Please welcome A.J. Chase into the Moonlight. A.J. is the author of Cat and Mouse, which was recently released by Freya’s Bower.
Thanks for joining us today, A.J. And now, let’s get to know you a little better...
ME: Do you have any favorite Thanksgiving movie or program that you enjoy watching every year? If more than one, tell us all of them!
A.J.: Actually, to be honest I don’t like watching TV or movies. It’s not some “look how culturally advanced I am” thing. I think they’re fine and my family loves watching stuff but I think I’m just too ADD or something. I just can’t sit through them without doing something else.
ME: What, if any, Thanksgiving traditions (decorating, gathering with friends and family for a meal, etc.) do you have?
A.J.: We usually go to my in-laws house every year and even my family usually comes. One year when we hadn’t been married long my husband and I decided that we were going to host Thanksgiving for everyone. And it sucked so much that we basically thought, “Screw this, next year we’re going back to the old way.” lol
ME: What was your most memorable Thanksgiving and why?
A.J.: The first time I really met all of my husband’s family was a formal holiday dinner. It was extremely awkward. But the best part was my sister and her three or four year old daughter were there too and my niece decided the plastic chair she was sitting in was an excellent place to release a series of explosively loud gas emissions. While I normally don’t find body humor amusing it sounded like it was echoing through the entire room and my sister was completely horrified. She ran off to the bathroom and didn’t come out for several minutes. I still get a good laugh out of that on occasion and my niece is now fourteen. (And apparently, deep inside, so am I.)
ME: Which do you choose: white or dark turkey, white potatoes or yams, green beans or corn, bread rolls or crescent rolls?
A.J.: I personally like dark meat but I will take a little of both. I hate yams but my Irish must be coming out because I LOVE potatoes. I would eat a thanksgiving dinner of nothing but potatoes and gravy and maybe bread. I like corn better but green beans are the appropriate Thanksgiving fare. I like both rolls and crescent rolls. I would take either. Or, you know, all of them. Are you going to eat that?
ME: What, in your opinion, was the oddest food served at a Thanksgiving dinner you’ve attended?
A.J.: One year my in-laws put out the green beans and the whole casserole was black. I mean, literally black. Apparently it wasn’t burned. I have no idea what my FIL put in there and no one talked about why they looked like that. It was utterly bizarre. I asked my husband and he said he’d probably put something in there like soy sauce. My FIL gets creative. Needless to say, I passed.
ME: Tell us 3 things you are thankful for this year, please.
A.J.: That my family has made it through healthy. There’s been some serious health issues in the town where I live, including thousands of case, a frighteningly large number fatal, of swine flu. I’ve been really scared but so far so good, knock on wood.
That we are getting back on our feet. We’ve had some hard times in the last year and not one of them were things we could control but we’re slowly digging our way out with the rest of America.
That we are having another baby. We were told years ago that PCOS would prevent me from getting pregnant again but pregnancy related complications made doctors unwilling to give me fertility pills. But we were surprised earlier this year to discover that we will be having another soon. Nice surprise.
ME: Just for fun, if you could be among any of the original members of that first Thanksgiving, who would it be, the Pilgrims or the Wampanoag (Native Americans)? Why?
A.J.: Um, I’d probably be among neither. I’d probably be off somewhere carving stories on to a piece of wood or some crap.
Now, let’s get to know a little more about your writing:
ME: Why paranormal? What’s the draw?
A.J.: I actually don’t normally write paranormal. Sometimes I do write Urban Fantasy but that is completely different. In this case someone mentioned the idea of a funny paranormal and I just thought, hey that might be a good time. So I wrote one. Normally I write YA urban fantasies which are, of course much more about the world and less about the romance, and dark and gritty romantic suspense. However, I also occasionally write first person series mysteries in a very similar voice used in Cat and Mouse.
ME: If you could describe your writing with a word or phrase, what would it be? What do you want readers to take with them when they've finished reading your story?
A.J.: It really depends on what genre they’re reading. With Cat and Mouse I think I’d say the word is “light” but there’s a deeper message there that I’d like people to go away with about accepting yourself for what you are and what you’ll never be.
ME: Have you ever written Thanksgiving into your stories? Why or why not?
A.J.: Not that I remember but Thanksgiving isn’t one of those Holidays I think a lot about. I have several stories that take place around Christmas so logically some of them probably involve Halloween. But I can’t remember specifically an instance.
ME: Who decides what you write about, you or your muse? What kind of influence do you have over your story, or is the muse always the one basting the turkey?
A.J.: I think it’s mostly muse driven. I never plot. I just write. When I first started writing I was constantly stunned that everything worked out in the end. Like magic! So I think I’m mostly an automatic writer for that ghost called the muse.
Once I get to a certain point the characters really do their own thing. I have a four book YA series where I realized the secondary heroine wasn’t strong enough for the secondary hero so I put her in a situation where she’d have to grow some spine. Instead she just broke up with the hero because she couldn’t deal with it. Didn’t see that coming. Oops. That little plan backfired.
ME: Have you ever based a character on a real-life person? If so, why? Was it simply to immortalize them or was there more to it than that? If you can, tell us the name of that person, please! We’re all curious here!
A.J.: No, I never have. I don’t even base the heroines at all on myself. In fact, to be honest, my weirder traits typically show up in the hero. All my neuroses are going to show up in one hero or another. However, I did once use some of my husband’s more charming aspects to create a hero I would actually date. But that’s the only time and then all the rest of his personality was made up.
ME: What character did you have the most fun creating and why?
A.J.: In this book I had the most fun with Kitty. She does think a little like me actually. But mostly it was creating her hang ups that were fun.
In other books my favorite character ever is probably either Simon Hoyell from a romantic suspense called Never Look Down or the heroine from one of my YA UF series. I love Simon because he’s so screwed up. It’s not just hang-ups or neuroses. He has real issues and they are complex and complicated to address and that’s always fun. The YA heroine I love because she’s a walking contradiction. She has a lot of issues that would crush another teenager but she is one of those people who never lets anything show. So it’s sort of fun to get all of these horrible things she’s feeling but keep it all internal and only let it come out in a couple of her behaviors. Only when she can’t keep it inside and it comes out by accident.
I think I just like characters that are a challenge to write.
ME: If you had the opportunity to meet just one of your characters in real life, who would it be and why? Which of your characters would you never want to meet under any circumstance and why?
A.J.: Oh gosh lol this is hard. Just one? I have hundreds of characters. Wow. The one I’d most like to meet is Aodhagan McFarley, I think. The hero of my Birdwell, TX mystery series. He’s so like me sometimes and all of the attractive parts about him come from my husband, I think we’d have no trouble getting along. The one I’d like to meet least? I can’t tell you that specifically because it would give away the story, but I think the villain in Never Look Down.
For Katherine Stapleton(aka Kitty), being a shape-shifter isn’t nearly as glamorous as the novels and movies make it out to be. It isn’t all raw, animalistic sex and superhuman physical prowess. There’s also the hairballs.
Kitty has spent her entire life being a less-than-perfect were-cat. She can’t control her animal changes, so she decide to excel at matters human. After a decade of worldly successes, she’s back home for her ten-year high school reunion. Yet, she feels just as insignificant as she did back in school—except with Sam Philmore, a fellow D.C. lawyer and past classmate. And her former secret crush. In just three days Kitty gets the bad memories, the good times, the bitter truth, and a mouthful of one very sexy man who just happens to be a mouse sometimes...
We wandered across the courtyard, deafened by the huge artificial spray of water as we crossed under the waterfall. The pair of us found a little niche between the pool at the bottom of the waterfall and a large—probably artificial—garden. We leaned against the stucco wall.
I ran my hand over my dress again, self conscious while Sam watched me. What could I do to get him to stop staring? “Do you like living in D.C.?”
“I’ve liked it better since two weeks ago.” He sounded so matter-of-fact I had to ask.
“What happened two weeks ago?”
He played with a random curl that couldn’t be shoved back in my twist. “I saw your name on the Montgomery list.”
Oh, God. My knees went weak, and it probably wasn’t the vodka. At least not all of it.
But it was the vodka and schnapps cruising through my veins that made me stand there limp, with blood pumping hot to all the right places, and not run away. It was the alcohol that made me capable of opening my mouth under his when Sam kissed me hard.
In another moment I would have fled if someone I hadn’t seen in years tried to slip me some tongue, especially considering one of us would probably have to be removed from the Montgomery case.
But not right now.
Sam tasted like cheesecake, high school fantasies, and man. I whimpered low in my throat while his stroking tongue worked magic on mine. Tangling my fingers into his hair, I got into the kiss.
It was a bad idea. But at the moment all I knew was he kissed like he meant it, felt like my wildest dreams, and had his hand on my ass. I don’t think two minutes passed before his tie was off, and my fingers were tangled in the crisp, dark hair on his muscled chest. My black skirt fit too tight to step between, but somehow it had managed to ride all the way up my thighs. Sam stood between my legs, his erection pressing unabashedly into me as we kissed with an insane level of abandon.
It had to be the alcohol. It had to be. God, he was so hot.
“I’ve wanted to kiss you for fourteen years,” he growled, nipping on the lobe of my ear. “Fourteen years of fantasizing about that pretty little mouth of yours.”
“Fourteen—” I gasped as he sucked my bottom lip into his mouth. “I don’t believe you,” I managed after he’d abandoned my mouth and moved to my neck.
“You should. It’s true.”
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