Let's start with you telling us a little bit about yourself, AJ.
My obsession with myth, magic, love, and romance might have led to serious stalking charges had it not been for the ability to write. Thanks to the existence of some very patient publishers, my days are spent writing, reading, and dreaming up new worlds. I've definitely stopped Google-searching former boyfriends and given up all ambition to taste-test every cupcake in the universe to produce over 130 published gay erotic romance novels.
I want you to read them all.
You can find me lurking on Facebook and Twitter - part-time class clown being another occupation. When not writing or reading, my other passions include juggling, kite-boarding, and spending a fortune buying upgrade apps for Diner Dash.
What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
In my final year of high school, I was voted least likely to succeed in life, along with another wonderful friend who is still a successful and highly sought-after super model. We still laugh/joke/gripe about that dubious honor.
When did you start writing, is it something you've always been interested in, or did it develop later in life?
I wrote my first book when I was eight. It was filled with horses and death, my twin obsessions at the time. My father used to worry about me and urged me to go outside and play. I preferred to lie on my bed and read books. I read everything from cheesy Donna Parker mysteries to the classics.
Has it been everything you thought it would be or not?
Oh, yes. I've been doing this a long time now and I am so thrilled that I am a published author. I am proud of my books even though I have friends and family who insist I write porn, without having ever read a word of my work!
How did it feel when you realized that your very first book was going to be published?
My first book was published more than twenty years ago. It was nonfiction. I was so proud of it and gave the first proof-copy to my dad. Come to think of it, he didn't approve of that book either. He didn't read it. He gave it to a friend of his, he never told me who, but the person trashed my book so my father said it was bad. Some things don't change, LOL!
What's your favorite part of writing a book?
Getting past the first five thousand words. Settling into the groove, the sweet spot of a story is not always easy. Some books flow, some don't. By 5K I am pretty sure of where it's going.
Do you get time to read for pleasure? If so, which books do you enjoy?
Yes. I love reading. I love nonfiction mostly. I read biographies, history books, memoirs. I love all kinds of books. I adore mysteries and books about oddities, such as Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture. I find something useful in all manner of popular culture.
Are there any other genres you'd be interested in writing?
I think I'm getting to do that! I get to cover the gamut, though I'd like to write more mainstream fiction too, not that I have much free time.
Please tell us a little about your most recent release.
I have several new releases out. I am very excited that Bruny and Fin de Siècle, books three and four in my Honeybone, US Marshal mystery series have been rereleased. Getting ready to write book five! These re-releases are published by Amber Allure, one of my favorite publishers to work with.
What can we look forward to in the future from you?
I went on a police ride along in Makaha Beach, Honolulu three weeks ago. I got enough fodder for my Mingo McCloud series at Amber Allure and my new Makaha Beach Detectives series at Silver Publishing. I am excited about that. I also have a spanky-new twelve-book series, Rough Riders, with the amazing D.J. Manly. Book one, Artificial Moonlight, comes out this month and book two, which we're working on now, comes out in April.
Anything you want to say to your readers?
I love you all. I appreciate your emails and your thoughts. Please keep reading! xxx
A.J. Llewellyn's recent releases:
Bruny (Honeybone 3)
US Marshal Dean Honeybone and his lover, Jean-Luc, are in Tasmania visiting Kaia Pendleton, the little girl who, along with Dean, is the only survivor of a plane crash off the coast of eastern Australia. Kaia, who now lives in Launceston, is not coping well with her new life with her strict grandmother, romance novelist Kat Pendleton. Kat calls Honeybone and Jean-Luc, hoping a short visit from them will help Kaia settle down in school. It is soon clear, however, that neither man experiences the problems with Kaia her grandmother does.
Both men long to take Kaia home to the US with them, but Kat refuses, citing Honeybone’s dangerous job. Meanwhile, Cho Paek, a beautiful young Korean immigrant student, has vanished on a trip to remote Bruny Island. At the request of his boss, Honeybone takes part in the search, leaving Jean-Luc to deal with Kaia.
Fin de Siècle (Honeybone 4)
Dean Honeybone thinks he’s done with his career as a US Marshal, except that even his best-laid plans go astray.
Moving to Paris with his lover, Jean-Luc, who has accepted a job in a Michelin-starred restaurant as its new chef, Honeybone thinks he’s headed for a quiet life. He enrolls their adopted daughter, Kaia, into a prestigious elementary school and ponders his next move when Jean-Luc’s former lover, Vincent, is accused of art theft.
It’s a major case spanning three continents and a venerated California museum, whose curator now stands trial on art theft charges in Paris. Jean-Luc asks Honeybone to discover who might have set up Vincent. Not that Honeybone wants to do this since Vincent is clearly still in love with Jean-Luc. But Honeybone also realizes there’s a lot at stake.
In French, Fin de Siècle means the end of something momentous. In the art world, it means something else. Will Honeybone and Jean-Luc find peace and happiness in the city of love, or will Honeybone’s nightmares of his longtime nemesis, Richard Stance, prove to be more than just bad dreams?
When Garrick Cross's prized guitar is stolen, he has to decide how far he's willing to go to retrieve it.
Garrick Cross is devastated when his house is ransacked in an online scam. Somebody posted his address on Craigslist saying 'Free For All'.
He finds his rare, beloved Dean From Hell Vendetta guitar on an online auction and bids on it, distraught when he loses the auction. The police try to help him locate his stolen property, but the auction's a done deal. His precious Vendetta is gone. With the help of his friend, Sarah, he tracks down the man who beat him to it, asking if he'd consider selling the guitar to him, at a higher price.
Micah Drake, a reclusive collector who won the auction, declines and is very rude… until, after several conversations, he becomes infatuated with Garrick.
He offers to give him the guitar if he spends a weekend in bed with him. How badly does Garrick want the Vendetta? Can he do it when he's also developing feelings for another man, the cop who's trying so hard to locate his missing guitar? Can Garrick let go and trust love again?
Excerpt from The Vendetta:
"You know, Garrick, I think you're being a little paranoid."
I stared at Dr Vicky Royce and wanted to choke her. From the start, I felt she wasn't a good fit for me, and now I was convinced. She had said this more than once. Trust me to find the least sympathetic, least warm and fuzzy therapist in the entire state of California.
She toyed with the long chain around her neck as she inched her legs a little to the side. She often flirted with me, but then counter-punched with a rebuke. At least it seemed that way to me. I hated the way she liked us to sit--very close, facing one another, knees touching. My pal, Sarah Swan, had warned me that Vicky used this intimate method of therapy. Now it just seemed... intrusive.
It took me a few moments to calm down. I felt the weight of her stare. She'd already upset me by telling me she'd written a song, inspired by me--"Moth to the Flame". The nerve of her! She'd even played it for me in the middle of my session! Was it appropriate for a therapist to use her patients as songwriting fodder and then make them cringe through the end result? I would ask Sarah if this had ever happened to her during one of their sessions.
My therapy had turned into a music critique.
I shifted in my seat.
"Vicky," I said, "I don't think I'm being paranoid. On a scale of one to ten, this breakup with Brad is an eleven."
She rolled her eyes. "I think, once again, you're exaggerating."
I stared at her. Was she kidding? What did she think a bad break up was? I didn't ask her, because I knew she would highlight her response by using one of her own breakups as an example. A lengthy and boring example. Or--God help me--force me to listen to the musical version of it.
The rose incense she insisted on burning in her tiny office started to get to me. She may have been the therapist to writers and musicians all over the universe but for me, she was a catastrophe. I'd been devastated by Brad leaving me for one of our closest friends, Joshua, and then doing everything he could to turn all of our other friends against me.
Brad didn't like Sarah because in his words, she was a nut. He had tried to turn her, but she and I were working together on a big project for a chain of restaurants. I'd brought her into the deal. She needed me. Brad had gotten to a few people I worked with, but Sarah and I had a bond. I stood, just as Vicky picked up her iPod to flick through and play me another song.
"I have to get going," I said. "I'll listen next week."
She reached for her massive appointment book. "Same time next week?"
"I'll have to let you know." I already knew I wasn't coming back, but I preferred not to have a confrontation in person. I just wouldn't call her again. Ever.
Staring at her cramped, warped bookshelves, I blamed myself. I should have known she was the wrong therapist for me judging by her collection of commercial, paperback crap. She had the worst taste in fiction of any person I knew--even my grandma. And I knew from fiction, being an online antiquarian bookseller.
My mom, up in Santa Barbara, had been unhappy when I called her with my therapy updates. She called Vicky hard core and felt she was cruel in her handling of me. My mom knew how badly I'd taken the breakup. Eight years was a long time with one guy, especially a gay guy in Los Angeles. Don't ask me why, but this city was rough on relationships where seventy-seven percent of all marriages ended in divorce.
It had only been three weeks since Brad left, but with his nasty phone calls and the horrible emails from Joshua, telling me what an asshole I was, I felt I had a right to be in the midst of the breakdown I was struggling with.
"Have a great day." Vicky picked up her guitar and barred my exit. "Are you recording this week?"
I hesitated. The guitar was practically in my face. She was desperate to get into the studio, any studio, and cadge some free recording time. She'd recorded her latest piece of rubbish at her current boyfriend's home studio. Now they were on some rocky terrain. She'd already mentioned a couple of times that she felt creatively robbed. I was fighting for my life, trying to think up good reasons to stay alive. She hadn't given me many during our session. In fact, she might just have pushed me over the edge. I was, by nature, a strong man but like I said, I was under duress.
But she, the great therapist, was being creatively robbed.
"Not sure yet," I said, desperate to get out of her office.
She followed me into the hallway.
"I'd love to see you work," she said. It was another of her standard refrains. "I am dying to see the Vendetta."
The Vendetta. It had been the one spark in my few sessions with her. She'd heard from Sarah that I owned one of the original Dean From Hell guitars. Only one hundred and fifty had ever been made. Vicky owned a damned fine second edition Dean From Hell, but it wasn't an original.