Amber Belldene grew up on the Florida panhandle, swimming with alligators, climbing oak trees and diving for scallops…when she could pull herself away from a book. As a child, she hid her Nancy Drew novels inside the church bulletin and read mysteries during sermons—an irony that is not lost on her when she preaches these days.
Amber is an Episcopal Priest and student of religion. She believes stories are the best way to explore human truths. Some people think it is strange for a minister to write romance, but it is perfectly natural to her, because the human desire for love is at the heart of every romance novel and God made people with that desire. She lives with her husband and two children in San Francisco.
She may be a dangerous warrior, but Uta feels her failures acutely. She has been unable to protect her kind from Hunters, and vampires are dying out. Worse, she tied Bel to her long ago in an accident of blood, then abandoned him for his own good--a choice he has never forgiven. Many days, she is convinced Bel and the vampires would be better off if she just walked into the sun.
Biology has fated them to be mates. Now these old enemies must overcome their past to save the vampires and come to peace with the bond they never chose.
Thanks for having me on your blog today to talk about my new release, the final installation in the Blood Vine series: Blood Reunited!
Q) What inspired you to write this story?
It was one of those awesome moments of inspiration that happen sometimes to writers, where your own imagination or muse, maybe, totally surprises you!
I’d always intended to give Bel Maras the third and final book in the series. But when I wrote the epilogue of Blood Vine, a brash two thousand year old female vampire, Uta, whom I had invented as a secondary character, sent a message to the Kastel Estate Winery. To my surprise, Bel was less than pleased to hear from her. I had to investigate his unexpected reaction, and what I learned made me cackle with the kind of sadistic glee only authors feel toward their characters, because WE know what’s best for them, and how they will rail against it. That’s how this fated mates, enemies to lovers story started.
Q) How long did it take you to write?
I think it took me about six months to write this book from start to finish, with breaks in between to write and revise some other projects. It was the hardest of the Blood Vine series to write, because I had let my imagination run rampant in the first two books and I had literally hundreds of threads to weave in to fully complete the plot and resolve everyone’s stories. Then I had several rounds of beta readers, to make sure I did justice to all the characters at the end of this series.
Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
Can I share three favorite things?
• One is having a creative outlet that really feeds my soul in a way the rest of my busy life (wife, mom, Episcopal priest) does not always. And it’s hard to balance all those vocations, but I think writing really makes me better at the others.
• Two is all the wacky characters I get to meet in my imagination, and watching them come to life in my stories. In some magical way, they are my partners in the creative process.
• Three is getting to share my stories with readers. I am so energized by hearing from readers!
Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
Honestly, there aren’t too many things I really dislike about it. Sure, there are hard days when I doubt myself or I can’t seem to make a scene work, or I am feeling impatient to call something finished when a critique partner says “not quite yet.” But all the hard parts are just part of the process!
Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
Queen Elizabeth I. Maybe because she is a super strong, fascinating female from history, like Uta my warrior-queen heroine in Blood Reunited. Elizabeth was very influential, she was a pragmatist who carved out a period of tolerance amidst the violent religious conflicts in her nation, and she was a “virgin queen” who was nevertheless very friendly with Francis Drake. Funny. She has more in common with Uta than I’d realized!
I’d like to be Elizabeth to see if all the depictions of her in fiction are accurate, and because I’m interested in that period of history, and lastly maybe I could be her on a day when I got to meet Shakespeare!
Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
*Scurries off to fridge*
I’m pretty sure it’s this, which I bought at a farmers’ market before we moved into our current home. That dates it to pre 2007.
Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
Thanks for asking! I’ve been giving this question some thought, because my next scheduled releases are very different from Blood Reunited. So I recently spelled out my “brand” on my blog in utterly irreverent post. In the future, I plan to keep writing paranormal, as well as straight up contemporary, and I’ve got some historical things in the works. But no matter the genre, here is what you can expect:
1) There will be lots of sex in my stories. Because I really believe my tagline, Desire is Divine. At their core, all my stories explore the earth-shaking holiness of sexual intimacy.
2) There will be lots of jokes in my stories. Irreverence is good, and funny. My characters make fun of themselves, each other, and all kinds of sacred cows, and my stories use humor to address all sorts of grave issues.
3) There will be lots of heart in my stories. Sex and humor don’t matter much if you don’t care about characters and their stories.