Interview with Amber Kay

What's the story behind your latest book?
Secret Somethings, started out as a serious romance. I watched too many chick flicks, read too many Nicholas Sparks novels and decided I wanted to write a love story of my own.Then I realized how dark the story became. I noticed that it was slowly evolving into something too toxic to be considered romantic. I'm not a fan of glamorizing or romanticizing unhealthy relationships so I knew that I no longer had the right to call any of this romance. Instead of tailoring the story to be like some typical girl-meets-boy lighthearted romance, I decided to go with it. I allowed it to get dark and a little uncomfortable. Eventually, it turned into a satirical and offbeat "love" story that ultimately surprised me. I'm pleased with the results, but I do admit that it's not for everyone. Some people might feel alienated by the story. Others might feel differently. I just wanted to get the story out of me and down on paper. I played everything else by ear. Hopefully someone enjoys it!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The freedom of it all is what attracted me most. I liked the idea of being in control of my own career. I'm a writer who tends to write from the darkest places of my mind. I've been known to get a little twisted with my stories and I honestly didn't feel that traditional publishing would accept my morbid brand of humor. I like writing about unlikable characters. I like writing about villains and anti-heroes. I like exploring human nature at it's worst and I find that my stories don't fit the formula needed to attain traditional publishing.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Just the idea of writing. I feel like I'd burst open if I weren't given the freedom to express myself on paper. I love storytelling. I love a great story with complex characters. That answer sounds so corny, but it's true. The one thing I love most about writing is writing.
What are you working on next?
My current works in progress are all over the spectrum, but I'm a little obsessed with the psychological thriller genre right now because it's my soft spot. I love a good thriller especially when it involves characters that you probably shouldn't trust. So for now, I'm interested in exploring this genre with my next book which (I hope) will explore all this genre has to offer.
Who are your favorite authors?
Ooh, this is one of my favorite questions! My current favorites are Gillian Flynn, Sylvia Day, Tana French, Laura Lippman and Laurie Halse Anderson. I'm always reading and always looking for something new to fall in love with!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The joy of waking up and seeing a new day. As long as I wake up and know that I haven't died in my sleep or something, I'm inspired to get up and do something productive. That doesn't mean that I don't procrastinate from time to time because I am a chronic slacker, but these are the days that force me to push myself the hardest.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Most times, I'm simply obsessed with Netflix. I'm usually binge watching whatever is on my queue list. On cold, rainy days, I love to stay inside and marathon watch reruns of Scandal, Revenge or Law and Order: SVU. On days when it's warm out, I spend it with my dog. I have to force myself to be active because I hate exercising, but that little guy never allows me to slack. I'm also a college student so in between writing and dog walking, I'm usually on campus.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Usually by hanging out on or simply by browsing Amazon. Sometimes I surf reader blogs to get suggestions, but I don't always have as much time as I'd like to read. I have like ten (or more) books on my to-read list right now and it's bugging me that I can never squeeze in time to get to them. My Nook is packed with books that I haven't even touched yet!
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, actually I do and it was terrible! I was in seventh grade and it was some awful fantasy "novel" that was about some special little girl who was the designated "chosen one" to rescue her world from some horrible evil. Back then I was a fan of the Junie B. Jones book series and I tried my hardest to write some fan fiction about it. It was horrible. I still have that story in my house somewhere and occasionally I read it and i cringe at its awfulness. It was handwritten (with pencil) in ten spiral notebooks that are faded and worn now. Sometimes, I only read it to inspire myself to be better.
What is your writing process?
I don't think I have an official "writing process." Mostly, I just write from scratch and revise the messy bits later. Ideas often come to me in a flash of a second and it's then that I feel like I have to get it all down before I forget what I wanted to write. I have to jump on an idea before it starts to feel tired and old to me because if I'm not interested in the characters I'm writing about, I feel like it's a wasted effort to keep going.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
My earliest memory in terms of reading is of the Junie B Jones books. I was in elementary school when I read my first one and I remember being obsessed with the series because I couldn't stop. Those books shaped my childhood because it's like Junie B Jones and I grew up together. Though she was a fictional character, she was real to me. We were both little girls experiencing the same problems and I related to her on so many levels. I haven't read any of those books in years, but I still remember the influence they on me.
How do you approach cover design?
I look at the covers of books that entice me the most. I browse Amazon and search for the books that draw me in and I aim for minimalism. I think that covers are suppose to represent your story as best as possible without misleading the readers. My favorite book covers are covers that aren't that flashy. They give you a hint of what to expect without telling you too much. Paula Hawkins' "The Girl On the Train" is a perfect example of this.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson because I first read this book as a teenager and immediately felt drawn to Melinda Sordino. It was tragic to read her story, but also ultimately empowering. Teenage me was in love with her and also rooting for her to win by the end.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding because this book was completely shocking to me when I first read it. After a few more readings, I realized why it shocked me so much. Reading about savage children and how easily the can turn from innocent to bloodthirsty made me see humankind in a new light. I wasn't sure what to think about society afterwards, but it definitely left me with a whole new outlook on life.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn because these characters were just so damn awesome. I love unreliable narrators and Nick/Amy took me for a long bumpy ride. By the end of it, I was left outraged (but satisfied) I'm not often surprised by stories that promise a great twist, but this one got me. I have to admit that I was taken by the throat and I loved every second of it!

Story of A Girl by Sara Zarr because I also read this story as a teenager and at that age I was in a very vulnerable and impressionable state. Back then, I was obsessed with stories about underdogs because I was a total underdog in high school. This story pulled at my heartstrings. It still does.

For the last one I'm gonna go with a classic and say Pride and Prejudice because Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy were two of the most exhausting characters I've ever read about. At the same time, they were never boring. It was interesting to read their arguments because their dialogue was so quick witted and clever.
Published 2015-02-25.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.