Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?
Many frequent trips to the library as a kid, where I would tuck myself into a corner nook and disappear between the pages. I read for hours on end. It was my second home.
What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.?
Storytelling has been passed down through generations, and I think there’s something magical about that, the ability for a story to stand the test of time. It’s how we know about different time periods and myths and mysteries. It’s how we uphold cultures and traditions. I hope it never ends.
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
The storyline for Wicked Charm was completely stripped and started anew. The characters stayed the same. The setting, too. A few murders. Many secrets. But beyond that, I had to start over, which was definitely the hardest…and most rewarding…aspect.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I love, love, love that the swampy setting is nearly a character of its own. A living, breathing thing. The southern accents, cadence, and shadowy woods. The romance, mystery, and intrigue in such an eerie setting makes for an interesting read.
Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book? If so, discuss them.
All of my novels feature diversity. The hero and his twin are Filipino. The heroine’s best friend is creole and African American. I think it’s incredibly important to feature minorities in novels. Everyone deserves to see themselves in books.
What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?
The most useful thing I learned is how not to hold too tightly to first drafts. They are raw and messy and unrealistic. There’s always room for growth. Many times, the outcome is merely the bones of an original story.
What are some day jobs that you have held? If any of them impacted your writing, share an example.
Yes! I was a waitress throughout college and in my first book, the hero worked in a restaurant. I also used to pet sit, which helped my love of animals transfer to the page in my second series. I think real life influences and experiences often times make their way into an author’s stories.
What do you like to read in your free time?
I read broadly. Picture books through adult novels. I tend to lean towards young adult because I love the freshness of firsts—first romance, first friendships, first hardships—and adult because I love the complexity of characters and families. Also, I will never say no to a great fantasy book. Or a book with a brooding hero.
What projects are you working on at the present?
I’m currently in the middle of writing a novel set in a small town where nothing is as it seems and secrets are the most guarded possessions. There’s a troublemaker, a rule follower, and a past that could ruin them both.
What do your plans for future projects include?
An adult suspense set in the mountains where running from the past only lasts for so long and romance sizzles.
Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?
Ha! Actually, I do get many ideas in the shower. It’s the one place I can escape to in my house where no one can follow, and I can’t get distracted with a million things going on around me, and the sound of rushing water drowns out everything but my thoughts.
What book do you wish you could have written?
The Harry Potter series. Hands down. But, let’s be honest, I’d never due it justice. I don’t have the talent to invent entire magical worlds. I’m glad someone did.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Invisibility. The things I could do and see. Plus I could open a book and begin reading, and no one could bother me or find me for hours.
Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?
Ireland. I grew up on my great grandma’s stories of the countryside, cobbled paths, and adventure. Plus, there’s something magical about the place, like maybe the enchanted myths aren’t so far-fetched.
If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?
Oh! What a neat question. I adore British and Scottish accents. I’m incredibly terrible at mimicking them, and embarrass myself horribly each time I try, but it’s so fun!
Thanks for the great interview, and I hope readers enjoy Wicked Charm!
Nothing good comes from living in the Devil’s swamp.
Willow Bell thinks moving to the Okefenokee area isn’t half bad, but nothing prepares her for what awaits in the shadows of the bog.
Girls are showing up dead in the swamp. And she could be next.
Everyone warns Willow to stay away from Beau Cadwell—the bad boy at the top of their suspect list as the serial killer tormenting the small town.
But beneath his wicked, depthless eyes, there’s something else that draws Willow to him.
When yet another girl he knew dies, though, Willow questions whether she can trust her instincts…or if they’re leading to her own death.
Amber Hart resides on the Florida coastline with family and a plethora of animals she affectionately refers to as her urban farm. When unable to find a book, she can be found writing, daydreaming, or with her toes in the sand. She’s the author of several novels for teens and adults, including Wicked Charm, the Before and After series for teens, and the Untamed series for adults.