Fandom Monthly Magazine had the opportunity to interview the author of Almost Demon AJ Salem! She is such a great writer and we really recommend that you try reading her books!
How did you know that writing was a career that you wanted to pursue? When?
It seems very cliched but I really did wake up one morning lifted my head from the pillow and said; “Wait a minute. I think I really want to be a writer.” I had been participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for a few years and would get grumpy when it wasn’t November. Then it hit my in the face - the idea that I could be this happy all year long by remaining consistent and continuing my writing every month - it was a big moment for me. That was three years ago. I had been writing in one way or another all my life but participating in NaNoWriMo made me realize it was my passion and it reminded me of all the books I used to make as a kid.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
That’s not a term I like to use because to me it places blame for being unproductive on something that is outside myself and beyond my control. It’s very tempting when getting hung up on a plot hole to wait for inspiration to hit but that could take weeks and in the end it just exacerbates the problem. Looking back and realizing how much time got wasted is an awful feeling that can spiral. Does that mean I’m always able to write? No. But since I outline every scene chapter by chapter, if I’m not able to write consistently it means that I need to analyze what is it about the story that is stopping me. I then rework the outline a bit until I’m happy and can move on. And if that doesn't work I push through it and rework it on the next draft. Either way I’m always somehow working on my writing and making sure I put in my time every day.
What are you currently reading?
Come Alive by: Karina Halle and Throne of Glass by: Sarah J. Maas. Just finished Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally.
What are some of the things that you like to do with your free time?
I love watching TV - right now I’m obsessed with The Original and Continuum. But reading is always my number one hobby. Exercising also keeps my brain clear and when I need something repetitive to do I crochet or needlepoint.
What are you currently writing?
I’m writing the sequel to Almost Demon which is tentatively titled Born Human. And I also started working on a middle-grade fantasy book that I'm thinking of putting up on Wattpad.
What exactly is your editing process?
I write most of my story long hand - then when I’m typing up the sections I do a quick form of editing - adding dialogue or descriptions that I feel are missing. Then, I have to print out the draft and make all my changes in colored pen. For some reason I can spot things better this way. After I type up the changes and I print it out again. When I’m finally done and can't look at it anymore it goes out to an editor.
Do you have any advice for new writers?
It really all boils down to getting your butt in the chair and not quitting. Every step of the process can become a hurdle. Having ideas, not having ideas, not knowing where to start, finishing, editing, formatting, marketing - it can all get overwhelming. Just tackle each part, one at a time, and don't let setbacks discourage you. And whatever you do - Don't Quit. You may be inches from goal.
Thank you so much to AJ for her stories, humor, and advice. You have no idea how much we appreciate it!