1) First, tell us about yourself – where you live, your family, and those sorts of details.
I currently live in NYC and have for the last fifteen years, but originally I am from Trinidad. Writing is of course my number one passion, but I also love being creative in general. I also have a great interest in Japanese culture, so much so that I studied the language for three years in college and built part of my major around Japanese studies.
2) How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing novels for about thirteen years now. Wow, that seems like a long time! I wrote my first novel when I was fourteen and haven’t stopped since.
3) Do you have a favorite place to write?
In my earlier writing days when I lived with my family the only place I would write would be on my bed late at night, and I used to hand write them no less. Nowadays I’m not so restrictive; on my couch with my laptop is where I usually get my writing done.
4) Why did you decide to write Affairs of the Dead?
My novels are usually born from spontaneous ideas that come to me, and Affairs is no different. I started thinking about a character whose job it was to help the dead with unfinished business, and things just went from there.
5) Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
I really enjoy my main character Selene. I like her sense of humor and that she is tough but flawed and those flaws often get her in trouble that she then has to get herself out of. She can come across as not being the nicest person, but if you see everything she goes through in the book you see that she always has the best intentions and is working hard to help those who need it.
6) How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
I guess my least favorite character would have to be the novel’s villain, for all the obvious reasons. I know that’s a typical answer, but it’s not hard to dislike the villain!
7) Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
I do several rounds of editing my books myself, but I now have an editor with Etopia Press, so any book they want to publish from me gets professionally edited as well. If I was self publishing I would definitely look into hiring an editor.
8) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing I enjoy reading, watching television, hanging out with my friends, or doing something artsy like drawing or painting.
9) Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I love reading. It’s always hard for me to have favorites when it comes to something like this because I like so many different things, so instead I’ll say that I enjoy reading young adult fantasy novels in almost all sub-genres, as well as adult urban fantasy and paranormal romance novels. And I also have a thing for post modern Japanese fiction.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Etopia Press
Date of Publication: April 19th, 2013
Number of pages: 341
Word Count: 83,282
Cover Artist: Iris Hunter
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Help ghosts, stop a thief, and try not to die…
Necromancer Selene Vanream helps ghosts settle their affairs so they can move on. But when breaking the rules gets her in trouble, she’s bumped down to tracking ghosts trying to avoid the afterlife. Ghosts like Ethan Lance, who claims he was kicked out of his body when someone else jumped in. Which might be plausible—if such a thing were possible. And if Micah, Selene’s partner, didn’t pull her into an investigation of brutal murders that lead directly back to Ethan.
But when the whole mess puts Selene’s life in danger, she suddenly has very personal reasons to get Ethan’s body back. Between her uncomfortable relationship with Micah, and problems with her boss, Selene learns just how much trouble it can be when you don’t follow the rules
I was in a strip club trying to help a ghost get laid, which was challenging, but not impossible. It was just extremely taxing on the necromancer extraordinaire (me) who had to channel energy into the ghost to make her corporeal enough to entice one of the stripper boys. Technically what I was doing was illegal, but it was my job to help ghosts settle their affairs so they could move on to eternally ever after, and Julia’s unfinished business was that she’d died a virgin. I’d made it as easy as I could for her by starting at a strip club; if she couldn’t get some here, I wasn’t sure how much lower I could scrape the barrel.
Julia’s prolonged virginity was an enigma to me, even though she told me that she’d been waiting for her soul mate. I just didn’t understand why that meant she couldn’t hit up a bar, get drunk, and have a fun, regret-filled weekend that included the walk of shame. At least she’d have been in better shape once soul mate came around.
“What do you think about him?” I asked, pointing to one of the three oiled up men who were gyrating for the benefit of all the screaming women. He had blond hair and green eyes, and wasn’t overly muscular. Julia looked at him then quickly looked away. I took that as a sign of approval.
“I think this was a bad idea,” she stammered.
“This was a fantastic idea,” I said. “And it will work, don’t worry.”
“No, I mean, I don’t think I can do this. I waited my whole life for my soul mate and now you want me to just—” she stole another quick look at the stripper, “I don’t think I can do this with some random…stripper man. It’s so indecent.”
I rolled my eyes. “Julia, you’re a ghost; you no longer have the option of being discerning. And if you don’t wrap up what’s keeping you around, you run the risk of turning into a monster. Then it’s an even bigger pain in the ass to get rid of you. So let’s call our efforts here at Bump and Moan choice A, and murderous monster choice B. Which choice would you like to make?”
“A,” Julia said, but she didn’t sound happy about it. I smiled, and grabbed a couple drinks off the tray of a passing waitress. I set them down in front of Julia.
“Drink,” I said. “This will help.”
“I’m a ghost,” she said. “I thought I was unable to eat or drink.”
“You can feel the effects of the alcohol since you’ll be working off my energy, so drink up. I’ve pegged you as a light weight so I think two drinks will be enough.”
“But how is this supposed to help?” she asked, frowning.
“Because its job is to help,” I said.
A.J. Locke is an author and artist, originally from Trinidad, now residing in New York City. Affairs of the Dead is her debut novel, and other than writing she enjoys reading, drawing, painting, graphic design, and watching too much television.