In our very first interview of 2024, get to know more about sapphic romance author Amber Perez, whose newest book in the Worlds Apart series releases next week! Get up close and personal with Shay's Gamble, Lexi's Cup of Tea, and Paisley's Breakthrough and find out how Amber balances her student life and unique hobbies with being an author!
Tell us a bit about your Worlds Apart romance series, what your goals for these books were, and what inspired you to write them.
Honestly, at first, I didn’t intend to write a series. I fully believed Shay’s Gamble would be a one and done but I fell in love with my characters and knew they had more story to tell. For me, the Worlds Apart romance series began as a way to express my own coming out later in life, but then morphed into a thing all of its own! Now I fully believe Paisley’s Breakthrough, available in January 2024, will be the final installment of the series but who knows?! Maybe the characters will demand another go around later down the line.
Can you tell us a little bit about your characters? Which, if any, did you identify with most and why?
So my characters are mostly two groups of friends (5 from the US and 5 from Australia). Through the course of my books, new characters are introduced but my focus is always on one of the original ten. I definitely identify the most with Shay. She was raised in a religious home and taught the heteronormative spiel the same as I was. We both ended up coming out later in life and having to deal with what that decision entailed. I will note, though, I created Shay’s husband as a horribly unlikeable character! My own ex-husband was and is nothing like Paul. He has been wonderful through the whole process. I just really wanted readers to support Shay’s decisions and want her away from the horrible husband she gave everything to.
You have two (soon to be three) books in your series so far and all of them focus on a sapphic romance (yay!). What are your favourite tropes to read and do any make an appearance in these love stories?
I love a good age gap story so that’s what I sought to develop in Shay’s Gamble. I also love the ‘we have feelings but won’t admit it to each other’ thing… does that trope have a name?! Lexi’s Cup of Tea brings that one. Other than that, I love a good whodunnit and would love to branch out that way. I also enjoy reading the Ice Queen trope. I think my newest, Paisley’s Breakthrough, portrays that a bit in Paisley but not fully.
One of your books is set in Vegas and the other in Tennessee, which are quite the two different settings. Is there a reason you chose these places? What part do they play in your books and how does it affect the stories?
So, Vegas was my choice for Shay’s Gamble because I really wanted to portray the whole carefree bachelorette setting. Where better to party it up than Vegas?! Shay and her friends were from Tennessee so it was only natural to follow them back home for the remaining books. Tennessee has always been special to me because both of my parents were from there and I still have a lot of family living there. I have so many wonderful childhood memories of my time visiting so it was a no brainer for me to end up there in my stories.
While we're on the subject of comparing Shay's Gamble and Lexi's Cup of Tea, what did you feel the biggest difference was for you when you were writing the books? Was it easier the first time or second time around?
I think the biggest difference between the two was that Shay's Gamble was very personal to me. Writing that one felt like a constant baring of my soul for the world to see. Lexi’s was more fun to write in that I didn’t see myself in either of the main characters so I just got to throw them into whatever situation came to mind. I think I also knew what to expect from my editor more on the second go around, so I had that in mind while writing and it helped it flow easier for me.
Did you find any challenges while writing these books? How did you overcome them?
With Shay’s Gamble the biggest challenge was just silencing that inner voice that said I had nothing to say and no one would want to read it. I finally had to tell myself that even if no one ever read it, I needed to write it for myself. So, I did. With Lexi’s Cup of Tea and Paisley’s Breakthrough, my biggest challenge has been balancing writing with going to college full time. Yes, I’m a 46 year old college student and it is a struggle!! I’ve been able to overcome it by making sure I set clear deadlines for myself but also giving myself grace on the days I just don’t have the energy to write. I’ve also been facing the challenge with Paisley’s Breakthrough of it dealing with serious topics and being unsure how readers will embrace that. I’m just telling myself to be open about the seriousness of this one, warn people, and it will find the readers it is meant for.
We’d love a hint about any of your current projects! More sapphics? Anything that might surprise your readers?
As I said earlier, Paisley’s Breakthrough, book three in the Worlds Apart Romance Series, will be released on January 20, 2024. Definitely more sapphics, as all my books will be! This one is more of a serious book and deals with issues that may be hard for some readers. I’m actually including a content warning with this one and would encourage readers to reach out to me if they have any questions about content before reading.
My WIP is entitled In Her Corner and is a MMA (mixed martial arts) based sapphic romance. Think along the lines of a hot-headed young fighter is given her last chance to make a go of it by being trained by the seasoned fighter who is bitter over her career-ending injury when she still felt she had so much to give! My plan is to have this one out in the beginning of 2025 and it should be a standalone.
Have any shows, movies, books, or games influenced your own work at all?
I think everything I watch or read influences my writing in a way. I know I have a long list of book ideas that have come to me while watching TV, like In Her Corner after watching the fights one Saturday. I’ve always wanted to take all of the romance movies I’ve enjoyed over the years and give them a sapphic spin. Over time, I may do that! An absolute must for me would be The Proposal with Sandra Bullock becoming sapphic. So, heads up, I call dibs on that one!!
Your bio says that you enjoy 'being an amateur grease monkey tinkering on your Jeep' and it's fair to say that's quite the interesting hobby. How did you come to it and did you, or are you planning on, using this as inspiration in your books?
So, when I left my marriage in 2019, I realized that I had always just let my husband handle everything regarding vehicles, from the type we drove to all the maintenance. Once our divorce finalized, I decided I didn’t want to have to be the damsel in distress when it came to a car! So, I traded in the car my ex had chosen and, for the first time in my life, shopped around and picked the car I wanted. I ended up purchasing a 2018 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk edition and I love it! I bought the manual, bought some tools, and started watching lots of videos! So far I’ve put spacers on the wheels, switched out the headlights, installed a grille insert, and cut holes in the hood for hood vents. I’ve also done all kinds of cosmetic things to make it mine.
In Paisley’s Breakthrough, one of my MCs, Rae, is a grease monkey and has had all kinds of project cars over the years. Her current one is a 1956 Cadillac. I focused on my love of cars a lot in this one with Rae and her character.
You also admitted that you're very much addicted to crime documentaries. Are you planning on writing in the crime genre too? Or perhaps any other? Or are you planning on staying in the contemporary world?
I definitely want to write in the crime genre eventually. I already have a series planned that will be a spin-off from the Worlds Apart Romance Series. So, we’ll see Allie put her education and career to good use. I’m not sure when I will get to that one… with all the research involved it may have to wait until I’ve finished my own education journey!
If you could give any advice to authors set to make their debut, what would it be?
Just be true to your voice. Keep on writing the story you feel and reach out to those in the community who have been there because so many are willing to help. When you are going through the editing process, don’t lose yourself. At the end of the day, it’s your name on that cover so make sure the story that is released is the one you want to tell. The right readers will find it.
Our podcast focuses on media we’re currently loving. Are there any books, shows, movies, or games you’re enjoying at the moment? Any recommendations for our audience? Bonus points if it includes sapphics!
I think my favorite book recently has been Home for the Holidays by Erin Zak. In my opinion it is a must read! I’m really loving the artwork Halie Torris has been creating… pure sapphic beauty!
Amber is a sapphic fiction writer. She grew up on the east coast but currently makes her home in Northern California. Amber faithfully cheers for the Dallas Cowboys during football season, regardless of their record. When she isn't writing, she enjoys scrapbooking, planning her next tattoo, and being an amateur grease monkey tinkering on her Jeep.
She is admittedly addicted to crime documentaries and single-handedly keeps the coffee industry afloat! Amber shares her home with one dog and two cats and melts at the sight of anything Snoopy.
Website: Amber Perez- Sapphic Fiction Writer – "Love is just a word until someone comes along and gives it meaning." -Paulo Coelho (amberperezwriter.com)
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Amazon: Amazon.com: Amber Perez: books, biography, latest update