Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ask Five with.....AMBER GREEN...and a book giveaway!!!

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Most people I've met have read at least one Secrets book and they're still as hot as ever. Amber Green is one of the authors and I've met her off and on in chats. She's a very nice lady and I'm thrilled to have her as the interview subject.

Plus, she is giving away to one winner their choice of either Secrets Volume 13 or 20 or a download of her upcoming Loose Id ebook Lights Out!

Meanwhile, sit back and meet....Amber Green!


1 . What is the title of your latest release and what’s it about?

The Subject, a novella in Secrets 20: Surrender to Passion.

Tyler, cheerfully single and the hottest game designer in North America, has everything she wants. When it's all snatched away, she must learn to depend on someone else. She chooses Esau (don't-call-me-werewolf) Kirkland, despite her well-founded suspicions. Esau has buried his entire existence in his duty to his pack. When his duty requires him to track down Tyler and deliver her to her enemies, he plots a counter scheme to bring her home as his Captured Bride, exploiting the strongest traditions of his heritage to save her life at the cost of her freedom. But Tyler, master gamer, reserves the right to turn the tables on everyone. When all forces gather for the showdown, Esau must give up everything he thought he had, and become more than he ever thought he could be.

2. Which comes first, the characters or the story?

Usually, neither. Either can change, and change the other, as the writing progresses.

I normally start with a scene, or part of one, from a scrap of a dream that sticks with me or comes back to me. This seed-scene is normally first person, intensely emotional, and so deeply internal that it could take place on a space station, a ranch, or a medieval castle with only minor alterations. Sometimes that seed-scene is pretty clearly from somebody else's book, but with a twist. Then I have to get a second scene (or partial scene) from a POV that complements the first one. Putting these together gives me an idea of how part of my story will work out, showing a couple of events and how they affect the protags (and how the protags shape the events). Those events suggest a premise, a skeleton of a story arc, and a couple more scenes. But not nearly the whole story.

Once I have that much, I can put the scenes in a setting and work out what kind of people would act/react in that way in that situation. Certain settings (say WWII) suggest certain personal histories (a childhood in the Depression) which suggest an array of characteristics. Where characteristics established in the seed scene conflict with the array suggested by the setting and the personal history, I have to figure out what gave rise to each of those characteristics. What kind of people the protags are will affect what happens, how they shape their world and are shaped by their world. Also, some mind-sets are entirely incompatible with some settings. Getting the characters firmed up can necessitate scrapping the setting and starting over. Since I'm a pantser more than a plotter, each scene is written separately and fitted in, like a color chip in a parquet floor, and most of them are pried out, reshaped or re-colored, and put back several times to get the right effect. (This is not at all efficient, but not living by my pen I don’t have to be efficient.)

On the other hand, each story seems to have at least one waitaminnit! moment: I suddenly realize -- or someone in my crit group points out -- that this character is too goal-oriented (or reckless, or hard-nosed practical) to plan/act/react that way. But the plot requires it. I'll spend a while trying to tweak the plot, and if I can't make that work I have to change the character. And changing the character essentially changes the plot; this character acts, reacts, and engenders reactions based on her new personality instead of the discarded one.

3. How do you stay motivated?

Money helps. Feedback from readers gives an immense boost. I also keep framed poster-sized prints of my covers in my office at the day job.

4. Which authors or friends have influenced you over the years, whether for their writing or for their friendship?
I could spend the rest of my life making this list. Everything I've ever read has influenced me, one way or another. If I'm not writing, I'm probably reading. That's what I do. MaryJanice Davidson wrote about a guy, trapped in an elevator with the heroine, who could save himself but instead saves the heroine by violently shoving her out of the elevator. Morgan Hawke also wrote about a guy thrusting the heroine out of an elevator, saving her while dooming himself. The stories are very different, but in each, the push altered the guy's status from villainous to heroic. I wrote a parallel scene for Lights Out!, but I couldn’t make it fit and had to discard it. I still have the image...eventually, I'll use it.

Everyone I talk to affects me as well. The premise for the current work in progress, Bareback, came from what Gordie Dickson told me the night he found out someone close to him had been shot, and that was more than 25 years ago. While I was writing The Subject, Tyler Blackwood gave crucial feedback at every turn. When my heroine had to be renamed, Tyler even let me steal her name. Then my editor, Alicia Rasley, explained why some emotionally overwhelming elements (like Esau's son dying in the earthquake) had to be scaled back. Members of my primary crit group, Romance Writers Unlimited, kept me typing when I really had other things to spend my time on. All in all, I've been extraordinarily lucky in the people who have reached out to me and helped me along.

5. What’s coming up in the near future for you?


Right now I'm nose-deep in Bareback, my first attempt at a contemporary or at a m/m. In this one, contrary to my usual pattern, the protags' personalities crystallized in the seed-scenes--Brian in the doorway taking charge of his own life, Joe turning away in the Dark Moment. Points like which of them is human have changed repeatedly, but the premise and the characters remain the same. I hope to send it to my Loose-Id editor, Judith David, before Labor Day.


Thanks, Amber! You can learn more about Amber by visiting her website here.

Post away to enter the contest. Ask Amber any questions or make comments. I will draw the one lucky winner on Sunday evening around Midnight Eastern time...so....post away.

30 comments:

Dom said...

YAY! First message..!

I am so not sure what to ask. I can't wait to get a bit of money though and start buying books from Red Sage! I have not heard of this publisher until tonight

nascarandbeans said...

Hi Amber... just popped in to say hi and congrats on the new Secrets book.. i now have 1 through 12 and rapidly playing catch up..
cant wait to read them all especially yours...
take care Jolene(nascarandbeans)

Chumplet said...

Great interview, Amber! Thanks for mentioning RWU! Good luck with Bareback.

--Chumplet

Ellie said...

Hi Amber!

I think it is interesting that you are expanding and working on a new contemporary storyline. Your previous works have been great, but the new is intriguing and different. And not just because of the m/m, but how the inner workings of making the story seem so different then how you usually work.

Best of luck in your old and new writing ventures!

Amy S. said...

Great interview! Does your family read your books? If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

littlelamblst said...

Really enjoyed reading about how your stories are developed form small bits or pieces. Is there any genre or sub-genre that you have not attempted but would like to try your hand at writing?

tam said...

Amber, Will this ever come out in print or will it always be an ebook?
Tammy G.

Shelby said...

Amber, I too love the "push" from villain to hero...is this a theme you might explore in a later novel? I think you could handle it beautifully with your penchant for compelling and complex characters.

Anonymous said...

have not a secrets book, but your story sounds hot. great interview

kim h

Anonymous said...

Hi Amber!

Can't wait to see Bareback out! Great book, but then all of your books are wonderful!!

Hugs,
Judy

Maureen said...

The Secrets books have such a diversity of authors and story types. Will you be writing any more stories for them?

Cherie J said...

Enjoyed the interview! Your Secrets story, Surrender to Passion sounds really good! What did you find most challenging in writing it?

Sue A. said...

I have one Secrets book at home and one on the way, which happens to be vol. 13, so I'm looking forward to reading your story in it.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Dom! Hope you like them!

Each volume of Secrets has four different (usually, very different)
stories, so the book should have something for you.

Hi, Nascarandbeans!

Hi, Chumplet!

Thanks, Ellie--starting out with "whole" characters really is changing the writing process from the roots out.

Hi, Amy S.
Thanks!
Some of my family members don't read them, and the rest probably don't. (And thank you so very much for one more nightmare to wake me up tonight!)
I always used to say I'd choose flight as a super power, but now I'd have trouble choosing just one.

Littlelamblost, I'm working on a straight science fiction in my "spare time" (which normally means until the light turns green). After that, I guess mystery would be the last unturned stone. I've written plenty of non-erotic stories; the erotic ones are just the ones that sell.

Tammy G.:
SAY THAT LOUDLY AND OFTEN! PLEASE! Would you like my publisher's email address? The decision of which Loose Id ebook will make print involves sales and "buzz" for the most part.

Shelby, the "push" from villain to hero fascinates me. I have to use it. I just haven't found the right plotline to showcase that particular transition yet.


Thanks, kim h!


Hi Judy! Thanks!


Maureen, I'd love to write more Secrets stories! Just as the reality of the huntsmen and hydes belongs to Loose Id, the Hawkmoor/TS shapeshifters and their reality belong to Red Sage Publishing, the owner of Secrets. I have at least one other story suited to the Secrets reality tumbling around the edges of my attention. Unfortunately, it's darker than the normal run of Secrets, so any publication would probably be as an eRed Sage title. Check out the new Red Sage epub site here: http://www.eredsage.com/home.php?cat=0
An SF story, related only in that it also involves shapeshifting (like all my erotic romances) comes and goes. I honestly don't know which publisher will be more interested once I nail down enough details to get it written.
Lights Out! is available here: http://loose-id.com/detail.aspx?ID=437

Thank you, Cherie J! What I found most challenging in writing The Subject was conveying the stages of Esau's emergence from his emotional cocoon. He's a more complicated guy than even he realized.

Thanks, Sue A. I'd love to know what you think of it.

Cynthia Eden said...

Hi, Amber! Your new Secrets sounds fabulous! :-)

And, like you, I sure did love that elevator scene in MJD's werewolf story!

Mia Varano said...

Hi Amber, thanks for sharing your fascinating process for developing a story. For me sometimes a story idea comes from one word, or I'll hear or read a phrase and think, "That would make a good title." The story then grows from the title. I love your title, Bareback. Too sexy!

Larissa Ione said...

Oooh, I SO want to read Bareback when it's published!

And your newest Secrets story sounds awesome! :)

Leigh Court said...

Great interview, Amber! I've only read your Secrets stories, but you write about some supre sexy werewolves :)

Can't wait to read the upcoming one!

Leigh

leigh court said...

Er...that's 'super' sexy werewolves. See how excited I am?!?

Nicole North said...

Amber, your latest novella sounds fascinating! I loved your description of how you write and how you start out with a seed-scene. I've never heard that term before. I realize that in most cases I start a story with a similar sort of seed-scene. It's nice to know I'm not alone and to also have something to call it! Best wishes in your career!

Natasha said...

Amber, I love the descripton of fitting together your scenes like a mosaic. All those bits come together to form a wonderful story!

Looking forward to reading your next one!

tetewa said...

I have not read any of the Secrets books so would love to be able to!

Caffey said...

Hi Amber! IT was so great to read your interview! And too looking forward to reading your Secrets books and the Loose ID. I haven't gotten book 20 yet! They have more out a year now which is great.

My question for you, a fun one! is if you were to time travel back to one time period, where would you go? You can only bring 3 things with you from the present, so what would you bring?

Caffey said...

Amber, one more quick question :)
Is there any genre/theme you haven't written yet that you'd like to? If so what would you like to write? Any genres you'd avoid writing and why?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Cynthia, Larissa, and Mia! Mia, I usually have a TERRIBLE time with titles.

Leigh, you can find any reason you want to repeat a compliment!

Nicole, I don't think we're alone. Writing is an organic process, after all.

Thanks, Natasha!

Tetewa, have you looked at the eRed Sage site? It's new, a great place to browse.

Caffey...back in time? London of the 1600's. Now, am I going permanently or for just a few months? If permanently, I'd want a manual typewriter with paper (that's only one item together), enough gold to set me up, and a permanently perfect pair of glasses.

Is there any genre/theme I haven't written yet that I'd like to? I'd like to write mystery, although I'm not sure I'm clever enough to do a good job, or straight history. Any genres I'd avoid writing? I don't think I could do justice to YA. Or chicklit for that matter. I'd try YA, but I can't see even trying chicklit.

Amber

Jodi said...

I have not read a Secrets book, but I do have 2 of them in my TBR mountain range! Your stories sound interesting.

Anonymous said...

Hi Amber,

As I have told you many times before, I have loved everything I have read of yours and look forward to reading more. I am waiting for Secrets 20 (it should be coming in to my local Border's store next week-at least that's what they told me!) What happened to the Huntsman story set in Paris? Is it on the back burner, or permanently shelved? That one sounded intriguing to me. Well, you know I'll be talking to you on the CH board and looking forward to more tales from FCD.

Your Fairy Triplet sister,

DebiM

tam said...

Has a winner been picked yet?

PattiF said...

Tam, yes. Kim won.

tam said...

thank-you.