Amber Daulton is the author of the steamy romantic suspense series, Arresting Onyx, and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through Daulton Publishing, The Wild Rose Press, and Books to Go Now, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and demanding cats where she enjoys mountain hikes, picnicking at a huge waterfall, and visiting historical sites. Meet Amber…
Did you always want to be an author? Oh, yes! I read my first romance book when I was 12 after I snuck a Harlequin paperback out of my mom’s bedroom. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and I wanted to create my own story about two people having an adventure and falling in love. I wrote with pencil in a spiral-bound notebook and finished that 200-plus-page story in about six months.
I published my first book with a small press when I was 26, and Trevor’s Redemption is now my seventeenth book to date and published through my imprint Daulton Publishing. I have several more manuscripts on my computer waiting to see the light of day.
What is your most recent book and what inspired you to write it? Trevor’s Redemption, book 3.5 in the Arresting Onyx series, features an unlikely couple: a hotheaded musician with a dark secret and a shy graphics designer with a big heart and work troubles. Together, their chemistry is off the charts.
I introduced Shea in book 1 and Trevor in book 3, and at the time, I never intended to match them up or even give them a story. Then later as I was revising the final book in the series, a pestering little voice in the back of my head told me to go back and write a story for Shea. But who would be her love interest? There were four candidates: Decker, the bodyguard from book 1; Mackerory, the cop from book 2.5; Brett, the brother of book 2.5’s heroine; and Trevor, the sexy guitarist from book 3. Well, you know who Shea picked. I really had no choice in the matter. None of my ideas were panning out for the other three men, but when I put Shea and Trevor together, lightning struck. It was so easy to plot their story, and I had a blast writing it.
How do you hope your book uplifts those who read it? I don’t often focus on or mention anything political or social in my stories, but since I try to base my books on real life, sometimes I have no choice. One of the subplots features a workplace assault, and Shea has to defend herself against a predator coworker and deal with the nightmare of office politics and human resources.
This subplot might be a trigger for some readers, but I hope they feel a kinship with Shea and feel better about what they themselves may have experienced in the past or are currently facing. Even in this day of age where women (and men) are coming forward with their stories of assault and being supported, instead of shunned or blamed, by their communities, there are still people who are too afraid to come forward. If they read my story, I hope they feel they aren’t alone and that their voice should be heard. Whether they tell the world through something like the #MeToo movement or just share their experiences with a few like-minded individuals, releasing all that anguish could help them heal.
What are you most excited about with this book? The hero, Trevor. He’s the first male protagonist since book 1 that comes from a criminal background, and I enjoyed writing all the scenes where he played a tough, take-no-bull enforcer with his posse of thugs. Bad boy heroes, especially the anti-hero, are one of my favorite tropes.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to succeed in your professional industry? Read modern books, as in what’s been published in the last five years. Publishing guidelines and styles change all the time, so you can stay updated on what’s acceptable by reading newer books. Don’t put excessive demands, deadlines, and restrictions on yourself. Writing is difficult enough, and it’s only half of the work. I’m a plotter, not a panster, so I always recommend you plot out as much of the story as you can before you actually start writing it. By doing that, it’s easier to see plot holes, and you can avoid writing yourself into a corner later.
Just keep trying even when you’re feeling bad about yourself and the quality of your work. No one is perfect. Don’t rush a project; give it the love and attention it needs to be the best it can be. Both you as the writer, the book itself, and the readers deserve it.
How do you handle setbacks and criticism? I set goals for myself, as in when to be done with a project or when to start another one, so if I’m running behind schedule, I feel a weight on my shoulders and it inhibits my ability to focus and stomps down my muse. When that happens, I have to force myself to step away, knowing full well I’ll be putting myself even farther behind schedule. But after I have a few days/weeks to breathe and detox, I can get back to work and catch up.
As for criticism, it’s difficult to read negative reviews or bad feedback from beta readers and critique partners, but everyone has their own opinion. However, if several people are stating the same issue as a problem, then I take notice and make the decision to revise or leave it alone.
Being an author today is like running a business. How do you manage all your publicity, social media and keep your engagement up with readers? It’s complicated! That’s no lie. I don’t have Internet at my house, so I have to schedule blog and promo posts ahead of time. Then when I finally get online, I have to rush like crazy to like and respond to comments, share posts, try to engage with readers, answer emails, do research for my WIP, and a number of other things. It’s stressful. On top of writing, marketing my books, and engaging readers, I’m also the founder of Satin Rose Designs where I create romance book covers for authors. That takes up a lot of time as well.
How do you structure your day and make time for writing? I try to write everyday, and I feel off-kilter if something prevents me from working. Even if I can’t get to my laptop, I’m always plotting my current or future story in my head. I usually wake up from 6 to 8 in the morning, get to writing, and keep going until about 4pm with a few short breaks in between. I have dinner and see a movie with Greg, my hubby, then I either get back to writing or spend more time Greggie. Then bed at 10pm, and I do it all over again the next day. I’m a creature of habit.
I have seventeen books out so far, another book is currently in edits, and there are several more manuscripts collecting digital dust on my computer. I don’t have children—so no distractions there—but my cats are demanding little creatures. Greg is the cook in the house, so luckily, I don’t have to worry about fixing my meals. Otherwise, I’d probably go hungry.
Anything else you’d like to share with your readers? Yes. Trevor’s Redemption is a brand new release (published on August 22, 2023) and can be read as a standalone, so if you haven’t read the previous books in the series, you can jump right into this one and follow along without any problems. However, the couples from the other books return as secondary characters, so you might get a few spoilers. For the sake of enjoyment and fully immersing yourself in my fictional world, I do suggest you start at the beginning with Arresting Mason, but it’s not necessary.
Connect with Amber and learn about her books via her website.
Images Courtesy of Amber Daulton