Aislinn is an Australian Expat living in Qatar. She completed a Bachelor of Arts in English and History, which she loved, and then went on to do a Masters in an unrelated field. She now largely pretends that last degree never happened. She is the author of the ‘Soldiering On’ books, a Romantic Suspense series. She enjoys reading, writing, travelling, and fantasising about her future cottage in a forest. Now that she’s published, her next life dream is to own a dog.
Have you always wanted to be a writer? And was there a particular moment you thought, ‘I can do this!’?
Yes, I’ve always wanted to be a writer! Ever since I was a kid. The first time I got validation from someone other than my mother, I was trying to get into a really good school for my final year of high school. I put one of my stories into my portfolio, and the principal (who was interviewing me) said that anyone who could write like that deserved a place in his school. It was a thrilling moment!
As for the actual career side of things? I’d planned that for at least 3 years before taking the plunge. Finishing a complete novel (an as-yet-to-be-published Historical Romance) was the moment that made me realise I could write seriously and professionally.
The Soldiering On Series is about a group of men and women that get permanently injured while serving their country. To prove to the world they still have what it takes, they band together to create a security company that only employs injured veterans, under the guidance of Sergeant Major Duncan Pierce.
I won’t pretend I’m the first person to write about a romantic suspense series about a security company. I’ve seen other authors do it, and do it well. But the fact that I had the idea for book 3 (Zack’s book, coming soon!) well before the other ones I wrote made me confident that I could go the distance with these particular characters. There were plenty of stories to tell.
You’ve written two full-length novels and two novellas now.
What was the hardest book to write and what was the easiest?
Christmas Tango was definitely the easiest. It wasn’t in my original plan for the series, but I got the idea and just had to run with it. I knocked it out in a few weeks, and there weren’t any major changes from the first draft to the last.
The hardest is actually Zack’s book, which will be out soon. I’ve been fighting with this one for a while now, including having to rewrite the entire first half. But I’m nearing the end!
There’s no better way to grab a romantic suspense reader’s attention than a thrilling first chapter. You seem to have internalized that belief since all of your novels start with an action-packed first chapter. (Something that I envy by the way.) But which one is your favorite and why?
Oh, I think my readers would agree that the first chapter of Station Alpha is the best! I don’t think anything I’ve written since has lived up to that in reader’s eyes, unfortunately. Kind of sad to think I might have already hit my peak! Haha. To be fair, I worked pretty hard to get it right. The entire genesis of the book came from my idea for that particular chapter. I had that before I had anything else for the book. (I even wrote that chapter before I had a decent plot idea!)
Well, I work full time, so I have to write in the evenings. Usually I delay and procrastinate until about an hour before bed, when I’ll furiously write 1,000 words right before I go to sleep. I need the panic of a deadline to get me motivated!
Do you put any personal quirks in your books?
I mean, I think my sense of humour is fairly apparent in my books. It’s quite dry sometimes. I do try to put things that are important to me in my work, too, including diversity.
Yes, I have noticed that your books do feature a diverse group of characters which is great, really.
OK – let’s wrap this up with something fun; the “How well do you know your books?” game. The rules of the game are pretty simple. I took the liberty of copying three passages from your books and pasting them below. Can you guess out of which one of your books the passages were lifted?
The back of her knees hit the armrest on the sofa. She stopped, not wanting to topple backwards and put herself in an even more vulnerable position. Her eyes darted around, peering through the darkness for something, anything, that could be used as a weapon. This time he didn’t stay at arm’s length. He pushed in closer, until his body was nearly pressed against hers. He was trying to intimidate her. He smelled of sick excitement—almost feverish—the one reaction he couldn’t control. He was getting off on this. On her fear. Well, she couldn’t let him win.
A Christmas Novella
Instead, he captured her hand in his and squeezed it tight, offering her comfort. His face still hovered close to hers. “It’s going to be all right,” he promised in a low voice that shook with some suppressed emotion. “We’ll figure this out, and then you’ll be home free.” Her lips kicked up into a smile as she squeezed his hand in return. “I trust you.”
A Christmas Novella
“So, what’s the plan then, Hotshot?” she asked. “Since they’re clearly still guarding both exits.”
A Christmas Novella
3 out of 3. Well done, haha.
Finally, if you could give advice to authors out there reading this interview, what would it be?
I think I’m more likely to take advice from other authors than give it, but I’ll try.
Don’t give up. Take regular breaks from writing to recharge your energy. Make sure it’s still fun for you, or you’ll be miserable.
The Soldiering On series is out NOW! Click on the pictures below to take you to Amazon.com to check out Aislinn’s work.5