"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
Amber Green is the pseudonym for a professional paper-pusher who shares her house with one husband, two sons, five cats, a perma-puppy, and a geriatric dog. The poultry is supposed to stay out of the house and usually does, but one black hen occasionally sneaks through the cat door to perch atop the terrarium/iguana tank, somehow balancing upside-down to hold staring contests with the lizard. When not writing, tending to her day job, or taking a broom to marauding opossums, the author can normally be found watering her plants or reading with her sons while giving thanks for the invention of the air conditioner.
An Interview with Amber Green
PNR: Can you tell us a little about how you started writing; was it something you have always wanted to do?
Amber G.: I've always wanted to write. I filled spiral notebook after spiral notebook in my teens. I got an English degree with the thought of writing, but set the idea aside until several years ago, when a series of personal events left me reeling. I couldn't sleep, and at the time I didn’t own a TV or a book (apart from my kids' schoolbooks) so I picked up a discarded computer from the side of the road and typed instead.
PNR: How do you manage to balance your writing and personal time? What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
Amber G.: For the most part, writing is my personal time. I love to read and still have some scraps of a garden, but writing is how I choose to spend most of my discretionary time.
PNR: What do you consider to be the key elements of a great story?
Amber G.: A great story has multifaceted, multi-layered people actively working through a difficult situation for compelling reasons, and ends with some kind of lasting victory.
PNR: Congratulations on the April 07 release of LIGHTS OUT!, a historical paranormal from Loose Id; could you tell us where the idea came from and a little about the storyline?
Amber G.: As a kid I repeatedly dreamed of running through a mazelike building, usually a hospital or a hotel, with both dark "empty" wings and lit-up wings where everyone pretended things were normal. LIGHTS OUT! resulted from a crosspollination of those dreams, car trips spent listening to The Shadow and its kin, long evenings spent slapping mosquitoes while listening to WWII reminiscences, and maybe a little too much Poe. I'm fascinated by the edges of reality, and by legends of things that aren't quite men. In LIGHTS OUT!, I call them hydes. At the beginning of this story, Lorie abandons reality as she knows it in order to hunt down the horrors that lurk in dark places. She finds that in a time of spies and saboteurs, the shadows hide something worse...
The world is at war, the horizons dark. Monstrous hydes once driven underground by electric light have reclaimed the blacked-out streets. Against them stand huntsmen Jack French and his twin, Tommy. Only half a step from becoming monsters themselves, the twins risk life and soul to protect the people of the daylight world. They have little hope of success until Lorie joins them. Jack and Tommy need her as a lure. More, feeding on her sexual energies might keep them from taking that fatal half-step into the darkness.
Lorie loves with the intensity of a wartime romance, but she knows the score -- she's a convenience for this mission, and the guys won't spare a thought for her once they move on. Under Jack's intimate tutelage, Lorie becomes a perfect feeder, and the consummate bait. But when a beloved face becomes a monster's face, will she have the grit to do what must be done?
PNR: You have written novellas for the Secrets anthologies from Red Sage Publishing, how did you become involved in these projects? Could you tell us a little about your Shapeshifters-in-Lust series?
Amber G.: HAWKMOOR came out in Secrets Volume 13. The story takes place in a reality where shapeshifters aren’t supposed to exist, and where anyone caught without a job-holder’s or land-owner’s ID can be forcibly inducted into the military or warehoused in a labor camp. Shapeshifters Darien Berenov and Mary Alison Hawkmoor were bonded to one another as children, but were immediately separated. Mary Alison grew up as an orphan in the human world. Diagnosed as having hormonally triggered epilepsy with hallucinations, she learned to sedate herself into a stupor at the full moon. Darien meanwhile took her place as Hawkmoor, growing up as a prince among the shapeshifters and using the Hawkmoor name to keep the peace.
Mary Alison doesn’t believe shapeshifters exist. After 19 years, Darien is not entirely sure Mary Alison still exists. When she surfaces, Darien’s authority reverts to her. But she doesn’t know the shapeshifters' world well enough to take up the reins of power. War explodes around them as shifter Families vie for territory and position. Exploiting the erotic aspects of their awakened bond, Darien seeks to form a union of souls and to resume his rule in Mary Alison’s name. His former paramour Lia swiftly moves to take power--and the Hawkmoor name--herself. Mary Alison defies both Lia and Darien. With his people dying, Lia ascendant, and the moon swelling toward full, Darien chooses among ugly options: He must bring Mary Alison under control, or he must sacrifice her for the sake of peace.
THE SUBJECT, which came out in Secrets Volume 20 this summer, follows another couple in the same reality. The subject is Tyler, the hottest game designer in North America. When she finds herself running for her life and unsure of who is chasing her, she turns to Esau (don't-call-me-werewolf) Kirkland. Esau's duty requires him to track down Tyler and deliver her to her enemies. He can't do it. Instead, he plots a counter scheme to bring her home as his Captured Bride, exploiting the strongest traditions of his heritage to save her life at the cost of her freedom. But Tyler, master gamer, reserves the right to turn the tables on everyone. When all forces gather for the showdown in Sooner City, Esau must give up everything he thought he had, and become more than he ever thought he could be.
PNR: Do you feel your writing is character driven or plot driven? How do you balance these two elements? Could you tell us a little about the development of your characters? Who has been your favorite character to write? The most challenging?
Amber G.: Answering these together will make more sense, I think.
I'm told my writing is strongly plot driven. I don't agree. What keeps a story going is how characters manage to get what they need in spite of powerful forces. Researching (or worldbuilding) to nail down details of the external plot is much easier than working out what kind of people fit into this milieu, what characteristics they would logically have, and what characteristics would help or hinder them in their pursuit of that goal. For example, the heroine in LIGHTS OUT! is a Rosie the Riveter sort, plucky and resourceful. I wanted her to be very young, but an adult because of the erotic elements. Her age meant she had spent her teens in the Depression, which brought up an opportunity to have a character who'd dreamed of growing up to be Bonnie Parker. At the same time I did not want her to be a sociopath, so I gave her a lawman for a father and had him shot by Bonnie and Clyde's gang. Her father drank himself to death after that, and once she understands the hydes Lorie subconsciously equates them with hell-bent drinkers like her pa. Matching characters with their milieu isn't enough, of course; they must also match one another. The couple must be rather stronger than the sum of the individuals' virtues. Someone as reckless as Mary Alison needs a mate as suave and careful as Darien. Someone as badly hurt as Tyler needs someone as laid back and protective as Esau. Because I have to know each character so well, asking me to name my favorite character is like asking me to name my favorite child. The answer would have to keep changing. One day my favorite would be Mary Alison, who takes no guff from anyone; the next day I might favor Joe, who is so earnest.
PNR: With the recent reader interest in erotic romance, print publishers have entered a market niche that was formally covered by the epublishers. What do you feel accounts for the shift in attitude toward erotic romance; reader and publisher?
Amber G.: You mean, of course, large-scale publishers have entered a market niche previously left to the smaller publishers and the epubs. Red Sage books have been in print for over ten years. I attribute the attitude shift to a number of factors, one of which is simply that once writers began making decent money writing well-crafted, explicitly erotic stories, they began writing more of them. Someone whose first exposure to the mystery genre is a lousy hack-piece will be less likely to reach for another mystery. Someone whose first exposure to erotic romance is a well-crafted, exciting, emotionally satisfying tale will be quite likely to reach for another. And so the market grows.
PNR: How do you feel the sensual/erotic genre has affected the romance genre in general, the paranormal genre specifically? In your opinion, how far can you go with erotic content and have it still be considered romance?
Amber G.: A story is a romance if the reader is left with a high degree of emotional satisfaction. That satisfaction requires a reasonable certainty that the character most identified with has been left safe and happy. The degree of eroticism is irrelevant.
PNR: How would you describe the sensuality level of your books; do you find it challenging to write the hot love/sex scenes that readers demand?
Amber G.: Writing intense scenes is always a challenge, regardless of whether they involve sex. The degree of heat (or kink) involved has much less impact on the difficulty of writing than the degree of intensity; that said, my sex scenes are as intense as I can make them. Making the scene explicit is much less of a challenge than making it fit its place in the story. (If you can cut out your sex scenes and place them in random order through the story arc, you're not putting in enough emotional development.) But yes, sometime I spend several days trying to work out new but appropriate imagery for a climax.
PNR: What is it about the paranormal romance genre that captures your imagination?
Amber G.: As I noted before, the edges of reality fascinate me.
PNR: Could you tell us about your current projects, what can readers expect to see in the coming months?
Amber G.: In January or February 08, Loose Id will release BAREBACK, which will bring huntsmen and hydes into the 21st century. This story is neither as dark nor as violent as LIGHTS OUT! but potential readers should be aware that BAREBACK is an erotic romance between two men. Right now I'm researching RISK, which takes place in Europe at the same time as LIGHTS OUT!
PNR: Thank you Amber, for taking time out to speak with us; where can readers find out more about your work?
Amber G.: Thank you, Dee. Readers might start at my website, www.ShapeshiftersInLust.com
Red Sage Publishing
July 28, 2007
One week Tyler is the hottest game designer in North America, in sight of her first million and ready to sign the deal of her life. The next week, she's on the run for her life. Who can she trust? Certainly not sexy, mysterious Esau, who keeps showing up right after the hoo-hah hits the fan!
April 1, 2007
November, 1942: Headlines
scream of war overseas, not of monstrous Hydes lurking in
the blacked-out streets of New York City. Yet Hydes once
driven underground by electric light have reclaimed the dark
Red Sage PublishingHAWKMOOR Shape-shifters answer to Darien as he acts in the name of the long-missing Lady Hawkmoor, their hereditary ruler. When she unexpectedly surfaces, Darien must deal with a scrappy individual whose wary eyes hold the other half of his soul, but who has the power to destroy his world.
July 1, 2005
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