Friday, January 11th, 2013
When I heard an Episcopal priest with young twins was writing a sexy vampire novel, I was thirsty for more. Amber Belldene‘s racy paranormal romance called Blood Vine came out this week, and right now it’s only $3.99 for Amazon Kindle. Thank God. Now there’s something better to read than 50 Shades of Grey.
I wanted to know more about how this busy, talented woman pulled off parenting, preaching and erotic writing, so I asked to fill me in on her secrets. Here is the scoop on life, religion and romance from Amber Belldene:
“My debut novel Blood Vine is a racy paranormal romance. I describe it as vanilla with a little chocolate sauce, including a male/male romantic subplot. The book is set on a winery in Sonoma County, California. It’s a vampire story with a few unique twists. My vampires are from Croatia, so I’ve woven history and culture into the plot. Over the series, I’ll be looking at deep emotional themes–Blood Vine’s theme is nostalgia. Some of my readers have described the book as on the literary side of romance, which is a great compliment because that’s the type I love to read.
I was inspired to write this book after becoming a bit of a romance junkie when I was pregnant with my twins. I went on early maternity leave, couldn’t sleep, and read hundreds of paranormal and historical novels. At first, they were a guilty pleasures, and I thought a lot about why I loved them. Then, I began to wonder if I could pen one too. Shortly after that, the setting and premise of the story came to me, and I started writing.
At first it was a lark, but it quickly consumed me, and I received lots of encouragement from the friends and writers who generously read my first drafts. When I began to take Blood Vine and my passion for writing seriously, I had to figure out where it fit in my life as a working mom of twins, and as an Episcopal priest.
On the personal side, writing takes up all my spare time. For now, I’ve given up my hobbies of knitting, gardening, and cooking. I try to exercise, but not nearly enough. Balancing my author life with my family life is my most challenging work-in-progress and much harder than the writing itself. But I’m fortunate to have a husband who supports my dream.
As a priest who writes romance, I’ve chosen to take a pen name. I’ve also had to articulate exactly what I believe about sex, and why racy books aren’t sinful. In my opinion, sex is a holy expression of love and intimacy. Physical pleasure is a gift, and so is the pleasure of a good read. My colleagues and superiors have been supportive all the way, joining with me in fruitful theological discussions. My books aren’t religious, but writing them has truly helped me grow spiritually.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m biting. I can’t wait to read her 290-page book.
Categories: Fiction, Guest Blogs, Mom Must Read, Must Read | Tags: 50 Shades of Grey, Amber Belldene, Blood Vine, Episcopal priest, racy, romance novel, sexy, sexy vampire novel, twins
Tuesday, July 24th, 2012
Emily Giffin, at left, blazed onto the book scene with her quirky, emotional and unpredictable novel called Something Borrowed in 2004. The story–about a 30-year-old who falls in love with her best friend’s fiance–became a bestseller and a movie with Kate Hudson. It also brought hot, smart, sexy Dex into the fictional world.
Since then, Giffin has written five more fun, popular chick lit books. The latest one, Where We Belong comes out today. In it, a 30-something woman has a great career and boyfriend when her 18-year-old daughter–a secret no one knows about–shows up at her front door. As we all know, keeping secrets can get very complicated.
I have a lot in common with Giffin. We both lived and loved in New York City before we got married; we have twins plus a younger kid around the same ages; and we’re both writers. See, we’re just alike! Except somehow I missed my name on the bestseller list–I’m still working on that.
I had the chance to email Giffin questions about how she manages her busy life. Newsflash: She hasn’t finished her daughter’s baby book either. She’s human like the rest of us.
Me: Where We Belong
is a touching book about secrets, love found and lost, and of course, family ties. What inspired you to write it?
EG: At its heart, the book is about secrets and what happens to us and those closest to us when we keep them. I’ve always been intrigued by the power of secrets and the questions surrounding them. When is it justifiable to keep them from the ones we love? And does keeping them irrevocably change who we are? Adoption (under the secretive circumstances inWhere We Belong) seemed to be a great way to explore some of these broader themes.
You’re a busy, famous writer these days–and you deserve every accolade. But when things get hectic, what’s your favorite way to relax and unwind?
EG: It’s a funny thing–when I’m crazed with work, spending time with my children relaxes me. Yet, at the end of a long weekend with them, the very thing I need to relax is a little work and time away from them! I think it’s important to try to be present with whatever it is you’re doing. And if you can’t be present, take a break. For true downtime, I enjoy going for light runs, having drinks with friends and going to the movies with my husband.
Me: Parents readers, like me, have so many big dreams and plans (in addition to being the best moms we can be). We have books we want to write, projects we’d like to see through and business we’d love to start. What is your advice for getting started on a dream project and–gulp–finishing it?
EG: Just take it one step, one day at a time. Often I feel that projects overwhelm us when we look at how many hours are involved until completion. But just getting started is usually not that difficult. And yet … I still haven’t begun my daughter Harriet’s baby book and she is five!
Categories: Best Sellers, Books-to-Movies, Fiction, Mom Must Read, Must Read, Popular Books, Q&A With Authors | Tags: advice, best friend's boyfriend, Emily Giffin, Kate Hudson, Something Borrowed, twins, Where We Belong, writers