author L.J. Greene joins me today
to talk about her new adult contemporary, Aftereffects.
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writes really boring stuff by day and lets her inner romantic fly by night. This
California native is married to the most amazing man and has two beautiful
children, not old enough to read her books. (They probably wouldn’t want to
anyway on account of the “Ew, gross” factor.) She’s an avid reader of all
genres with an embarrassingly large ebook collection, and a weird
penchant for reading the acknowledgements at the end of a novel. She’s also
a music lover with no apparent musical talent, a travel enthusiast, and a
Welcome, L.J. Please share a little bit
about your current release.
friends-to-lovers story about two people who meet in a random way on the Golden
Gate Bridge and, through a serendipitous twist, find that they share a similar adversity.
As a result, they forge a true bond of friendship and that evolves into a very
endearing relationship. But things go a bit amiss when the interests of their
friendship clash in a rather heartbreaking way with the interests of their
relationship. They truly want the best for each other, so the choices are
What inspired you to write this book?
things: First, I always wanted to write a friends-to-lovers story. I think the
friends/lovers theme is so enduringly powerful because the risk/reward ratio is
so high on both sides. How amazing is it to be loved by the person who knows
you best – knows all your flaws – and thinks you’re perfect anyway? But if
things don’t quite go as planned, how difficult to lose both the love of your
life and the person you most want to call when you lose the love of your life?
There are tough choices to make in that equation and they’re very real for a
lot of people. In reading the reviews of this book, it’s incredibly gratifying
to see how many people relate to that in a very personal way.
second bit of inspiration came from my dad, who I lost just as my second book,
Sound Effects, was being published. This book honors him, and so many men like
him for whom the call to parenting is no less than sacred.
Excerpt from Aftereffects:
lifted her left hand and touched my face with her palm. It was definitely a new
kind of closeness for us, at least sober—one to which I gave no resistance. Her
skin felt warm and smooth as she stroked my cheek gently. And I couldn’t take
my eyes off her face. My God, she was stunning. This close, I absorbed the
perfection of her features, of her delicate earlobes. A tiny piece of dark hair
curled around the back of one.
air between us seemed to crackle quietly, and I sat frozen in my seat in case
any movement might cause her to draw away.
don’t think I’ve ever seen you clean-shaven,” she said softly.
could feel her breath, too, warm against my face. My fingers itched to reach up
and touch her mouth, to feel whether it was as soft as I remembered. My
heartbeat picked up not only faster but harder, like it was punching me from
a goal been scored just then I wouldn’t have noticed. Nothing could have pulled
me from that trance. I didn’t hear anything going on around us. Not the crowd,
not the announcer, not the buzzer.
her voice and her eyes and her breath. The memory of her mouth.
you have a preference?” I asked roughly. I had no idea what possessed me to ask
that’s a lie. That other side of me wanted to be everything she wanted
and would have shaved every single day if that’s what she asked of me.
Her beautiful lips curved slightly upward. “How could I choose between James
Bond and Indiana Jones?”
palm came to rest on my jawline, and I took a deep breath. When had my wanting
her turned into this painful kind of ache?
the sanctity of her expression, I had a sudden and startling thought that maybe
we could write a different ending for the two of us. One I hadn’t yet
considered. Maybe there was a different story we could tell in which the things
we had to offer would be enough.
was obviously more to our relationship than just friendship, and perhaps we
could figure out how to have something more than what we’d allowed ourselves.
After all, there was care and respect at the heart of everything we did
together. That had to mean something.
What exciting story are you working on
I’ve just begun work on my fourth novel, which centers around one of the
secondary characters from Ripple Effects, Marcus Abbey. Marcus is just a great
character – not your typical romance hero – and I’ve been thinking about
writing his story ever since one of my beta readers for Ripple Effects told me
she loved him so much she was kind of rooting for him to end up with the
heroine! I’m really excited to finally be doing it!
of my books are standalones and can be read in any order so readers can jump in
at any time. But I do love bringing characters from the previous books together
with new ones to see what might happen. It’s always a joyful romp.
When did you first consider yourself a
heard someone say once that everyone has one book in them, but very few people
have two. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but when I finished my second
book I thought, okay, I’m now one of the few. Finishing this book, my third
book, made me feel like a writer.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
a consultant in the Silicon Valley. This typically means I have the pleasure of
spending many hours in Bay Area
traffic, hammering out the next scene in my head! In fact, that’s pretty much
how this whole writing adventure started for me almost eight years ago –
listening to “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” while sitting in traffic and musing
about a totally different interpretation of that situation.
I’m enormously proud of it. It’s a beautiful friends-to-lovers story with a
squeal-worthy HEA. The book took me nearly two years to complete, so your
question about finding time is a really great one! I actually don’t think you find time to write. I think – at least
this is my experience – you have to make
it. Writing is work, no matter how you slice it. And it’s hard work, at that. So if you don’t love it, or maybe if you don’t
need it more than you find it hard, you won’t put yourself through the agony of
actually write something every single day, usually first thing in the morning.
Sometimes it’s a lot; sometimes it’s just a few thoughts, but every day I write.
To me, it’s kind of like exercise. When you’re in the habit of doing it every
day, it’s not so hard. But if you take a few weeks off, re-entry is rough.
What would you say is your interesting
don’t know if this is a quirk, but I typically design my cover very early on in
the drafting process of a book. I’ve found that it helps me to visualize my
characters and connect with them as three-dimensional people. It’s also fun
because it gives me the opportunity to write their shirt or their jacket or
their wristbands into a scene, bringing the cover into the story.
absolutely love the cover of Aftereffects. This is exactly how I see
Keir in my mind. And I was so lucky to be able to collaborate again with Joshua
Bruce from X Book Cover Design, who incorporated a bit of a mystical feel that
I didn’t realize would be so fitting when we designed the cover two years ago.
you want to be when you grew up?
I was in elementary school, I had a dress that said, “When I grow up, I want to
be the President.” Looking back, I love that my mom and dad put me in that
dress and sent me off into the world. I don’t know that I actually ever wanted
to be president, but I never grew up doubting for a second that I could. That’s
awesome, right? I’m certainly ready to see a female president – maybe one of my
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
than anything, I just want to let you know how much I appreciate your having me
as a guest. Blogs like yours play such a critical role in giving a voice to independent
authors like me. I don’t ever take that for granted. And to those of your
readers who welcome Aftereffects into
their hearts and homes, thank you! It’s an honor to be part of your ‘me time.’
Thank you for being a guest on my blog!