- What is the first book that made you cry?
Is it narcissistic to say my own? Honestly, only one book has made me outright cry, and that was while writing a scene in Whispers of Death. I’ve never been one to cry at movies much, either; my mom used to say I had no soul because of it. But I proved her wrong when Guardians of the Galaxy came out, because Rocket had me bawling and sobbing out loud in the theater!
- What is your writing Kryptonite?
Gerunds and “showing vs telling.” Even after all these years, I still struggle with those.
- Who is one author are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Angelique Jordonna, another author I met through RhetAskew Publishing who has a psychological thriller coming soon, has become my author BFF. She challenges me by holding me to a higher standard than perhaps I hold myself to, which is both uplifting and humbling at the same time. We’re also in the process of co-authoring a horror novel, and the process has been a great learning experience.
- If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Don’t give up. You’ll get discouraged, you’ll feel like a failure at times, and you’ll be frustrated beyond belief, but don’t give up.
- How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
I learned a lot about storytelling and characterization while writing Whispers of Death. During the writing process, I was in a critique group I stumbled upon on Facebook, and in this group of authors we traded chapters back and forth and provided critiques and minor edits for each other’s work. Though I have lost touch with most of these authors over the years, that experience has been invaluable in furthering my writing style—and it got me in the door with RhetAskew.
- What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? If you have not made any money, dream about it?
The best money spent was a loss in the end, but I purchased booth space at a nearby pop culture convention and sold paperback copies of my book. Between the booth fees, the tax fees, the books themselves, and food at the convention, I didn’t make any gains, but I enjoyed the experience and dream of once again attending another con, either as a vendor or as a guest.
- As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Some kind of cat, definitely. I’m a bit of a loner for the most part (unless I like you; then I get obnoxious), I tend to keep odd hours, and I’m easily distracted by shiny objects or bits of string.
- How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Currently book two in the Abnormal series, Escape the Light, is in preproduction, and I’m in the process of writing book three. I have at least three more novellas brewing in the back of my brain, but they’re taking a back burner to completing the third Abnormal book at the very least. I plan for the Abnormal series to consist of five books, with another five-book series as a spin-off. Two of my short stories, which take place in the Abnormalverse, are slated to come out in future Askew Anthology publications through RhetAskew Publishing.
- Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?
I’ve read some atrocities, to be certain, that made me question my value as an author simply by their existence. If these books can sell (and sell well), then why can’t mine? Haha. Seriously, though, I think the Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones is hands-down my favorite fictional series, because the main character is so brass and ballsy, such a fierce force of nature, and that’s not something I’d seen in previous tropey characters.
- How do you select the names of your characters?
They kind of name themselves for the most part. My characters come to me almost fully formed, though they evolve as the story goes on. On occasion, though, I will head to a baby name site or google the meanings of certain names to find just the right one.
- What is your favorite childhood book?
That’s a tough one. I read a lot as a child, but I don’t remember much of my childhood, to be honest. I remember more of the books that I read as a teenager, and I’d have to say that L. J. Smith’s Secret Circle series of teen fiction novels (I’m forty now, and I don’t think “young adult” existed as a genre back then) had the biggest impact on me as a person.
“I didn’t mean to kill them”.
In Heaven’s Light, the difference between a genetic Gift and an Abnormality is determined by the number of credits in your parent’s bank account. Gifts are reserved for the wealthy, and Abnormals are terminated – in the parent’s best interest, of course. Clare Rhodes is used to life under the radar.
She uses her abnormality on a stranger at the club and finds an oil-slick of nightmares. The horrific visions invade her mind as she slips deeper. …[Knives. Fists. Fire]… He knows more about her than anyone should. He even knows her Norm-ID is a fake. She didn’t mean to kill him. On the run and off the grid are Clare’s only options. Too bad she’s being tracked.
Available on Amazon https://amzn.to/3dEsni7
AJ’s writing career began with her 2015 self-published supernatural thriller, Whispers of Death. Less than one year later, one little word changed everything: Abnormal. From this word a whole world blossomed and grew into what is now known as the Old U.S. With novels, novellas, and short stories spanning multiple books and anthologies, the Abnormalverse is a rich sci-fi dystopia with a diverse cast of characters.
When not writing, AJ spends time in her southern Arizona home sewing and embroidering historical garb for the Society for Creative Anachronism, where she also fences with a rapier. Her SCA life keeps her busy, but thanks to her Maine coon mixes, Rory and River, she’s sure to be awake in the wee hours to find time to write and market her books.
Abnormal By A.J. Mullican
Review by Katherine E. Soto
This book is an adventure and a half. It takes the reader from the opening where Clare, the main character, is caught up in a fight for her life. She is helped out of the bad situation by Eli. Chased by squads who want her for the murder of two people, Eli takes her on a run outside the cities on the telepath underground. They go house to house until the arrive in the first dead city, Clare meets unusual people with various telepath powers as they stay in a dead city. They attempt to leave the city and are caught up in the final battle.
I enjoyed reading a book with an adventure that pulled me into it. This is an Adult science fiction/Fantasy novel. There are a few scenes not fit for teen and below readers. A.J. Mullican writes a novel that will keep you on your toes. Look for a cliffhanger ending.
Available on Amazon https://amzn.to/3dEsni7