Friday, March 08, 2019

9 Questions Author Interview with A.J. McCarthy

This week's featured author is A.J. McCarthy from Quebec City, Quebec, Canada and her mystery/crime novel Cold Betrayal.  

By A.J. McCarthy

1.     What message are you hoping people will receive when they read your book?

I write genre fiction, specifically suspense mysteries. So, I believe the purpose of my writing is to entertain, the way I’ve been entertained over the years by the same genre of fiction. But if I needed to pinpoint a message it would be that loyalty can’t be bought or bargained with, but it can be broken if it’s not reciprocated or if it’s abused.

2.     Why did you write this book?

The idea rooted in my brain and started to grow, until it needed to escape onto paper. The need is strong once that idea takes root. Sometimes, it takes a lot of stops, starts, and rewrites before I arrive at the final product, but it’s impossible not to try. Cold Betrayal was one of those ideas that refused to give up.

3.     What has been the hardest part of the publishing process?

It’s most definitely the marketing and promotion process. I’m an introvert. I have a difficult time getting myself out there, whether it be in person or via social media. Blowing my own horn doesn’t come naturally to me, and I’d much rather spend my time writing. I truly admire the people who are capable of putting fresh marketing content before the masses on a regular basis.

4.     What has been the biggest (pleasant) surprise in your publishing journey?

Despite what I said in the previous question, I’ve enjoyed making new contacts, especially among the Black Rose Writing authors, who are enormously supportive. I’ve also forced myself to step outside of my comfort zone. Last year, I traveled to California for book signings at two book festivals. I attended the Killer Nashville Writer’s Conference. And, this spring I’ll be attending the Left Coast Crime Writer’s Conference in Vancouver, where I’ll be a panelist. I’ll also be reading an excerpt from Cold Betrayal. Those are big, challenging steps for me, but ultimately, I enjoy the experiences and everything I take away from them.

5.     Would you write a sequel to your book? Why or why not?

To date, I’ve always written stand-alone novels, of which two have been published. The reason for this is that the ideas I’ve had so far only work for stand-alones, because of characters or settings. I want to give those ideas free rein without trying to twist them into a sequel. However, I am toying with the idea of writing a novel which would be less of a sequel and more of the second in a series, taking secondary characters from Cold Betrayal and using them as primary characters in another book. Time will tell.

6.     What author or book has influenced your writing?

 It’s hard to pinpoint one specific writer since I love so many from several different genres of writing. But I’d have to go back many years to the first suspense writer I followed – Sidney Sheldon. He instilled the love of the genre in me so I would have to give him credit.

7.     You are stranded on an island with only 3 books. What are their titles?

-       The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton – it was a big favorite of mine from my youth, and it would bring me back to that time.
-       Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – I would like something substantial to keep me entertained for a long period of time.
-       Untitled by A.J. McCarthy – I’d just need a pad and pen so I could take advantage of my time alone to work on my current work-in-progress.

8.     What is your philosophy about rejection?

I’ve come to terms with it. The first few times are difficult, but I’ve learned that when one door closes another one opens. With patience and tenacity, something will come along that was worth the wait. What bothers me is when someone is mean or abrupt with their rejections. Authors put an enormous amount of time and effort into their work, and they deserve to have consideration and compassion. I believe, in most cases, publishers and agents realize that, but there remain a few that could learn to dole out their rejections in a nicer manner.

9.     Do you have a day job? What is it?

Yes, I do. My formal training is in accounting and I’m a CPA. I work as the Vice President of Finance for a group of manufacturing companies. My writing career stems from my love of reading, and I believe it’s the sharp contrast between my two careers that fuels my love of writing.



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