When The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski popped up as a suggested book on Amazon I was immediately drawn in by the description and all of the raving reviews the book had gotten. Then I started to read the book. Intriguing story. Well-developed characters. Engaging voice. Smoking hot love scenes. Flawed characters. Angst. Secrets. Intrigue. Twisted emotions. I was head over heels in love and jonesing for more. It wasn’t until after I’d read the book that I realized it was part of a genre I’d been unaware of called New Adult. I immediately read three or four more New Adult titles and was hooked on the genre. Today J.A. Redmerski chats with us about self-publishing, why she prefers the intimacy of first person POV, and her newly-released book, Killing Sarai.
When did you first realize that you wanted to become a writer?
I started my first novel around the age of thirteen and never stopped. I’ve been writing something for twenty-four years, whether novels or world and character building, to poetry and lyrics. Writing has been the one consistent thing throughout my life.
Like a growing number of writers you self-published. Why do you think so many writers have chosen to self-publish?
When self‐publishing on Amazon, for instance, just started getting some exposure, I do think most of those who were going it on their own were doing it out of frustration. I’m one of them! Even though I self‐published my first book a short time after it was becoming the thing to do, I totally did it because I tried for almost three years to land an agent, but to no avail. But now, I think more and more authors are doing it because they feel it’s the better route for them and are bypassing the query‐reject method altogether.
What are some important basics an author should understand before venturing into self-publishing?
I think that no matter which route an author chooses to take, he or she should familiarize themselves with all ways and with as many aspects of each way that they can. But more importantly, writers need to understand that self‐publishing is not easy. Sure, you can write a book and upload it and start selling, but there is so much more to it than that. If a writer chooses to self‐publish they must almost commit to some hardcore self‐promoting and spending a lot of their own money (giveaways, review copies, cover art, advertisements, etc.) and giving away a lot of free books (digital and print). Without doing this, chances are not in your favor and yours will likely end up being one of the thousands of books out there just quietly holding onto its own ISBN, but going nowhere.
Many readers are still unaware of the New Adult genre, or they’re unsure of what it entails. How would you define New Adult and how does it differ from YA, besides the ages of the hero and heroine?
I think New Adult primarily focuses on all of the firsts: first real job (outside of that job at Mickey D’s you get at sixteen when allowance just isn’t cuttin’ it anymore), first apartment, first real relationship. Of course, a lot of emphasis is put on the sexual aspect of NA fiction, too, and it is true that with NA, a writer is free to ‘tell it like it is’without worrying about backlash from, rightfully so, disgruntled parents. With NA, the stories are more daring, reckless and are about that self-discovery phase. New Adult is more mature than Young Adult and not too Adult. It’s right there in the goldilocks zone.
You recently released Killing Sarai, a romantic suspense. What is the premise of this novel and what prompted you to write a romantic suspense?
Killing Sarai has been a book I’ve had in my head since shortly before I even finished The Edge of Never. I love romantic stories with more suspense rather than the typical boy-meets-girl and that helped with the decision to write this particular book. As far as anything in particular that prompted me to write it, I’d have to say it was mostly inspired by my fascination with dangerous men. 😉
Tell us a little about Victor and Sarai and the development of their unlikely relationship.
I think when two people are put in a situation like the one Victor and Sarai were put in, it’s not only inevitable they form some kind of romantic attraction to one another, but in my opinion, it’s the best kind. Their relationship is based on danger, survival, instinct and trust and I just think a bond like that, although more difficult to seal, is one hundred times harder to break.
What experience do you hope readers walk away with after reading one of your novels?
I just want readers to be able to connect on some level with the characters I create and take with them an experience rather than just a story. With The Edge of Never, for instance, I would hope that readers might feel somewhat inspired to do more with their lives than what they think they can and try to avoid falling victim to the monotony of everyday life. Because it doesn’t have to be that way, the same thing every day for the rest of your life.
What components do you feel are essential to a successful love story?
I think they would have to be ‘realism’ and ‘relatability’. Readers want to be able to envision themselves in the story in the most basic way and that’s why I think contemporary romance novels reach [m]uch bigger audiences than fantasy or paranormal romances do. And another component would be ‘chemistry’. How the relationship evolves between two characters before they fall in love is just as important as how their love story plays out afterwards. This is another lesson that I learned since I published my first book!
Do you have a specific writing style?
I love to write in first‐person POV because I love dialogue and because first‐person is almost like being able to write the entire book in dialogue. First‐person narrative is much more personal than third person and I believe it helps readers connect with the protagonist on a deeper level. Itʹs like reading straight from their diary and gives the reader an in‐depth experience into the character’s mind.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who might be feeling discouraged?
Never let anyone, or the ‘subjective’ business make you feel like you can’t write, or that you weren’t meant to write because you’re only proving them correct if you quit. I’ve been writing since the age of thirteen and I sucked for a long time because you know what, we all start out sucking. We don’t go into writing knowing everything there is to know, we go into it because it’s what we love to do. And it takes a long time to learn everything. YEARS. If you love to write, prove to the world and to yourself that you will take any criticisms with respect, you’ll never let bad reviews get you down and you will NEVER QUIT. Without bad criticism, you can never hone your skill. You’ll never get anywhere!
Many of us are eagerly awaiting the release of The Edge of Always later this year. But what else can we expect from JA Redmerski over the next twelve months?
I’m hard at work on the sequel to Killing Sarai–titled Reviving Izabel–and I hope to release that one before the end of the year. Sooner rather than later.
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