Debut Author Spotlight is a Saturday feature at Book Chick City. We will be showcasing a debut author each week from the genres of horror, urban fantasy and paranormal romance. We will give you all the relevant book information as well as an insight into the author.
Amber Belldene grew up on the Florida panhandle, swimming with alligators, climbing oak trees and diving for scallops…when she could pull herself away from a book. As a child, she hid her Nancy Drew novels inside the church bulletin and read mysteries during sermons—an irony that is not lost on her when she preaches these days.
Amber is an Episcopal Priest and student of religion. She believes stories are the best way to explore human truths. Some people think it is strange for a minister to write racy vampire romance, but it is perfectly natural to her, because the human desire for love is at the heart of every romance novel and God made people with that desire. She lives with her husband and two children in San Francisco.
RLEASE DATE: January 2013 | PUBLISHER: Omnific Publishing | GENRE: Paranormal Romance
In Blood Vine, bites are an inconvenient bliss, exiled vampires are wasting away, and the fate of their kind depends on the perfect PR campaign. When public relations pro Zoey Porter arrives at an enchanting California winery, she discovers her sexy new client is the almost one-night stand she can’t forget. After her husband’s suicide, Zoey has vowed never to risk her heart again. But can she walk away from the intriguing winemaker a second time?
Driven from Croatia by his ancient foes, vampire Andre Maras has finally made a blood-like wine to cure his fellow refugees. Now he needs Zoey’s PR expertise to reach them. After his wife’s death, Andre has a vow of his own—never to risk another painful blood bond. And one taste of the tempting Zoey would bind him to her eternally. His secrets stall her PR plans. Her jealousy is stoked by the blissed-out beauties leaving his bedroom. At every turn, he utterly fails to resist her. When she discovers he is a vampire, will she be lost to the golden-eyed Hunters, or lose herself to the emptiness in her heart, before she can help him save his kind?
What is BLOOD VINE about?
Blood Vine is about a vampire who has experienced devastating personal loss, and who is trying his damnedest to save his species. On one level it’s about the ancient conflict between Hunters and vampires, which sweeps up the hero and heroine, and also entangles my other favorite sexy couple–Pedro and Lucas. The conflict has driven my hero from his homeland in Croatia, and one of the themes is nostalgia for home. On another level, the story is about two wounded souls with explosive chemistry risking love again.
Tell us a bit more about the hero/heroine in BLOOD VINE
My hero, Andre, is the head of a big vampire household, including his two sons and lots of staff who provide blood. Because of his wasting sickness, he lives in a perpetual state of painful longing for his home—an island off the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia. He’s ancient, gruff, wounded, and fiercely protective of his people. He’s an awesome dad to his sons, which is something that I adore about him. And he is stubborn in his refusal never to love again, but not nearly as stubborn as Zoey.
Zoey is a no-nonsense, successful P.R. executive, who has a wicked but well-hidden sense of humor, and is very comfortable with her sexuality. What she is not comfortable with is intimacy–she’s walled herself off from everyone because of the tragic end of her first marriage. And from the moment she meets Andre, she senses he is the one man who can break through her wall. She doesn’t yet know that he is not actually a man, but a vampire.
How did you research BLOOD VINE?
As a wine-lover, I drew on knowledge I already had about winemaking to shape the premise of my book. Then I did my initial research online and checked it out with experts, including a chemistry expert, a native Croatian, and my best friend Will, who generously answered all my questions about male/male relationships. He’s been my bestie for years, but it turned out there were still a few things I didn’t know, and I wanted his assurance that the tension I’d imagined between Pedro and Lucas was plausible. There might have been several Manhattans involved in that aspect of the research–he makes a great cocktail!
Is BLOOD VINE the first in a series or a stand alone novel?
Blood Vine is the first in a series. I’ve written the sequel, and I’m planning to submit it to my publisher this week. Right now I expect there to be three books, the second and third featuring Andre’s sons. But the Blood Vine world is complex and there are lots of fun characters who might just surprise me and spin off into their own stories.
When is your favourite time to write?
I’m a morning person, and because I have young kids at home, I wake up very early to get a head start on them and squeeze in writing before I go to work. Then, I often write once they go to bed, and sometimes my husband has to wake me up because I’ve fallen asleep, drooling at the computer. Being a romance novelist is sexy 24/7, I promise!
Where is your favourite place to write?
I tend to write on the couch. In the evening it works great, because my husband plays video games. All the amazing, fantastical graphics are inspiring and we get to sit in the same room.
What was the last book you enjoyed and why?
Honestly, I’ve been reading out of my genre for a while, so I can keep my own paranormal stories straight. I just finished a great contemporary romance called Ride With Me, by Ruthie Knox. It’s set on a cross-country bike ride with two likable people who fall in love so convincingly, and who I cared about very much. I’d highly recommend it to anyone, whether you normally like contemporary or not. And, um, it’s hot.
Which authors do you admire?
I admire J.R. Ward, for the way she keeps us caring about so many story lines at once. I love her male characters. I admire Kresley Cole for her female characters. I admire Remittance Girl for her fearless exploration of the erotic terrain. And I admire Karen Marie Moning, because Jericho Barrons is one of my favorite characters of all times. I’m glad I didn’t write him, because I think having him in my head would make me a blubbering idiot all the time. Andre takes up a lot of space in my brain, and he’s no where near as complicated as JZB.
Describe yourself in five words.
I always cheat and make my husband answer these questions. “Vivacious, funny, beautiful, talented, and smart.” Yes, I know he is flattering me big time. That’s his job, right?
The third Blood Vine book, which I am VERY excited to write. I love its characters Bel and Uta so much, and their conflict is deliciously complicated and sexy.