Name Amber Naralim
Where are you from
Michigan mostly. I’ve spent a few years in Florida, a summer in California, bounced around from Grand Rapids to Muskegon, and Caledonia.
A little about yourself `ie your education Family life etc
I have three beautiful munchkins who keep me more than just a little busy and a great husband who protects me from the world. Or you know, vice versa.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I am a few months away from releasing my third book, Playing with Fire on November 23rd. This is the third Book in my Monsters series, which includes Walking with Monsters, and Into the Black.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started as a painter. My brushes were my first love and I still throw colors at the canvas whenever I get the chance. A car accident caused nerve damage in my neck, arm, and lower back. It left me with shaking hands and an inability to draw a straight line. Devastated and in dire need of a creative outlet, I turned to writing. It helped me heal. It gave me a new outlook on life.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ll be honest I still have days when I question it. My books are a record of me getting to play with my imaginary friends. I suppose I actually admitted to myself that I was a writer when my mother in law bought a copy and read my book.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
The song Demolition Lovers by My Chemical Romance. I had the characters rattling around in my head. Vincent would whisper to me every now and then, but the plot really came together after I listened to that song. It set the tone for the whole series.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I like to call it action romance. My style is very visual and fast paced. This series in particular deals with a lot of in your face car chases, and gun fights but at its core the story is about the love and strength these characters give one another. It’s about acceptance and looking for the light in a whole lot of darkness. Just because you’re a monster doesn’t necessarily make you a bad person.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
A line halfway through the book, “Ellie walked with monsters now. And for the first time she felt like she belonged.” I typed it and I just knew that was what it was all about.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Being a hero costs you something. Walking through hell changes you, and not always for the better. Whatever started you on your journey the people you meet, the things you do. The choices you make shape you. And just sometimes bad choices are all you get.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Beyond me watching a lot of action movies growing up, nothing. If I were truly honest I would say that Vincent has the most of me. He’s a painter. He can see beauty in everything but himself. But that’s pretty much where the similarities fall away.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I love anything by Laurell K Hamilton. I have always had a thing for monsters and outcasts but she really drove home the idea that they didn’t have to be the broody vampire trying to atone for existing. Sometimes people make wrong choices for the right reasons and sometimes they make them for their own reasons. Dean Koontz made me love atmosphere, and building tension. And Kurt Sutter! His stuff is television but good lord can that man write a character. Layered and nuanced, he taught me that heroes don’t need to be good guys.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
The Indi community is beautiful. I was lucky enough to discover Twitter when I was first looking into publishing. There were so many authors at that same level. We bounced ideas off one another, supported one another. I never expected to be embraced the way I have been. We all help one another by handing out little tips and tricks that work for each of us. That has allowed me to meet some great authors. Courtney Shockey writes beautifully tragic tales that grip you and make you feel something. Kim Blalock writes some wicked hot romance. I’ll be honest straight romance was never really enough for me until I began reading her stuff. Check her out, you won’t be disappointed. And finally James Reed, he weaves the mystical and fairy tale seamlessly with modern day thrillers that keep you on your toes.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My Chuckles, he was the one person who said “You got this” from day one. He read and re-read every draft. He believed. That’s one thing we all take for granted. When someone believes in you, it lets you believe in yourself. Chuck Anderson is the reason Walking with Monsters ever saw the light of day.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes! Even if no one read them I would still tap out a beautiful ribbon of words every day. It’s my passion. It’s my need. It’s the only thing I have ever really wanted.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. The story I told is the story that needed to be told. I have alternate chapters and deleted scenes as I explored, but once I typed The End, there was no going back.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve always told stories, some better than others. Any game I played as a child I made up the world, the characters. That turned to scribbling in journals as a teenager. And finally into the beautiful ribbon of words I’ve shared with the world. But the day it started to feel real was the day Chuckles looked at me and said, “I’d like to see what Amber can do.” I’ve taken that challenge and ran with it.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I have magic on the brain of late. I am working on two pieces currently, the seventh in the Monsters series deals With Ellie and Vincent playing with a group of powerful witches. And Blackbird’s curse is a paranormal romance, about a witch trying to put down a beast she called up out of desperation.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Everything seems impossible until it’s done. Each book presents you with challenges you have to hack through with a machete. I have days when pretty words flow like water and then days where I am beating my head against my keyboard mumbling, “wat ur werds?” Generally my biggest challenge when it comes to writing is grammar. I hate grammar, and I have yet to meet a writer that doesn’t struggle with it from time to time. It’s a constant struggle of form versus freedom.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not yet. I am simultaneously dreading and looking forward to book signings and author events. Writers are a skittish bunch by nature. We hide in our caves lit only by the flickering of our monitors. I have gotten to meet a lot of great people through my website, Facebook, and Twitter. But I have yet to face them in person.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I did. Originally I painted them. I later changed them to fit in with a lot of other covers. I did however put the originals in the gallery on my website if anyone is curious.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Writing is the easy part for me. What gets difficult is the publishing process. Writers have to wear many hats during this time. Cover design, editing, and I shudder as I say marketing. Nowadays even traditionally published authors are tasked with marketing their own books. It is the thickest wall I have come across so far.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learn rather a lot about myself as I write. It lets me see and appreciate my thought process. I also learned a bit about guns for this series.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
Ellie would be played by Chloe Grace Moretz. She has the innocent look and the bad ass to pull her off. Vincent would be played by Ian Somerhalder. He has the gravity to give my Vincent his due. Let’s face it, he’s not hard to look at either. And Reese would be played by Christian Kane. My Reese has a good ol’ boy charm that only mister Kane could convey in my opinion. I have put many hours of thought into this.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don’t let rules and conventions shape your story. It’s your world you can do anything you want.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Strap in. You’re in for a wild ride.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Jingo by Terry Pratchett I love this book.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Yes, I do. Bunnicula, the celery stalks at midnight, by James Howe. It’s a great series about a vampire bunny rabbit. I recommend this book to anyone kid or adult. All three of my kids have been put upon this path. Your kids will thank you.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Helena, by My Chemical Romance makes me sob like a little girl with a skinned knee. My mother passed away two years ago and this song really reminds me of her.
John Oliver makes me giggle. I enjoy anything that makes you think. I like the way he fights the injustice of the world in little ways. It just tickles my toes.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
I suppose Gerard Way, the lead singer of My Chemical Romance. He has inspired so much for me. I’d like to get the chance to thank him. I enjoy the way he thinks. Though, I think Kevin Smith would be interesting to have a conversation with as well.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Good mom. She was occasionally witty. What can I say, I am easy to please.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Painting. I enjoy quilting, and making Halloween costumes. I also run a D&D game every other Saturday. And I am a huge Dragonage fan.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Penny Dreadful had great writing and stunning visuals. I love Psych, and Leverage. Sons of Anarchy was a great show. As for shows still on the air my inner fourteen-year-old digs the Vampire Diaries. Archer has hooked me. Pam rocks.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I love Apples, the smell, the taste, the touch of them. My favorite color is green. And oh do I love music. I don’t really believe in genre. I don’t care for the politics of a singer. Whether people love or hate it. If a song tickles me, it gets added to one of my many playlists. However, if I had to play favorites, My Chemical Romance, Billie Holliday, Otis Redding, Noah Gundersen, Stevie Knicks, Slipknot, Nina Simone, Placebo to name a few. I could seriously go all day here.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Being a writer is all I’ve ever really wanted to be. Though, I toyed with teacher for a while.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I certainly do. You can find me at http://naralim3.wix.com/ambernaralim
Into the black