Today, let’s welcome A. M. Johnson to the blog!
Hi!! My name is Amanda or A.M. Johnson. I am excited to talk about my new book, a contemporary, MM, second chance romance, titled Love Always, Wild.
The book starts with the characters Jax and Wilder aka Wild, while they are still in college. Wild is openly out, while Jax is still deep in the closet. Wild and Jax originally meet when Jax needs a tutor, but it isn’t until their junior year that Jax finally gives in to his feelings for Wild. Jax travels home in hopes of coming out to his very conservative parents over Christmas break, but when tragedy strikes, he drops out of school, and basically ghosts Wild. Jax’s radio silence stems from a promise he makes based on what happened when he came home for break. Without giving too many spoilers, the book jumps to nine years later, Wild is an up and coming author, and Jax is still living at home, working construction, and helping his family recover from what had happened that Christmas break. One night, Jax happens upon Wild’s new book and realizes it’s about the relationship they shared in college, but with different names and a different ending. Jax is still in the closet and has been faking his way through life for almost a decade. He’d never fallen out of love with Wild, never forgiven himself for abandoning him the way he did, and after reading the book, Jax makes a choice that will inevitably change the course of both of their lives.
I’m excited for everyone to meet them. This story bloomed from a short I’d written for a group called The Korner. The short sat on my desktop forever. With 2020 being such a dumpster fire, I had a hard time writing to be honest. It wasn’t until June, almost a year since I’d published my last book that I reread the short and fell in love with them all over again. A few long nights chatting and plotting with a few friends, lit the fire inside me, and before I knew it, I had 40,000 words and couldn’t wait to write every night. Finishing off at 91,000 words on August 21, the book became the fastest I’d ever written in my life. I have a few beta readers and they gave me the confidence I needed, and in the end, Love Always, Wild was brought to life.
Whenever I write a new book, I want to say said book is my favorite. And right now, Jax and Wild are my favorite. It’s funny, when I’m ready to start a new project, I almost have to break up with my previous characters. I’ve been writing since I was a teen, publishing since 2015, and each time I start a new book it gets harder and harder to say goodbye to the last. Writing has always been a passion of mine, but I think I wanted to start writing after I read Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. Her writing is profound and alive, and I thought to myself, I want to do this. I want to create a heart that beats from the page.
For me, writing is sort of ritual. I usually have to shower, get settled in and once my three kids are in bed, I hide away in my office and am up until at least 3 am. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, I write during the day. I love writing outside if I can. I’m easily distracted and have to be in a quiet place to focus. I usually listen to instrumental or classical when I write.
Reading is an entirely different experience for me. I love reading all kinds of books. From smut to literary fiction. I’m a huge fan of LGBTQ YA. Becky Albertalli is such an inspiration to me. I’m a mom of three, a full time Labor and Delivery nurse, and I know how hard it is to manage all the hats. She seems to excel at hat wearing and write amazing books. Every now and then I’ll read a good book, go through a day of imposter syndrome, then remember every voice is different. Sometimes it’s hard to read as an author, but it’s important, I feel, for craft to always read and read and read.
I will say, though writing is a solo adventure, I have found great joy in the independent community. My reader group on Facebook, AJ’s Crew is almost like my home away from home. Everyone there feels like family and it’s great to be able to share my stories with people. Publishing can be competitive, but I think it’s important to remember there is enough pie for everyone and staying in your own lane is the best advice I’ve ever gotten. I’ve made some amazing author friendships, and in such a fast-paced world, it’s great to have that.
What three books would I take to a deserted island? Hmm… That’s a tough one. Definitely, The Bell Jar, The Fellowship of The Ring, and probably Call Me By Your name or Him by Sarina Bowen. Oh or Want me by Neve Wild. I’ll probably trade up Call Me By Your Name only because it’s sad as hell and Want Me is magic.
When I’m not writing, I’m a hockey Mom. I love to hike, and watch movies, and recently I’m hooked on the Haunting of Bly Manor. I’m an avid LGBTQ ally and am working towards a degree in social work for now. I’ve recently found the academia side of Human Rights and am thinking of changing my major. My goal is to work with homeless gay teens and help to write legislation that will help keep LGBTQ youth/adults protected. It’s important for us to feel safe in our own skin. Out or not.
I’m passionate about a lot of things, and I hope that shows in most of my writing. Most of my books have a social aspect that lends itself to reality. But, as an author, my goal is to offer a happily ever after to those characters who might not always have had the chance, in real life, to find one of their own.
Love Always, Wild
Love Always, Wild is a full-length emotional standalone, HEA, contemporary MM romance featuring second chances, southern accents, a cat named Gandalf, and a sassy best friend who moonlights as a therapist.
When I left that night, I had every intention of coming back to you. To us. But no matter how hard I wish for what I want, there are some things in life that aren’t meant to be. I don’t expect you to understand. You’ve already moved on, living your life. But mine ended that night, nine years ago, and I still can’t let you go. Not sure I ever will. I regret so many things, but hurting you, I’ll never forgive myself. I’m sorry for… everything.
If only you could’ve seen it like I did, the way you were when you thought the world wasn’t watching. How you’d change when I looked at you, when it was just us.
But most of all… I wish you could’ve seen how much it hurt me when you disappeared. Regrets are for cowards. It has always been my belief you should chase after the things you want with actions, not words. There is no such thing as never meant to be.
So this apology… not accepted…
~ Love always, Wild