Hello Readers Happy Saturday!! Today I have the talented Amber Lough for another amazing author interview!
Hello! I’m Amber, and I wrote THE FIRE WISH, a fantasy set in both Baghdad and a jinni cavern, in the 9th century.
You’ve created such a rich and magnificent world in THE FIRE WISH…the setting is basically a character. How did you come up with the idea for the world? What kinds of resources did you use to create the world?
The Baghdad setting was based on the real place, palace, and time period, but the jinni cavern was completely made up. I pulled in ideas from mythology, and included a Lake of Fire, tunnels, wells, and the like, but the idea for the gigantic geode cavern came from my love of crystals. (When I was a teenager, I was obsessed with crystals, and spent more money on them than on CDs.) When I began “building” the cavern, I visited caves, caverns, and museums as well as did a lot of research online regarding which crystals are best for certain things. I learned a lot about drywall, for example, that I didn’t know before—it’s mostly made up of crushed gypsum, which is fire-retardant. I took that idea when I came up with the selenite ball.
Wow. Sounds like you had a lot of fun worldbuilding! Many of my blog followers are writers, so I was wondering what is one thing you learned that has helped you along your journey to be a published author?
One of the best things I learned is to keep going. For me, it was a long, hard journey full of many soul-searching nights and days.
Great advice, Amber! Okay so, as a reader and a writer I’ve found Dual POV can be really tricky to nail down well, but you did it so well and I love how each character has her own romance (*swoon*), how did you balance of the story lines? Did you find it challenging at first or did both characters just come to you?
I’m glad you thought I did well with the dual POV! I had not wanted to write dual POV, actually. In the first draft, the story was solely from Najwa’s side, and I had left Zayele when she made the wish. It wasn’t until I was done with the first draft and my critique partner asked me, “So what happened to the princess?” when I had to face the hard truth: this book was going to be harder to write than I’d thought. It was very hard, at first, to keep Zayele’s voice from sounding too much like Najwa’s. I had to push their personalities a little harder just to keep them straight. There are times when they are similar, but I wanted there to be a crossover at a certain point, when they start to really take on the others’ life. And of course there would be similarities, but…I can’t say more than that now, can I?
That’s so interesting… I’ll talk more about this during my review (ahem, gushing session) of THE FIRE WISH tomorrow, but Najwa is hands down my favorite character although I think having Zayele’s POV adds A LOT to the story! Now for the (really) fun questions… What’s your patronous?
This is the coolest question I’ve been asked so far. A cat, for many, many reasons.
Hehe, great choice & thank you!! Speaking of cool settings, if there was any place you could travel to right now where would it be?
Iceland. Without a doubt.
Nice, I feel like everyone keeps talking about traveling to Iceland. I’ll have to make sure to add it to the bucket list… Okay. Fun Fact about yourself most people don’t know or wouldn’t expect?
You might not expect this because I’m not an avid blogger anymore, but I started blogging in 2001, and I blogged throughout my entire deployment to Iraq in 2004-2005.
That is AWESOME! I’ve only had this blog for a little over 2 years, but wow that’s dedication. Alright, next question: What was your favorite childhood book/author?
That is SUCH a hard question to answer, so I will go with who was my favorite when I was….12 (to pick a random age): Susan Cooper, for her DARK IS RISING series.
Haven’t read that one yet & I’ve heard so many great things about it (I know, I know, I’m getting there). Name a recently released book (or two as I know it can be hard to pick one) that you wish you could’ve written?
SERAPHINA, by Rachel Hartman
Another much talked about book I need to read… What other projects are you working on/any closing words about THE FIRE WISH, etc…?
Thank you for hosting me today and thank you so much for reading THE FIRE WISH! The next thing up is the sequel, THE BLIND WISH, which we be out next year. (It could also, possibly, be called RETURN OF THE BROTHERS, although that’s not the real title. Just a hint.)
Thank you, Amber. I enjoyed having you stop by! And, um, thanks for the hint, hehe, of course it’s only going to make the pain of waiting (until next year!!!) more unbearable
Have a nice day!
What did y’all think? Isn’t Amber Lough awesome??? Below is a little more about Amber and be sure to come back Tuesday for my review of THE FIRE WISH, you won’t want to miss it (I’ll be gushing!!!).
Amber Lough spent much of her childhood in Japan and Bahrain. Later, she returned to the Middle East as an Air Force intelligence officer, deployed for eight months in Baghdad, where the ancient sands still echo the voices lost to wind and time. She currently lives in Syracuse, NY with her husband, their two kids, and their cat, Popcorn. For a pronunciation guide, a cast of characters, and more, please visit amberlough.com. You can also follow Amber on Twitter @amberlough and Tumblr at amberlough.tumblr.
Add THE FIRE WISH to your Goodreads to-reads!
P.S. I’m currently reaching out to authors for interviews this Fall, if you’re interested please feel free to contact me!