Industry Interviews – AJ Calvin, fantasy author

AJ Calvin, fantasy author. Taking part in Industry interviews. Tips and advice for authors

Here at The Noble Artist I’ve worked with loads of incredible creatives. It’s about time I had a chin wag with them to find out how they got where they are and why they do what they do. Maybe they can give some advice for authors. I think AJ can as she has seven published novels and one about to drop!

A.J. Calvin is a science fiction/fantasy novelist from Loveland, Colorado. By day, she works as a microbiologist, but in her free time she writes. Her most notable works include the books in The Caein Legacy and The Relics of War series. When she is not working or writing, she enjoys scuba diving, hiking, and playing video games.

What was the moment, or inspiration that led you to pursue a career as an author?

I’ve always been a writer of stories from the time I could hold a pen. Maybe before, too, as I remember telling stories to my brother and younger cousins frequently.

But the inspiration that got me to finally publish? That came from my husband. He always believed my stories were worth sharing (even when I doubted myself), and he is still my biggest champion. During the early days of the pandemic in 2020 while I was finishing the draft of Harbinger, we had a conversation that set me on the path I’m on today. So if you’ve read and enjoyed any of my stories, you have him to thank. Without that conversation, none of them would be available now.

Can you share a an interesting or funny story from your writing journey that taught you a valuable lesson?

When I published my first book, I hired a copy editor to go through the manuscript. I didn’t include the “About the Author” bit in the file I sent them, but maybe I should have.

There was a line that read, “She lives with my husband,” an error I made when converting that section from first person to third… No one caught it for 8 months, and I only happened to notice it when I copy/pasted the author bio somewhere else. I showed it to my husband, who thought the typo was hilarious. AJ Calvin is my pen name, and to this day, he still teases me about living with me AND the author. The lesson: Always have someone else read through your stuff before hitting publish, even if it’s only the author bio.

What is the biggest mistake you’ve made as you’ve developed your writing career?

I fell for a promotion scam early on that cost me a few hundred dollars. Lesson learned (also, follow the WriterBeware blog if you don’t already!)

What are your top three tips for aspiring authors?

  • Be patient with yourself.
  • What works for another author might not work for you, so find what DOES work and run with it!
  • And don’t give up.

What’s your favourite setting of all time?

If I can only pick one, probably Rivendell.

What’s your process for editing your work? Do you constantly noodle with what you have, or just plow through and edit once you’ve finished the whole novel?

I edit quite a bit as I go, but after I finish a draft, I typically let it sit for a few months while I work on something else. When I go back to it, enough time has passed that I can really see where there are problems and I’m able to edit more thoroughly. I usually go through a book at least 3 times before it ever goes to my editor.

Book cover art by The Noble Artist, Jamie Noble Frier. Novel written by AJ Calvin. Image for article about advice for authors.

How do you lace your story with lore, geography or history without it feeling like a boring lesson?

I focus on the story first. Any lore or history usually gets inserted into dialogue, or if the character is reflecting on something. I don’t particularly like reading long paragraphs full of details myself, so I tend to avoid that in my own writing just due to my preferences as a reader.

Book cover for Aj Calvin. Artwork by The Noble Artist. Cover design tips and service available.

What are the services as an author that you think are important to pay for?

Editors are a must. I know a few authors who are fortunate enough to have spouses that edit very well, but I’m not one of them. Having a second set of eyes on your work before publishing is imperative.

Unless you’re an artist or graphics designer, I’d also recommend paying for cover art too. Yes, KDP has a cover design module, but you’ll get much better quality covers if you hire a professional. As far as marketing goes, be prepared to pay for ads of some kind and also be prepared to tinker with them endlessly. I’d also recommend applying to BookBub featured deals regularly. You won’t always get them, but when you do, they pay for themselves pretty quickly.

What are you working on right now, and what can we get our hands on already?

I’m currently writing book 6 in The Mage War Chronicles, tentatively titled Wrath of the Dragon-kind. This series is still a work in progress and isn’t available anywhere yet. But, you can read The Relics of War trilogy in its entirety, along with the related novella, The Ballad of Alchemy and Steel.

The Caein Legacy series is partially available as well. Books 1 and 2 (Exile and Guardian) have been published. Book 3, Harbinger, will be available on May 28, and the final book, Legend, will be available in November. Serpentus, a standalone novel related to The Relics of War, is set to publish on February 27 as well. (2024 is going to be a busy year for me!) If you’d like to learn more about any of my books or upcoming projects, I have lots of info available on my website at

As well as her website above, you can find AJ at:

Thanks so much for talking to me AJ! Good luck with the launch of Serpentus! I hope to speak to you again soon.

If you’d like to take part in Industry interviews…

I’m always looking to chat to like minds in the creative industry. I get a buzz out of seeing people pursue and achieve awesome things in books, games and art.

I plan to provide interesting and educational blog posts using:

  • Author interviews
  • Game designer interviews
  • Artist interviews, fantasy authors, science fiction authors, horror authors, historical authors
  • Other creative interviews

If you have a colourful career in the creative industries, drop me a line at

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