Amber Leigh Williams is a Harlequin romance writer who lives on the US Gulf Coast. She lives for beach days, the smell of real books, and spending time with her husband and their two young children. When she’s not keeping up with rambunctious little ones (and two large dogs), she can usually be found reading a good book or indulging her inner foodie. Amber is represented by the D4EO Literary Agency.
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About the Book:
Wedding planner Roxie Honeycutt can make happy-ever-after come true for anyone except herself. Freshly divorced and done with love, she's okay with watching clients walk down the aisle. What's not okay? Sharing a charming Victorian house with accountant Byron Strong. He's frustratingly sexy and determined to keep her confused.
Roxie thought Byron's expertise was numbers, yet somehow he sees her for who she really is. Somehow he understands the hurt she hides behind a trademark smile. Suddenly romance is tempting again, even if it means risking another heartbreak.
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As a book bloggin’ and book luvin’ Princess, I’m always curious to find out how authors got the ideas for their books. How did you come up with the idea for your book?
Ideas for WOOING THE WEDDING PLANNER were drawn from the previous three books in my small town series for Harlequin Superromance. After the first book – in which both characters, Roxie and Byron, were introduced as secondary characters – was released in 2014, I received emails from readers asking if either of them were going to wind up getting a book of their own. I’m happy WOOING THE WEDDING PLANNER came together the way it did so that Roxie and Byron had room to stretch as lead characters, finally.
Can you tell us what your book is about?
In WOOING THE WEDDING PLANNER, true love is Roxie Honeycutt’s business—and there was a time she believed in it, too. But since her marriage fell apart, Roxie’s been questioning many things, including what she really wants and who she is. And Byron Strong seems ready to accept whoever that is. The handsome accountant has been a friend, but he just might also be part of her new and improved happy ending!
Can you tell us a little about the main characters of your book?
As individual characters, both Roxie and Byron are fun to work with. Together, they’re even more enjoyable. She’s a dreamer; he’s a realist. She’s an optimist; he’s a cynic. They have their differences, but they feel a very strong reciprocal chord of respect toward one another. I love how Byron sits back and lets Roxie figure out who she is and what she wants without pushing her verbally in either direction. Will she seek the security of her relationship with her ex? Or will she explore the new life Byron knows she wants to build for herself – and let him be a part of it? He’s the reluctant gentleman and a sexy one at that, which creates quite the conflict for Roxie’s decision-making.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would that be?
Don’t wait for inspiration; just write. Working on deadline with my editor for the last three years has taught me that you don’t have to wait for the right ideas or motivation to write. If you write a little bit each day, that’s all you need to get the word tap flowing and ideas and images will follow.
What would you say is one of your interesting writing quirks?
I’m a plotter. I research and do extensive note-taking. I must have a messy outline of what the book will look like before the writing can begin. But the writing process itself somehow always seems to take on a life of its own. I’m working alongside my notes and outline, but I have to give the characters room to wiggle and grow of their own volition if I want them to look like real people, not cardboard cutouts. The first draft never fails to surprise me, as a result, and I think that’s what keeps me eagerly coming back to my work. As much as I try to influence every aspect of the story, there’s still something mysterious and magical that takes place when it comes to putting it on the page. I love that.
Do you hear from your readers? What do they say?
One of the best things about my job is getting feedback from readers. When I wrote the first book in my Superromance series (A PLACE WITH BRIAR), I received many notes asking about Byron. Several readers thought he should wind up with another secondary character, Adrian. Adrian did get her own book, as well, (HIS REBEL HEART) but her hero turned out to be her high school sweetheart James Bracken. I liked playing around with the dynamic between Adrian and Byron. There was a bit of a love triangle that was never really a love triangle at all. Instead, it was fabricated by the wishful thinking of her mother who would have preferred Adrian wind up with the reluctant gentleman (Byron); not the notorious rebel (James). I hope readers enjoy that as much as Byron’s reasons for falling in love with Roxie instead.
What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
I welcome constructive criticism. The worst is the kind that comes from people who’ve never read the books or won’t give them a chance based on the genre. I’ve always wanted to work with Harlequin and I’ve been a fan of what their authors produce for decades. So it’s difficult to hear anyone criticize a fellow Harlequin or romance writer’s book based on the genre alone. The modern romance industry is so varied and diverse, there’s something for everyone to enjoy from it.
What has been the best accomplishment?
Receiving word from someone who feels a deep connection with something that I’ve written. I write because I love it, but I also write to those like myself who love nothing more than uncovering a great story and finding something moving within its pages. The art of writing in its most transcendent form is the act of reaching out. It’s absolutely lovely when you can make a positive connection with someone through printed words alone.
Do you Google yourself?
I read reviews and visit networks likes Goodreads, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually Googled myself. However, I’m there to connect with readers via Twitter and Facebook weekly.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Many. It’s terrifying, because I know at any point the perfectionism that has chased me throughout my career can take hold at any time and bring the work to a standstill. Like I mentioned, though, the best thing a writer can do is write a little bit each day. Nora Roberts comes to mind. She says, “You can’t fix a blank page.” And I think it was J.R. Ward who said, “Plots are like sharks. They keep moving or they die.” Both are unequivocally true.
Do you have anything specific that you would like to say to your readers?
Keep reading, early and often. Read what gives you strength and pleasure and never feel as if you have to make excuses for it. It’s one of the most positive forms of entertainment and escape. The reading tribe is by far the best!