Chocolate? No, never heard of it.
I’m a geek girl. And while, over the years, some could argue being a geek girl has become the quintessential standard in coolness (insert shameless plug for Big Bang Theory), being a card toting member of the Star Trek fan club hasn’t always worked in my favor. For example, like the time I called in sick to work so I could commemorate Gene Roddenberry’s death by getting a Star Trek insignia tattoo, and my boss found out and docked my wages. Yep. True story.
*After disclosing the above, if any doubts remain about my geekness, I invite you to come over and take a look at the powder-blue Star Trek uniform and matching tricorder hanging in my closet. I even have the black go-go boots. No, really.*
As a young girl, I devoured the works of Theodore Sturgeon, C. S. Lewis, R. A. Salvatore, J. R. R. Tolkien…you get the picture…and can honestly say that, to date, my fascination with all thing fantasy has served me well (insert shameless plug for Chris Hemsworth as Thor). I mean, what girl wouldn’t swoon watching Viggo Mortensen portray Aragorn in high definition on a theatre-sized screen, a box of Raisinets and a gallon-sized soda in hand? To me, three hours of Lord of the Rings is the ultimate in geekdom bliss!
But, even better, not only has the genius of Stan Lee finally, thankfully, seen the light of day (insert shameless plug for Ironman one, two and three), prime time television has also recently taken a foray into the fantasy genre. Whoot! Sleepy Hollow, Once Upon A Time, Game of Thrones, Supernatural—the list of fantasy programming is endless, and I have the backlog of recorded shows to prove it.
So, you can imagine my complete and utter joy when not only was I granted the exciting opportunity to write my first fantasy series, I was blessed with the fulfillment of a lifelong dream by having it published by the amazing folks at HarperImpulseUK. Whoo Hoo! I inked that contract with fervor, dove headfirst into editing my prose, and anxiously awaited the release of the first installment in my four book fantasy romances (insert shameless plug for Rowena’s Key, Book One, The Golden Key Chronicles). Huzzah!
Aaaand that’s where things got tricky…
Since I’ve been a writer for about six years now—during which time I spent three years working as an editor for several romance publishers, landed an agent and saw three books through to publication—I like to think I have a good grasp of marketing and promotion. Utilizing this experience, I went about the task of contacting book bloggers, tweeting, FB partying and all around raising a hullabaloo about my latest release. However, what I didn’t count on was the small percentage of folks who held an interest in reading the fantasy romance genre.
Huh? Wait, what? You mean you don’t like guys with swords who charge into save the day? What do you mean, you haven’t read any fantasy romance? What about Disney movies? Have you seen Tangled or Beauty at the Beast (insert shameless plug for Flynn Ryder)?
To an avid fantasy fan like me, hearing someone had never read a fantasy romance was like discovering they’d never tried chocolate. Or wine. Or coffee.
*Danger, Will Robinson. Unknown life force detected.*
For days afterward, I stumbled along, trying to wrap my head around such an astounding revelation. But in the end, I realized I was left with few choices. Thankfully, I am surrounded by some of the most giving, wonderful, supportive readers in this or any known galaxy. I contacted these lovely folks, asked them to take a read and let me know what they thought of my story (shameless plug for those ladies, some of whom had already gone out and purchased their very own copy).
Here are some of the responses I got:
AJ, why do you have to write the most wonderful heroes? Aaaahhhh!!! Now I'm hooked and begrudgingly wait for Book 2. I can't believe this is happening! Thanks AJ for the enlightenment!
This is an awesome read, AJ! I don't normally read romance fantasy, but I devoured this book in one sitting. I was hooked from the first page.
Ok so for a non-fantasy reader, I really liked this book. I was struck by the originality but that's probably something more common to the genre than your typical romance and maybe I've been missing out all these years!
I haven't read any fantasy books for the longest time, but this author AJ Nuest has re-introduced me to a genre that I had forgotten I loved!
I'm a first time-reader of this genre but I have to say I was hooked from the start. The story is rocking and gathers you in.
So, for those of you who, like me, have always enjoyed an epic fantasy romance fraught with swashbuckling heroes emerging victorious against insurmountable odds…as well as those of you who have not yet dipped your toe into the magical world of fantasy romance…I invite you to check out Rowena’s Key, Book One of The Golden Key Chronicles, available now from HarperImpulse UK.