Quickfire author Q&A: AJ Campbell
Updated: Mar 21, 2022
A former accountant, AJ Campbell is a UK-based thriller author who juggles writing with caring for her disabled son.
She says she's fascinated by the human mind and how different people react to each other and interact in society.
Her third psychological thriller, Search No Further was published in December 2021.
She talked to me about success, juggling life as a busy mother, the influcence of Netflix and struggling to find enough hours in the day for her writing.
Where do you live?
Stansted, Essex, in the UK.
How many books have you published?
How long have you been writing?
I started my debut novel in 2012, so ten years. I’ve only been a published author for eighteen months, though.
Do you write full-time?
Yes, but I am also a carer for my disabled son, which is a full-time job some days with the paperwork alone! Life is hectic!
Who are your favourite authors?
Agatha Christie, Jodi Picoult, Clare Mackintosh, Liane Moriarty.
What does your writing day look like?
I aim to write 2000 words a day. To achieve this, I have to start early. 8 am is ideal, and I reach this goal by lunchtime and on a good day. This leaves the afternoon for marketing and social media. I finish around 6pm for dinner but often return to my desk for an hour or two in the evening - a bad habit I’m trying to break. Unsuccessfully, but I’m working on it!
Where do you write?
I’m lucky to have a small study which I adore. It’s my sanctuary! So, I mostly write at my desk.
How do you come up with your ideas?
My first two books were based on newspaper articles where the stories made me ask the question, how could that have possibly happened? Then I started plotting. My third book began when my husband and I went for a meal in an Italian restaurant. The owners were arguing, and I thought to myself, I wonder what goes on behind the scenes here? I went home and started plotting! Watching Netflix and crime dramas helps!
Which has been your most successful book to date?
I guess it depends on how you rate success. In terms of sales, my debut Leave Well Alone at this point, but I hope the others will catch up. Leave Well Alone became an Amazon International bestseller and was chosen for the Amazon Prime Reading programme. In terms of ratings, my latest Search No Further is doing the best!
If readers are new to your work – which book of yours do you recommend starting with?
Any of them, really! Leave Well Alone is more of a slow-burn psychological suspense, Don’t Come Looking and Search No Further are faster-paced psychological thrillers.
What are you currently working on?
I have nearly completed a rough first draft of my fourth thriller, and I am plotting my fifth. I also have a mystery series of three books in the draft stages that I would love to complete and publish. There are just not enough hours in the day!
Tell us about your latest release.
I released my latest book Search No Further in December.
Family secrets can kill
Sienna, a young single mother, is reeling in the wake of her
husband’s unsolved death. When her beloved grandmother collapses at a family party, Sienna begins to pull at the strings of a tangled family web, revealing disturbing secrets, decades of deceit and shockingly serious crimes.
AJ Campbell is bestselling author of three psychological thrillers and an alumna of the Faber Academy. A former accountant, her life was radically changed in 2005 with the arrival of her twins. With one of them born with severe disabilities, she gave up work to care for him. She lives in Essex with her husband, two of her three sons, and her cocker spaniel, Max. She is a firm believer in daily exercise for mental health and enjoys walking Max in the local fields. AJ also loves cooking oriental food while sipping a good glass of white wine.
AJ Campbell was talking to AJ Wills, the bestselling author of multiple psychological thrillers. He was a journalist for more than twenty years and has been writing full-time since March 2021. He's married to fellow thriller writer, AJ McDine.