Sunday, December 9, 2012

Interview with AJ Lape plus book spotlight

Fifteen years ago, Darcy Walker’s parents thought it was a good idea to give her a unique name: Darcy, meaning “dark walker.” Whether that was a stroke of genius or stroke of stupid, they definitely nailed the irony. She lacks direction, her grades stink despite a high IQ, she’s boringly average—although flirting admirers claim otherwise—and God help her, she’s infatuated with a bad-boy. 
     A bad-boy that her hottie best friend, Dylan, wishes would get acquainted with his fist.
     And, oh yeah, there’s that tattoo that was a royally stupid idea.
     With her life spiraling out of control, everything changes when she skips class and finds a dead body…in fact, it gets worse. It jump-starts Darcy’s inner-verb, and her brain hardwired for action gets caught up in a situation she can’t let go. 
     Set in the fictional Cincinnati town of Valley, Ohio, Darcy falls into a world of threats, violence, and gangland exploits, chasing down every clue to finger the murderer. When a fellow misfit is arrested for the crime, Darcy goes from zero-to-sixty trying to clear his name—constructing aliases, breaking the law, everything that makes perfect sense to her, but reeks of Grade A Stupid to everyone else.
     Trouble is…will she live to see 16?

We're lucky enough to have Michelle cajole AJ into an interview!!! Hope you all enjoy

What is the title of your book? 
Grade A Stupid. Book two, No Brainer, is the second installment in the Darcy Walker Series and will be released in the spring of 2013. At least that’s the plan unless a solar flare incinerates me between now and then.

What genre does your book fall under?
The Darcy Walker Series is Young Adult Fiction…mystery, suspense, intrigue, and a whole lot of will-he-kiss-me-or-not. Darcy does age in the series, though, and eventually gets a job. Thankfully, she hasn’t been pigeonholed as “just for teens” because I’ve had some awesome feedback from adult readers. And God knows, Darcy experiences a lot of things that make adults lock their doors.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 
More of the same…ON STEROIDS. If you thought Darcy stirs up trouble in “Grade A Stupid,” “No Brainer” is going to have you popping antacids and throwing your books, kindles, and NOOKS up against the wall. Don’t send me the bill…please.

Will your book be self-published or traditional? 
It will be self-published like “Grade A Stupid.” Fingers crossed it will be just as good or better, and “Grade A Stupid” broke into the Top 100 in Teen Literature and Fiction within 24 hours in the kindle store. Believe me, I take nothing for granted. I literally fall facedown and thank God on occasion.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 
I hope I give readers the fun of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum Series while giving them a little bit of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games and James Patterson as a side dish. I want readers to feel every emotion possible when reading my books. So, if someone laughs, cries, hides, or wants to become a card-carrying member of the NRA then I’ve done my job.

Who or what inspired you to write this book? 
Darcy Walker came to me Friday, the 13th, 2008. That was a particularly crappy day—like in the crappiest of crap league—and I picked up my laptop and just started typing. Darcy “walked” right onto the page. She came to me flawed, she came to me troubled, she came to me hilarious, but mostly, she came to me “real.” To me, the best stories are the ones where the characters have flaws…like major flaws. Think Jekyll and Hyde, Hamlet, Macbeth, Achilles and his “heel.” King David, Anakin Skywalker, Rocky Balboa, the list goes on… Personally, I’m flawed. If I read of a character that isn’t…I can’t relate. Darcy and I have had a relationship for almost five years. She’s “very, very loud” in my brain, and I don’t censor her. In fact, if I try to censor her she wakes me up at night, and I reluctantly give in. In fact, she woke me up in “Grade A Stupid” and convinced me to change the ending of the story…only days before the official release. We did fight about that one…as usual, she won. It killed my formatter and me, though.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? 
I have a passion for people that are put together a little bit differently than everyone else—whose square-peg mind doesn’t fit through society’s round hole. Darcy is the benchmark. She’s been blessed with this super high IQ but carries some baggage that makes life a little harder for her than most. What she has going for her though is an exorbitant amount of moxie, enthusiasm, and a competitive spirit that never quits. My hope is that readers embrace their dreams, own their flaws, and take a big bite out of life’s apple pie regardless of what people may say or how they may try to remold you. I think we’re put together the way God wants us to be, and by goodness, you need to flaunt that dysfunction!

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