Author Interview – A. J. Scudiere on the first book in The NightShade Forensic Files: Under Dark Skies

Published October 9, 2015 by bibliobeth



It’s AJ’s world. A strange place where patterns jump out and catch the eye, very little is missed, and most of it can be recalled with a deep breath. It’s different from the world the rest of us inhabit, but anyone can see it – when we read. In this world, the smell of Florida takes three weeks to fully leave the senses and the air in Dallas is so thick that the planes “sink” to the runways rather than actually landing.

For AJ, texture reigns supreme. Whether it’s air or blood or virus, it can be felt and smelled. School is a privilege and two science degrees (a BA and MS) mean less than the prize of knowledge. Teaching is something done for fun (and the illusion of a regular paycheck) and is rewarding at all levels, grade school through college. AJ is no stranger to awards and national recognition for outstanding work as a teacher, trainer and curriculum writer.

AJ has lived in Florida and Los Angeles among a handful of other places. Recent whims have brought the dark writer to Tennessee, where home is a deceptively normal looking neighborhood just outside Nashville. Visit her at her website –

Click on the books to get to their description on GoodReads!





And The Sin Trilogy, two of which are available now:



Interview with AJ Scudiere

I’d like to welcome AJ to bibliobeth today and thank her for her time in giving this interview.

1.) Your novel, Under Dark Skies is a thriller with a difference. You write about a “special” section of the FBI known as the Nightshade division. Do you secretly believe that there’s a lot about the FBI we don’t know about?

I actually do believe there’s a lot that we don’t know, although I’m certain the CIA is much more covert than the FBI. I picked the FBI because I wanted Eleri and Donovan working within the US borders. I wanted them to have and believe in rules and in science, and to struggle with that. Personally, I’m a firm believer that today’s magic is tomorrow’s science. So why not have a special division of the FBI?

2.) We have some terrific main characters in Eleri and Donovan who have some “special” secrets of their own. Did you know the whole of their back stories before writing or did the ideas come to you while you were writing?

I have a deep love/hate relationship with vampires and zombies and, of course, werewolves. Though I enjoy watching some of the shows, I shake my head at the scientific implausibility put forth. When I saw werewolves on TV, I always found myself yelling at the screen, “Conservation of mass!.” How does a 200lb man become an 80lb wolf? And where did his clothes go? Why are they folded under the tree? I had been working on a plausible werewolf for a while – a handful of years! The characters of Eleri and Donovan had been bouncing in my head while I tried to figure it out. So I did know them both very well before I started writing and because of this, I’ve been able to hint at a lot of things to come. You may have noticed there are clues about Eleri’s background – she has some more to figure out over the next several novels. While Donovan is maybe ‘weirder,’ Eleri has skills yet to develop.

3.) Eleri and Donovan are investigating the leader of a religious cult in this novel. Did you have to do a lot of research to explore this theme? If so, what kind of things were you looking at?

I have a bio and psych background in my education and have always found the idea of following a charismatic leader very intriguing. Following a benevolent leader, a group can accomplish great things. Follow a tyrant and people will do horrible deeds under the guise of great work. There have also been recent psychological studies showing that some people are pre-disposed to want to be in a cult – there’s a level of community there beyond the norm. So I’ve always read up on the topic whenever I can and I found it was a natural fit for Eleri and Donovan’s first case.

4.) What kind of novels inspired you to write Under Dark Skies and are you a big fan of any author in particular?

I love Michael Crichton and the way his science fiction was more science and less spaceships. I always like to look at my stories and say “it could happen.” I’m also a huge Nabokov fan. I love the way he could say so much with just a paragraph and how his characters were never what they seemed. I’ve really taken that to heart and my good guys and my bad guys are rarely just one or the other.

5.) This novel looks to be the start of a series for The Nightshade Division. (hooray!) Are you working on anything at the moment and can you tell us a little bit about it?
I’m actually writing and editing at the same time right now. I just finished the third and final book in the SIN Trilogy (Vengeance, Retribution, and Justice)–another series where the lines between the good guys and the bad guys blur quite a bit! And I’m midway through the second NightShade book (oh yes, it’s a serious series!) In the second book, Eleri and Donovan follow up on the call they get at the end of Under Dark Skies. The second story is called Fracture Five, and the case is set in Los Angeles. This is a huge problem for Donovan, who’s not a fan of live people. It’s a case that the two of them aren’t really ready for; when they start pulling threads, those threads lead to some very disturbing places and people.

Now for some quick fire questions!

E book or real book?

E. I like real, but my kindle is a whole portable library. I will admit, if I hate a book on my kindle, I can’t throw it across the room. So that’s not as satisfying.

Series or stand alone?


Fiction or non-fiction?

Fiction definitely. The latest research is showing that fiction readers score higher on EQ tests and often on IQ tests, too.

Online shopping or bookshop trawling?

Online. I read the reviews!

Bookmarking or dog-earing?

Neither. I’ve always just remembered where I was.

Once again, a big thank you to AJ for her efforts in making this interview possible. Under Dark Skies was published on the 4th of November 2014 by Griffyn Ink as a Kindle edition and you could always check out her back catalogue too!


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