Tuesday, March 13, 2012
The Writer's Block Interviews: Amber Riley
1) How did you become an author? Describe your journey.
When I was little, I always wrote short stories. It was something I did for fun because I was passionate about it. It wasn’t until I was twenty that I decided to write a full length novel. It took me two years to complete the first draft.I had to bribe myself with every 5,000 words to get it done. I had never written something that long before so it wasn’t easy. I had also never let anyone read my work before because I was afraid. When I finally broke down and let one of my friends read it, they talked me into going somewhere with writing. It took another year of editing before I thought I was ready to publish, but iUniverse disagreed with their editorial evaluation. I took all of their constructive criticism at face value and re-did the novel again. After it was published, I began work on my second novel. It was ten times easier to write a full length novel the second time around, not to mention faster. Remembering all of the ‘tips’ I got with my first novel, it won the Editors Choice Award.
2) Do you prefer any particular literary genre?
I mainly read fantasy novels. Lately I have been drawn to the teen section. I also enjoy a good historical fiction.
3) Where do you find your inspiration to write?
My inspiration usually pops up when I’m listening to music. It starts off with a character and the story is built around them later.
4) Please tell us about your series,the Kindred Blood Trilogy.
The Kindred Blood Trilogy follows Kaden, a vampire over six centuries old. He was once the second highest ranking vampire but fled after discovering the master,Phoenix, had lied to him. In New York, he turned over a new leaf and is trying to live peacefully. In the first novel, The Flash of a Firefly, Phoenix decides that he wants Kaden to return to his side. Kaden doesn’t understand why and fights to remain free. In the second novel, The Well of Truth, he goes to Rome,Italy to find out what the master vampire is really up to. The truth is devastating to the vampire hierarchy. The consequences of it lead to the third novel, The Land of Tears. Kaden goes to Spain, and Phoenix, for a final ending between the two of them. The trilogy is about more than a feud between vampires, though.Love and friendship are both important parts of the novels.
5) Describe how you chose your publisher(s).
I did a lot of research on self-publishing before I made my decision. I chose iUniverse because of everything they offer. The biggest draw for me was their editing service. As many times as I went through my novels, there were bound to be typos. It was important to me that they were as clean as possible. I also loved that they would design the covers and format the text. Editorial evaluations, 24/7 one-on-one customer service, and the quality of their product have me hooked.
6) What other projects do you have in the works?
Right now I’m in the very beginning stages of a new YA novel involving demons. With the release of my third Kindred Blood novel, it has moved to the back burner for the moment while the last minutes edits are completed on The Land of Tears. I’m very excited about it, though.
7) How do you promote your work? What methods have worked best for you?
There are a few different ways I promote. I’ve made novel trailers for each of my novels. I also had bookmarks and postcards printed for my first novel. The blogging world is a great way to get the word out there. I’ve also done press releases in newspapers and written a short story for a charity novel, with proceeds going to help Japan with the Tsunami relief. The way that has worked best for me is speaking at high schools. It’s great to meet with fans and discuss books in general.
8) What advice would you offer to aspiring authors?
Keep at it! Your talent will improve with everything you write. Also, write a great beginning to get the readers hooked right off the bat.
9) What is your definition of success as an author?
Simply having my novels in print was a great accomplishment for me. But, I would say that selling just one novel to someone that wasn’t a friend or relative equals success to me. I didn’t become an author to become rich (although that would be nice!) so just sharing my work with people makes me feel like a success.
10) What is next for you in 2012?
My third novel, The Land of Tears, will be out this Spring. After that, I’m planning to move away from vampires with the new YA novel that I am planning. I am hoping to have it finished by winter and, soon after, out to the fans.
Amber Riley has enjoyed writing short stories since childhood and is happiest with a cat in her lap. Born and raised in Central New York, she is currently living in Germany with her new son and husband, a Seabee with the US Navy.
Twitter: @ AmberR_Riley