Hello Amber and thank you for visiting today. Tell us a little about yourself.
I live on the Gulf Coast. I’m a southern girl at heart so I live for beach days, the smell of real books, and spending time with my husband and our two children. When I’m not trying to keep up with rambunctious little ones (and two large dogs), you can usually find me reading a good romance or cooking up something new in the kitchen. Readers can find out more about me and my books at www.amberleighwilliams.com!
I miss having little ones. It sounds like you have an interesting life. Now on to some personal questions. If you could go back in time to when you were seven years old, what wisdom or advice would you pass on to yourself?
Interesting question…. I would tell my seven-year-old self to be strong and to never be afraid to stand up for myself and my beliefs, to own who I am and what want to be.
We should all teach ourselves to be stronger. For what are you grateful?
I had three dreams growing up. One was to find my soul mate. Another was to know what it was like to be a mother. And the third was to be a published author. I’ve been so blessed to see all these dreams come true so I’m grateful for that and the people around me.
I'm glad to see that you made all your dreams come true. If a zombie virus took over the world, how many days do you think you could last before you were infected? And what would you do to postpone the inevitable?
Zombies creep me out. I like to think my survival instincts would be pretty good, especially if it came down to the safety of my children. However, I think the person who would be instrumental in keeping my family alive in a zombie apocalypse would be my husband. He thinks really well on his feet. He’s innovative, and I think he could kick some serious zombie butt. I’d more than likely be there to reload for him and crack horrible jokes in hopes of breaking the tension.
My husband is the big planner. It's how we will survive. What television sitcom is most like your family? Why?
We’re probably most like “Everybody Loves Raymond” with most of the strife coming from external sources. Like Deborah, I’m a stay-at-home mom and I’m not sure how great I am at cooking (though I do enjoy it). However, there might be a little bit of “I Love Lucy” mixed in with some dry Chandler wit from “Friends,” which is quoted often at home.
All my favorite shows! What’s your favorite thing to do to relax?
Reading might sound like an obvious answer, but when you have two young children and you work from home, there’s not always enough hours in the day to get everything done, much less to do the things you’d rather be doing other than sorting clothes and picking toys up off the floor. Reading is my bliss. I only get to do it in snatched bits here and there, but if I’m stressed, nothing brings me back down to earth like a cup of hot ginger peach tea and a good book.
Let’s find out a little bit about you as an author. Did you always want to be an author?
I’ve wanted to be a storyteller since I found out I had this hidden pocket of detailed stories in my head in the third grade. I’ve always been pretty internal so writing came naturally to me through everything. It’s become my passion.
What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult?
As a child, I loved books by E.B. White, Roald Dahl, and The Diary of Anne Frank. As I got older, I started hoarding Nora Roberts novels. Reading her books made me want to write romance for a living. Writers like Anne Lamont, Eloisa James, Diana Gabaldon, and Paullina Simons are also must-reads.
Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?
Burt’s Bees lip balm, a hair tie, story notes (I’m a plotter), and caffeine. I burn through the night hours when I write so the caffeine keeps me coherent, the hair tie keeps me from pulling my hair out if I’m editing or up against a deadline, and I hate chapped lips. I might have some tunes cranking—big band, motown, ‘90’s alternative, or something modern and bouncy depending on my mood—so earbuds are a must.
How did you decide to write a Romance story? Do you feel passionate about that genre?
I’ve known since I was fourteen that I wanted to write romances. I’ve wanted to write for Harlequin for that long, too, so the fact that this is my third book with Harlequin’s Superromance line is pretty exciting! I write romance because it’s what I adore reading. Though romance novels are said to be too idealistic, I don’t think that’s always the case. The situations my protagonists find themselves in are often far from idealistic. Readers tend to love satisfying endings but they also want to see characters face adversity, hurdle challenges, confront their flaws, learn their strengths and at least touch the surface of humanity and discover what life means to them. The best part about writing romance is exploring how love can create compelling growth in a character and what it takes to build a relationship that can stand the test of time. Long-lasting relationships are fascinating because we live in a world where such things can seem rare or hard to find at times.
It always surprises me when long term relationships break up. What have you learned the most from being in the writing business?
I once had an interesting conversation in a doctor’s office, of all places, about prolific authors and their work. The person I was discussing this with noted that it’s obvious when an author you read often writes a book just to write it; not to enjoy it. I read quite a few writers who punch out five or more books a year and through the years I’ve found this to be true. You can tell if a writer was up against a deadline and didn’t really “feel” the work. Ever since that chat in the doctor’s office, even if I’m up against a deadline, I refuse to write unless I’m passionate about the material. If I don’t feel compelled toward a character or their response to the situation they’re in, I change it. Who wants to read something that wasn’t written with some measure of zeal? It’s like reading the headlines; you can only take so much.
Can a rebel ever change his ways?
Being a single mother and successful florist is tough, especially when your next-door neighbor is the man who shattered your heart. Eight years ago, bad boy James Bracken walked away from Adrian Carlton…and their unborn child. Now he’s back. And Adrian’s desire to protect her son from the truth of his biological father isn’t enough to hide the wild blue eyes of father and son, or to keep Adrian from surrendering to the raw passion between her and James. But is he truly the changed man he claims to be? Maybe this time his rebel heart really is home to stay.
Here’s a short snippet:
"I don't want you to be alone..."
Adrian sighed. "James, I have been alone, for a really long time."
"I'm sorry," he said. "Adrian...I am so, so sorry."
When he drew her into his arms, she was helpless to stop him. She felt his lips come to rest on the top of her head. His arms wrapped around her back, closing her in, tightening.
He simply held her, for what seemed like ages.
A small eternity passed in the space of moments. Memories stirred, whispering to life, ghosts of what had been.
When his lips touched hers, it felt so natural. The simple press of his lips brought her back to life. Her heart fluttered, lifting and soaring.
She should have pushed him away. After everything, she should shove him back, make him leave. Instead, she let the moment stretch, deepen until she felt him brush up against the soul she'd buried from everything and everyone...
How did you decide on your story plot?
It’s a character-driven story so at the heart of it are these two people, James and Adrian, who I love. I always try to write strong heroines, but Adrian goes a step further. As a mother and an independent business owner, she’s fierce. I love her strength but I also love the big, hidden chord of vulnerability beneath it. I like stories of homecoming. In James’s case, nothing could have been braver than returning to Fairhope and trying to redeem himself in Adrian’s eyes.
How did you choose your characters names and location for your story?
I didn’t realize it when I chose the name, but funnily enough I think Adrian comes from the movie Rocky. My husband and son share the middle name James. Though James is a person all to himself, he and my husband have some similarities. They’re both tall, blue-eyed, dark-haired and have been known to wear a tool belt and listen to Red Hot Chili Peppers. The location, Fairhope, Alabama, is my hometown.
Do you have a favorite scene? Why?
I don’t have a favorite because I enjoyed writing so many of them, but humor is a must in all of my books and there’s a scene in which James accidentally winds up in the crosshairs of Adrian’s BB gun and the resulting sequence of events is pretty hysterical. The book packs on the emotional elements so writing lighthearted moments like this was refreshing.
Do you have a character that you identify with? Who and why?
Adrian has a little boy, and I was fortunate to write this story shortly after the birth of my son. I definitely identified with the bond that they share and how protective she is over him.
Let our readers know how they can get a hold of you…
Readers can find me on my website – www.amberleighwilliams.com! There you can sign up for my monthly newsletter and be the first to know about book news and the latest sales. Readers can contact me personally via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m also a regular on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/amberleighwilliams) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/ALeighWilliams).
Is there anything else that you want to share… feel free!!
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Amber Leigh Williams lives on the Gulf Coast. A southern girl at heart, she lives for beach days, the smell of real books, relaxing at her family’s lakehouse, and spending time with her husband and two children. When she’s not keeping up with rambunctious little ones and two large dogs she can usually be found reading a good romance or cooking up a new dish in her kitchen. She is represented by D4EO Literary Agency.
Her latest book is the contemporary romance, His Rebel Heart.
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