Welcome to Readers Write to Know Wednesday. I asked you, my readers, what questions you’d ask your favorite authors if given a chance. This week, author Amber Kallyn is my guest answering your questions. I’m so happy to introduce her to you. Amber is a paranormal author who loves vampire stories. I am fascinated by her method of writing — I’ve looked at the machine she uses and felt like there was no way I’d be able to use it because of all the reasons she likes it to so much! It’s wonderful to discover how different processes work for different authors!
I’m a rare breed, an Arizona native and can trace my family’s history through six generations in the state. I live with my husband, and our four very active children. Included in the menagerie are four cats (though there’s always room for more), one snake, and two dogs. We won’t count all the fish.
I love the paranormal, from dragons to werewolves to vampires. I’m currently at work on my next book, and it wouldn’t be amiss to find me running around the house, acting out a fight scene with my collection of swords and daggers. Now if only I had claws to practice the other fight scenes 🙂
My current release is Hungerstorm, Heart of a Vampire, Book 2
After centuries alone, can a vampire king trust the woman who’s woken his heart?
Jordan MacDougal, laird and King of his vampire clan, walks a thin line of civility between his clan and the local shifter pack. When his vampires began to disappear and the wolves accuse the intriguing woman who’s touched his heart of being evil, he discovers that the traitor in his midst may be closer than he thinks.
A newly turned vampire, Dalia Jensen wakes to an unusual and frightening new world with no memory of the past year of her life. Accused of working with the Master Vampire who held her prisoner, her inability to remember the truth leaves her reeling under the allegations of vicious past actions. Uncertain of her culpability, she’s unable to trust her own instincts as the reigning Vampire King turns her world upside down.
When the wolves call for her trial, demanding her life for those killed and tortured during that blank year, Jordan and Dalia must work together to find the truth, and save the love blooming between them.
A few years ago, I was submitting to agents, trying to get to New York. I came so close three different times, with agents interested in my books, but bad luck kept happening. One had another agent quit and ended up taking on a lot of writers at once, so she stopped acquiring. Another had life happen to her, and she stopped agenting for a while.
I belong to a lot of writer’s groups and happened to hear about an online pitch opportunity with some e-publishers. I pitched, the publisher loved it, and my first contract was born, Yippee 🙂
This year, I did decide to self-publish. The whole game of publishing has changed so much and so fast the last couple of years, it’s amazing. Authors are self-publishing, and making a living wage off it every month. It’s incredible. I had a series idea, and decided, why not?
Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write?
I’m a plotter, through and through, but not a heavy one. I need a take on my characters, and have created my own questionnaire for them I fill out before I begin. Then I outline–I write a sentence or two for each character’s point-of-view scene, usually two scenes per chapter.
I don’t need a huge outline, but more of a mini-map so I know where I’m going. Sometimes I also write the story’s blurb first too.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Wow. Such an important and humbling question. My first advice would be to keep reading, and keep writing. We only get better with practice. I also love books and online classes that help me improve craft.
The second piece of advice would be to find a *good* critique group, online or in person. My group has been invaluable to my success–not only by being able to point out my errors that I myself can’t see, but I’ve learned a ton about writing by critiquing other people’s work.
I write on my Alpha Smart Neo. It’s a portable, electronic typewriter that runs on batteries. No internet, I turn off the spell check, I only see 5 lines of text at a time. This has really helped me to write without trying to go back and edit. The editing comes later.
I prefer to leave the house when I can, because in the same amount of time, when I’m home, I only get about 1/3 done then when I leave.
I do outline on paper 🙂
Where’s the strangest place you’ve ever had a great writing idea?
Most of my really good ideas come to me either in the shower/bath, or when I’m *almost* asleep, LOL. The strangest place I’ve ever had a great idea was one day at the pool with my kids. I ended up jumping out, going to the counter and begging for a pen and piece of paper 😉
Who were some of your favorite authors as a child? (Book series, maybe?)
I am, and have always been and eclectic reader. When I was younger (around 8-10), I remember reading a Johanna Lindsey, then picking up a Stephen King, then maybe a Mary Higgins Clark, then I’d read a Sweet Valley High. I’ve added Urban and High fantasy to the list, plus some sci-fi, LOL.
I’m always intrigued by how writers get started…did you always have these books inside you and knew that you wanted to write them or did the idea just pop into your head one day and you decided to put pen to paper?
I’ve always loved to write, and would jot down short stories and even some poetry from time to time. But it wasn’t until about five years ago, I thought, ‘Hey, maybe *I* could get published.* That’s when I started putting the time in to write and learn the craft.
Which of your characters most reflects your personality?
I don’t know if there’s one single character who most reflects me, but my heroines definitely all have some of my personality. They’re snarky, tough, and don’t take crap from the men in their lives 😉
I assume when you start a book, you pretty much have the plot laid out. Do you ever change your mind later on in the book, and go in a different direction?
I do have an overview of the plot when I start out, and yeah, it usually changes in some ways. But that’s okay, because an outline is only a road map. If characters want to take a side trip, it’s awesome. I usually write my best scenes when the characters take over and jaunt away from my outline.
What is one thing that you “never saw yourself doing” and either do it now or have done?
Some people might find this hilarious, but I never thought I’d write sexy. I used to *literally* blush when writing sex, and it was horrible. A few years ago, to get over it, I sat down and wrote an erotic romance novella. The ironic thing is, that was the first book I ever got published. I now have 6 erotic romances out, and I’m working on an erotic retelling of Little Red Riding hood. Go figure, LOL.
I still blush a bit when my crit group is critiquing my sex scenes, but not anymore when I write them 🙂
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