I’m pleased to introduce you all to Amber Cross, author of contemporary and erotic romances. Let’s find out more about who she is and what she writes.
Amber Cross lives in northern New England with her husband and their two youngest children. She likes old movies, fresh air and sunshine, but nothing beats a good book on a rainy day. You can connect with her at her website www.amber-cross.com or on Facebook.
Betty: How many books have you written and published?
Amber: This is my fifth, and the second in this genre/under this pen name.
Betty: What genre(s) do you write in and why?
Amber: Contemporary and erotic romance. I like the challenge of making everyday life romantic; ordinary, with the right person, can be magical.
Betty: What themes or motifs did you use in your recent release and why were they important to your story?
Amber: The musical preferences of the main characters are motifs in this book. She likes country, because it spans generations, but it is also domestic and traditional, like her. He likes rake-and-scrape which is a combination of African and French but unique to the Bahamas.
Emmeline Charbonneau spent most of her life protecting others from her father’s violent mood swings and erratic behavior. Now that he’s gone, she isn’t so much relieved as cast adrift. She desperately needs an anchor.
Romney Wilson is his mother’s second son and his father’s second child. Success may take him all over the world, but he is still that youngest sibling trying to find his place in it. Quite simply, he needs to be needed.
The connection between them is immediate and strong. But can she trust this impulsive and spontaneous charmer to stick around? And will he get past her wall of self-preservation only to scare her away?
Betty: Do you have a specific place that you write? Revise?
Amber: Sometimes I get in my car and drive to remote locations where I can sit by myself and think. Being surrounded by nothing but nature helps me clear out all other thoughts and focus on feelings. I especially like early morning and just after sunset.
Betty: Do you have any writing rituals while you write? Did you have a special drink, or music, or time of day that you gravitated toward?
Amber: I worked on this book every day last summer. I didn’t skip a single day, usually editing in the morning and writing in the afternoon or evening. I spent a few days in the Northeast Kingdom (my setting) and when I wrote the Bahamian scenes I listened to rake and scrape music. I especially enjoyed playing/watching a YouTube video of the National Pride Service at Temple Christian High because their principal can dance!
Betty: What helped you move from unpublished to published? A mentor or organization or something else?
Amber: I sold my first book not long after my mother died. I think in some way the loss made me want to fulfill a lifelong dream.
Betty: What do you think is your greatest strength in your writing?
Amber: Creating male characters who are loveable.
Betty: What comes first when you’re brainstorming a new story: setting, situation, characters?
Amber: Definitely characters. Who are they, and what makes them right for one another? What makes them sympathetic for the reader? Why aren’t they immediately together if they’re so right for one another? These are the first questions I ask and answer.
Betty: Do you have a structured time to write or is it more fluid/flexible? Do you have to write between family obligations or do you set aside a block of time?
Amber: I have to write around work and family. I get long stretches of time to write but that isn’t necessarily when inspiration strikes.
Betty: What is one recent struggle you’ve experienced in your writing?
Amber: The third book in this series wasn’t coming together the way I wanted it to. For some reason the second chapter was a real bear. I kept returning to it, even though I had written a few later chapters, but couldn’t get it right. Finally, I shared it with one of the ladies in my local RWA (Romance Writers of America) and she said the second chapter flowed better for her than the first. As soon as I heard that feedback, I knew I had the wrong first chapter. Now the story is flowing.
Betty: Do you participate in NaNoWriMo? Why or why not?
Amber: No. From what I have observed, it makes a lot of writers almost manic, and when it’s over they have nothing left. They sink into depression and by January lament that they haven’t been able to write for weeks. Of course, they survived the busiest time of the year just after finishing a 30-day stint, but they don’t seem to realize that. I can burn out all by myself without a national challenge to help me.
Betty: What are you reading right now?
Amber: Wired by Julie Garwood
Betty: What is your favorite genre to read?
Amber: I like several romance subgenres including contemporary, erotica, paranormal and historical. I also love novels and westerns.
Betty: What are your keeper books? How often might you reread them?
Amber: There are a few (hundred, I mean.) I read my favorite romances at least once a year. These include:
Honor Bound by Sandra Brown; Beyond the Savage Sea by JoAnn Wendt; A Land Called Deseret by Janet Dailey; Mackenzie’s Pleasure by Linda Howard; Touch the Wind by Janet Dailey; A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught; Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips; Wicked Ties by Shayla Black; Sea Lord by Virginia Kantra (and there are others!) I have many by Violet Winspear, Sara Craven, Tara Pammi and Bronwyn Williams (Harlequin writers)
Betty: When you’re writing, do you read in the same genre as your work in progress or something else?
Amber: Something else, unless I’m feeling a lack of magic, and then I’ll re-read a favorite to get re-inspired.
Betty: Do you have a “day job” or do you write full time?
Amber: I teach high school.
Betty: What do you wish readers knew about the publishing industry?
Amber: How a single piece of dialogue may represent hours of writing and revising.
Betty: What advice do you have for new writers?
Amber: Join your local RWA chapter. They are so helpful and supportive.
Betty: Any hints of what your next writing project might be?
Amber: I have two; one will return to Somerset and the other will take place in a different century.
Betty: What kind of writing would you like to experiment with? Or what’s a different genre you’ve considered writing but haven’t yet?
Amber: Historical fiction. I would also like to give fantasy a try.
I didn’t know that Bahamian music, at least one genre, is called rake-and-scrape. I’ve been there and enjoyed hearing the music, just never knew the name of the genre. Thanks for enlightening me!
Amber, thanks for coming by and sharing with us about your books and your process!
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