Welcome to our Grand Finale celebrations for the amazing
Today we'll talk about The Long Fall Of Night, with excerpt, plus our interview with AJ, and one more chance to win!
The Long Fall Of Night
In a flash, everything changes.
When NYU student Asher Caine’s uncle calls to warn him something big is coming, he has no idea it will be so devastating. Not even years of training can prepare him for what he's about to face. The only plan he has is to get his sister and nephew across country to safety, whatever it takes.
The darkness is full of potential. For good or evil, only time will tell.
Elliot Davenport isn’t about to let his Chemistry lab partner leave him behind, though he’s never done a spontaneous thing in his life. Ash is mysterious, aloof, and so damned sexy, Elliot can’t get the guy out of his head. But his crush takes a backseat as the gravity of the situation becomes clear: the eastern two-thirds of the United States has gone dark.
What happens when all the rules change in a split second?
200 million people are without access to sustainable food and water, let alone coffee and the Internet. Facing the worst humanitarian crisis the western world has ever seen, the government calls the military to step in. The entire military.
The soldiers of Team Shockwave are tasked with evacuating civilians to the safety of refugee camps, and then patrolling the new border between the East and West. Shockwave are on the front lines and the fate of an entire nation rests on them.
Welcome to the long fall of night…
“Don’t do that anymore,” Ash grumbled.
Elliot actually startled in his incredulity. “Are you kidding? If you’re right, people are going to need as much of a head start as they can get.”
“Which only narrows our head start. All you’re doing is making the panic hit sooner.”
Anger welled in Elliot’s chest. “You warned a whole classroom full of people!”
“People smart enough to be logical about what’s going on.”
The chirp of the vehicle unlocking interrupted Elliot’s sputtering, and Ash stopped and stared at the car-shaped tarp in its spot at the end of the row, the lights blinking through the canvas.
“You ever drive it?”
“No,” Elliot said tersely, setting his bag down to fold back the cloth, revealing a gleaming black Audi sedan. Ash helped, then hit the button to pop the trunk when Elliot stood with the cover bunched in his arms.
“You probably don’t need that anymore, and it’ll take up space.”
“What, just leave it here? That’s stupid.”
“No more so than taking it with us and not using it.”
“Whatever,” he said, realizing it wasn’t worth the argument. He dumped the cover into the corner as Ash put the bags from the kitchen into the trunk, then swung his duffel bag in, slamming the lid decisively.
“Time’s wastin’. Get in.”
“I am smart,” Elliot gritted out once they were moving, picking up the thread of conversation about warning Julian. “I’m just having a hard time believing the Unabomber.”
“No one’s forcing you to be here,” Ash reminded him.
“Let’s get something clear. We’re in my car. You aren’t letting me come along. I am letting you borrow it. Letting you drive. We’re a package deal. You ditch me, you ditch the wheels, too. Let’s not forget who is doing the favor here.” Fucking or not, he wasn’t about to get walked on. He really hoped, however, Ash wouldn’t decide that was a deal breaker and just park and walk. Even a short drive back to the garage wasn’t wise.
“I don’t need this particular car, Elliot,” Ash said, as if reading his mind. “I’m perfectly capable of acquiring another one, so if you want to take your precious baby and go it alone, fine by me. But speak up now so I don’t waste any more time.”
Well, if that doesn’t tell me where I rate, nothing does. Elliot sank lower in his seat, glowering out the window. “You could at least show a little gratitude that I’m saving you from committing a felony.” The tense silence stretched until Elliot could stand it no more. He dug out his iPod and flicked the wheel to a playlist of piano songs, thankful it powered up and not caring why it worked but his phone didn’t. Beth Crowley crooned through the speakers about how things end, and Elliot settled in, prepared to sulk the whole way.
“You’re right,” Ash said, just audible over the melody. Elliot turned it down and looked at Ash’s profile, barely visible in the obsidian deep of night. “If you weren’t being so generous, I’d have to do something I really didn’t want to do. The police are probably out in much greater numbers, and the last thing I want is to end up stuck in a cell when the shit really hits the fan. So thank you.”
“Wow,” Elliot breathed. “Did that hurt?”
“Did what hurt?”
“The tiny humility in your voice.”
To Elliot’s surprise, Ash laughed. “A little bit, yeah.”
“Good,” he said, trying unsuccessfully to hide an amused grin. “So where are we going?”
“Where’s that?” Elliot asked. “I’ve never gone upstate.”
“Are you from here?”
“And you’ve never been upstate?” Ash asked skeptically.
“When I traveled, it was usually with my parents.”
“What, they didn’t bother with mundane trips to the Adirondacks, is that it?” Ash asked sardonically.
Elliot was aware Ash knew he was well off, but it had never seemed to matter before. It stung that he threw it in Elliot’s face now. Stress. He’s just freaked out, and so are you.
“Mostly, we went where my dad had business. Overseas,” Elliot answered, cutting Ash slack. “I didn’t really have a choice.” He refused to say anything about being groomed to take over Davenport Oil Company. He didn’t want to ruin Ash’s opinion of him. It was hard won enough as it was.
Thankfully, Ash let it drop. “Auburn is almost two hundred fifty miles, maybe a little more. It’s northeast of here, by the Finger Lakes.”
“Aside from your sister, what’s up there?”
“Well, a bunch of outdoor places for the lakes. And the prison.”
Elliot did a double take. “Wait, you were serious about the inmate comment?”
Ash smiled, the glow from the dashboard giving his expression a disturbing feral quality. “Yeah, I need to get my sister and nephew out of Auburn before the inmates wreak havoc. The prison should have generators, but the one at the Poly Institute failed, which makes me nervous. Who knows what will happen if the prison goes without power.”
“I’m sure they have contingency plans for power outages.” Elliot tried for reassuring, but he wasn’t sure he pulled it off.
“I’m not inclined to stay long enough to find out,” Ash deadpanned.
Get the book:
Our Q&A with AJ:
What inspires you? What gets you writing?
It depends. Sometimes it’s a song (which happens quite a lot), and sometimes it’s a scene that will pop in my head. Sometimes I’ll be having a conversation with someone and my face with go blank while my focus turns inward and a whole plot falls in my lap. Usually, the writing process inspires me, because I love creating worlds and people and all their quirks and flaws. It’s hard to write a book, but it’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.
What's your writing process? Seat of your pants, lots of sticky notes, complex spreadsheets?
I used to be a pantser, but I’ve discovered having a written down plot point by point, plus an outline of what I want in each chapter really helps me stay focused and has actually increased my word count per day. It’s not so rigid I can’t throw in a surprise and work with that, but when that happens, I know exactly where, later in the story, I’ll need to make adjustments. I use Scrivener to keep my research, pictures for character inspiration, and notes and ideas all in one place, so I organize my books by character, plot, notes, chapters, and research.
Everything is at my fingertips then, and I can quickly find what I need to know, whether it’s a timeline issue or a past detail on a character’s childhood. I don’t waste time looking forever for it, and I don’t make the same mistakes I used to when it comes to continuity. Much more organized. Now if only the rest of my life would fall in place that way.
Which character from your books is your favorite, and why?
Oh man, that’s a really tough question. I have an affinity for quite a few of them. If I had to pick a MC, I think it would be a tie between Ben from Power Exchange and Elliot from The Long Fall of Night. Ben is mysterious to me, very much in control, and so compassionate it almost hurts. Even as I wrote the third book of the Power Exchange series, Ben was still surprising me, and frankly, he was one of the most fun characters to write, even if he was filtered through Gavin’s eyes. Gavin’s near hero-worship of Ben is probably a reflection of my own. Elliot is completely different than Ben, but no less an enigma to me. He’s a strange dichotomy of mild-mannered and badass because there’s an inner strength in him he hasn’t yet tapped into, and his legacy has been so far to do what his oil tycoon father wants of him. But when the power goes out in two-thirds of the U.S., all the rules go out the window, and Elliot’s really got an opportunity to shine. He just needs a little confidence. Unfortunately, just like Ben and Gavin, I’m going to make him work for his HEA.
If I could pick one of my secondary characters as a favorite, it’d be Moonshine, from Queers. From the minute I started writing her scenes, she took them over, pushed me in ways I wasn’t convinced would work with the story I was trying to tell, and in the end, she’s probably the one character I identify with the most. She was loud, brash, took none of my shit, and basically, if I were going to with to be someone from one of my books, it’d be her.
Which character is your least favorite, and why?
That would be a toss up between Victoria from Power Exchange, whose disdain for anything that didn’t match her idea of acceptable almost choked me as I wrote her, or Sabrina from The Anatomy of Perception. She may have seemed over-the-top rude and villainous to the point of being unbelievable, but I have met many a Sabrina in my life, and each and every time, I want to run far away. Self-serving doesn’t begin to describe her, and people are her favorite toys to play with, until she gets bored and tries to destroy them. Usually to her biggest advantage.
If you could go back into one of your books and change one thing, what would that be? And why?
I would make the villain in Power Exchange book 1 less obvious. I’m a bit heavy handed with foreshadowing, and more than once, it’s done my books a disservice. What TV and screenplay writers get away with in shows and movies is not possible in books, and because I’m a visual writer, descriptions of demeanors or dialogue almost always give away where I’m going with a story. Not to mention I think readers these days are a hell of a lot smarter than when I was younger, and it’s much more difficult to pull off a surprise in a book now than anything I remember reading as a teenager or in my twenties.
So while I think it’s in character for Gavin to have made the mistakes he made in the first book which led to some pretty heavy duty consequences (and there’s more explanation for his choices in book 2, but that leaves the reader dissatisfied with book 1 unless they go on in the series), it makes him look incredibly stupid because I pointed too many clues to the villain too early on in the story for it to be excusable, regardless of the fact that I wanted to write more of a relationship story with a mystery backdrop than a mystery with a relationship backdrop. Both elements needed to be strong, and one just wasn’t. To this day, I would love to rewrite some of that book.
What's next for you? What amazing book are you working on?
I’m currently working on a four book series called The Long Fall of Night, of which I released the first book of the same title in June. It’s about a catastrophic power outage throwing the United States into a long-term state of chaos. I’ve got corruption and romance and life-threatening situations galore, and I cannot wait to see what people think. I’m deep in the plotting for the second book, and have begun writing with the hopes of being ready for publication in September or October of this year.
After that, there’s a collaborative project with Kate Aaron (yes, my wife-to-be and I are hoping to co-author a book), which will be sort of a prequel to another idea I have concerning a ménage. After that, I have a paranormal idea swishing around in my head, as well as an assassin tale I really hope will work out, but that one is very multi-layered and I’m not sure I can pull off all the nuance I’m going for. Then there’s the Power Exchange spin-off story I’ve been sitting on, and I’m sure more will come up to take my imagination off to distant lands. The only thing certain at this point is The Long Fall of Night series.
Where to find AJ:
Thanks for joining us again this week to celebrate AJ. We hope you had a great time learning more about this wonderful author and perhaps even found a new favorite.
Until next time, happy reading!