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Mar 26, 2014

Author Feature: A.J. Pine

Title: If Only
Author: A.J. Pine
Publisher: Entangled: Embrace
Release date: March 24, 2014
Age group: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Sometimes it takes crossing an ocean to figure out where you belong.

It’s been two years since twenty-year-old Jordan had a boyfriend—which means it’s been forever since she, well, you know. But now she’s off to spend her junior year in Aberdeen, Scotland, the perfect place to stop waiting for Mr. Right and just enjoy Mr. Right Now.

Sexy, sweet (and possible player) Griffin may be her perfect, no-strings-attached match. He’s fun, gorgeous, and makes her laugh. So why can’t she stop thinking about Noah who, minutes after being trapped together outside the train’s loo, kisses Jordan like she’s never been kissed before? Never mind his impossible blue eyes, his weathered, annotated copy of The Great Gatsby (total English-major porn)…oh, and his girlfriend.

Jordan knows everything this year has an expiration date. Aberdeen is supposed to be about fun rather than waiting for life to happen. But E. M. Forster, Shakespeare, and mistletoe on Valentine’s Day make her reconsider what love is and how far she’s willing to go for the right guy.
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What element of a story do you feel is the most important and necessary in most, if not all, novels? Why?

First and foremost, nearly everything I read must have kissing. I love love. But what is it that makes a good romance? For me it’s pretty simple. The best love stories have epic antici………pation.

My debut, If Only, is new adult, but I love both YA and NA and see a common thread in the love stories that have my heart. Whether it’s Holder and Sky’s sexiest first kiss that wasn’t a kiss in Colleen Hoover’s Hopeless; waiting an entire year to see if Allyson and Willem will ever find each other again in Gayle Forman’s Just One Day; or in Fangirl becoming so wrapped up in whether or not Simon and Baz will ever get past the whole vampire thing and just admit their love…wait…you thought I was going to talk about Cath and Levi, didn’t you? That’s what I mean! Rainbow Rowell got me so invested in the frame story of Simon and Baz that I was all anticipatory until the end for them too! Plus, LEVI IS MINE. I’m glad we clarified that.

What I mean is this—for the love story to work, the reader has to be all in with the couple. I don’t want to read or write a romance that gets scared off by the black moment. As my critique partner Natalie says, “The ache is where it’s at.” I’m all about the ache and the angst. If the love story is done well, the reader will follow the couple through the black moment all the way to the anticipated happily ever after or happily for now. The stories I listed above are just a few examples of authors who, in my opinion, did it well. They got me to buy into in each couple's journey with my whole heart, enough so that I could wait until sometimes the very last page for that romantic payoff, so that I wanted to wait because the reunion wouldn't be earned if it came any sooner.

There’s a reason why it’s called a happy ending and not a happy novel. Make the reader care. Then frustrate the hell out of them and tear the lovers apart until they deserve each other. They have the whole ever after to be happy.

After reading Pine's guest post, I was so enthusiastic about it that I wrote a little response back (to her email) that I decided to share with all of you, as well.

Your post was perfect and I completely agree, especially with your crit partner (she's a keeper ;p) when she said that "the ache is where it's at." She's definitely right on!

Personally, my most favorite books to read are the ones that are incredibly heavy and dark (to the max!). (Maybe I'm a masochist, idk.) The ones where the author gives me all this hope for an epic love story and right after the knot is tied and solidified, they slowly start to knock it down with x problems and then boom, I'm free-falling into an abyss of emotions that threaten to overtake me and I don't know if I'll be permanently damaged or not by the time I close the book.

I love books that leave me emotionally distraught, books that take me through the wringer, books that make my heart ache so bad, it seriously feels like Armageddon is right around the corner. I love books like that because it makes the happily ever after ten million, billion, trillion times sweeter. Like Lauren Oliver said in Delirium, "you can't be happy unless you're unhappy sometimes."

So, I totes get what you mean when you said that you "wanted to wait because the reunion wouldn't be earned if it came any sooner."

*looks at email* Woah, I really loved your post. Obvi. Thank you so much for being here today, Amy!

About the author:

A.J. Pine is the author of If Only, her new adult contemporary romance that just released on March 24th with Entangled's Embrace line. A.J. writes stories to break readers’ hearts, but don’t worry—she’ll mend those hearts with a happily ever after…maybe. The first book she wrote was YA, but now she’s two-timing her first love with NA.

She’s always in the middle of reading two to three books, adores online shopping (everything from groceries to shoes), and she still loves vampires, whether it’s Eric Northman or the Salvatore brothers. When she’s not writing, AJ is sneaking off to her day job as a high school English teacher or hanging with her husband and kids in the Chicago burbs.

Connect with A.J. Pine: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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