I’m pleased to welcome today, Amber Garr, author of Promises. Amber was kind enough to take some time out to answer a few questions.
spends her days conducting scientific experiments and wondering if her next door neighbor is secretly a vampire. Born in Pennsylvania, she lives in Florida with her husband and their furry kids. Her childhood imaginary friend was a witch, Halloween is sacred, and she is certain that she has a supernatural sense of smell. She writes both adult and young adult urban fantasies and when not obsessing over the unknown, she can be found dancing, reading, or enjoying a good movie.
1. Tell a little about yourself, what you do when you’re not writing, what are your aspirations for the future?
I work as a research marine biologist at a state university as my day job (hence, the mermaid theme!). So I spend quite a bit of my day writing grant proposals, journal manuscripts, and technical articles. By the time I get home, I’m ready to escape into a world of fiction through writing or reading. I also teach dance classes at a local studio and am involved in a state-wide writer’s network. As far as the future is concerned, I just recently earned my Ph.D. in biology, so I am planning on continuing my double life as scientist by day and author by night!
2. When and why did you start writing?
I really started to focus on writing a couple of years ago. I had always used dance as my creative outlet for my brain, but when I had an injury that made me take some time off, I focused all of that energy into writing. So in two years, I’ve completed three novels, started two more, and have stashed away several short stories. I just can’t stop!
3. Have any particular novels or writers influenced your writing?
I love the urban fantasy genre with the detective/mystery novels taking a close second. Kelley Armstrong, Kim Harrison, Richelle Mead, and Charlaine Harris are some of my favorite authors and I strive to write and create worlds as fascinating as theirs.
4. Give us some back story about Promises, where and when did you write it?
The first chapter was originally a short story. Since I always wished that I could be a mermaid, that part of the story had been a part of my mind forever. I decided to throw in a selkie because I was fascinated with the mythology and I hadn’t read anything with that type of shapeshifter in it before. But once I wrote the short story…I kept going and suddenly 3,000 words turned into a three book series!
5. What inspired your novel?
My love of the ocean and young adult themes. I remember having emotions all over the place as a teenager, especially when it came to a first love and realizing that I had to grow up some day. I wanted to incorporate those struggles while my characters also found a way to deal with them. But mostly….I really wanted to live under water my whole life!
6. What was your favorite part of Promises to write?
I’ve actually really enjoyed writing the secondary characters. Some have stayed on through the second book and some may return in the third. They were never a part of my “master plan” but I like how they just appeared and made themselves known.
7. Are you working on any other projects at the moment?
Yes. I’m working on the final mermaid book right now and I have an adult urban fantasy I like to see published by the end of the year. I am also working on an adult novel without any supernatural creatures but with a pretty scary protagonist, and I can’t wait to finish that story.
8. Any advice for other debut authors?
Read, read, read! It’s a good way to stay up on your genre and also to help you figure out what works and what doesn’t in storytelling. I’m still pretty new to this world, but I also think that finding a good group of beta readers will help encourage you and find plot flaws that you would have never even thought about.
9. Do you have any tricks to your trade, bottomless coffee, a magic pen, a special muse?
Music! Whether it’s at work or home, I simply do not function without my iPod. I like a variety of music, but find that I most often listen to wordless soundtracks when I’m in the middle of writing my big scenes.
10. Which fictional character would you like to take to dinner and why?
You know, I’d have to go with an old vampire (or another immortal creature). I would love to have the opportunity to talk to someone who experienced so much history. It would be fascinating to hear about some of those events that shaped mankind from a firsthand perspective.
Be sure to check out Amber’s book Promises:
Sometimes following your heart can end up destroying the ones you love.
When seventeen-year-old Eviana Dumahl is faced with the responsibility of an arranged marriage and clan leadership, she is forced to choose between the life required of a mermaid and one of a teenage girl simply infatuated with the wrong guy. Kain, her devoted fiancé would make a wonderful husband except that she’s been in love with Brendan, a shape-shifting selkie, ever since they were kids. Choosing to abandon her family, her clan, and her life with Kain will have dire consequences far beyond anything she could have imagined.
A war is brewing amongst the clans and Eviana unwittingly becomes a pawn in the intricate schemes of a twisted mastermind. With Brendan’s life on the line, she has no choice but to involve those who she once considered friends. Amidst encountering senseless tragedies and immense loss, Eviana discovers that she is more valuable as a clan leader than anyone ever suspected. Her survival is not only dependent upon the loyalty of her friends, but also on her acceptance of a life that she had so adamantly tried to escape.
Promises is the first book of The Syrenka Series trilogy following Eviana and her friends through the perils of growing up in a discrete world that inherently threatens human society.