Hello, my lovelies :-) Today, I’d like to introduce you to an author I just discovered about 2 weeks ago. Amber Belldene just released her debut, BLOOD VINE. It’s looks to be a very different take on the vampire mythology, and I CAN’T WAIT to read it!!! I posted the blurb and the trailer for the book earlier this week, and today, Amber stops by to chat. Please leave any questions for her below, she’ll be popping in to answer throughout the day, and one of you will win an ebook copy of BLOOD VINE!!
Thank you so much for taking a few minutes to answer some questions for us
Jennifer, these are great questions–both fun and thought provoking! Thanks so much for inviting me onto your blog!
1) When you write, do you prefer quiet, or do you listen to music? If you like music playing, what is your preferred genre? Do certain characters have their own personal “soundtrack”?
Honestly, I don’t like to listen to music when I’m writing. It distracts me too much, and I prefer the words and the story to set the mood. But music does figure in to my books–my characters have their own preferences, and those often come out in the story, sometimes even as plot points. I’m really grateful to the vocal ensemble Kitka, who granted me permission to use one of their tracks on the trailer, because it captures the haunting, traditional feel I was striving for in the book, even though there’s plenty of lighthearted silliness in there too.
2) Where do you write? In an office, at the dining room table, at a local coffeeshop? Do you prefer to write alone or with a group? If you write with a group, do you also read/critique each other’s work?
I write at home, mostly, in the early hours or after my kids go to bed, and always on my laptop, wherever I can get comfortable–usually on the couch while my husband plays video games. I do have great critique partners, but if I tried to write alongside them, I’d never get anything done but laugh and drink wine, and the risk of spluttering that wine all over my keyboard is too high!
3) How do you prepare for release day? Are you calm and focused, or do you get stressed? Do you like to make promotional appearances or stay at home to watch lists and numbers?
Ha, ha! I’ve only done it this once, and not with much grace, I’m afraid. It’s a big roller coaster of excitement and anxiety! It must show all over my face, because an author friend met me for lunch, took one look at me, and said “You too, huh?” Of course I’m thrilled people are reading my book and some of them are even liking it enough to ask about the sequel (I’m just about to submit it). That’s all I could ever hope for as an author, and it makes me very happy.
4) What was your favorite Halloween costume (or other costume party costume)?
I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of costumes–I always look for a short cut, or an easy way out. Last year I taped wings to a viking helmet and said I was one of Kresley Cole’s valkyries. Yep, it was lame. The year before that, I wore my alb (a white robe I wear for my day job, which I will tell you more about below) and did up my hair in side-buns. It was about the easiest Princess Leia get-up ever.
5) If you could go anywhere on vacation (and not interfere with your deadlines), where would you go, and what 3 items (besides food and clothes) would you bring with you?
Hands down, I would go to Croatia, where my hero, Andre, is from. It looks so beautiful, and there is so much history. I also hear wonderful things about the food and the people, and of course the wine! I would take my kindle, my camera, and my laptop. Can I bring my husband too, or do I only get three items?
6) What song best describes your life? If you can’t think of one, who would you want to write/perform a song just for you?
This is a tough question because no one song can encapsulate everything, so I’ll just say the first one that comes to mind: I’m a big fan of the jazz pianist Dave Brubeck, who just died last fall. His classic “Take Five” has a unique time signature, and is upbeat, but with melancholy undertones. Its bittersweet feel really speaks to me. And, whoa–I wish he’d written a song for me!
7) If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would be it and what would you do all day?
It would be vampire Andre Maras. I love all my characters, but he is really my friend. This probably makes me sound nuts, but I always know what he’s thinking about everything I do. I’d likely make better choices if I’d remember to ask myself “what would Andre do?” Not that he is a saint, but he is curmudgeonly and wise in a way I admire. And I’d like him to teach me to swear in Croatian.
8) What world record would you love to set for the Guinness Book of World Records? (Remember, they take ALL KINDS of interesting talents into account. Some world records include *fastest 100m sprint, barefoot, on ice = 17.35 secs… *fastest pumpkin carving of a face = 24.03 secs… *longest distance pogo stick jumping = 23.11 miles)
Great question! Do you remember how in one of the Harry Potter books Hermione had that special watch that allowed her to stop time and essentially get more done by being in two places at once? I’m super jealous of that watch! I’d like to set the record for most efficient multi-tasker. While jogging on the treadmill, I would cook dinner, iron clothes, read to my kids and critique a friend’s chapter–all done perfectly! I do a lot of mediocre multi-tasking now, and I bet lots of people do it better, so there is probably stiff competition for this World Record.
9) If you could have one word removed from the English language, from all dictionaries and out of everyone’s vocabulary, what would it be, and why? If you could ADD one word, what would it be?
Oh, how funny! It’s a strange pet peeve, but I really hate the business-speak word impactful. There are simply a million better ways of saying what it means, and yet, it’s very common.
I don’t have any specific suggestions for adding one, but I thought Jill Sorenson’s post “Vagina Envy” on Heroes and Heartbreakers was hilarious and spot on. She playfully tried to invent a word for vagina that didn’t have negative associations. Like Jill, I wish our culture was more comfortable with women’s bodies and women’s sexuality, so that vagina would be a sexy word, and not one that makes us think of pelvic exams.
10) What is one thing about you that your friends know and you would love your readers to know as well?
My books aren’t religious at all, but I still like my readers to know about my day job–I work full time as an Episcopal priest. I tend to be a little irreverent, and I often joke around about being a naughty priest who writes racy romance. But it’s also important for me to say that I don’t think there is anything naughty about sex—it’s a very holy expression of love and our most basic instinct for intimacy. And I believe that my work as a romance writer and in the church are not at all in conflict.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. I hope this was something different, and that you had fun telling us a little more about yourself.
Thank you so much for having me as a guest, and letting me think about these fun questions!
Congratulations on all your successes, and good luck with all you have planned for the future!
Ok… so… what would YOU like to know about Amber, or BLOOD VINE?? Ask questions, or just say Hi in the comments below. One random commenter will win an ebook copy of BLOOD VINE!!! Contest runs through tonight, midnight pacific.