Our featured author this month is a writer who needs no introduction, but here’s one anyway.
Rising up the ranks to currently hold the title of Winningest Author at NiTH (an honour she currently shares with British writer Debb Bouch), Amber is a fan and judges favourite, drawing praise for her breezy, semi autobiographical style, relateable characters and willingness to take on just about any genre or topic.
From her bio:
Amber with her family in the Northern Virginia suburbs near Washington, D.C, USA. She has a fondness for writing short stories and occasionally dabbles in poetry.
Amber’s first story came to us in February 2013.The Fury of the Scorned at King Pho, tells a story about a cad who’s pattern of dishonesty culminates over Vietnamese food with a friend. Told from the friend’s persective, it presents sex and gender politics in a relateable way. It also earned Amber her first win.
This was followed up by a flurry of stories over the next several months, showcasing Amber’s ability to write to just about anything. The Day Dial Up Saved the World (Winner for the WEBMASTER Contest) could be set in the same town as King Pho if it weren’t for the presence of an alien menace, while Prayer of a Western Relic took us to an alternate reality USA divided along ideological and geographical lines. Winner of the RE:RE: Award, Prayer showcases Amber’s ability to take larger themes and weave them into a close, character driven story. Her fourth win came in 2014. My Oasis, My Love won the KARMA ANIMAL Performance Poetry Award, and shows a different side of the author (and performer).
“Mama, look,” said Shelly, wiping a bubble of snot onto her sleeve. Her mother scowled and pulled a worn tissue from her pocket, wetting it with spit and scrubbing at the dirt streaked face before looking at the picture. Drawn on gray construction paper, the child’s tree looked stark and uninspired. This is what Johanna thought, at least, until encountering the real thing on the walk home. No, that’s pretty accurate.
You wouldn’t believe how much blood there is in a body.
Cutting off all her hair had seemed a logical choice. Dismissively running a hand over her head, she shrugged and got back to work.
Transitions features a full length inteview with Amber. We talk about her influences and thoughts on writing. Here’s a small sample:
The best tips I’ve found all say to read a lot and write a lot. Your talent is a muscle which will atrophy if you don’t use it, so the writing has to be made a priority if you want it to be good, and if you don’t read, your perspective will be one-dimensional. I read a lot.
Amber is anything but one dimensional. If you want to read more of her stories, you can find them all here. And if you want to chat, Amber tweets @VARainbow77, and is currently working the @NiTHWritingComp twitter as well. Let her know how much you love her writing, and maybe we’ll see Amber on a shortlist again soon.