Casey’s industrial strength walls and set in stone conviction against becoming romantically involved with a friend.
Hilarity ensues as Mica convinces Casey to enter a contest run by a new start up lesbian dating service called Match Me. The prize at stake is a romantic vacation for two on an isolated island near Key West, and Mica wants to win it big time. Casey, feet dragging all the way, finally succumbs to Mica’s pleading and agrees to participate.
It is said that getting there is half the fun. That adage is certainly true about Casey and Mica’s journey to their paradise island. Will the two self-described ‘unluckiest people in the world’, be able to overcome all the obstacles, real and perceived, that stand in the way of their happy ever after? Join Mica and Casey in this romantic comedy, as they struggle with unexpected complications standing in the way of their happiness.
MEET THE AUTHOR
If you had told AJ Adaire, when she was struggling to write a one-page story for her high school English composition class that she would one day write ten novels, she would have bet everything that would never happen. In fact, she never would even have considered it a remote possibility.
Now retired, AJ lives on the east coast with her partner of thirty-four years. She has been quoted as saying, “Because we love a challenge, we provide a loving home for two spoiled cats instead of a dog.” In addition to writing, any spare time is devoted to editing, reading, mastering new computer programs, and socializing with friends.
AJ’s published romance novels include the Friends Series: Sunset Island (September 2013), Awaiting My Assignment (November 2013) and Anything Your Heart Desires (March 2014.) The Interim, a novelette that provides additional details about the life of Sunset Island’s Ren Madison, was released in November 2013. 2014 saw the release of One Day Longer Than Forever and It’s Complicated. Shortly thereafter, I Love My Life (March 2015). A Journey To You (August 2015), Don’t Forget (March 2017) were released. Her latest, Match Me (June 2018), is a romantic comedy. All books are available on Amazon, Bella, and Smashwords.
CONNECT WITH AJ ADAIRE
Thanks so much for stopping by today.