Monday, November 4, 2013

Author: Amber Leigh Williams


I would like to introduce Romance author, Amber Leigh Williams.

Welcome, Amber.  I'm so excited for you to share information about your latest book.


Tell the reader something about yourself. 
Hi Carol, thanks for having me here today!  I’m Amber Leigh Williams! I’m a multi-published author of contemporary, western, and historical romance. I’m represented by Joyce Holland of the D4EO Literary Agency. I’m a happy wife and a proud new mommy who lives on the Gulf Coast of Alabama. I’m really your typical southern girl who came of age reading romance novels and aspired to be a romance novelist when I grew up….


And now you're living your dream.  For new readers—what can they expect when they read your book(s)?
More than anything else they can expect down-to-earth characters and romance, romance, romance! I strive above all else to bring the romantic back to romance. Not that I exclude the sexy bedroom scenes, LOL. The main focus of my stories, however, will always be the romance. A lot of my stories are homecoming stories or about finding a place to call home. It’s one of my biggest recurring themes.


What a great theme to have!  How do you balance writing with the rest of your life?
Well, almost a year ago, the hubby and I were blessed with a little boy. He keeps me pretty busy during the day. I’m still learning to master the art of balancing motherhood and writing as well as everything else in my life (including our three goofy labrodors). But if I’ve learned anything this last year it’s that I love writing and there’s still so many stories I can’t wait to share with readers!


That's exciting, and congratulations on the birth of your son. Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

It goes a little something like this…baby takes a nap and I cram as much writing time as I can into that one to two hour span, LOL. The hub helps too, of course, when he gets off from work. He has baby time and I do my best to meet my daily writing goals before bedtime.


Do you designate a certain area for your writing space? 

I have a (now baby-proofed) room of my own with a desk, filing cabinet, and LOTS of shelves the hub built so that I could be surrounded by books. Now that the little one is getting around on his own, he plays on the floor (or naps close by) while I work at the desk. I admit, it doesn’t always work. He’s really cute and I’m prone to procrastination. Sometimes I can’t help but get down on the floor and play with him. But most days he lets me have thirty to forty-five minutes of mommy time and I get things done.


What a sweetheart.  What are you most passionate about outside of writing?

It’s a little obvious, huh? Of course it’s my family. But I also love getting out of the house. We live in a beautiful area here on the Gulf Coast and when it’s warm and the sun’s shining, it’s hard to ignore the urge to take a stroll on the beach or visit the bay where I grew up. There are some beautiful parks around here, and we love fishing! There are some scenic bike routes we like to take advantage of. My brother-in-law even owns a farm and it’s fun to go out there and pet the animals, ride horses, and breathe the country air deep down into our lungs!


I see where you get your inspiration.  What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?

I write romance, mostly contemporary. I’m working on a contemporary romance series for Harlequin Superromance that takes place in my hometown, Fairhope, Alabama, which I mentioned above is on the beautiful Eastern Shore of the Mobile Bay. The perfect place to fall in love. (I should know; my relationship with my husband blossomed there.)

On sale now is my western romance trilogy with The Wild Rose Press, the Ridges of Wayback, TX. The first book, Blackest Heart, was a 1st Place More Than Magic Novella. Writing these books was a very fun process! I just love cowboys and their culture, which is an homage to the world of the Old West, a fascinating place unto itself.


Do your characters come to you first, or the plot, or the world of the story?
It depends, really. For my westerns, it was the world because The Wild Rose Press put out a call for novellas written against the backdrop of their fictional West Texas rodeo town, Wayback. But in most cases the thing that comes first for me is the concept of the story where I ask myself “What if…?” I will say, though, that character development is my favorite part of writing and always has been.


How do you go about developing your characters?

Character development is the most organic part of my writing process. When it comes to plot and setting, I like to have all my ducks in a row ahead of time. But at the same time, I like to give my characters room to breathe and grow on their own. I think this makes them much more human and relatable. It’s exciting watching them take on a life of their own as the story progresses.


Out of all the characters that you've written, who is your favorite and why?

That’s a tough one. I love all my protagonists. If I didn’t, I don’t think I’d spend nearly as much time with them. However, Judd from Blackest Heart does hold a very special place in my heart. And I believe that Charles from Forever Amore is the ultimate hero as both a military serviceman and a mate for the heroine, Lucille. Although the characters aren’t based on real-life people, since their story has little glimpses of mine and my husband’s courtship and takes place in my hometown, I feel very close to Briar and Cole from A Place With Briar. Sometimes they seem so real, I feel like I could pick up the phone and call them. But if I could double date with any of my characters, it would be Keefe and Calli from Bet It On My Heart. They’re a hoot!


Can you share a little of your current work?

My western romance trilogy, the Ridges of Wayback, TX, is available now, starting with Blackest Heart, which is on sale for just $2.99 at The Wild Rose Press (www.thewildrosepress.com)! You can find more details about the trilogy at both The Wild Rose Press and my website, www.amberleighwilliams.com. I’m also proud to announce that it is now an audio book collection from www.audiolark.com, for those of you who love audio books.

The project I’m most excited about now is my contemporary romance, A Place Called Briar, which will be published by Harlequin Superromance in April 2014! It’s the first book in my hometown series and very close to my heart so definitely be on the lookout for Briar and Cole’s story next spring!


Where can readers find more information on you?
My website is frequently updated with news for A Place Called Briar and any sale information for the Ridges of Wayback, TX and all my other titles. There’s a link to a free holiday read called A Holiday to Remember. Readers will also find fun bonus material there from my books like deleted scenes, exclusive excerpts and a sexy short story involving the characters from my second western romance, Bluest Heart. Find it all at www.amberleighwilliams.com!

I also have a blog called The Cozy Page (http://amberleighwilliams.blogspot.com) and I’m involved with a group blog called Roses of Prose (http://rosesofprose.blogspot.com).

Readers can find me on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/amberleighwilliams) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/ALeighWilliams).


Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?
Sure! My western romance trilogy begins wih Blackest Heart, continues with Bluest Heart and ends with Bet It On My Heart. They are on sale now from The Wild Rose Press….

A Place Called Briar is a contemporary romance coming soon from Harlequin Superromance in April 2014….

Historical romance Forever Amore is published with Black Lyon Publishing in trade paperback and ebook….

I should also mention that Blackest Heart is available in the trade paperback anthology, The Way Back Home, along with two other Wayback, TX novellas by authors Marguerite Arotin and Abbey MacInnis!


These sound great, but I can't let you leave without a little taste of what readers will find in your books.  Would you mind giving us a little sample?


Blackest Heart: America's Sweetheart, Stella Ridge has been away from Wayback for fifteen years paving her way to the top of the acting business. When a car accident leaves her physically and emotionally scarred, the only place she wants to go is home to Texas and her family’s ranch.

The changes that have taken place since her departure are enough to rock her world again. She uncovers a buried tragedy, struggles with the penetrating stares and questions from townsfolk, and comes up against an intriguing and unexpected spark with the silent cowboy and champion bull rider, Judd Black. Their wounded souls draw them together and Stella begins to realize that only in him can she find the solace she sought by leaving the bright lights of Hollywood.

Excerpt:
“I love the way the air feels here,” she murmured, watching the fire in the sky take its sweet time burning out. “I love how it tastes.”
 Her companion didn’t speak. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a tall figure leaning against the fence. She turned her head when he didn’t reply. A stunning zap of electricity surged through her.
Judd had taken his hat off, revealing his thick crop of black hair, and was holding it between his hands draped over the fence line, elbows braced on the rail. His boot was propped on the lowest. His eyes squinted against the bright display, trained on the sun’s showcase. Beside him, sitting dutifully was an adorable mutt.
The man was an enigma. It got to her. That pleasant burning sensation began to swell within her again.
He straightened, catching her stare. She didn’t look away. Remembering how he’d raced with her over the field that afternoon, how he’d ridden that mean bull at the rodeo, she thought he must like challenges. Her admiration for him peaked.
She liked a challenge, too.
His brows rose as she stepped to him. Interest instead of astonishment filled his complex eyes. She came to a halt with the dog between them. “What’s with you, Judd?” she asked, punching just enough challenge into the question. “Didn’t Apache Jim ever teach you any manners? Didn’t anyone ever tell you how rude it is to stare?”
Something welled beneath the interest.
Amusement.
A sharp breath escaped her as she watched his eyes smile at her, crinkling up at the corners. She was the astonished one. Her body froze up when he reached out with one of those hard, wide-palmed hands. If she could’ve moved, she wouldn’t have stepped back.
His fingertips brushed over her damp hair, from her brow back over her crown. She fought against the urge to close her eyes, sigh and melt. Her scalp tickled under his light touch. His fingers combed through the ends of her tresses and repeated the motion, slower the second time through. She gripped the rail next to her, afraid she’d sway.
The amusement in his eyes had faded. They’d lifted to the scars she’d left exposed by combing her hair back from her face. His thumb traced the smooth, jagged line, tracing it to the corner of her eye.
She tried to read his face. The tender moment between them intensified. The tingles deepened. Though she wanted to turn his attention away from those imperfections on her face, she drew comfort from his whispering touch. His eyes darkened. There was anger there now. He was angry she’d been hurt. Her heart picked up pace, welcoming his fury.
She allowed her eyes to close. Her blood was singing, warming skin chilled by the nightly breeze. She could hear him breathing, just barely. Edging closer, she reached up to touch him. Her fingers found the chords of his upper arm. They wrapped around them, gripping them for support.
His fingertips found the scar by her mouth and began to trail down the angled mark. Her eyes popped open, fixed on his and her breath seized when he touched the very corner of her mouth. His fingers lingered, eyes tracing the line of her lips. She wanted his mouth to do the same. She waited breathlessly, heart thudding hard between them.
Blackest Heart © Amber Leigh Williams



You said you try to bring romantic back to romance, and I think you have.  Amber, thanks so much for sharing with us today.  I hope you'll come back and visit with us again.

3 comments:

Amber Leigh Williams said...

Thanks for the interview, Carol!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Amber Leigh,
Great interview, I really enjoyed finding out more about you and you writing. Good luck with all your ventures. Loved the excerpt, very evocative.

Regards

Margaret

Amber Leigh Williams said...

Margaret, thanks for visiting! This excerpt from Blackest Heart is one of my favorite parts of the book. I very much enjoyed writing their story....