Saturday, April 2, 2011

Q&A with Amber Leigh Williams



Thanks for being here today, Amber. Would you please share a short bio about yourself?


Hi, Rebecca! Thanks for having me!

My name is Amber Leigh Williams and I’m a multi-published romance author, a member of Romance Writers of America, former Secretary of GCCRWA, and a weekly contributor to The Roses of Prose. My books are published in paperback, ebook, and audio. I’m represented by D4EO Literary Agency and live on the Gulf Coast with my husband and three labs!

Q Do you consider yourself a shy and/or introverted person?


A Oh, most definitely! I was always the girl in the back of the class who never raised her hand. Not because I didn’t know the answer but because I didn’t like drawing attention to myself. Though it’s difficult in a business where in a way you’re selling a piece yourself, there’s still that part of me that wants to stay home. That was one of the biggest lures of writing to begin with. It’s such a lonely and intimate process. I get a lot of “me” time!

Q In what ways had being shy or introverted hindered your writing career?


While I love not drawing attention to myself, that’s no way to sell a book. Marketing and self-promotion have been long, learning processes. These days the routine is second nature, but back when my debut novel was launched by a small press publisher, I found it difficult to push for reviews and other feedback because I was terrified of what might come back. If they hadn’t liked my baby, that wouldn’t have encouraged me to come out of my shell at all. Thankfully, almost all of the reviews were very positive. I’ve been very fortunate as far as reviews and readers are concerned, which made me a proud mama and, by extension, made me push the stories out there more and more. It helped me grow armor, as they say, and become fearless both in pushing my books into the world and the writing itself. Now I’m thrilled to find new and creative ways to promote and tell my stories.

Q In what ways being shy or introverted helped your writing career?


A part of the shyness goes back to my upbringing because from a young age I was really pushed by parents and grandparents to be polite. I’m a southern girl from a long line of southerners so I was taught to cultivate very ladylike behavior. I took that with me as I grew up and as I began writing. Professionalism is a huge part of my upbringing, too. I inherently knew when it was time to speak up and promote or approach an agent/editor at a conference and when to fall back and keep quiet. Not all publishers teach their authors what it is to be a professional so you see them arguing against reviewers who didn’t like their book or even editors and losing respect and, sometimes, their contracts. I felt like I knew all this early on without others having to tutor me how to behave as a professional.


Q What’s the hardest part of this business for you?

A While I love being alone and having that “me” time, sometimes the isolation can be damaging. You lose sight of what’s really happening in the world and that isn’t good. As a writer, sometimes it’s difficult to balance “your today” with “your character’s today.” It’s not good to lose touch with the people around you and what’s going on in the world and the balancing act between my writing life and my personal and family life has been a journey in and of itself.


Q Tell me about a time that you had to step outside your comfort zone either in your writing career or in your personal life?


I’ve learned that getting outside my comfort zone leads to some of my best choices. The most extreme thing I ever did in my personal life that seemed to shock a lot of people was date someone outside of that tight circle I lived in and who was probably my polar opposite. The guy was a risk-taker whereas I never took risks with anything. He worked for a living; I was still in school. He rode a motorcycle, which were frowned upon in my home. As soon as I met him, I grew as an individual and came out of my shell. Two years later, I married him. He was also the first person to wholeheartedly encourage me to follow my dreams and begin writing full-time.


The risks I’ve taken in my writing life have been equally important. I’d never read a western romance before I came up with the concept for my first, Blackest Heart. I had also never written a novella. It turned out to be the best thing that I ever did because Blackest Heart and its two sequels – Bluest Heart and Bet It On My Heart – have been the stories and characters readers have most openly embraced. I get more fan letters from people who love the hero of Blackest Heart, silent cowboy Judd Black, than anything else. A similar experience happened more recently in the last two years when I began branching away from my comfort zone by writing paranormals. It opened up countless worlds I can’t wait to write about, and my first paranormal manuscript got me a literary agent!


Q What’s one tip you could share with shy and introverted people that’s helped you?

Be yourself but don’t be afraid to grow, and don’t be afraid to stand up for your rights. The publishing world can be scary and very critical at times. Learn how to protect yourself without hindering your creative mind or your marketing abilities.

Q Where can my readers find you on the web?

My website is currently under reconstruction. The exciting new design will be available by the end of this month and I’m so excited! Readers will be able to find it at http://www.amberleighwilliams.com/. Until then, all my news and updates and lots of other fun writing-related stuff can be found at my blog, The Cozy Page, where they can also subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Readers can also find me on Twitter and Facebook!

Amber, thanks so much for the awesome interview! I wish you tons of continued success.

7 comments:

  1. Thank you for the interview, Rebecca! I love this blog :)

    My website redesign premiered earlier than expected so if anyone would like to take a peek, feel free to let me know what you think!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I enjoyed this interview. I'm also shy with a first release. Promo'ing and pitching myself have been scary, so it's a comfort to read that it CAN be done, even for shy writers. Thanks for the encouragement and best of luck!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Amber, this is such a great interview. I've learned things I didn't know about you, and your hubby looks so sweet in pictures, I never woulda guessed he was the rebel of the two of you. *grin*

    ReplyDelete
  4. C. Zampa - I'm so glad I could encourage you! Best of wishes with the new release and pitched :)

    Stacey - Hi! Thank you for stopping by, and yes, the hub used be quite the wild thing, LOL

    ReplyDelete
  5. Amber, great interview. Love that you found your polar opposite to complete you.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I feel for you - I am shy, especially about promo in person. My sons hand out the business cards and the flyers.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Jill - Hi! So glad you stopped by - and I've found that old adage "opposites attract" to be very true :)

    P.L. - I wish I had minions to do my promo handouts, lol

    ReplyDelete