"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
Elizabeth Amber writes the erotic historical paranormal romance series, The Lords of Satyr, for Kensington Aphrodisia. She’s a museum junkie who loves history and archeology. When she was an art history major at university, she became fascinated with Greco-Roman artifacts. All those ancient urns, frescoes, and amphorae decorated with lusting satyrs, maenads, and Bacchus (or Dionysus) celebrating the annual grape harvest inspired her series.
An Interview with Elizabeth Amber
PNR: Can you tell us a little about how you started writing; was it something you have always wanted to do?
Elizabeth A.: Georgette Heyer and Victoria Holt were the first romance authors I read; then I moved on to Harlequin series. I wasn’t seriously thinking about writing romance until the idea for The Lords of Satyr series came to me. I began writing it for fun and somewhere along the way I fell in love with it and became determined to see it published.
PNR: Are you able to write as much as you would like? Could you tell us about your writing schedule? What do you enjoy doing when not writing?
Elizabeth A.: Except for this past year when we moved across the country and remodeled a 1970s house, I’ve always been pretty disciplined about my writing. I write five days a week, usually 5-10 hours a day. I’m a night owl, so I do email and business in the morning before I write. Cooking, animal welfare, family, and friends occupy the rest of my time.
PNR: Being a new author, who or what has been the biggest influence on your writing? Who has been your biggest support?
Elizabeth A.: The first erotic romance I read was Jaid Black’s The Empress’ New Clothes. That was an eye-opener. I hadn’t realized we could write that hot and be published!
My family’s very supportive, but they don’t read romance and don’t really know what I’m up to at my computer. If I’m happy, they’re happy for me.
PNR: What do you feel are the essential elements of a great romance?
Elizabeth A.: Riveting sexual tension between the hero and heroine, plus a storyline that focuses on those two characters. Even though I include some subplots, I always remember who the story is about—those two main characters. I want to root for them to wind up in love.
PNR: You made your publishing debut in July 2007 with the release of NICHOLAS, the first book in your Lords of Satyr series. You have received a great deal of recognition and reader admiration for your writing. How does it feel to have such positive recognition for your work?
Elizabeth A.: I’m very thankful to readers for taking a chance on my books and thankful to both readers and reviewers, who have helped spread the word!
Though they’ve been well received, both books have been controversial.
In NICHOLAS, the controversy was largely due to the introduction of the half-satyr brothers and their carnal rituals, which take place in their secluded glen ringed by mythical statues of Bacchus, maenads, and fauns.
In RAINE the controversy has been because of the heroine, Jordan. After reading about some infamous examples of people like her in the 1800s, I was compelled to write this story. What was most important to me was to show that Raine accepted her and loved her as he found her. An instant connection and acceptance. We should all be so lucky to have that from our partners!
PNR: Congratulations, readers and reviewers are excited about the March 2008 release of RAINE from Kensington Aphrodisia; this is the second book in your Lords of Satyr series. Could you give us some insight into the mythology of your Lords of Satyr that is the thread to connect the series?
Elizabeth A.: Thanks, PNR! The kernel for the series came from Greco-Roman mythology which says that Bacchus (or Dionysus) was the god of wine. The satyr were his followers, and they’re associated with all things carnal.
Nicholas, Raine, and Lyon are half-satyr half-human brothers, who guard ancient secrets in their lavish vineyard in Tuscany’s centuries-old wine country. When they receive a letter from an alternate world, they learn of the existence of three endangered half-faerie brides. These women offer an opportunity. The brothers need heirs to carry on their work and duty, and not just any woman will do as a satyr wife. At times, the satyr change physically and are called by the darker side of their natures to indulge in a nightlong ritual in a sacred gathering place.
The observance of these rituals and the production of heirs are crucial to ensure that the grapevines on their estates thrive. These ancient vines are entwined with the satyr’s ancestral lifeblood. So if the vines fail, the satyr die and an interworld gate that lies on their land will be compromised, resulting in dire consequences.
PNR: Tell us about the challenges you face in world building with paranormal elements in a historical setting and making it work with the ideas you have in mind for the progression of your characters and the series? How much research is involved?
Elizabeth A.: In the 1800s, a blight nearly destroyed all of Europe’s grapevines and wine industry. Reading about this sparked the idea for the series. Satyrs are considered carnal, which I knew would fit an erotic romance. So I created heroes with satyr blood and put them in Italy in the 1800s, and made it very important that they keep their grapevines alive and well in spite of the blight. I enjoy nonfiction, so I read about period customs and clothing, etc. to enrich the storylines.
PNR: You write wonderfully intriguing and complex characters that readers really connect to; could you tell us about the development of the relationships between your heroes and heroines? What was your inspiration for these characters?
Elizabeth A.: Alpha males are great to write. Put them in a historical setting, and they can throw their weight around a lot more than they could today. I give a hero a problem or a deficit and then find a heroine who helps fill that need in him. And vice versa.
I write about characters I’d like to read about, and I think these guys are attractive, but in distinctly different ways.
Nicholas, the eldest, is charismatic and driven by duty to keep the grapevines and his family’s legacy going. Thus, his willingness to look for the first of the half-faerie brides, who he hopes will provide an heir. Conversely, Jane rejects her otherworldly abilities and heritage.
Raine, the middle brother, has been married before, but his ex-wife scorned him because of his carnal nature. This scarred him and left him with some guilt for the damage his ex-wife did to his family. Conversely, his bride is ready for love.
Lyon, is the charming, hunky brother to whom women have always come easily. He expects that things will go as well in his bride search as they have for his brothers. Wrong. Juliette is not easy to locate, and one night with her nearly does him in.
PNR: How would you describe the sensuality level of your books; do you find it challenging to write love/sex scenes that readers demand of erotic romance?
Elizabeth A.: I write explicit, hot love/sex scenes. I’m constantly looking for ways to keep them sexy, fresh, and unusual.
These scenes are not difficult for me to write, but they take more time than you might think. They’re all about evoking emotion, so it’s important to get the glances, touches, and scents just right. And body position has to be kept in mind all the time. Where are those hands? Got to be sure he or she doesn’t have three of them, i.e. his two hands are holding her waist, but then he’s got another hand at her nape.
PNR: There is something about a “Bad Boy” that makes our hearts race, and satyrs are temptation personified. Why do you feel that readers are attracted to that bad boy image of a hero, or anti-hero as the case may be?
Elizabeth A.: Bad boys are incredibly intriguing, sexy, and forbidden. They live by a code of ethics, but they flout authority and don’t mind breaking the rules. They’ve got sexual expertise and we want them because we sense they’ll give us the ride of our lives. We don’t necessarily want to marry them because they might bring us trouble or heartbreak, but reading a romance about them makes for great romantic fantasy.
PNR: What is it about the paranormal romance genre that captures your imagination?
Elizabeth A.: Paranormal opens so many possibilities. Nicholas, Raine, and Lyon are half-human, but through their satyr ancestry, they have abilities that allow for greater flexibility in sex scenes and in plots. And the paranormal aspect allows me to thrust duties and heap challenges upon characters that I couldn’t thrust/heap upon a fully human character.
PNR: Could you tell us about your current projects, what can readers expect to see in the coming months?
Elizabeth A.: LYON will be released in August. I’ve contracted for a 4th book in the series: DOMINIC, THE LORDS OF SATYR (February 2009). The first three books were set in 1823. This book takes place some years later and involves some side characters from book 1 (NICHOLAS).
An idea for book 5 has come to me recently and I plan to write that as well. Both 4 and 5 will be set in our world, but we’ll venture into the alternate world I’ve hinted at in the previous books.
PNR: Thank you, Elizabeth, for taking time out to talk to us. Where can readers find out what’s new and how can they contact you?
Elizabeth A.: Thank you for having me and for the great questions, PNR!Excerpts, back cover blurbs, and reviews are at: www.elizabethamber.com Readers can also reach me via: firstname.lastname@example.org www.myspace.com/elizabethamberromance Featured in this issue: ~Really Bad Boys ~Lyrical Press Interviews with: Elizabeth Amber Melissa Lopez Stella & Audra Price Gena Showalter J.R. Ward
July 31, 2007
Lords of Satyr: Book 1
The last in a fabled line of otherworldly aristocracy, the Lords of Satyr are born to wealth, power, and a talent for sensual delight that mere mortals only dream of. Commanded to marry, these passionate men will travel to Rome, Venice, and Paris—and along the way will explore desires both shamelessly wicked and blissfully divine.
HE HAD SWORN TO TAKE A PROPER WIFE. HE HADN'T BARGAINED ON MEETING HIS MATCH.
Nicholas looks very much like what he is—the handsome, successful heir to a vineyard in Tuscany. But Nicholas is much more, for he is one of the last in an ancient line of satyr men. And the dying king of ElseWorld wants him not only to marry, but to wed one of the king's own daughters—a half—human, half—faerie woman unaware of her heritage. Nicholas won't shirk his duty to produce heirs to guard his race's legacies, but he never plans to make his bride his only lover. A satyr's sexual hunger and sensual skills are legendary. One woman will never satisfy him.
Or so Nicholas believes until he meets Jane. As spirited as she is fey, as beautiful as she is innocent, she is nevertheless determined to make her new husband hers alone—and she's eager for him to teach her every deliciously carnal secret he knows.
February 26, 2008
Lords of Satyr: Book 2
As A Lover, His Skills Are Legendary…
The middle brother, Raine, is both sensual and stoic. Scarred by once taking a wife who could not accept his carnal needs, he wants no part in another marriage. But duty commands that he fulfill his promise to wed King Feydon’s second daughter, Jordan…
But In Matters Of The Heart, He Has Much To Learn…
The loyal satyr begins a search that leads him from Tuscany to romantic Venice, where his beautiful bride awaits, unaware of what passionate delights fate has planned for her. Raine is careful not to reveal his powerful satyr sexuality, for fear of driving yet another woman away. But unbeknownst to him, Jordan is no ordinary woman and was born with an insatiable appetite for love. And as Raine’s heart begins to melt for her, how long will he be able to hide his true nature when Jordan seems to want him so fiercely?
July 29, 2008
Lords of Satyr: Book 3
One taste of forbidden desire is never enough...
He Is On The Prowl…
The youngest of the Satyr brothers, Lyon enjoys working in the family’s Tuscan vineyards, caring for his menagerie of animals and bedding beautiful women. But he knows he must fulfill his destiny of taking the last daughter of King Feydon as his bride. And so he travels to Paris to wed the infamous Juliet Rabelais…
For His Most Luscious Prize…
A celebrated courtesan noted for both her culinary—and carnal—talents, Juliet is a voluptuous beauty with a body meant to tease. And with a full moon only days away, Lyon is quickly aroused. But after a night of intimacy, Lyon wonders if Juliet is truly a mistress of sensual pleasure or whether his sexual mastery will be her undoing…
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