Saturday, November 2, 2013

Author Spotlight: Amber Skye Forbes

1.      When did you first begin to write?
I first began to write at eight, when I was in second grade just journaling. I had this voracious need to start writing stories, and I can't even tell you why. I guess it was just in my blood. I have a relative who is published, so perhaps I got it from him. My brother also used to write stories, but his passions began to move elsewhere.

But I didn't start seriously writing until I turned fourteen, which is when I seriously began considering publication and researching how to go about doing it, like finding agents, publishers, writing query letters, and all that jazz. Of course, my first book was a wreck, which is the sequel to When Stars Die, The Stars Are Infinite. Obviously, TSAI is much better than it was, as I've matured as both a person and writer.

2.      Why do you write?
I write because I have to. I love it, but I really just have to write. It's in my blood, it's probably the only art I'm truly good at (well, I am getting better at ballet), and life would feel pretty dull if I didn't write. I think all people should take up some artful endeavor because, let's be honest, the world as it is, all full of consumerism and crap, takes the life out of just about everything, but art adds life back into this world, which is why I think it's so important that the arts are funded. For example, schools don't need to cut art programs. They need to cut spending for sports teams. But that's just my opinion.

3.      What was the inspiration behind your book?
I get asked this a lot, so I'll just sum it up and say there was no one inspiration behind this book. I will, however, talk about why my book is unique compared to other paranormal romance books with witches, vampires, whatever.

First off, the romance is not your typical romance. You'll have to read the book to find out why. At first, it seems the romance is, but as you near the end, it isn't what you expect at all. Many readers, in fact, were surprised by the ending, so I hope it surprises you too--in a good way.

Second, my witches are not your typical witches with spells and potions and familiars and all that. No. My witches are a blight upon the world--or so the religious text, The Vulgate, says they are. Fire does not exist as magic for them. It exists as a mark that they are witches, and once a witch's fire is discovered, the only outcome is death. But fire is special, don't get me wrong, and you'll have to read When Stars Die to figure out why. Fire is also very, very special in the third book, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Third, this paranormal romance is much darker than many paranormal romances others have read. In fact, I'd argue it's probably the darkest PR book you may ever read.

4.      Where do you write?
I write primarily in my bed with my electric blanket, but I'll also write in geography class because if I had to pay attention to that lecture, I would stab my eyeballs out. Seriously, the class is that boring, so I have no other choice but to write. In short, geography is a GREAT incentive to write, or to do anything else but pay attention to that class.

5.      Who is your writing inspiration?
I would say John Green and Libba Bray.

6.      What inspires you while you’re writing?
My own imagination inspires me--and, of course, external life circumstances. Books can inspire me too, as well as video games. I was in a psyche ward twice, so, trust me, that is going to inspire A LOT of YA contemporary books to come, as well as a Victorian drama I'd like to write, a story about a boy who gets raped by a girl (because this is inconceivable in our society), among a plethora of other things.

7.      Where do you see yourself in five years with your writing?
I would love for it to be full time, but I'm one of those authors who has to start out small. I'm not an instant success like Stephenie Meyer or John Green, and I'm okay with that. I aspire to be like them, though, and I know that with hard work and dedication and building up my fan base along with my publisher's help, I'll get there. I dream big, and I-will-get-there.

8.      If you could cowrite with anyone, who would it be?
            John Green, hands down, or my publisher, Raymond Vogel. John Green and I could work on a contemporary literary book, and my publisher and I could work on fantasy or something, and he can write ALL the action scenes since those are my least favorite scenes to write.

Bio: Amber Skye Forbes is a dancing writer who prefers pointe shoes over street shoes, leotards over skirts, and ballet buns over hairstyles. She loves striped tights and bows and will edit your face with a Sharpie if she doesn’t like your attitude. She lives in Augusta, Georgia where she writes dark fiction that will one day put her in a psychiatric ward…again. But she doesn’t care because her cat is a super hero who will break her out.

Blurb: Amelia Gareth's brother is a witch and the only way to save her family from the taint in his blood is to become a professed nun at Cathedral Reims in the snowy city of Malva. However, in order to become professed, she must endure trials that all nuns must face.
Surviving these trials is not easy, especially for Amelia, who is being stalked by shadowy beings only she can see. They're searching for people they can physically touch, because only those they can touch can see them. Amelia soon learns why she is being stalked when she accidentally harms her best friend with fire during the third trial. Fire is a witch's signature. The shadows are after witches.
Now Amelia must decide what to do: should she continue on her path to profession knowing there is no redemption, or should she give up on her dream and turn away from Cathedral Reims in order to stop the shadows who plan to destroy everything she loves? 

Excerpt: The sound is a dagger scraping crosshatches on a frosted windowpane, its echoes loud in this insensible room I’ve been locked in for the past few days. I want to remedy my fears over the sound, but I’m more terrified of the impending trials that will determine my readiness to be professed in the Order of Cathedral Reims. The trials are the reason I have been locked in here.

Colette sits beside me, lost in knitting a scarf she has been working on for a week—the amount of time we’ve been trapped in here with minimal food, water, and sanity. Her ability to shut out the world with a click of the needles is something I have always envied. For her, the world is nonexistent.

But not for me.

The sound strips my nerves raw, so I tighten my shawl and rise from the creaking mattress. My boot-clad feet meet the floor, and in spite of my stockings, cold still shoots through the soles, hibernating in my bones. Pulling in a deep breath of biting air, I tiptoe over to the door and press my eye to the keyhole that overlooks a bright hallway. The air freezes in my chest. I knew I heard those blasted shadows, the eerie, almost impossible sounds they make whenever their black cloaks trail along the cobbled floors of Cathedral Reims. Sometimes I wonder if they’re witches, people born of the Seven Deadly Sins and considered worse than murderers in the eyes of the law. Then I remember my little brother is nothing like them. They are mere shadows. Mere shadows.

Two of them stand outside the room. I recognize them. The tall one is Asch, and the little one is Sash. I don’t know where I heard their names. Here, in my dreams, in nightmares, or somewhere else.

I wish they would go away. I wish, I wish, I wish. I close my eyes. Open them. They are still there. Why must they be here? Theosodore, our Mother Superior’s lackey, could gather us any moment for the first trial, a trial that will test everything we are made of, and here are Asch and Sash teasing my nerves with their cold, white fingers. But I don’t know what it is about them. They haven’t done anything in the two months since I’ve started seeing them, but their presence makes sharp fear burrow into my muscles and knot them. I believe I’m the only one who can see them. This frightens me. Perhaps waiting for these trials has made me mad. 

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