Friday, February 14, 2014

Interview and Giveaway with Amber Belldene

Roxanne, thanks for having me on your blog today to talk about my new release, the final installation in the Blood Vine series: Blood Reunited!

Thanks for being here today, Amber, let's start witht he basics- what inspired you to become an author?

I’ve always loved to read and I because of that enjoyed writing. I had to put a lot of words on paper for graduate school, but before trying my hand at romance a few years ago, my last attempt at fiction was some pretty lame short stories when I was in college.  Back then, I had some interesting ideas, but not a good sense of what made compelling characters.  Then I went on a romance binge when I was pregnant and it all came together for me.  I began to wonder “could I be a romance author too?”

Shortly after that, I got started and my mom reminded me that I had declared at the age of eight that I was going to be a novelist and use my grandmother Belle Dean’s name as my pen name.  That’s where my nom de plume Amber Belldene comes from. 

Do you write in different genres?

I do, which I know isn’t very strategic, from the author brand perspective.  But I happen to be a very omnivorous reader—I read mysteries and SciFi and litfic.  In romance, I like paranormal and historical, and recently, I’ve come to love contemporary (although it has to have a really great conflict—no melodrama!).  I’ve tried my hand at pretty much all genres of romance, except inspirational, which might be a little ironic since I’m an Episcopal priest in my day job.  I have written some stories about religious issues or themes, but they always include a lot of sex, which disqualifies them from the inspirational category!

If yes which is your favorite genre to write?

Honestly, I don’t have a favorite.  I think the whole idea of a genre is to exercise creativity within bounds.  So, while paranormal is my first love, because of how wide open the possibilities are, I also like writing contemporary or historical and enjoy challenging myself with the parameters of those particular genres.  Sometimes its fun to focus on characters without building an elaborate world or to delve into historical research and learn a lot about say a printing press, which I did for an M/M erotic short story in an Omnific anthology releasing this summer.  What’s interesting is the way my voice transfers between genres.  I’m surprised, but I’ve been told I always sound like me, in historical, paranormal, and contemporary, and that has to be a good thing for readers like me, who are open to reading in all genres!

Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?

I find coming up with titles really difficult.  I was driving in the car when I dreamed up the title of the first book, Blood Vine, which is also the name of the series.  It was one of those awesome moments of luck or inspiration that we can’t count on to ever happen again.  Blood Vine so perfectly captured the world and the story that all my critique partners squealed.  After that, I really wanted to brand the series by keeping the word blood consistent, and so I tried to pick out the themes of the books.  What’s been fun is the way the fantabulous art department at Omnific Publishing has taken the titles and designed just stunningly perfect covers for each of the books.  I especially like the crown of vines on Uta, my warrior queen, and how that circle echoes the theme of reunion in this book.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I never start writing with a message or even a theme in my mind.  I start with two characters in a particular kind of conflict.  But for me, the conflict inevitably determines the theme.  This book is a fated mates/enemies to lovers story.  It’s also about the attempted reconciliation of ancient enemies—vampires and the Hunters trying to eliminate them.  The romance arc parallels the series arc, so this book is about the very hard work of making peace with the past in order to have a future.

What books/authors have influenced your life?

I have to go with the classic romance novel Forever Amber.  Not only is it the first romance I ever read (at rather a young age), but I was named after the heroine in that novel. It’s been a while, though, so maybe I should go back and re-read!

What book are you reading now?

I’m reading Alexis Hall’s awesome lesbian paranormal noir Iron and Velvet. The main character’s words drip with his snarky voice and it’s hilarious and hot!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Somedays I wouldn’t presume to give any advice.  Frankly, we’re all in this journey together.  But today, I’ve been thinking about my career and so I do happen to have a little advice up my sleeve.  The first thing is to figure out why you like writing, and to define achieving that as a success.  For me, just putting my stories down on paper and sharing them with my critique partners is enough to keep me at it. 

If you enjoy the creativity, the process, the friendships with other writers, mark those things off as accomplishments.  Then work hard and be patient. Your goals will evolve and so will your career.  Remembering what you have already achieved will help you stick with it.

Blood Reunited   
Blood Vine Series
Book Three
Amber Belldene

Genre: paranormal romance

Publisher: Omnific Publishing

Date of Publication: January 28, 2014


Book Description:

Book Three in the Blood Vine Series.

Brooding vampire halfling and biologist Bel Maras is determined to create a cure for the wasting disease that plagues his vampire family. His work becomes essential as the Hunters intensify their global and bloody campaign. When Bel's cure fails, only his ancient and estranged godmother Uta Ilirije can help. But seeing the ice-cold Uta reveals something shocking--she is his bonded mate.

She may be a dangerous warrior, but Uta feels her failures acutely. She has been unable to protect her kind from Hunters, and vampires are dying out. Worse, she tied Bel to her long ago in an accident of blood, then abandoned him for his own good--a choice he has never forgiven. Many days, she is convinced Bel and the vampires would be better off if she just walked into the sun.

Biology has fated them to be mates. Now these old enemies must overcome their past to save the vampires and come to peace with the bond they never chose.

Blood Entangled
Blood Vine Series
Book Two
Amber Belldene

Genre: paranormal romance

Publisher: Omnific Publishing

ISBN: 9781623420437

Number of pages: 318

Book Description:

KOS MARAS’s orderly life is in shambles—he must distribute Blood Vine to a population of ailing vampires, but Hunters block him at every turn. To make matters worse, each night he watches over a temptingly beautiful woman sleeping in his bed. He is convinced love cannot last a vampire-long lifetime and an entanglement will only cause them grief, but he doesn’t have the heart to send her away.

From a long line of blood servants, LENA ISAAKSON is destined to serve a vampire, but a string of humiliating rejections thwarts her pleasure. When Kos shows her kindness, she hopes he will claim her. Instead he proves himself a coward in the face of love and sends her to serve another.

Will the dark seduction of a rakish new vampire finally bring Lena the pleasure she desires or deliver her into the hands of Hunters who want to destroy everything the Maras family has worked for?

Blood Vine
Blood Vine Series
Book One
Amber Belldene

Genre: paranormal romance

Publisher: Omnific Publishing

Date of Publication: January 6, 2013


Number of pages: 206

Book Description:

In Blood Vine, bites are an inconvenient bliss, exiled vampires are wasting away, and the fate of their kind depends on the perfect PR campaign.

When public relations pro Zoey Porter arrives at an enchanting California winery, she discovers her sexy new client is the almost one-night stand she can't forget. After her husband's suicide, Zoey has vowed never to risk her heart again. But can she walk away from the intriguing winemaker a second time?

Driven from Croatia by his ancient foes, vampire Andre Maras has finally made a blood-like wine to cure his fellow refugees. Now he needs Zoey's PR expertise to reach them. After his wife's death, Andre has a vow of his own—never to risk another painful blood bond. And one taste of the tempting Zoey would bind him to her eternally.

His secrets stall her PR plans. Her jealousy is stoked by the blissed-out beauties leaving his bedroom. At every turn, he utterly fails to resist her. When she discovers he is a vampire, will she be lost to the golden-eyed Hunters, or lose herself to the emptiness in her heart, before she can help him save his kind?

Book Trailer:

 About the Author:

Amber Belldene grew up on the Florida panhandle, swimming with alligators, climbing oak trees and diving for scallops…when she could pull herself away from a book.  As a child, she hid her Nancy Drew novels inside the church bulletin and read mysteries during sermons—an irony that is not lost on her when she preaches these days.

Amber is an Episcopal Priest and student of religion.  She believes stories are the best way to explore human truths.  Some people think it is strange for a minister to write romance, but it is perfectly natural to her, because the human desire for love is at the heart of every romance novel and God made people with that desire. She lives with her husband and two children in San Francisco.

twitter: @amberbelldene

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Amber Belldene said...

Roxanne, thanks for having me on your blog today! Fun questions!