Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Interview with Amber Leigh Williams: 'Readers enjoy character-driven stories'



Amber Leigh Williams lives on the Gulf Coast. A southern girl at heart, she loves beach days, the smell of real books, relaxing at her family’s lakehouse, and spending time with her husband, Jacob, and their sweet, blue-eyed boy. When she’s not running after her young son and three, large dogs, she can usually be found reading a good romance or cooking up a new dish in her kitchen. She is represented by Joyce Holland of the D4EO Literary Agency.

Her latest book is the contemporary romance, Married One Night.
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About the Book:

What happened in Vegas…followed her home! 

Olivia Lewis is not the marrying type. So when a wild weekend in Vegas leaves her with a surprise husband, she's happy to sign anything to erase her mistake—even if that mistake is handsome, charming and comes with an English accent. Fortunately, her groom has other plans. 

Bestselling author Gerald Leighton knows he can make his new bride fall in love with him—he just needs time. In exchange for a quickie divorce, Olivia grudgingly gives him a few weeks to attempt to woo her. And whether Olivia likes it or not, Gerald plans on using every second to win her heart!

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Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

Married One Night is the second book in a series of contemporary romance novels that take place in my hometown, Fairhope, on the Gulf Coast of Alabama. The heroine, Olivia Lewis, was a secondary character in the first book in the series, A Place With Briar, which launched in April of this year. Olivia jumped off the page in the first book and my editor took note. She asked if I had considered writing Olivia’s story. I had indeed, but this extra encouragement was all I needed to do just that!

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

Married One Night was really fun to write because the first book, A Place With Briar, goes a long way toward setting up the characters and the place they call home. With this one, I felt a bit more relaxed and in charge. I think for that reason the characters spoke to me more clearly. I’m fairly certain that’s why this book went through fewer revisions and changes than the first one did before it was published. For other writers, I would say simply to listen to the characters. Listen to what they have to say – what are their goals, their motivations, their core values and what’s stopping them from attaining them because that’s where the conflict of the story comes in. That’s where you’ll find the story. Readers enjoy character-driven stories, no matter what genre you write in.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I’ve wanted to be published by Harlequin since I read my first Harlequin romance when I was fourteen years old. I began writing romance full-time almost a decade ago. I’ve gained experiences in publishing from other companies, but I was thrilled when my agent told me that Harlequin was interested in A Place With Briar. It’s a dream come true to tell people that I’m a Harlequin romance author. I’ve waited a long time to say that!

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

A Place With Briar went through so many changes before it was ready for Harlequin’s marketplace. The biggest lesson I’ve learned through the years is how to revise. I’ve had quite a bit of practice. Several years ago, I published a historical romance with another publisher and to say it went through major revision is an understatement – I had to narrow it down from 140,000 to 80,000 before it was ready for publication.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I recently finished the third book in my series for Harlequin. It will be published in next year. Around the holidays, I plan to start the fourth book to tie up the series and its characters.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

I’m a big fan of twitter. Readers can find me @ALeighWilliams. I recently joined the Harlequin Superromance blog, SuperAuthors.com where I blog once a month along with my fellow Superromance authors. I’ve also joined Pinterest and have created inspiration boards for Married One Night and A Place With Briar.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

The biggest recurring theme in these books has been finding home and what that means to different people. Some a stories of homecoming. Others are stories of finding a place to build a new life and finding the courage to do so. This is in large part because Fairhope is my hometown and I know what it means to me and so many others who have found it and are proud to have called it home at some point or another. It’s a meaningful place and it’s inspired these stories in a big way. I hope it resonates with readers.
  
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

Thank you for having me! I’ll leave you with some words that might look familiar to my fellow mighty McClures or MacLeods out there – happy reading and “Hold fast!”