Please welcome Author Amber Lea Easton:
1) What genre(s) do you write in? Why?
I write romance—romantic suspense and contemporary—thrillers/mysteries and nonfiction. For fiction, I like stories that accelerate my heartbeat, make me smile, and keep me guessing. I hate being bored. As for the nonfiction, I think it’s important to share true-life experiences with people to give them hope.
2) What/Who inspired you to start writing?
I’ve been writing ever since I was very little. I am not sure there were specific people who inspired me to do it. It was more of a compulsion to tell stories that led me down this road.
3) Is there a book or two that you wrote and love that’s not published? If so, tell us more. Or tells us about your current WIP.
Yes, my very first completed manuscript, “Dancing Barefoot,” remains unpublished. I love this story and the characters so much, but they haven’t found a home yet. It’s a romantic suspense, but crosses over to women’s fiction. The main character, Jessica, takes care of her mother in an unhealthy co-dependent way, yet has a successful career as an architect. She’s always lived by the rules, but her heart is that of an artist. She paints in secret, bound by “what’s acceptable and expected” of her. Jacques Sinclair is another of her secrets—a Belgian photographer who fell in love with her during a trip to Europe five years prior. When he reappears in her life five years later, she’s confronted with all she wants interfering with all she knows. On the verge of a potential partnership with her architecture firm, Jacques’ arrival in Boston coincides with a series of arsons that threaten her job and her life. Someone is sabotaging her. Everything she’s fought to keep secure crumbles, presenting her with a choice…rebuild or seize the newfound freedom.
4) Who would play your characters in a movie?
In my latest contemporary romance release, Anonymity, I could see Reese Witherspoon as Alyssa and Jake Gyllenhaal as Luke. In my most recent romantic suspense, Reckless Endangerment, Jessica Chastain would definitely be Hope Shane and Christian Bale would be Michael.
5) What writers/books inspired you?
Nora Roberts, Heather Graham, Sandra Brown, Jennifer Cruisie, David Sedaris, Judith McNaught.
6) When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I was 9 years old I wrote my first manuscript. It was 80 notebook pages front and back of blood and gore where no one survived at the end. My teacher and peers loved it. From that moment, I was hooked. I kept writing in notebooks until that evolved to computers. Eventually, I worked as a journalist before finally publishing, “Kiss Me Slowly” in 2011.
7) Any suggestions for would be writers?
Learn the craft and don’t take it for granted. In today’s world of easy access to self-publishing, many think that simply being able to tell a story is good enough. It’s not. You need to respect the value of language, the power of words, the importance of grammar, and the necessity for editing. Readers don’t want to read poor quality and you’re only as good as your last book. Study the writing craft. Talent is only a small portion of the big picture.
8) What makes a good story to you?
Great characters and a clever storyline.
9) Do you believe writers are born or made or both?
Both. Talent is the spark, but there is more to it than that. When I read those notebooks I’d scribbled in for so many years, I’m grateful that they’ve never seen the light of day. Not only do I have an education, but I have attended workshops, read books on the writing craft, and consider myself to be a perpetual student.
10) Besides getting published, what was your awe moment?
My awe moment has actually come from my nonfiction. I wrote a memoir, Free Fall, which published this past September about surviving the suicide of a loved one. From that, I have received many emails from people sharing their own personal experiences of grief and who have thanked me for writing that book. The fact that I’m touching others all across the world with my story is awe-inspiring and reminds me why I’m in this business.
New year, new beginnings. Alyssa McNeil is on a mission of breaking free of her comfort zone, reinventing herself, and forgetting the fact that her ex is getting
married on New Year’s Eve. She’s in Belize for a week of sun, fun, adventure, and flirtation. Meeting Luke is an unexpected bonus…falling in love with him, though, simply isn’t part of the plan.
Luke Picket is more than happy to go along with her idea of a no strings, uncomplicated weeklong fling. He embraces his bachelor lifestyle and can’t see that changing any time soon. But when they find themselves trekking through the jungle and facing turbulent seas together, his hard heart softens.
But they’d agreed on anonymity, on a first-name-only-no-strings love affair, and neither wants to ruin the moment with unwanted declarations. Old beliefs are challenged. Doubts questioned. Will they stick to their deal and go their separate ways when the week is over? Or will the new year bring them a new attitude about love?
Buy links: Amazon: http://getBook.at/Anonymity
All Romance Ebooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-anonymity-1379776-153.html Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/389824
Rain, river, followed by ocean…too much water in her near future as far as she was concerned. It was as if the sky had turned on a faucet. She huddled in the rain poncho and pressed close to Luke on the boat bench. Already an inch of water covered her hiking shoes and soaked through to her socks. She’d stuffed her sunglasses into the backpack, which was now securely on her shoulders and beneath the poncho, but now regretted doing so as she squinted against the slamming rain.
And this was only the first boat.
Maybe she wasn’t made for adventure travel.
Luke steadied her with an arm around her shoulder as the boat rocked back and forth while it traveled upstream against suddenly high water. Gusty winds blew her hood off and made it almost impossible to keep the water out of the poncho. She couldn’t wait to be dry.
“Do you think it’s like this all the way back to the island?” She leaned close to his ear to ask the question over the howling wind.
“I’m afraid so. Did you seal your camera in a dry-bag…you know, a diving bag?” He pulled her hood over her head. “If not, give it to me. The water will seep into the backpack.”
She twisted so that he could access her backpack beneath the poncho and took a moment to scan the rest of the guests on the boat. Huddled in yellow ponchos and hunched against the driving rain, they weren’t exactly a merry bunch of travelers anymore. Reggie and Bobby maneuvered the boat over water that had become angry in a very short period of time.
Luke patted her shoulder. “Don’t worry. It’s all going to be fine.”
“I’m not worried,” she lied and squeezed his hand as she rearranged herself on the bench.
When the boat pitched precariously to the side, everyone made a “whoa” sound before it righted itself. Nervous laughter followed.
She gulped back fear even as the boat swung back onto its side, this time capsizing.
Snakes. Crocodiles. Those were the first words in her brain as she fought against the water sucking at her legs. Someone kicked her in the back during the chaos. Opening her eyes beneath the water, she could only see a murky darkness.
Luke pulled her out from beneath the boat. She spit water and blinked against the rain. The cooler floated by along with the boat back toward Lamanai. A few of the group clung to the top of the boat, their hands reaching in the water for others still in the water.
“I’ve got you, hold on.” Luke wrapped his arm around her shoulders from behind and pulled them toward the shore.
She kicked, wanting to touch bottom but terrified of what might lurk there. The rain poncho ballooned around her and felt more like a hindrance than a help.
The force of the water pushed them downriver, wind and rain slapped them hard.
“Grab the branch!” He yelled against her ear.
She nodded, unable to speak, her gaze focused on the low branch over the water. In sync, they reached for it. He released her and struggled to get a grip on the tree. She used all of her strength to hold on and pull herself up, her fear of drowning only a little more severe than her fear of snakes or whatever else waited on shore.
Luke fell to his knees next to her once they were on land and gasped for air. “Do you see anyone else?”
Spitting water, she pulled long green slimy pieces of muck from her face and hair. Feeling like insects were crawling on her skin, she shook out the poncho and patted her shirt and pants. The ground itself squished when she struggled to stand and gain balance. She looked back toward the river, still pulling stringy green things from her hair.
Reggie stood on the opposite side, giving them a thumbs-up sign.
Really? A thumbs-up? She lifted her arms to the side and shrugged.
“Walk that way.” He yelled and motioned upriver. “Follow the river to where we parked the bus and you’ll be fine. I need to find the others. If you see anyone else, tell them to keep walking up river. It’s all fine.”
“He has a different definition of the word fine than we do,” Luke muttered from behind her.
Several feet ahead of them, Bill balanced precariously on a boulder and held Savannah with both of his hands. Her backpack and poncho had wrapped around debris in the water. She had one leg up on the shore, both hands in Bill’s, but the other leg was submerged.
“I’m stuck!” Rushing water whooshed against Savannah’s face.
Luke ran to help, leaning into the river to untangle her from where she’d gotten snagged by underwater tree roots.
Raindrops felt like bullets pelting their faces. With each step toward the trio, Alyssa’s shoes made a sucking sound when they pulled free of the grasping mud.
Savannah lay on the ground for a minute, eyes closed and face muddy. “Spa day. Next time I choose the one activity outside of diving we do.”
Alyssa pushed her hands over her eyes and struggled to catch her breath. None of this seemed real. Maybe she should be grateful that they hadn’t capsized at sea, but right now all she could think of was how long it had taken them to arrive here by boat. At least an hour, she thought. How many miles did that equal?
Luke sat on a boulder next to Bill, both men staring at the river with shock on their faces.
Hand over her eyes, she looked up and down the river, relieved to see people crawling onto shore and yelling for one another. She couldn’t be sure, but it appeared most were okay.
“We’d better start walking. I don’t want to sleep here overnight,” she said to no one in particular before looking at the thick jungle they needed to traverse. “I don’t suppose you have a machete in your special diving bag, do you, Survivor Man?”
He grinned and shook his head no. “Joking at a time like this? That beats hysteria. You’re right. We need to start walking. It’s going to take awhile to get back.”
“We need to stay together. It will be easy to get lost with such thick underbrush.” Bill helped Savannah to her feet.
Luke stood, grabbed her by the shoulders, and looked her up and down. “How do you feel? Anything broken? Any bites?”
“Bites?” Fear froze her in place thinking about what could have bitten her.
“Just be careful, there are snakes around and most of them blend. They’ll be difficult to see in this weather and a few are pretty aggressive.”
She thought of that yellow one they’d seen eating a bird on the way here and gulped. “Thanks for freaking me out even more. I really didn’t need an image. I’m fine. No bites.”
“Good.” He yanked her toward him and kissed her. Hard. “Whatever happens, don’t let go of me, okay?”
Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published fiction and nonfiction author. For twenty years, she’s worked in the fields of journalism and advertising with a brief detour into the financial industry. Although she holds a BA in Communications & Journalism, she is a perpetual student of life who enjoys taking classes on a wide variety of subjects when time allows.
Smart is sexy, according to Easton, which is why she writes about strong female characters who have their flaws and challenges but ultimately persevere. She currently has three romantic suspense novels out in the world, Kiss Me Slowly, Riptide and Reckless Endangerment, and a contemporary romance novella, Anonymity.
Her memoir, Free Fall, released on September 1, 2013, and is dedicated to suicide prevention, awareness, and helping others navigate the dark journey of grief.
In addition to fiction writing, Easton also edits and free-lances. She also speaks on subjects ranging from writing to widowhood. Some of her videos on romance writing have appeared on the international Writers & Authors television network. Current radio appearances are linked via this site and her blog Kisses, Caresses & Whispers in the Night.
Easton currently lives with her two teenagers in the Colorado Rocky Mountains where she gives thanks daily for the gorgeous view outside her window. She finds inspiration from traveling, the people she meets, nature and life’s twists and turns. At the end of the day, as long as she’s writing, she considers herself to be simply “a lucky lady liv’n the dream.”