RJ Nolan

I was sorting through the list of books on Amazon and found RJ Nolan’s sequel to LA Metro, a story that I recall that I very much enjoyed reading. Sadly, since my novels got published, I seem to have little time to do pleasure reading between editing, keeping up with my website, and keeping up with Facebook I find little time to enjoy reading anymore. It didn’t stop me from buying her new book Heartbeat and adding it to my “To Be Read” pile. 

AJ: How do you balance your time as an author? What percentage of time do you allot to writing, editing, publicizing and reading others’ books? 

RJ: Unfortunately, I have nowhere near the time I would like to devote to writing or editing so it is a real juggling act. On the publicizing front, I wish I had more time for that as well. I really enjoy interacting with readers. But frequently it comes down to having to choose between writing a new book or publicizing the current book. I’m sure my readers would want me to choose the former. J I am blessed with a great publisher. Astrid, at Ylva publishing, understands the circumstances I’m laboring under and is willing to work around them. I have also chosen to devote what time I do have for reading to working as a critique partner for a fellow author. She is also a great help to me in getting my novels ready for submission. As a consequence of the above-mentioned things, I find I have no time to read others’ books. I have a pile of ‘to be read’ books that gets deeper every year.

AJ: Tell us a bit about your book(s).

RJ: "L.A. Metro" and “In a Heartbeat” are at their core romance novels, but there is a deeper issue in each book. L.A. Metro tackles that of betrayal in its many forms, and how damaging it can be. And how important trust is in a relationship. “In a Heartbeat” deals with being true to yourself and that includes forgiving yourself for past mistakes, as well as accepting that you deserve to be loved. I think most people in their heart of hearts long for that one person who understands and accepts them on a soul-deep level that no one else in the world does. If readers take anything away from "L.A. Metro" and “In a Heartbeat”, I hope it is a firm belief that if they have not found that person in their life, for whatever reason, to not give up and keep looking.

AJ: I can understand that. My books carry that same, hopeful, message. Tell us a bit about your main character(s). What makes them unique or interesting?

RJ: All four women: Jess and Kim from “L.A. Metro” and Sam and Riley from “In a Heartbeat” share one very important thing in common. They are all very successful women professionally. Jess is the head of ER at L.A. Metro hospital. Kim is a psychiatrist at the same hospital. Sam is a veteran police officer and Riley is a top-notch trauma surgeon. To the outside world, they are the image of the modern-day successful woman. But each woman has a hidden vulnerability that keeps them from having a happy personal life to go along with those professional accomplishments. Seeing that vulnerable side and watching the characters struggle to overcome it, is what readers have told me keeps them rooting for the characters to have their happily-ever-after.

AJ: How much research do you do?

RJ: While I worked in the medical field many years ago, I do research for each novel on current information on the medical issues included in the book. Also if it is a medical issue I am not familiar with, then I do additional research. That’s the case with the next book in the L.A. Metro series that I am currently researching. One of the characters has a medical problem that I have not dealt with so it is requiring additional, extensive research to be able to portray her accurately.  One of the reasons both books are set in California is that I am very familiar with the area, so do not have to do a lot of research in that regard. But I still go out to restaurants and other places in the stories to refresh my memory so I can bring the locations to life for readers.

AJ: Do you write full-time or part-time?

RJ: Very much part-time. Some days I am able to work for a few hours. Sometimes, weeks go by when I am unable to write. It is frustrating, but as my father always told me: “You have to play the hand you were dealt”. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I love to write and will continue to do so despite any obstacles. If I were unable to write I would feel as if a big part of myself had been taken away.

AJ: You said you don’t have much time for reading. When you do, what do you like to read?

RJ: True, I rarely read for pleasure alone anymore. I spend my time beta reading. However, when I do, it is usually science fiction, though that is sometimes a hard genre to find a good book in. That is something I would like to do some day, write science fiction.

AJ: For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

RJ: That’s a hard one. I really like the convenience of ebooks, but there is still something very appealing about holding a print copy of a book in my hands.

AJ: Who designs your book cover/s? Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came to be. Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

RJ: An amazing graphic artist at Streetlight Graphics designed L.A. Metro’s and In a Heartbeat’s covers. In my opinion, Glendon is a genius. I gave him the basic parameters of the cover I wanted: a hospital ER entrance, no people and possibly some medical symbol. The first time I saw the cover of L.A. Metro I was stunned. As wonderful as the whole cover is, the heart-shaped stethoscope, to me, was the element that took a wonderful cover and made it exactly what I had been looking for. At a single glance, it lets the reader know, this is a romance. The cover he created for In a Heartbeat while a great cover in its own right, also made it clear it was part of the L.A. Metro series. I feel that covers very much play a part in the buying process. There are so many books out there, if the cover does not catch the readers’ eyes, it makes it that much harder for your book to be given a chance.

AJ: Yes, I agree. Many readers have mentioned they loved the cover of Sunset Island. It remains, today, my most successful book to date.  I credit that cover with initially getting my story noticed, when I was a completely unknown author. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

RJ: First, let me say...all the names have been changed. Had to get that out of the way! LOL. That said, many of the situations and personalities in the books are from people I have observed, and situations I have seen while working in the medical profession. As with most professions, I am sure people would be a bit shocked at what goes on behind the scenes.

AJ: Will you have a new book coming out soon?

RJ: My newest book, “In a Heartbeat” was just released in May 2014. It is a continuation of my L.A. Metro series. This time the focus is on Sam, Jess’s sister, who readers met in “L.A. Metro”. She’s a veteran police officer. She is also an out and proud lesbian. Give her a criminal to chase and she’s your gal, but have a woman mention the word commitment, and she heads for the hills. A routine call takes her to the hospital where Riley, a successful trauma surgeon works. The two woman are hurtled into a life and death situation. It binds them together. But Riley has issues of her own, she’s a workaholic and hiding her sexuality from her family. What kind of future together could two such different women possibly have? “In a Heartbeat” takes readers on a journey as the two women go from a tentative friendship, to eventually a lot more.

AJ: Are there certain characters you would like to go back to?

RJ: I do have some earlier books that are no longer in print, where at the time, my writing skills did not allow me to do justice to the characters as I could now. If I could, I’d like to go back and tell those characters stories as they deserve to be told. Then again, I have a lot of new characters and stories waiting to be told, so at this point, my focus is on new stories.

AJ: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

RJ: Learn about our craft. Read everything you can find about writing. And that includes books on proper grammar. Whether you want to get your manuscript accepted by a publisher or choose indie publishing, the advice still holds. And once you have that first story...edit, edit, and edit it again. I spend just as much time editing, rewording, and tweaking a story as I do writing the actual story. Now, that’s not to say I never make any grammar errors. One of my beta readers finds it humorous reading the sentences with dangling participles that creep into my writing. And I have to admit some of them are pretty funny, even if unintentional. No matter how hard I try to squash those little buggers, she inevitably finds one (or more) I missed.

AJ: Editing is the bane to my existence as an author. Despite at least five or six readers who read my work before it goes to publication, there are always some errors that creep in. Producing a perfectly error-free book is still a dream. If you could go back and change anything in your writing career, what would it be?

RJ: Well, if I had known that I would eventually take up writing, I would have paid much better attention in those high school and college English classes.

AJ: Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to add or have any questions you wish I’d asked that I didn’t?

RJ: If you don’t mind, I’d like to thank my readers for being patient and sticking with me. I was beyond thrilled when “In a Heartbeat” became a #1 best seller on Amazon. I know everyone wants to see a new book every year. I wish I could do that, but I can’t. On average, it takes me two years to write a book. So while I may not be on Facebook as often as I’d like, or participating in the myriad of discussion groups, I can assure you that instead, I am working on my next book.

You can contact RJ here: 

Website at: www.rjnolan.com


rjnolan@gmail.com .

I always enjoy hearing from readers.


© JEN 2014