Ivan Amberlake Interview
As some of you may or may not know, I am part of a fantastic Indie book Imprint group called Breakwater Harbor Books. I was lucky enough recently to have a couple of the members read and leave me very positive reviews. I've added these to the bottom of this post for you to have a read of also.
My interviewee today is one of my BHB brothers, Ivan Amberlake who has written a fantastic novel called, The Beholder. If you enjoy Urban fantasy/ paranormal then you should read this book. Especially as it is currently at the very low price of 77p!
It is already getting fantastic reviews, so I'm sure that you will enjoy it too.
Name: Ivan Amberlake
Other contacts/social media sites:
Link to Amazon page and or any other place that your books can be purchased:
Amazon US Kindle: http://amzn.com/B00B7TG2DC
Amazon UK Kindle: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00B7TG2DC
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Belarus, in a small, quiet town with a rich history and beautiful architecture.
When did you start writing?
During my post-graduate course I had way too much free time, and I thought I should try something I’d never tried before. As I am an avid reader, the idea of writing my own book always appealed to me, so back then was a favourable time for me to start writing.
What made you start writing?
Mostly the question of “Will I be able to write a book?” was what made me sit and type my first sentences. I got really excited when I realized that I can write something longer than a short story. From then on I kept sitting for hours and typing more and more. That was really exciting experience for me.
Is it something that you have always wanted to do?
To tell you the truth, I detested reading until the age of 15 when my English teacher offered me to read the first Harry Potter book. Writing a book was never on my mind until my university years, but I must say once you start writing a book, it’s difficult to stop. Now it’s what I really want to do, what I need to do, although there is often everyday life in the way.
What is your favourite genre to read, and do you have any favourite books or authors you would like to recommend?
I really enjoy urban fantasy and crime/thriller books. Too difficult to speak about favourite authors and books, there are too many of them. Right now I’m reading Velocity by Dean Koontz, and I’m rather enjoying it.
What about to write?
Definitely fantasy with a paranormal twist. I also have an idea for a crime/thriller book, but I can’t say if I ever get to writing it. I need to finish Books 2 and 3 of The Beholder Series first, then get to something new.
Do you write full time? If not, what do you do?
Unfortunately, no. Most of my day I teach English classes: morning, evening. I have only a couple of hours during the day, and an hour or two late at night, so finding even a few minutes for writing is bliss.
Do you ever base your characters on anyone that you know, or are they solely from your imagination?
In most cases, my characters are partially based on the people I know. That helps me see them in a clearer way. But I never just took a person I know and inserted him/her into my novel. Perhaps I should do that sometime. It must be fun actually.
Tell us about your latest book. The story/plot.
My debut paranormal fantasy novel, THE BEHOLDER, is an action-packed, fast-paced story set in modern-day New York. Here is the description:
Worlds of Light and Darkness are about to clash. And Jason will be in the thick of it.
In Asunción, Minsk and Sydney, people die under mysterious circumstances. Each branded with an arcane sign, they are pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. When more people are missing, with similar signs appearing in and around their homes, Jason, an average New Yorker, realizes the victims are a riddle addressed to him.
He is the final piece.
Emily appears, the most beautiful woman with extraordinary powers and startling amber eyes, and tells Jason that powers dormant within him are about to wake. In the world of Lightsighted and Darksighted, he is the only person who can prevent Darkness from enslaving the world. He is the Beholder whose advent has been awaited for many years.
Setting out on a journey with Emily, Jason discovers many improbable things like Sight, Soulfusion, the Hall of Refuge, but the greatest surprise arrives the moment he falls in love with Emily.
What gave you the idea?
There are a few threads in the book, and each of them is based on my ideas of the world around me. First of all, I always was intrigued by the idea of getting my mind into someone else’s body. That’s what Jason, the main character, is going through in the book. Then
What genre is it?
Who is your favourite character?
I enjoy writing about all of my characters, good and evil. I love them in different ways. Jason, Debbie and Matthew, they are like siblings. Tyler is a very mysterious character, mainly because of his appearance and back story Emily is charming and irresistible. These characters are all different, therefore I enjoy writing about them so much.
I’m not sure I can write about someone I don’t like, so I’m not sure if I have such characters. I think it will be up to the readers to decide if they like or dislike my characters.
What are your hopes for it?
Every writer wants his or her book to become a best-seller, right? Well, I do believe that I have a marketable novel, and all I need (as most of us do) is a little push at the start, mainly from people who don’t know me. I’m going to make my Kindle book free on Amazon and Smashwords soon, and if people leave their reviews on my book and give their honest opinion, they will help me get closer to that dream.
What’s the next project that you’re working on?
I’m working on two books right now. One of them is Book 2 of The Beholder Series called Path of the Heretic, and the other one is a YA Paranormal Fantasy called Diary of the Gone, which is about a boy who has to write in his diary to ward off the dead that keep haunting him. Not sure if this is going to be a novel or a novella, but I must say my wife and my friends really like the idea of this book.
What’s the best piece of advice that you have been given in regards to your writing?
A friend of mine, Yannis Karatsioris, once advised me to put my characters in hell, and make them find a way out of this hell. It was one of the best pieces of advice that inspired me to add more action (more chapters actually) into my book than there used to be. So put your characters in impasses then let them find a way out of there. That’s what people like reading about.
A quick get to know the author!
Five facts about you that people won’t know about you. Can you juggle? Ride a bike with no hands? Drink beer upside down? Something unusual… GO!
1. I can play the guitar, not like something romantic, but really heavy metal that gives most people a splitting headache.
2. I know I’ll have some good luck if a black cat crosses my path. In my country they are always considered bad luck, but I see them in a different way.
3. Even though my favourite number is 7, I cannot help admitting 13 brings me luck. I once purchased a lottery ticket that had 13 as a serial number, and the lottery took place on the 13th. To my surprise, I got back the money I spent on the ticket, and I never win anything.
4. I used to collect English dictionaries – glossaries, thesauruses, grammar reference books. That was the first thing I looked for in a book store.
5. I love sitcoms like The Big Bang Theory, Friends and some others. I can watch them over and over again, just can’t help myself.
Five facts about your newest book that people won’t know. Some background history on one of your characters maybe? Maybe it was going to be called something completely different to start out with? Is it the same genre it started out as?
1. The Beholder started as a completely different book, and I had only one character when I started writing it. It was a while later that the other characters appeared.
2. I added romance into the book though initially I wasn't going to.
3. It often seems to me the book wrote itself—even in the first draft I found places I liked, but never remembered writing about. I don’t know if that happens to all writers or just me, but it’s a fascinating feeling.
4. I had a different ending to the book. It made my beta readers and editor so confused they kept asking to explain what was really going on in there. I eventually had to make a different ending, which most readers really like and find unexpected.
5. It took me about 3 years to finish this book—I really hope it will take less time for me to write the next one.
Five facts about your next book… Name, genre, expected date of release…
1. It’s called Path of the Heretic. It’s Book 2 of The Beholder Series.
2. It’s still Urban/Paranormal Fantasy, but with a darker tinge.
3. I hope it will be published in 2014.
4. There will be more characters, more action, and more mysteries.
5. I’m planning a huge surprise at the end of the book.
Three tips that you think might be useful for other authors… anything you want. It could be, to write a certain amount every day, only write after midnight and never get Gizmo wet (Sorry, that’s Gremlins not writers! My bad.) Maybe it’s some information that was given to you that has helped your process…
1. My first tip: Don’t stop writing. Once you do it’s really—nearly impossible—to get back to it. You’ll find too many reasons not to sit at your desk and go on writing a book.
2. Not to be tempted to do anything else, switch off your Internet. Just for half an hour a day—it’ll tremendously increase your chances to write something new or revise something old (at least that worked for me).
3. If you don’t have an editor, find a few friends who will care enough to read your book and offer you their sincere thoughts. I know it’s difficult, but you should try. And it would be cool if your friends were harsh in their critique, because that’s what actually helps a writer make his or her book better. As my fellow writer said, “Wouldn’t you rather get a harsh private critique than a scathing one-star review on Amazon?” I hope that’ll help.
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