*hands you interview and coffee*
Q&A with Amber Hart
In the length of a tweet (140 characters), tell us about your book.
BEFORE YOU is an edgy contemp YA romance set in Central Florida, about the forbidden love between a “good girl” with a secret past, and a Cuban boy on the run from his own demons.
What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
I love a book that will take me out of my comfort zone, or help me understand the world around me even better. As a kid, I adored Goosebumps books. As a teen, I fell in love with–and it is still my favorite to this day–the Fearless series by Francine Pascal. It’s raw, gritty, and wonderful.
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
The best advise is this, 2 words, no limits:
No matter the distractions, complications, obstacles, hopes, failures, rejections, praises, ups and downs. It all comes back to this.
If you were stranded on a desert island what are 3 things you’d want to have with you?
My family, books, chocolate.
What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year?
I’m loving the Lunar Chronicles, a retelling series (book 1, Cinder–Cinderella retelling; book 2, Scarlet–Little Red Riding Hood retelling; book 3, Cress–Rapunzel retelling), so I’m really looking forward to the 4th book, Winter (Snow White retelling)!
What is your guilty pleasure?
I tend to indulge in books, chocolate, and southern food. I also tend to not be sorry about it
What do you listen to while you write? Or do you prefer silence?
I love music, but I cannot listen to it while I write. I prefer quiet so that I can hear my characters. But I sometimes listen to Rainy Mood, this website that makes it sound like I’m in the redwood forest, rain coming down. It’s serene. I often lean on nature for writing inspiration.
What drew you to writing this genre?
I’m drawn to gritty contemp YA because I know what it’s like to have a tough childhood/teen years. I know what it’s like to have a broken family, to go hungry and wonder if you will eat that day, wonder if the violence around you will take what little life you have left. I write this genre to let others know that they are not alone and that hope is real.
When it comes to writing, are you a planner or pantser?
Total and complete pantser. Though I absolutely see the good in chapter by chapter outlines and detailing all characters/plots/pacing/etc., it’s just not for me. Usually, I see where my characters start, where they end, and some parts along the way, but the details come as I write. So trying to nail them down in the beginning before I actually write would be pointless for me as the story would most likely change by the time I reach the end. Plus, I like to let my characters surprise me.
What book do you love that doesn’t get a lot of hype?
I love, love, love the book Candor by Pam Bachorz. Here’s the summary:
The town of Candor, Florida, is perfect. Teens respect elders, do their chores, and enjoy homework. But being a Candor resident comes with a steep price tag–succumbing to the subliminal messages that control every action. Oscar Banks, son of the town’s founder, is the perfect Candor teen: class president and top student. But it’s all a cover. He knows Candor’s secret, and how to get select kids out–for a price. But when Nia moves to town, Oscar is smitten by her–and her ability to see through his disguise. He can’t stand to see her changed by the Messages. Now he must decide: help Nia escape from Candor and risk losing her forever, or keep her close and risk exposure.
Candor completely shell-shocked me. I still think about that ending to this day and I read it years ago. It’s one of those books that will stay with me forever.
Where is your favorite place to write?
My favorite place to write is the Smoky Mountains (a place I will soon call home). The puffs of clouds, the animals, the endless acres of free land. This is what inspires me, what allows my mind to break from the stresses of everyday life long enough to breathe and write, write, write.
(Thanks, Jen, for having me on your beautiful blog!!)