Two nights ago, I had the privilege of sitting and talking with Amber Lynn Natusch, author of Caged (from the Caged series). She’s a wonderful author and a lot of fun to chat with. For a taste of her personality, all you need is to read her take on the ‘About the Author’ blurb at the end of her book Caged:
If you’re dying to know more about me, allow me to put you at ease. I’m a sharp-tongued, sarcastic cancer, who loves vegetable smoothies, winter storms, and the word “portfolio”. I should NEVER be caffeinated, and require at least eight hours of sleep to even resemble a human being. At thirty-four, I just now feel like I can keep a straight face while saying the word “rectum” (which is actually a huge lie because I just laughed out loud while reading this to my husband). I live with my iPod firmly affixed to my body, drive too fast, and laugh/cry at inappropriate times.
Read on to see what Amber had to say about the adventures of being a novelist and her newly released book Caged…
Jena From Pure Textuality [Jena]: Do you remember the moment that you decided you wanted to be writer? Or was it something that was always with you?
Amber L Natusch [Amber]: I literally woke up with a story in my head and decided to write it down. My office manager challenged me to do it. I was bitching about some mediocre book I had read and I said I could do better. She said “prove it”. And so here we are…
Jena: How long ago was that?
Amber: Hmmm…I was pregnant so April of twenty oh nine? Yep, that’s it.
Jena: Ahhh…..the vivid pregnancy dreams!
Amber: You cant know how crazy my head was…Loud. I have loud characters.
Jena: Have you always been into urban fantasy?
Amber: Hmm…No, but I love a good thriller. And mystery. And I am a huuuuuuuuuge sucker for a love story. UF seems to have that. I’ve grown to love the supernatural element. I used to squirm when I said I liked fantasy books. Now I yell it proudly. I fly my geek flag proudly, too.
Jena: I can totally understand that.
Amber: Many can
Jena: Were you comfortable sharing your work with others while you were going through your first writing process or did you wait until it was finished?
Amber: Heeeelllllllllllllllllllllll no! I was a wreck! Amanda was the first to see it. Only the first two chapters. She was the one who said that it was good and I should see it through. I still get nervous when people read it!
Jena: Is Amanda one of your editing team?
Amber: Yep, Amanda Zabski. She is the one who helps me get the story straight. Plays devils advocate and helps fill in the ten percent of the story that I just can’t come up with. Couldn’t do it without her.
Jena: What was the toughest hurdle you had to overcome with publishing your first book?
Amber: Myself. I’m a perfectionist with wavering confidence. I thought that maybe I was kidding myself. Crazy. Delusional. But with the help of friends and my husband, I got my head out of my ass and got it done. The rest of the difficulties were just learning the technical process.
Jena: I can sympathize with that on all points. If you had one piece of advice to pass along to fledgling writers everywhere, what would it be?
Amber: Drink heavily. You’re going to need it…jk. I would say that if you don’t love your story with every fiber of your being…don’t do it. But if you do, ignore everyone and everything standing in your way. Your passion (and some good editing) will be all you need. I’m proof of that. But maybe have some grey goose on hand just in case.
Jena: Now let’s get to the juicy stuff. I want to be careful of the amount of detail we get into because I don’t want to give away the story. However, I want to talk about Ruby (from Caged). You said you had a dream and that’s what it stemmed from. Is there someone in your life (or maybe yourself) that Ruby’s personality is based on?
Amber: LOL….not intentionally. But, Ruby’s personality is VERY much mine in a lot of ways. In the dream she was more meek and vulnerable (she was also blind throughout it). My backbone is a little stronger than hers, but we both use humor as a weapon and defense mechanism. We run from issues we don’t want to deal with. We’ve both had trials that shaped who we are today, for better or worse. And we both are willing to acknowledge out shortcomings…even if it’s only to ourselves. I like to think I’m a little funnier than Ruby, though… *smiles*
Jena: I can attest to that! Lol
Jena: How about the BOYS? You have quite the cast of male characters in this series – Sean (steamy), Coop (very steamy) and Eric (super high level steamy). Were any of them inspired by anyone in your life or did you pull that hotness out of this air?
Amber: I wish I was American right now, because i would LOVE to plead the fifth. Eric – conjured his hotness out of thin air. I wanted someone spicy, with a little edge of danger to him, but polished at the same time. Cooper – was initially a means to an end. I don’t normally go for that blond, surfer look, but there was something so charming about him, innocent in some weird way, when i started writing him that his hottie stock just rose and rose. Sean (she says with a sigh). I may be a little in love with him. He’s scary, beautiful, ruthless, loving…he’s a walking dichotomy. He loosely evolved from someone I know but that resemblance isn’t so much physical as it is personality. That’s all you’re getting on that one *winks*
Jena: Ok, ok. I can take a hint. Lol
Amber: I’m trying to stay married *smiles*
Jena: Alrighty then. lol Subject change! So when you had the dream that inspired these books, did you plan on it being a series? Or was the dream just the first book?
Amber: Just the first book. But when I started writing it, and Amanda and I were meeting about it, certain aspects of the story just stuck out to me and I crafted the basic outline for Haunted before I was even halfway through writing Caged. I don’t write in order. I wrote the first 2 chapters of Caged, then the last third, then went back and filled it in. It was as i was writing the end that Haunted started to write itself. And i LOVE how Haunted turned out. 🙂 It snowballed from there.
Jena: Do you have any idea how far you’re going to carry the series or is it open-ended at this point?
Amber: I’m unsure. I hate when a series drags on beyond its time, and I don’t want to do that. I have an idea of what the final book will be about, but I’m not certain when that will happen. Book 5 is in the works, and I have ideas for 6, so I know there will be at least that many. The spinoff series will be starting up after the fifth novel in The Caged Series, and I think that may influence things a bit. If I had to guess, I would say that book 7 will be the end. And what an end it will be… *smiles*
Jena: Do you already have the ending planned?
Amber: I know what the climax will be, but I have no clue how I’m getting there. I also have no idea who will survive and who will meet an untimely end. There will be carnage…I know that. The spinoff series will factor into the end of The Caged Series, and then carry on from there, so chances are that you will see some characters pop up again.
Jena: Regarding the spin off that you mentioned – do you already have ideas cooked up for that? Story lines planned out?
Amber: Absolutely! The first book is loosely outlined and I have plans for the second book. The characters are all in place. I’m excited about having a new voice to write in. Khara is tough because of her upbringing. She’s very different from Ruby. I’m hoping to have the first book out early next year.
Jena: Speaking of book releases, we know that Caged is out already. Do you have a rough idea of when fans will be seeing more of Ruby?
Amber: The goal is January 31st for Haunted, and the end of March for Framed. Scarred is still uncertain as to its release, but I’m hoping to have it out by late May/early June. It depends on how badly I burn out on editing.
Jena: Do you have any sort of message to readers that you’d like to end on?
Amber: Hmm… It may sound cliche, but I really want to thank them.
Jena: Go for it. *smiles*
Amber: On paper, I’m a nobody author, turned down by agent after agent… There are so many books out there to choose, and I’m flattered that people took the time to read about Ruby. I’m even more flattered that they love her as much as I do! *smiles*
From Jena at Pure Textuality – I want to extend a big thanks to Amber for taking the time to chat with me! I thoroughly enjoyed Caged (click here to read my review) and I can’t wait to review Haunted.