I’m so excited to have author Amber Hart here today, talking about writing and her latest book, BEFORE YOU, due out July 29!
What 5 things should readers know about you?
1. Chocolate lover.
2. Reading addict.
3. Animal enthusiast.
4. Caffeine junkie.
5. Writer of edgy, raw characters.
Tell us all about your main characters—who are they? What makes them tick? What one thing would they need to have with them if stranded on a desert isle?
Faith, a girl who follows the rules but hides a dark secret, and Diego, a troubled, tattooed Latino, are the main characters in BEFORE YOU. Faith is guarded, but for a good reason. Put on a smile, act the part, and no one will know, she figures. Diego stays locked up tight, running from a past that is slowly catching up with him.
If stranded, Diego would want a weapon, probably a gun. And Faith wouldn’t need anything—she’d be thrilled to get away from the lie she calls life.
If your book were being cast as a movie, who would you want to play the main characters?
Oh, good question! I don’t even know where to start! I think at that point, I’d just be so thrilled to see it on screen that it wouldn’t matter! 🙂
LOL! Excellent answer 🙂
How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?
I’ve been writing all my life. It started with magic and pictures in crayon, and transformed into signing with an agent a few years ago. I find inspiration all around me. In beautiful places, in situations that have touched my life personally, in people who intrigue me. Sometimes music, too.
What do you like best about being a writer?
Does wearing my pajamas all day count? Just kidding. I like all the ‘firsts’. The first phone call from an agent offering representation. The first time I found out my series sold. The first talk with my editor. All of it. I can’t wait to experience the first time my book hits shelves (July 29th!).
Wearing PJs all day totally counts! The other things you mention are probably a teensy bit more meaningful–and awesome, of course–but wearing PJs can be enjoyed DAILY. 😉
What is the most challenging part of being a writer?
I like to go, go, go, and sometimes characters are quiet. Sometimes they need time to rest and that can be frustrating. I have to accept that not all days are writing days, and that my characters will speak to me when they’re ready. Truth is, taking breaks from my book makes it more exciting when I get to dive back in. My family appreciates when I crawl out of my writing cave, too.
I can imagine 🙂
What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?
I love the book I’m working on now! It’s the 2nd book in a New Adult series being published by Random House this October (untitled as of yet), in which a young woman travels to the exotic rainforest of Cameroon, Africa, following the death of her father, a gorilla activist, and falls for a mysterious young man who turns out to be the heir to a poaching empire.
Sounds great! We’ll have to keep an eye out for it…
What authors and/or books have inspired you?
So, so many! Currently, I’m intrigued by Sophie Jordan…her mind is beautiful. I also love Marissa Meyer’s CINDER series. I’m a huge fan of ALICE IN WONDERLAND, and have fallen for A.G. Howard’s dark, creepy retelling. Lauren Oliver always rips my heart out in the best way. I’m indebted to Lia Habel for making me fall for Zombies. And have you read CANDOR by Pam Bachorz? You should. It’s brilliant. And…and…and…I better stop here. I’ll just keep going.
LOL–I hear you! Thanks for the suggestions 🙂
What are you currently reading? What are your thoughts about it so far?
Just finished THE ARCHIVED by Victoria Schwab. What do I think? I think it’s lovely, addictive, and visually stunning. Her words, those pages, I can imagine everything. She creates this place where the dead are kept on shelves like books. The sequel, THE UNBOUND, is next on my list.
Wow–sounds amazing. I’ll have to check it out!
Please share a favorite scene from your books with our readers.
BEFORE YOU is told from alternating points of view between the two main characters, Faith and Diego. Here’s a bit in Diego’s voice:
“Mami, why don’t I help you loosen up a little?”
Faith blinks, but doesn’t show any outward evidence that my words have affected her. I move close, very close. When I look down at her, she doesn’t look away.
Her eyes remind me of stained glass, bright and cutting.
“We could have a good time, you and me,” I say, mischief punctuating my voice.
“I don’t think so,” she says coldly.
I will not let her upstage me. I give her a long, slow onceover. She dresses older than she is, like she doesn’t belong in high school. I wonder what makes her so uptight.
What are you hiding, chica?
I usually don’t have to try with girls. It’s one of the very few advantages life has thrown my way.
“Oh, come on. You might like Latino if you tried it,” I say, voice low. The guys behind me laugh, egging me on.
“When you’re done with him, I’m available, mamacita,” Juan says. “I don’t mind leftovers.”
She sneers. Good. That’s progress.
“Let me take you out,” I say.
I’m not really going to take her anywhere. I just want to make a crack in her icy shield.
Why do you have a shield, anyway?
“Why?” she asks suspiciously.
Because I know it annoys you when someone else has control. “Because it would be fun,” I say, bending close to her face. “And I can promise you one thing.”
She looks cautious.
It’s a look I know well.
“What?” she asks.
That one night with me will relax you.
Girls like her love bad boys, whether they admit it or not. I imagine it’s similar to visiting a haunted mansion. Exciting, at first. One foot slips through the door, then the next. Heart hammers. Blood races. It’s a rush. A fix. Never knowing what’s around the next corner, through the closed door, beyond the shadows. Trying to find a way out. Not really wanting to leave. Wondering how close a person can come to danger before something bad happens. Looking for the moonlight at the end of the tunnel, an exit.
Sometimes there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
I can show her excitement like she’ll never experience with that boyfriend of hers.
But I don’t say any of those things. Instead I let my lips brush her ear lobe as I answer.
“That you will leave satisfied.”
Thanks so much for being here today, Amber!
Keep reading to find out a little more about this amazing YA author, and for a synopsis of BEFORE YOU. Don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads shelf!
Amber Hart grew up in Orlando, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia. She now resides on the Florida coastline with family and animals including, but not limited to, bulldogs, a cat, and dragons. When unable to find a book, she can be found writing, daydreaming, or with her toes in the sand. She’s the author of BEFORE YOU, AFTER US, ECHOES, and ECHOES’ sequel (untitled as of yet). Represented by Beth Miller of Writers House.
BEFORE YOU Synopsis:
Some say love is deadly. Some say love is beautiful. I say it is both.
Faith Watters spent her junior year traveling the world, studying in exquisite places, before returning to Oviedo High School. From the outside her life is picture-perfect. Captain of the dance team. Popular. Happy. Too bad it’s all a lie.
It will haunt me. It will claim me. It will shatter me. And I don’t care.
Eighteen-year-old Diego Alvarez hates his new life in the States, but staying in Cuba is not an option. Covered in tattoos and scars, Diego doesn’t stand a chance of fitting in. Nor does he want to. His only concern is staying hidden from his past—a past, which if it were to surface, would cost him everything. Including his life.
At Oviedo High School, it seems that Faith Watters and Diego Alvarez do not belong together. But fate is as tricky as it is lovely. Freedom with no restraint is what they long for. What they get is something different entirely.
Love—it will ruin you and save you, both.
Due out July 29!