How much of my characters are me?
Sometimes I’ll see that an author has the same job or live in the same city as their characters. That makes a lot of sense, since she’ll already know a lot of the details and she can also bring a certain insider perspective.
But I guess I like doing things the hard way, because I didn’t write that way for my debut novel. My heroine Allie is a baker; I barely have time to make brownies on special occasions. Allie lives in Chicago; I visited there once. Or was it twice?
But that’s only where the differences start. Because we meet Allie when she’s at a club, trolling for a night of rough, anonymous sex in a desperate bid to cope with the pain of her past. I’ll give you one guess if that’s me as well… yeah, that’s right. Nope.
And I have even less in common with the side characters… the taciturn hero who sidelines a criminal conglomerate or Allie’s best friend who’s also a prostitute. So what’s the deal? Why so different?
Well, I always want the emotions to be real. Painfully real, even. But even though I write contemporary, I’ve always felt like it was paranormal… except the rules of the world-building happen to be the same as our own. Paranormal authors don’t have to be demons or angels to write about angst or love.
One reviewer said Giving It Up was “strangely atmospheric” and “otherworldly” and I think this is what she meant. You’ll recognize things from the real world, but I want to transport you to a different one.
If I had included things from my own life, like working in an office or driving around the city where I live, I’m not sure I could have achieved that. Everything here is mundane, by virtue of the fact that I live it every day. Fiction is about the extraordinary.
Coming back to the titular question: how much of my characters are me?
Above all, probably the fears. Fear comes in a lot of different forms and we all react differently, but at its core it’s a shared experience between people. We all know what it’s like to be afraid or insecure. To think we don’t belong or worry that we’ll let people down.
Of course when it comes to writing it needs to be more specific than that. Allie is afraid of men. No, scratch that. She’s afraid of trusting men, because she was let down by the one she trusted the most. I know what it’s like to be let down and then keep my guard up in the future. I’m guessing we all do.
There’s another shared part of the human experience—sex. People joke about sex appeal or the popularity of erotica like it’s a sordid thing. Maybe sometimes it is, but other times it’s about recognizing something you experienced once, or want to.
And lastly, this is romance, and we connect through love. I’m not sure this genre would make any sense if we hadn’t all experienced love (and the loss of it). We know the value of it, we root for our characters as they work toward it, we rejoice with them when they find it. And I think we also feel it, in that moment of HEA.
These are the things I have in common with my characters—with everyone. Did you recognize any part of that in you?
GIVING IT UP
He tempts her, but kindness and a few mindblowing orgasms aren’t enough to put her back together again. Allie has no hope for a real relationship. Two years ago her best friend betrayed her in the worst possible way – she’d be stupid to trust a man again. Besides, she has her daughter to think of, the only good thing to have come from that dark night.
But when her rapist returns, threatening her sanity and custody of her daughter, Allie turns to Colin. Under his protection and patient touch, Allie begins to heal and learns to hope. Colin’s no saint, though, and his criminal past draws danger of its own. Allie must fight to protect her child and the man she loves, hoping her newfound power will be enough to save them all.
Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: dubious consent.
“A ballsy departure from romantic conventions. At once gritty and tender, stark and hopeful.”
—Cara McKenna, author of Willing Victim
“Giving It Up is an erotic, compelling story that takes us to the shadowy, lonely places but doesn’t leave us there. Amber Lin shows us that romance isn’t just for the rich and shiny. Love can find its way even into the dark corners of the most damaged hearts.”
—Tiffany Reisz, author of The Siren
“… this is a book you MUST read if you like gritty, edgier romance that makes you think as well as turns you on.” —Cari Quinn, USA Today Bestselling Author of No Dress Required
“Every page is chock full of sexy, angsty must-read-moreness.” —Karla Doyle, author of Game Plan
“Giving It Up is a gritty, real romance that deals in an honest way with what happens to sexuality in the aftermath of rape…. Read it. You won’t be sorry.” —Ruthie Knox, author of About Last Night http://givingitupbook.com/
EXCERPT- *NOTE – 18+ PLEASE*
We stripped at the same time, both eager. I wanted to see his body, to witness what he offered me, but it was dark in the room. Then he kissed me back onto the bed, and there was no more
time to wonder. The cheap bedspread was rough and cool against my skin. His hands stroked over my breasts and then played gently with my nipples.
My body responded, turning liquid, but something was wrong.
I’d had this problem before. Not everyone wanted to play rough, but I was surprised that I’d misread him. His muscles were hard, the pads of his fingers were calloused. I didn’t know how he could touch me so softly. Everything about him screamed that he could hurt me, so why didn’t he?
I wanted him to have his nasty way with me, but every sweet caress destroyed the illusion. My fantasy was to let him do whatever he wanted with me, but not this.
“Harder,” I said. “I need it harder.”
Instead his hands gentled. The one that had been holding my breast traced the curve around and under.
I groaned in frustration. “What’s wrong?”
He reached down, still breathing heavily, and pressed a finger lightly to my cunt, then stroked upward through the moisture. I gasped, rocking my hips to follow his finger.
“You like this,” he said.
Yes, I liked it. I was undeniably aroused but too aware. I needed the emptiness of being taken. “I like it better rough.”
Colin frowned. My eyes widened at the ferocity of his expression.
In one smooth motion he flipped me onto my stomach. I lost my breath from the surprise and impact. His left hand slid under my body between my legs and cupped me. His right hand fisted in my hair, pulling my head back. His erection throbbed beside my ass in promise. I wanted to beg him to fuck me, but all I could do was gasp. He didn’t need to be told, though, and ground against me, using my hair as a handle.
That small pain on my scalp was perfection, sharp and sweet. Numbness spread through me, as did relief.
The pain dimmed. My arousal did too, but that was okay. I was only vaguely aware of him continuing to work my body from behind.
I went somewhere else in my mind. I’d stay that way all night.
At least that’s what usually happened.
Giveaway includes everything listed above! US winners will get everything but international winners will only receive giftcard. I will leave this open until July 9th 2012 @ 11:59pm EST with the winner announced soon after.