Thursday, July 31, 2014

Before You Blog Tour - Interview With Amber Hart


About BEFORE YOU 
Some say love is deadly. Some say love is beautiful. I say it is both.

Faith Watters spent her junior year traveling the world, studying in exquisite places, before returning to Oviedo High School. From the outside her life is picture-perfect. Captain of the dance team. Popular. Happy. Too bad it’s all a lie.

It will haunt me. It will claim me. It will shatter me. And I don't care.

Eighteen-year-old Diego Alvarez hates his new life in the States, but staying in Cuba is not an option. Covered in tattoos and scars, Diego doesn't stand a chance of fitting in. Nor does he want to. His only concern is staying hidden from his past—a past, which if it were to surface, would cost him everything. Including his life.

At Oviedo High School, it seems that Faith Watters and Diego Alvarez do not belong together. But fate is as tricky as it is lovely. Freedom with no restraint is what they long for. What they get is something different entirely.

Love—it will ruin you and save you, both.

Links for BEFORE YOU 

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Author Interview!

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 on 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!

     1
Melissa

The beach is a moving canvas of people.
Cabanas and waves and bathing suits and sand castles all blend together to create a serene picture of life on the coast. The sky is on fire with blues and yellows and oranges. Tiny puffs of clouds like wisps of cream. Sunscreen lotion saturates the air, smelling like SPF and sweat. I squint through the blaring sun and walk toward a crowd of girls lying on their bellies with the strings to their tops undone. Bare backs naked of tan lines.
“Frozen margarita, extra salt,” I say, giving the drink to a girl with blond hair a shade darker than mine.
I balance the tray on one palm. Hand off drinks with another. Like a machine dispensing snacks.
“Piña colada.” Next girl. “Sex on the beach.” Next. “Vodka and tonic.” Last. “Rum and coke.
I smile. Compliment one of the girls on her leg tattoo. Girls love compliments. Eat them up like sugar. Delicious sugar that serves to fatten my wallet.
I don’t know these girls. I don’t know most of the people splayed out on the beach like a deck of cards. Ordering alcohol like water, trying any reprieve to cool themselves down from rays that bake them to burnt crisps.
It’s too hot to be alive today. The air is breathing fire all over me. The sun is pressing so hard into my skin that it’s turning red. If I close my eyes, I can imagine my skin melting off like wax. I’m dripping sweat. Body glistening as though I’ve jumped in the water. I haven’t.
“Thanks,” the girl with the leg tattoo says.
One of the girls ties her top and flips over, insistent on showing me her hip tattoos. Two pink bows wrapping up the package of a perfect body.
I remember what it was like to have a perfect body.
“Love it,” I say. And I do.
I can never get a tattoo there.
I don’t wear bikinis anymore. My swimwear is a collection of one-pieces. Covering certain fragments of me that I’m not willing to show. Holding me together. Though admittedly still racy, especially the one I’ve got on today, which hugs me like a glove, fitting my every muscle and curve. It’s white with wavy ruffles like sea foam over the material around my breasts, plumping them up. A simple tie in the back to support the front. A runway of fabric lining my stomach. Nothing but tiny pieces coming together, exposing skin.
My tray is still stacked full of drinks for another group of people. They look like towers. Like a whole miniature city of skyscrapers and small circular buildings crammed together. Drowning in liquid.
I wait for cash.
A quick glance tells me that the five girls have tipped me something close to fifteen bucks. Not bad.
“Enjoy the heat,” I tell them by way of goodbye.
On to the next customer.
All around me, sun tints skin a soft brown, sometimes red. Corners of beach towels flutter in the slight breeze like stingray wings. It hurts to look at the ocean, glittery and reflecting light, a million liquid jewels on display.
I’ve already checked IDs for the five guys waiting for drinks. They’re tall and muscular—with the sort of deliciously ripped bodies that belong in a place like this—each ordering Corona bottlenecks. I hand out beers and accept their cash. Flirt a little. Makes for better tips.
“What are you guys doing out here today?” I ask. Grin.
Nada, mami,” one says in a Latino accent, taking a seat on a lounge chair. The others follow suit. “Just enjoying this weather. Wanna enjoy it with me?”
He pats his lap. Like I’d actually sit on it.
“Can’t,” I say. Wink at him. “Have to work.”
The guy leans forward. Checks me out. I check him out right back. Shaved head, nice lips.
The others check me out too. Except for the one that walks up behind me, joining the group. He sits with his body angled toward the water, dark sunglasses on, hair falling in his face. 
“I’ll have one, too,” he says, still not looking my way.
What is so interesting that you can’t look a person in the eye?
I check the water. Nothing out of the ordinary.
"ID, please,” I say. Nothing personal—can’t serve underage. Even though I’m eighteen and understand. It isn’t worth losing a prime job at the busiest hotel on the beach. A job that pays really well, with customers that tip even better.
He hands it to me, still not looking up. I glance at it. I don’t need to see his full face to know that it’s not him. Looks more like the guy sitting next to him than the guy handing it to me.
“Gonna have to do better than that,” I say.
I need the money that this job provides. With three sisters away at college and Mom working double nursing shifts to support them, I need whatever I can get. Everything we have is already stretched thin. A bubble about to pop.
His rough sigh says he’s not happy with my response. He turns to me. I can see his full face now.
Tick, tick, tock.
Boom.
Time breaks into a million shards. Tiny slivers of moments. Trapping me. My breath catches. Nerves are a fishhook reeling in any response I could’ve had.
He sees me then. Moves his sunglasses to the top of his head to get a better look. He’s watching, watching, watching…me. Eyes narrow. Unbelieving.
I can’t find enough seconds to understand what’s happening here. I heard he moved away. I’m searching desperately for a breath of fresh air but I can’t find one.
Wavy brown hair that’s almost black. Thick lips that I’ve kissed once before.
I’m staring at tattoos that wrap around his shoulders, hugging him. A hundred different images, all black and white. Photographic. I’m looking at a sun over his left collarbone, the only bit of light shining into the chest piece. Clouds ripple under his neck like waves. His shirt is off and I’m staring too hard, I realize, because his friends start laughing.
It’s a memorial. The piece is to remember someone he lost.
“Melissa?”
There’s a timbre in his voice that makes my insides gooey. I’m melting ice cream on this hideously hot day. He says my name like it’s painful for him, looking at me with those incredulous eyes. Willing me to say something, anything, but I can’t. I can’t.
I run away instead. My feet propel me forward, fast, churning sand beneath my heels. I don’t care when a shell cuts the underside of my foot. Or when tiny grains of sea bottom become a natural Band-Aid.
I need to breathe.
I hate that he is here right now.
I love that I’ve been given another chance to see his face.
“Wait,” he calls from behind me.
I won’t stop.
Fast, fast, faster.
He won’t stop.
Just go, just go, just go.
I’m not quick enough.
“Wait,” he says again, grabbing my arm lightly.
Five fingers that burn memories into my skin.
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.) 


Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and answering some questions! And congrats on your debut release! :)

Thanks for having me!! And I always love to hear from readers. You can reach me here:


Meet you there?

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Author Bio
Amber Hart grew up in Orlando, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia. She now resides on the Florida coastline with family. When unable to find a book, she can be found writing, daydreaming, or with her toes in the sand. She's the author of BEFORE YOU, AFTER US, UNTIL YOU FIND ME, and sequel to UNTIL YOU FIND ME (untitled as of yet). Represented by Beth Miller of Writers House. 

Connect with Amber Hart

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4 comments:

  1. I was a little unsure about whether or not I wanted to read this, but this interview convinced me! It is always great to get more insight on authors and how they view their books. Great interview!

    Amber @ The Book Cookies

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay, I'm so glad you changed your mind! I think you will like it a lot! :)

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  2. Thanks for the fun interview :) -xo

    ReplyDelete

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