An art historian, Elizabeth Amber has spent many months in Italy and Greece researching Etruscan and Greco-Roman art and visiting vineyards. Her studies of the cult of the wine god known as Bacchus or Dionysus provided the underlying mythology for “The Lords of Satyr” series.
Author Web site: www.elizabethamber.com
BookEnds: Describe your book in 50 words or less.
Elizabeth: To all appearances, Nicholas and his brothers are wealthy heirs to a world-renowned vineyard in Tuscany. But they’re also the last in a fabled line of half-Satyr men who guard ancient secrets. When an ElseWorld king commands him to marry, Nicholas pursues a half-human, half-faerie woman unaware of her heritage.
BookEnds: What other authors do you find inspiration from?
Elizabeth: When I was a teenager, I read Jane Austen, Charlotte and Emily Bronte, Harlequin romances, and biographies. Gone with the Wind was my favorite book back then. I still read romances, both erotic and mainstream. Linda Howard, Jayne Ann Krentz, LaVyrle Spencer, and Susan Andersen are some favorite romance authors because they know how to write intriguing stories while building romantic and sexual tension between a hero and heroine.
BookEnds: What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Elizabeth: 1. Don’t read so many books on how to write that you wind up with no time to actually write. I recommend The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler.
2. Find a strong plot hook. Try to focus your writing so that you’re aiming for the goal of a rough draft built around that plot, with a beginning, middle, and an end. Jettison anything that doesn’t serve your story. You can always save the jettisoned material in another file if you’re worried you might decide you want it back in your story later. I find that I never go back and add the jettisoned stuff back in. But I need the safety net of saving it in order to allow myself to release it from my story.
3. Attend a local RWA conference if you want to write romance. You’ll learn a lot about how the business works. Then go back to writing. Butt-in-chair is the only way to get a book written.
BookEnds: Where do you get your ideas?
Elizabeth: My educational background is in art history. Back in college I became fascinated with the black-figure and red-figure terra-cotta amphorae of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Not only were they useful containers for wine and olive oil, but their decoration told rich stories.
Greco-Romans weren’t squeamish about putting erotic scenes on their amphorae, bowls, vases, and urns. I was especially interested in the cult that grew up around the wine grape harvest. There are numerous depictions of the god of the grape—Bacchus (or Dionysus)—and his followers, whose ranks often included lusting satyrs involved in harvest celebrations, mysterious rites, and drunken orgies. Voila! The inspiration for my Kensington Aphrodisia trilogy, “The Lords of Satyr.”
BookEnds: Why have you chosen to write in the genre in which you write?
Elizabeth: I didn’t know what genre I was writing from the outset. I got an idea for a 3-book series (“The Lords of Satyr”) and I wrote the first book about the eldest satyr brother, Nicholas, not knowing if there was a market for the type of book I was writing or if anyone would publish it. But I was becoming more and more intrigued with the unfolding story of Nicholas and his pursuit of a half-faerie named Jane, so I forged ahead.
Along the way, I wrote bits and pieces for the books about Nicholas’s younger brothers, Raine (book 2) and Lyon (book 3). So by the time Nicholas was in rough draft form, I had a substantial amount written for the other two books as well.
Once Nicholas was completed, I attended two local RWA conferences, where I found out more about the business of romance publishing. I was lucky that sexy romance has recently grown in popularity and that there’s room for many genre combinations within the category. I realized I’d written not just a sexy romance, but a historical-erotic-paranormal romance.
BookEnds: What are your other hobbies or interests?
Elizabeth: I’m an animal rights advocate, and I volunteer at a no-kill pet shelter. It’s hard sometimes because I want to take so many of the animals home. They’re like sponges, soaking up any affection on offer. Make sure your pet wears a collar tag with your current phone number. We’ve reunited many lost dogs and cats with their owners by calling the number on a tag. A computer chip is very helpful, too, though some shelters don’t scan for them.
I’m a museum junkie. Chocolate, iced tea, and yogurt are some of my favorite foods. I figure skate for fun and to stay in shape. I used to quilt and make crafts, but writing has usurped the time I once devoted to that. Shopping with my sister and cooking with my mom are among my favorite, simple pleasures.
Feel free to ask Elizabeth questions in the comments section. She’ll pop in during the day to answer them.