Hi Amber! Welcome to Part of that World!
Hi!! *waves* Thanks for having me on the blog!
Where did the idea for this story come from?
I grew up in very diverse cities (central FL and Atlanta, GA), where I saw many cultures. It made me think: what would happen if two worlds combined? Different backgrounds, different customs, different languages. The seed of an idea for BEFORE YOU was born of this thought.
Can you describe Before You in a tweet?
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.
Was it hard for you to write in dual POVs and still make the characters’ voices distinctive enough for readers to tell them apart?
Truthfully, I was a little concerned about writing from a male perspective. Would it come off as sounding authentic? Would I capture a male voice? Thankfully, I grew up with my Dad and brother, so I was pretty much always surrounded by guys, and that helped me channel a natural sound. Faith's perspective felt very organic to me, so that wasn't as worrisome.
Who was easier to write—Faith or Diego?
Faith, I think. Though Diego was maybe more fun :) Mostly because I'm a girl and writing from a guy's perspective was different. To get into that mindset was interesting.
Were any of your characters based off real people or anything in your plot based on real-life situations?
I have a real life Diego--accent, spanish language, passionate--definitely inspirational.
And parts of the plot were real, yes. I lost my mother to her drug addiction one year ago. The pain of that is still very real.
I’ve noticed that your other series also has a couple that will test the boundaries of social norms. Is it important for you that we have diverse books with multiracial couples, and ones that defy society’s strict standards? (I hope this question isn’t offending!)
This isn't offending at all! I'm glad you asked because I would like to see diversity mentioned more. And not just mentioned, actually, but written about and read in books. I think society's strict standards are not as strict depending on geographical locations and how people were raised. I absolutely think there is a need for more diverse characters so others can see themselves in books. So that the world can see more beyond their fingertips. It's a cause close to my heart.
What is your writing process like?
I don't have a norm, but a good day would be caffeine and about 3,000 words. I start with an idea. Sometimes I text myself little sentences if they come to me while I'm out and about. Then I form a storyline in my mind. If it feels compelling enough, if the characters scream at me, if the story demands to be told, I will start to write. I take it chapter by chapter. Outlines are not my friend.
Can we get a little teaser from After Us?
Sure! *hands you teaser and chocolate and coffee* Enjoy!
I turn to the sound of his voice.
“Javier,” I say, choking on his name. Choking on the memories.
Me and Faith, my best friend. At this same beach. Months ago.
Javier and his cousin, Diego, in the water. Faith needed to get Diego’s attention. Faith needed Diego in so many ways. I needed to know what Javier’s mouth tasted like. I told myself that it’d be fun.
Love was Faith’s style. Fun was mine.
I try to shut out the memory, doors closing on my past. Can’t.
Javier’s lips were every bit as amazing as I’d thought. Plump and gentle and rough and perfect.
We never did more than that. Never talked about the fun day at the beach. Never pursued what we left behind.
I never told him that I’ve wanted him ever since.
(Copyright 2014 Amber Hart. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any mean without the prior written consent by the publisher, excepting brief quotes used in reviews.)