Interview with Destinee Amber

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
We moved around a lot, but I consider my hometown to be Meadowlands, Minnesota. My family and I lived in the country for a few years there. It was a beautiful, tranquil piece of property. My stepdad built a tree house for us in the back, and an old barn was the setting of hours worth of make-believe fun for my sister and I. I believe this influenced my writing quite a bit. I'm more apt to place my stories in settings reminiscent of the area I lived in, whether they are modern or historical in telling. The stories my sister and I came up with playing in that old barn have found new life in the books I write now.
When did you first start writing?
Oh goodness. I don't think there was ever a time I didn't, from the moment I was old enough to put pen to paper. Long before we could write, my sister and I made up complex stories for our dolls and dress-up games. I remember winning first place in a writing contest at our local fair when I was about 9 years old. I was on the school paper from elementary school on up. I was a published poet by fifth grade. It took a lot of years and various dead-end jobs before I came to the conclusion I had been doing what I was meant to do my entire life - writing.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Sleeping Beauty's Demise is the first in a series of planned books based on the original, darker fairy tales. Although I, as many other little girls did, enjoyed Disney's "happily ever after" take on the tales, and I certainly don't condemn a happily ever after, I always found the original, grittier, often gorier stories to be fascinating. I wanted to breathe new life into them and bring them back into a wider audience. Sleeping Beauty's Demise is primarily inspired by Sun Moon and Talia, the Sleeping Beauty story recorded in 1634 by Giambattista Basile. It was Basile's story that Perrault retold as Sleeping Beauty, and The Grimm Brothers turned that story into Briar Rose, but neither of those re-tellings or the Disney movie they inspired quite capture the darker tones of Basile's original story. I hope my twist on Basile's work breathes new life into the tale and does justice to the story he created.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Honestly, a lack of confidence. Given how long I have been writing and the ease with which it comes to me, you'd think I'd have more confidence in my skills. I decided I'd rather get my work out there myself than go through (potential) repeated rejections from publishing companies and literary agents.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Seeing what happens to the characters. I may know where I want the story to go and how I want to get from A to Z, but my characters often take on a life of their own and surprise me with what they do and say, and how it ultimately affects the story.
What are you working on next?
Next up is the second book in my fairy tale series. The working title, currently, is Curse of the Mirror and re-tells the story of Snow White. When a serving maid trades her kind heart for a pretty face and becomes queen, she'll do anything to keep her throne. Anything.
Who are your favorite authors?
The list could go on forever, but the ones that come to mind immediately are JK Rowling, Mercedes Lackey, Piers Anthony, Robert Aspirin, Gail Carson Levine, and Jane Austen.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Coffee. And my children. Pretty sure they'd burn the house down otherwise. Or hide my coffee, and I'm honestly not entirely certain which one I'd be more upset about.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
With my kids. They sacrifice a lot of my time and attention to my books; they deserve every second of my time they can have between writing sessions.
What is your writing process?
Some writers outline their stories and then work from there to put the story together. Some writers mock up a chapter or two and go from there. I know a few writers who start with a vague idea and write each chapter in order.

Me, I have an outline. I know what's going to happen. But then I write the first two or three chapters, and then I skip all the way to the end and write the final chapter. Once I know what Point A and Point Z are, I fill in the rest - how did my character get from point A to point Z? Was that her intention the entire time? Where did she think she was going? Who helped her get to the finish line? All those things are normally in my outline, but I often find once I have written the chapters I want to write right away, the answers have changed.
Published 2018-03-07.
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