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A.J. Larrieu: Five Things I Learned Writing Twisted Miracles

Cass Weatherfield’s powers come with a deadly price.

Cass knows it was her telekinetic gift that killed a college classmate five years back, even if no one else believes her. She’s lived in hiding from her fellow shadowminds ever since, plagued by guilt and suppressing her abilities with sedatives. Until the night her past walks back into her life in the form of sexy Shane Tanner, the ex-boyfriend who trained her…and the one she left without saying goodbye.

When Shane tells her that his twin sister, Mina—Cass’s childhood friend—is missing, Cass vows to help, which means returning to New Orleans to use her dangerous skills in the search. But finding Mina only leads to darker questions. As Cass and Shane race to learn who is targeting shadowminds, they find themselves drawn to each other, body and soul. Just as their powerful intimacy reignites, events take a terrifying turn, and Cass realizes that to save the people she loves, she must embrace the powers that ruined her life.

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1. You can fit a body in the back of a ’69 Camaro.

I had my doubts about this, but it turns out to be possible. It’s one of the many fascinating trivia items Google has taught me. I also know the best way to survive a gunshot wound to the chest and how long it takes to get from Biloxi to New Orleans driving ninety-five miles per hour. Writers: Mad, bad and dangerous to know.

2. I write paranormal fiction.

Technically, I discovered this while writing my previous novel, The Vampire Pseudo-Romance That Shall Not Be Published, but Twisted Miracles was the book where I owned it. I’d heard other writers say they didn’t get to pick what they wrote, but when I opened that blank Word file and started Twisted, I finally understood what they meant. When you’re writing what you’re supposed to write, you feel more like a conduit than a creator. This was the book where I finally stopped laboring to craft a Sweeping Southern Family Saga and instead let my subconscious do the walking. When a telekinetic New Orleans B&B owner showed up, instead of trying to kick him out, I was like, Cool. Can you invite some friends?

3. Paranormal fiction is awesome.

I’m glad I figured out #2, because letting my subconscious do the walking led me to some freaky and fascinating places. I was writing about all the themes and tensions that have always bothered and fascinated me—how your family shapes your destiny, the complicated culture of my home state, whether we have a responsibility to use our gifts. Only, this time there were a bunch of telekinetics and supernatural healers doing the talking, and the questions of what family is, what home is, what our gifts are—they came into much sharper relief. I was able to make those issues larger than life, so big that I could finally see them, tackle them, take them down. Start to understand them.

Writing paranormal fiction let me play in a way no other form has. I could take all the troubling intangibles that were puzzling me and give them a physical avatar in my fictional world. I made them real.

4. Not everyone agrees with #3

Paranormal fiction does some amazing things. It entertains, sure, but it can also tackle thorny problems symbolically. It’s an oblique hit, and it can be all the more brilliant for it. But not everyone agrees that paranormal fiction—or really, any genre fiction—is worth reading. Here’s a sample of replies I got when I told some of the non-writerly folks in my life what I’m writing:

“Oh, so you’re writing those books.”

“Well, but, I’m sure you write strong women, right?” (This in response to the news that Harlequin is my publisher.)

“Maybe you just need to get some practice before you write something serious.”

Sigh. What can I say? Except:

5. You can fit a body in the back of a ’02 Corolla, too.

Just kidding.

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A.J. Larrieu grew up in small-town Louisiana, where she spent her summers working in her family’s bakery, exploring the swamps around her home and reading science fiction and fantasy novels under the covers. She attended Louisiana State University, where she majored in biochemistry and wrote bad poetry on the side. Despite pursuing a Ph.D. in biology, she couldn’t kick the writing habit, and she wrote her first novel in graduate school. It wasn’t very good, but she kept at it, and by the time she graduated, she had an addiction to writing sexy urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Her second novel, Twisted Miracles, was a finalist in RWA’s Golden Heart® competition in 2012. The book kicks off her dark, romantic urban fantasy series, The Shadowminds, which follows a group of humans with psychic powers through New Orleans’ supernatural underworld. A.J. is currently a working biophysicist in San Francisco, where she lives with her family and too many books.

A.J. Larrieu: Website | Twitter

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