O'Dell, A. J.

Avis Halbert was born and raised in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains and familiar with rodeo from a young age. She is a registered nurse and has worked in critical care and surgical settings for over thirty years and has done trauma in the ER.

She has two grown children, one brand new daughter-in-law, and has been writing for over eighteen years in science fiction, medical thrillers, category romance and special interest articles for Osteopathic Journal.

One other novel, also published by Wings Press, is A Man From The Sea.


Interview A. J. O’Dell


Alisa Paige

1) Waiting for A Tango sounds so delicious! How did you come up with the idea for this story? BTW, I can't wait to read this!

I was raised in Colorado and actually was a rodeo junkie when I was in college. I used to ride barrels. My roommate, Janny, and I followed all the rodeos. She was dating a rodeo clown and I was dating a bull rider. We had some great times.

2) Do you have a real life love for cowboys? I know I do!

I do have a real life love for cowboys, the real ones who get dirty taking care of cattle and horses and working a ranch and of course, competing. It’s an honest, down-to-earth lifestyle and most of them are ornery but have tender hearts.

3) When did you first begin writing?

I wrote my first sci-fi novel in 1991 and have written poetry when in high school. I’ve always loved the way words can circle around your senses and take you into their world.

4) What inspires you to write?

The wonderful people in my life are my inspiration; my children especially. I admit to being an avid people watcher. I am a big movie fan!

5) Do you do anything to get into the mood to write? Music? Food? Beverage? Scenery?

Hmmm, what gets me in the mood… to write that is… Honestly, classic rock and roll is best for getting me fired up, but lit candles are great, ask my friend, Diane, I burn a lot of wax and wicks. If I don’t feel like writing, I read the last chapter I’ve written and it gets me pumped up to write more. I truly like my characters and when I open my laptop I get to see them in action one more day.

6) What is your very favorite kind of hero?

Firemen! Something about the man in uniform gets me excited. I like soldiers, cops, detectives, but firemen are so hot! (pun intended)

7) Do you plan your stories or do you write by the seat of your pants?

Wow, do I plan my stories? Yes, definitely. I learned how to do a story grid early on, but first started with the “what if” technique to get it started. I start with a hero or heroine, then something life changing happens to them and you ask yourself “what if”. You do it on paper and use your story grid to map out the journey of your characters. Sometimes the personality that develops in your character takes off and you roll with it.

8) What is your favorite time of day to write and why?

Early morning is my favorite time to write, but I’ve been known to stay up until 4 a.m. to finish a chapter. My head is clearer and uncluttered in the mornings. Give me a rainy day without interruptions and I can write ’til my hands fall off!

9) Please tell us about yourself. What do you do when you aren't writing?

When I’m not writing, I like to throw my dogs in the car and go to the mountains or a park with them. I ride my mountain bike when weather permits and I love meeting my children for dinner and a movie. The best is having a picnic at Ft. Lauderdale beach with a mojita in one hand and my camera in the other!

10) Do you write other genres? If so, please elaborate.

I have written a sci-fi novel, a medical thriller, a romantic mystery and human-interest stories for the Osteopathic Journal, but romance is my favorite. Mine all end well.

11) What are you reading right now?

What am I reading now? I read a lot of self-help books on marketing and sales and of course, the Bible. I read Nora Roberts, but right now I am reading Become A Better You by Joel Osteen and it’s awesome!