Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Interview with Amber Leigh Williams, author of 'His Rebel Heart'



Amber Leigh Williams lives on the Gulf Coast. A southern girl at heart, she lives for beach days, the smell of real books, relaxing at her family’s lakehouse, and spending time with her husband and two children. When she’s not keeping up with rambunctious little ones and two large dogs she can usually be found reading a good romance or cooking up a new dish in her kitchen. She is represented by D4EO Literary Agency.

Her latest book is the contemporary romance, His Rebel Heart.

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About the Book:

Title: His Rebel Heart
Author: Amber Leigh Williams
Publisher: Harlequin (Superromance)
Pages: 380
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Being a single mother and successful florist is tough, especially when your new next-door neighbor is the man who shattered your heart. Eight years ago, bad boy James Bracken walked away from Adrian Carlton…and their unborn child. Now he's back. And Adrian's desire to protect her son from the truth of his biological father isn't enough to hide the wild blue eyes of father and son, or to keep Adrian from surrendering to the raw passion between her and James. But is he truly the changed man he claims to be? Maybe this time his rebel heart really is home to stay.

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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?

The idea for His Rebel Heart came about while writing the first two books in my hometown series, A Place With Briar and Married One Night, which both featured Adrian as a secondary character. Neither of the first two books were about her, but I found myself rooting for her in every scene. After the first two books were published, I had quite a few readers ask when they were going to get to read Adrian’s story – so here it is!

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?

The hardest part of His Rebel Heart was the emotional toll it took. When I write, I always have to feel what I’m doing. Otherwise, I don’t think it will ring true for readers when they get the book in their hands. With this story, the emotions were so hard-hitting. I think that’s because Adrian has a son and I wrote the book not long after my own son was born. The hero, James, also has a complex relationship with his mother who he hasn’t seen in eight years and some of their scenes together were pretty heartbreaking. My advice for other writers is that when it comes to writing, you can never feel things too deeply. Write what you feel. Put it all on the page because I truly believe that’s what makes a memorable story.

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

His Rebel Heart is my third book with Harlequin Superromance. I wrote the first book in the series, A Place With Briar, for the Superromance line before it was contracted. My agent sent it to their senior editor. I was asked to revise. I did, and thankfully they liked it. My editor liked the fact, too, that the story had real series potential. I had always wanted to turn A Place With Briar into a series. Working with Harlequin and the Superromance line in particular has been a wonderful experience. I hope to continue doing so.

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

My first book with Harlequin wasn’t my first book published. I worked with a few small press publishers before that and still do. My first book, published in 2008, was kind of a nightmare. I didn’t research the company enough before querying them and when they accepted my work, I was so thrilled that I finally got a “yes” that I made the mistake of signing without really knowing who I was signing with. The company mistreated many authors, not just me, and is thankfully no longer in business. But the experience taught me more “what not to do’s” than anything. The most surprising thing it taught me was professionalism. It’s so important to be professional, as a writer as well as a publisher. It doesn’t matter if you’ve sold one book or fifty. If you’re unprofessional, it’ll catch up with you pretty quickly.

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

I’m currently working on the fourth book in my series with Superromance. Those familiar with the books might be happy to hear that it is Roxie’s story. In the third book, she was the secondary character I left in a bad place. Allowing her to stretch her wings as a heroine and delving into her character has been lovely so far. And, without giving too much away, her hero (also a returning secondary character long overdue for a story) and the dynamic between him and Roxie is buckets of fun to write! No word yet on when it will be published. Right now I’m just trying to focus on getting the story on paper and refining it. Readers can always find the latest updates at my website: http://www.amberleighwilliams.com!

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

I love connecting with readers on Facebook. I’ve started doing new features every week there. On Monday, I post a motivational message because we all need that little extra boost at the beginning of the week. On Tuesday, I satisfy my inner foodie by posting a favorite recipe. On Wednesday, I post a short snippet from my backlist. Thursdays, I recommend a “Throwback Thursday Book Club” title, anything published five years ago or more because I love reading old books as well as new ones. And on Fridays, I celebrate the end of the week with a “Friday Funny.” Readers are welcome to join in at http://www.facebook.com/amberleighwilliams!

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

Don’t stop talking to your mother. I’m kidding. Not really. I can’t go forty-eight hours without talking to my mother. A lot of this book has to do with the power of forgiveness and redemption. It’s the people we see as the strongest who are often the most vulnerable, too. And, as always, love is the greatest healing force there is. It might be cliché to even suggest as much, but His Rebel Heart is about love and family and how deeply vital both of those things are. If readers take away nothing else but that from the book then I’m satisfied because that is one of the main truths of my work.
  
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

The writer’s life isn’t always easy, but I love what I do as much I love the people who read – not just my books, all books. So thank you for letting me share!