Born in Connecticut, raised Catholic, trained as a Mechanical Engineer at a Massachusetts engineering institute and worked for a Fortune 200 company in all managerial aspects of manufacturing through plant manager, acquisitions captain and internal consultant to multiple plants. A.J. currently lives in Ohio.
A.J. started writing when he realized he had a story to tell with his first non fiction book. A producer/director advised him to fictionalize the story into a script. The process of writing fiction was so enjoyable, A.J. decided to pursue it and hone his writing skills. He is now a part time consultant for manufacturing and a full time author learning the ropes of becoming an indie author.
A.J. has a son who also became an engineer, and a daughter currently working in non profit with her Masters from UPENN. They both live in different states and A.J. enjoys his time with them when busy schedules allow.
A.J. enjoys reading, learning, writing, skiing and the outdoors and prefers snow to heat any day.
What inspires you to write?
Being able to create a world different from ours, yet the same, with all the specifics that make it real in your mind. I like to think my characters actually exist as if they really came to life. It feels like I’ll see them on the street. Their individual characteristics drive what they do in the story and helps to get some out-of-the-box thinking when you take on their viewpoints.
As an engineer by training, I tend to ask why about many things. This has an influence on my writing and the way my characters act and think. It inspires me to think about all the, “what ifs” as I learn new things about how the world works from numerous sources on scientific and metaphysical learning. The inspiration is then, what would the world look like if…
Tell us about your writing process.
As it turns out, it’s very similar to what Steven King does when he writes. The characters are put into a situation and have to work through it. The plotting starts out as an overall guide but the characters really drive the story once it begins, and the plot can change dramatically based on the characters actions.
Once I’m focused on writing, I don’t stop until it is done. Then, the editing process kicks in.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
The characters are created from a conglomerate of various people I’ve known with some exaggeration of their characteristics. I spreadsheet each character to fix their characteristics and keep them consistent as they interact and develop. When were they born? What do they look like? What are their likes and dislikes? How are they related? What are their goals and aspirations? What are their weaknesses and strengths? How do they conflict with each other? What are their own internal conflicts?
The characters definitely speak to me once they have taken root in my mind. I might originally have had a plan for what the character was to do, but they can change that entirely, once the character speaks through me, in the words that flow to the page.
What advice would you give other writers?
Do you have any advice for new authors?
1) Don’t quit. Writing is a job. You have to treat it as one. Get your words done everyday. Market some but don’t let it rule your time completely.
2) Read lots.
3) Continue to experience life or you’ll have nothing left to write about and your descriptions will be bland. You can’t just hole yourself up and work. Smell, feel, taste, see, hear etc. Notice peoples quirks and motions for your characters. Be a part of life.
4) Let the characters write for you. Set them free.
5) Lastly, edit, edit, edit and edit some more. Edit for flow, edit for theme, edit for grammar, edit for efficiency of words etc. Focus on something different on each edit or you’ll not have the gem your readers deserve.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
You can do anything you want. Focus and do it.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
When I wrote the first non fiction book, I tried the publisher and agent route with no success, and many years frustration. That’s when Create Space came about followed by Kindle. It was then that I decided to be an Indie with the dramatic potential it gave due to the percentage of revenue given the author versus traditional publishing. Now, I try to pursue all avenues and formats on the ever expanding market for ebooks.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I personally still buy solid books along with ebooks. I like to mark them up, fold the pages, read the words on something other than an electronic screen – since that is what I work on all day. I still think solid books will sell but it’s obvious that readers are comfortable with electronic versions, and given the lower costs, greater portability, and all the other advantages they have, they will be the main sales generators.
What do you use?
What genres do you write?
Science Fiction and Fantasy/Myths and Legends,Science Fiction and Fantasy/Supernatural, Science Fiction and Fantasy/ Time travel, Science Fiction and Fantasy/ Metaphysical
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print