Today, I have author Amber Daulton in the inteview chair. We’re discussing her new release A Hero’s Heart, a romantic suspense. Don’t forget to check out the excerpt.
All About A Hero’s Heart:
1. First, what’s your favourite scene in the book? Not in regards to writing, but reading, and why?
Amber: My favorite scene is when Marissa rants at Jarrett for him skipping town ten years earlier. Her anger and resentment has built up so much over the years, and it’s compounded by the fact that she’s still in love with him. So all that pain and confusion just explodes out of her when she finally sees him again. It’s a very emotional scene, and every time I read it, I cry a little.
2. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Amber: Actually, A Hero’s Heart is a re-release of an older book. The story and characters are the same, but I deleted the prologue because it slowed the pacing. The overall narrative is much tighter than it used to be. My writing style has changed a lot over the years, and this story is one of my earliest works. As I re-edited it, I couldn’t help but cringe a few times. I’m so happy to have given it a fresh cover and edit.
3. What do you love most about your two main characters?
Amber: Jarrett has a lot of mistakes to make up for. Though he’s initially resistant to making amends, he’s a good person stuck in a bad situation and just doesn’t see the point in trying when he’s not likely to succeed anyway.
Marissa is level-headed and goes after what she wants. She doesn’t put up with Jarrett’s bull and tells him what’s what. What I love most about them is how well they complement each other. They’ve both done a lot of growing up since they were teenagers, and now, as adults, it’s time for them to do more growing together.
4. What makes you want to shake your two main characters?
Amber: Jarrett’s stubbornness. I mean, really, he’s so dang quiet and secretive. Marissa even comments that talking to him is like talking to a tree. He just won’t budge.
Marissa is so persistent sometimes when it comes to getting what she wants. Sometimes, I feel like I need to tell her to be patient.
5. If you could spend time with one character from your book, who would it be? And what would you do during that day?
Amber: I’d like to hang out with Marissa’s seven-year-old son, Jason. He loves superheroes and comics (so do I), so we could do all sorts of fun stuff together–like hit a comic book convention.
5. Did the characters hijack the story or did you feel like you had control of your book?
Amber: I don’t remember. I originally wrote A Hero’s Heart back in 2012, but I’m pretty sure Jarrett and Marissa stole the reins from me a few times. It usually happens at least once with every book I write.
6. How did you come up with the title for your book?
Amber: As I was writing the scene where Jarrett finally tells Marissa about his job and the trouble he’s in, Marissa says something along the lines of him being a hero and having a good heart. That just seemed to fit for the title.
7. If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the leads?
Amber: That’s a loaded question. I have no idea.
8. If your book was a candle, what scent would it be and why?
Amber: Cinnamon. The story takes place near Christmas, so there are cinnamon-scented candles everywhere.
9. If your book had a theme song, what would it be and why?
Not sure, but it would definitely be hard rock.
10. If your book was a colour, what would it be and why?
Amber: Golden-red, like the cover. It’s a hot tale after all!
11. If a reader asked you why they should read your book, what would you tell them?
Amber: Everyone regrets something. No one is perfect. A Hero’s Heart is about two people finding their way back to one another despite the mistakes and pain between them. It’s about hope and redemption, making peace with the past, and living life again. I hope this book will make readers smile and provide them a momentary escape from their everyday lives.
12. What can we expect from you in the future?
Amber: A Hero’s Heart is my second re-release this year. Forever Winter (sweet Regency romance) came out last October, and my upcoming release is a brand new story in the Into The Fire box set (romantic suspense), which will be available at several online retailers on December 14th, 2021.
Amber on Writing:
1.Tell us about your writing process.
Amber: I try to write every day, and I feel off-kilter if something prevents me from working, but hey. Life happens. Even if I can’t get to the PC to write, I’m always plotting my current or future story in my head.
I have several books published, and there are more manuscripts collecting digital dust on my computer. I don’t have children—so no distractions there—but my cats are demanding little creatures. My husband, Gregory, is the cook in the household, so luckily I don’t have to worry about fixing my meals. Otherwise, I’d probably go hungry. Anyway, I just keep writing, usually with a cat on my lap who’s trying to sit on my hands.
2. How much research goes into your books?
Amber: A lot!! I love creating new worlds or researching real towns to fictionalize them. Research, in my opinion, is more fun than writing at times. It’s so much fun to learn about new places, cultures, and people. Although I’d rather travel to do hands-on research, in-depth reading is second best.
3. What do you enjoy most about writing?
Amber: I love escaping real life and submersing myself in something new. It’s fun to create and see how your characters grow.
4. What do you enjoy least about writing?
Amber: The hardest thing for me is deciding on character names. Now, that might not sound like a big deal, but the names have to fit with the characters I see in my mind perfectly. I feel stumped and lose my creativity if I assign a name to someone that just doesn’t feel right. I usually choose the names based on their personality, physical characteristics, family dynamics/heritage, the time period of the novel, or just what I find sexy! I sometimes spend hours, if not days, just scouring through baby name books and websites for the best names.
5. You can only recommend one of your novels to a reader, which would you choose from the books you’ve written so far, and why?
Amber: Arresting Mason. It’s book one in the Arresting Onyx series, which features unconventional heroes and the kickass women they love. Mason and Mia’s relationship is the catalyst that draws Onyx–an underground criminal organization–into their lives and the lives of their friends and family. There’s danger, chemistry, and a HEA worth fighting for.
6. What novel was your personal favourite to write, and why?
Amber: Arresting Jeremiah, book two in the Arresting Onyx series, is one of my favorites. Jim is such a hard-ass, and I love watching him fall at Calista’s feet. Most redemption stories feature a character trying to do better, but in this book, the reader gets to follow along with the hero as he intentionally falls down into a deep, dark pit of his own making. All the mistakes he made for the so-called greater good nearly costs him his life.
All About Amber:
1. Readers know about the writer you, but what about the everyday you?
Amber: My hubby and I love binge-watching TV shows—our favorite is Supernatural (go Team Sam!)—and we often borrow movies from our local library. Besides that, I like to read, garden, hike, play video games, and create scrapbooks. We also have two cats who are very demanding of our time.
2. What is something unique/quirky about you?
Amber: Most people think I’m from England or even France when they first meet me (and yes, I’ve been asked to speak French, which I don’t know). I have an accent, which sounds proper and smooth, so I’ve been getting the “Where are you from?” question since I was in elementary school. And believe me, kids can be cruel. Luckily, the questions and funny looks have never bothered me. I take sounding different as a matter of pride.
3. What are some of your pet peeves?
Amber: I can’t stand it when drivers don’t use their left or right turn signals when turning. It drives me crazy. I find it even more frustrating when it’s cops breaking the law and not using their signals.
4. Where were you born/grew up at?
Amber: I’m from North Carolina, USA. It’s beautiful here. It’s only a five-hour drive from certain parts of the Great Smoky Mountains in the west to the beach in the east. I love waking up in the morning and seeing thick fog outside my windows (I live near the mountains). The stars at night are so crisp and clear.
5. Describe yourself in five words or less!
Amber: Weird, hardheaded, determined, ballsy, quiet.
Amber on Reading:
1. What book do you think everyone should read?
Amber: There’s too many to count, but one of my favorite classics is Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
2. What fiction genre(s) do you read the most?
Amber: Romance, of course!
3. Share your favourite character from a book that you’ve read, and why they are your fave.
Amber: I’ll have to go with Mr. Darcy from Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. He’s so prim and proper, but spunky, intelligent Lizzie takes him down a few notches. It’s the ultimate opposites attract story.
4. On average, how much do you read every week?
Amber: I usually manage to read one or two books a month, if I’m not swamped with deadlines. I wish I could manage more!
Rekindling the flames of love has never burned so hot.
Blurb: Lies. Betrayal. A million-dollar bounty.
After an undercover mission goes awry, DEA agent Jarrett Brandt hides out in the last place he wants to be—his hometown. Now he’s stuck with his judgmental parents and the memory of his perfect brother hanging over his head. His one bright light? Marissa Reinn Brandt—his high school sweetheart and former sister-in-law. Marissa lost Jarrett once before. No way will she let him back in; then her son offers him their guestroom. His wicked charm and smoldering stares are hard to resist, but she’ll make him work to reclaim his spot in her bed. When his enemies close in, how will Jarrett keep Marissa and her son safe, or will he lose his shot at redemption?
“You can trust me, Jarrett. I won’t tell your parents anything you don’t want me to.” She sighed and stood as well. “You used to tell me everything. We never kept secrets.”
Jarrett paced between the coffee table and fireplace. “My parents’ opinion doesn’t matter. Dad would still throw up my juvie record or the fact that I’m not a cop, even if I was a model citizen. I’m not that lost, angry kid anymore. I know who I am now, and it’s not someone you’d want to know.”
“God, you don’t understand. Marissa, I’ve missed you so damn much. I’ve laid awake so many nights wondering what my life would’ve been like if I’d stayed here.” When he made love to other women, he imagined Marissa beneath him or above him, panting his name. When the nightmares of blood and gore faded, he dreamed of her. Those bittersweet memories and what if scenarios were almost worse than the nightmares. “I’ve done things I’m not proud of.”
“I hated you after you left, but I’ve gotten over it. Everyone feels regret and guilt over something. It’s all about being human.” She dashed away her tears. “I told you mine last night. Will you please show me the same courtesy?”
“At least tell me what you did last Christmas. Jason made it crystal clear that he didn’t want you alone. He wants you to have a tree.” She pointed at the Douglas fir. “Well, there you go. What did you do last year?”
Jarrett licked his dry lips, heat swelling in his cheeks.
He’d joined the Consuelo gang last December and spent the holiday in a slummy apartment with five thugs who sold cocaine on the streets of Albuquerque. Living around his drug of choice had nearly destroyed him.
“What about your last birthday?” Marissa blocked his path and braced her hands on her hips. “Did you have cake or go out with a bunch of buddies and get drunk? Did something horrible happen? Why won’t you tell me anything?”
He shoved a hand through his hair. “Damn it, Marissa. Yeah, I got drunk. A few of us went to a strip club where I fucked two dancers in a backroom. Is that what you wanted to hear?”
Her eyes widened as she stepped back.
Way to go, you fucking idiot. He brushed his shaky hands on his button-down shirt to steady them. “Marissa—”
She strode past him with a high head and left the room.
Her cold shoulder skewered him, but he didn’t deserve better.
Amber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through Daulton Publishing, The Wild Rose Press, and Books to Go Now, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats.
She lives in North Carolina with her husband and demanding cats.