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Monday, 4 November 2013

An Interview with J. A. Redmerski - Author of The Edge of Never

Today I am extremely excited to host, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, J. A. Redmerski! After finishing The Edge of Never and The Edge of Always in the last week I couldn't believe I had waited so long to pick them up. Like I have stated before, they were so emotional and one of the rare books that brought tears to my eyes. So, it is a pleasure to welcome J.A Redmerski to my blog with her interview. 

TheEdgeofNever-smallerMH: Hi J.A. it's great to have you here!  Firstly, why don't you tell my readers what you like to do in your free time besides writing?

JA: Other than flea markets, I of course love to read. I also love the outdoors (hiking, camping, biking, etc.) and I also enjoy watching my favorite television series’ (The Walking Dead, Supernatural, Being Human ‐ SyFy)

MH: I love the outdoors too - can't say I'm a fan of camping though (I need my own bed). When did you first realize that you wanted to become a writer?

JA: I started my first novel around the age of thirteen and never stopped. I’ve been writing something for twenty‐four years, whether novels or world and character building, to poetry and lyrics. Writing has been the one consistent thing throughout my life.

MH: I know how that feels. Is there a place you especially like to write?

JA: Definitely in my bedroom and preferably with my kids in school. I’ve tried writing in café’s and bookstores and even the library, but there are just too many distractions.

MH: Distractions are annoying - especially when starting out for the day. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

JA: I’m impatient. Very impatient. And when it comes to my writing, it’s no different. It’s challenging for me to get through the first 2‐3 chapters of every book I write because I have a bad habit of looking at how much I have left to write. I just want to be done with it already so that my readers can delve right in!

MH: I have the same problem! What is your favorite part of the writing process? 

JA: The last sentence. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love getting into the story, living out my character’s lives and crafting their thoughts and emotions from beginning to end, but there’s nothing like a finished manuscript. It’s a huge accomplishment and I doubt I’ll ever tire of it. 

MH: It's definitely a feeling that's hard to put into words. What do you do when you come down with a case of the infamous ʺwriterʹs blockʺ?

JA: I’m all about prevention. It’s easier to do the right things to prevent a horrible disease such as Writer’s Block, than it is to cure it. And the way I prevent it (most of the time) is by always stopping in the middle of a scene, even a sentence, and calling it a day. For me, this keeps my mind fresh and buzzing, because all I can think about is that scene. By the time the next day arrives and it’s time to start writing again, for obvious reasons it’s easy to just dive right in. But also, that time away from the manuscript is often great because more ideas about what’s going on in that scene tend to arise and a lot of times, I already have the next scene fully mapped out in my head.

MH: I couldn't agree more and do exactly the same thing. It really works! How do you plot your novels? Do you outline?

JA: I never outline because I like to let the story and the characters take me where they want to go. Some authors can outline very well and it works for them, but I can’t do it. It’s always felt more natural to me to just go along for the ride and see where it takes me, kind of like in real life, I guess. I think if you plan out the scenes ahead of time it’s like knowing the future and I don’t see the adventure in knowing everything in advance. Some major scenes in THE EDGE OF NEVER were figured out ahead of time, but not ‘planned out’ ahead of time and there’s a big difference.

EdgeofAlways_revisedMH: I'm more of the planning type. I need to know where the story is going before I start out but I respect you for being able to just write after trying it myself - I find it so hard. Do you have a specific writing style?

JA: I love to write in first‐person POV because I love dialogue and because first‐person is almost like being able to write the entire book in dialogue. First‐person narrative is much more personal than third-person and I believe it helps readers connect with the protagonist on a deeper level. Itʹs like reading straight from their diary and gives the reader an in‐depth experience into the characterʹs mind.

MH: I agree with you totally, for me first-person is definitely easier and more engaging. I am trying something new with third-person though and am enjoying the freedom. What components make a successful love story? 

JA: I think they would have to be ‘realism’ and ‘relatability’. Readers want to be able to envision themselves in the story in the most basic way and that’s why I think contemporary romance novels reach such bigger audiences than fantasy or paranormal romances do. And another component would be ‘chemistry’. How the relationship evolves between two characters before they fall in love is just as
important as how their love story plays out afterwards. This is another lesson that I learned since I published my first book!

MH: Those are definitely two of the major points for me when reading contemporary novels. Were any parts of Camryn and Andrew’s story inspired by real life events? 

JA: One scene in particular was inspired by something in my life: when Natalie chose Damon over Camryn. A very similar thing happened to me with a best friend many years ago and I never really forgot about that.

MH: I know how that feels. How about characters? Were any parts of Camryn and Andrew inspired by real people? 

JA: Well, I’m going to be completely honest and say that there is a lot of myself in both characters. I kind of hate to admit that (I’m not sure why), but it’s true. But more than anything, Camryn and Andrew’s story was my way of filling a hole in my own life. Their outlook on life, living and loving in the now, definitely comes from me. I’ve contemplated dropping everything and traveling all over the world, for the past ten years. The only thing stopping me are my wonderful kids, but in about five more years when my youngest turns eighteen, I’m going to do something about it.

MH: Sounds exciting! I would love to pick up and travel like Camryn and Andrew. If you could choose a dream-cast, who would play your characters? 

JA: I only thought of this type of thing because I knew (after my experience with The Darkwoods Trilogy) that I would get asked this question. If I had my way with casting, hmmm…I’m not 100% sure because there are so many great actors out there who could fill the shoes, but I would have to say for Camryn it’s a toss-up between Candice Accola, Blake Lively and Dianna Agron. And for Andrew it
would be between Kellan Lutz and Brant Daugherty. For a broader look, check out the official Pinterest board for THE EDGE OF NEVER -

MH: I love Blake Lively and Kellan Lutz. I could see them playing Camryn and Andrew. What would you like for readers to take away from your novel/novels? 

JA: I just want readers to be able to connect on some level with the characters I create and take with them an experience rather than just a story. With THE EDGE OF NEVER, for instance, I would hope that readers might feel somewhat inspired to do more with their lives than what they think they can and try to avoid falling victim to the monotony of everyday life. Because it doesn’t have to be that way, the same thing every day for the rest of your life.

MH: That message was one of my favourite aspects of The Edge of Never, it fitted with my mentality. Do you have advice out there for aspiring authors? 

JA: Never let anyone, or the ‘subjective’ business make you feel like you can’t write, or that you weren’t meant to write because you’re only proving them correct if you quit. I’ve been writing since the age of thirteen and I sucked for a long time because you know what, we all start out sucking. We don’t go into writing knowing everything there is to know, we go into it because it’s what we love to do. And it takes a long time to learn everything. YEARS. If you love to write, prove to the world and to yourself that you will take any criticisms with respect, you’ll never let bad reviews get you down and you will NEVER QUIT. Without bad criticism, you can never hone your skill. You’ll never get anywhere!

MH: I couldn't agree with you more! When I heard you started out as an indie author like myself I couldn't believe it. Can you provide a few self‐publishing best practices you believe brought you literary success? 

JA: Some of what I’ve already mentioned are good practices, but also I’d like to point out two things that I believe contributed to my success: kindness and professionalism. I’ve read a lot of horror stories from book reviewers who were verbally attacked by authors because they turned away a review request or gave a bad review, and similar stories about authors and agents. Know in advance that no matter how hard you worked to write your book that it’s not the next bestseller, that it isn’t better than JK Rowling or Stephen King and that you have absolutely no right to make these statements out loud to
anyone. Period. And lastly, no matter how much it hurts your feelings or pisses you off, never reply to a bad review. Ever. Not even if something the reviewer said was 100% inaccurate about your
book. Just don’t do it.

MH: I completely agree. Thank you for stopping by and for writing amazing books! 

jredmerski12About J. A. Redmerski
Born November 25, 1975, J.A. (Jessica Ann) Redmerski is aNew York Times, USA Todayand Wall Street Journalbestselling author. She lives in North Little Rock, Arkansas with her three children and a Maltese. She is a lover of television and books that push boundaries and is a huge fan of AMC’s The Walking Dead.

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