Here’s what Spotlight is about; it’s an interview that promotes you! It will feature questions that are formatted to your needs. Questions will be focused on your work, upcoming work and some personal [but not intrusive] questions for your fans to get to know you more!
Today features Amber Skye Forbes
About your writing;
When did you start writing? I started writing stories when I was in second grade. I feel in love with writing during journal time, which we did every day. I started seriously writing in the eighth grade, which is when I began work on When Stars Rise, the sequel to When Stars Die, being published by AEC Stellar Publishing.
What inspires you to write? What inspires me to write is just thinking about writing in general. Also, reading awesome books that make me want to write an awesome story.
How has writing changed you as a person? It has made me more introspective as a person because, in order to create strong characters, I have to tap into the vulnerable parts of myself to create characters that are as real as people.
Adding some fun;
If you spend the rest of your life in a novel or novel series, what novel would it be and why? I would love to spend the rest of my life in A Great and Terrible Beauty simply because the protagonist, Gemma, would be my best friend, and we’d kick butt in the 19th century and show the world just what ladies are made of.
Share a couple of your favorite things and or things you like? I love ballet, video games, and cats.
What couldn’t you live without? Ballet and writing.
In the literacy world who do you think is a misunderstood character and why? Hannah from 13 Reasons Why. A lot of people believe her reasons for ending her own life were foolish, but those people don’t realize that stress that isn’t dealt with builds, and over time it snowballs and can cause a person to become depressed–which is exactly what I think happened with Hannah.
Have you read anything that made you think differently about writing? Jake Bonsignore’s Empyreal Illusions is making me think differently about third person omniscient. He uses this POV so well that I realize third person omniscient can be just as interesting as the POV I’m used to, which is first person.
Is there a character that annoys you in the literacy world? Or even one of your own? Pippa in A Great and Terrible Beauty drove me mad because she couldn’t see the unraveling of herself in the realms. I wanted so badly for her to be rescued, but she was a tragic character from the start, and it was a tragedy that she couldn’t see that her beautiful realms were falling apart around her; she tried so hard to cling to her idealized beauty that she refused to move on.
What do you look for in a publishing company as they will end up representing your work? I want publishers that allow me to take part in the process. I want to have an inside glimpse of their world, and I want to know what is going on with my book as it goes through the various stages of editing and cover design and formatting. I’m a bit too much of a control freak to fully trust others with turning my book into a publishable piece, which is probably why I prefer small presses now. I don’t want complete control, as I’m not an expert at designing covers or an expert at the business itself, but I want to know what’s going on.
How do you stay confident in yourself, especially by putting yourself out there in the internet world? I’m just a naturally confident person, so not a lot can deter me. I have enough supporters to outweigh any bad criticism that will come my way.
How do you handle rejection? What advice can you offer to moving past it? Rejection is inevitable, so it doesn’t sting. If an editor wants to give me personal criticism that turns out to be nasty, that says a lot more about the editor than my book. But if an editor offers me personal criticism that is helpful, I feel more honored than anything else because said editor could have just given me a generic rejection and moved on. Generic rejections, of course, don’t bother me at all. Just expect rejection.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Write as much as you can, embrace helpful criticism, expect rejection, but don’t let anything deter you.
Featuring your work and or upcoming work;
Tell us about your book [s] When Stars Die is a young adult paranormal romance being published by AEC Stellar Publishing. When Amelia discovers witch blood in her family, she joins a convent to cleanse herself of this taint. However, when she discovers redemption is not possible, she unites with the dangerously attractive priest, Oliver Cromwell, to fight for a place in paradise.
Stolentime is a young adult dark fantasy that is a work in progress. Gene is a suicidal teen rescued by an eccentric puppeteer who takes him on a journey to show him the value of life. But Gene is being stalked by a man in a gold suit intent on making him his doll, and thus psychologically ruining Gene.
Who is your favorite character and why? [If you can share without spoiling your work] In When Stars Die, it’s obviously Amelia because, while she is a depressed character, she is determined to not quit. She knows what she wants, and she goes after it.
What character do you hope readers understand?
I don’t think readers will have a difficult time understanding Amelia because bad things happen to her, so I hope readers will understand Gene because he does suffer with treatment-resistant depression that, in the beginning, has no basis. He has no idea why he’s depressed, and I hope readers can understand that depression is an illness like any other.
Do you have a favorite part of your own book (s) ?
My favorite part in When Stars Die is Amelia’s musing on stars and the impact they leave behind when they die. She then wonders if the same happens to witches, who are treated so cruelly by her society. They disappear, and no one remembers them.
In Stolentime, there is a part where Gene is in Stolentime, a fantastical town, and he is walking down a road flooded with rose petals. If people step on these petals, they are arrested because the antagonist is obsessed with beauty. So it’s very reminiscent of painting the roses red in Alice in Wonderland.
Choosing a character or even yourself, can you give us a sample playlist of music that would follow said person?
There is actually a character in When Stars Die’s sequel, When Stars Rise, that I have a playlist for. Her name is Annarelius, and one song that fits so well with her is Nemo by Nighwish. I haven’t thought a whole lot about playlists, but I know Storytime, which is by Nightwish as well, would fit with Stolentime overall.
Have you had trouble writing about any of your characters?
I had trouble writing Amelia’s little brother, Nathaniel. Since he is a major character in the sequel, I had to develop him throughout When Stars Die in order to justify his personality in the sequel. He was difficult though because he’s an eight-year-old, and eight-year-olds are naturally fearful. But I got to the point that, in spite of his fear, I was able to make him a protective younger brother toward Amelia.
What would you like readers to get from your book (s)?
With When Stars Die, I honestly want readers to start questioning everything. Amelia heavily questions religion in this book because religion is the reason witches suffer. So, really, it’s a book about questioning inhumane practices and why a supposedly loving god would want a certain sect of the human race to suffer just because. There is no reason for witches to suffer, other than that they are born from the Seven Deadly Sins.
In your book (s) what had been the hardest challenge you’ve faced so far?
The hardest challenge in When Stars Die was just filling in plot holes and making it structurally solid. As a writer, I struggled with structure, but I had a freelance editor go over half of When Stars Rise, and so I learned tons of things about structure and was able to apply that to the revisions of When Stars Die. I still ran across plot holes, but the edit to When Stars Rise allowed me to come up with things to fill in those plot holes.
How is this world a better place because of your books?
Well, I hope with When Stars Die, people will start questioning what they are told, especially if there is no logical basis behind what they are told. With Stolentime, I hope people have a better understanding of mental illness and just how debilitating mental illness can be.
If you could meet any of your own characters, who would (they / it) be?
I would like to meet Gene because as someone who has been through it, I feel like I could mentor him and be an overall friend to him. Then he might feel better about himself by having someone besides his parents reaffirm his overall value as a person.
If you had to write a scene for a character of your choice that would put them in an awkward situation how would it go?
There is a mild sex scene in When Stars Die, so I probably would put Amelia in another one of those, except make it super awkward because she is inexperienced, and I would probably make her have little knowledge of sex, as it was common in the 19th century for ladies to know little of it, beyond knowing that they just had to lie back and think of England.
What do you to for marketing?
I blog, I tweet, I have a Facebook author page, I have a literary magazine, and a website. I also have a lot of people interesting in reviewing When Stars Die before its release date. I also have lots of fun marketing things planned for When Stars Die when it releases.
Promote your books in a sentence or less 🙂
When Stars Die is about prejudice and hatred and trying to overcome both by questioning the establishments in place that make prejudice and hatred possible.
Stolentime is about a depressed boy who proves that depression can be just as terminal as any other terminal illness out there.
What are you working on now?
Revisions for Stolentime, as When Stars Die is currently undergoing line edits, and a companion piece to When Stars Die titled “Sister Evelyn.”
Amber Forbes’ Links