Blog Tour: Interview & Giveaway with Amber Lin {GIVING IT UP}

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Please welcome author Amber Lin, to Novel Reflections, here to talk about her new release, GIVING IT UP.


 

BLURB:

Allie prowls the club for a man who will use her hard and then ditch her. Hey, it’s not rape if she wants it. Instead she finds Colin, who looks tough but treats her tenderly, despite her protests.

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.

“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

Please tell us about your latest release.

Giving It Up follows a woman’s journey through healing… and smoking hot sex. We meet Allie at a club where she’s trolling for a hook-up. Not just any date, she wants it rough and dirty and anonymous. Then the guy will leave her—after all, he got what he wanted. Instead she meets Colin, a man who looks tough but treats her gently. It’s almost as if he can see the hurt underneath… and that’s something Allie can’t handle. She pushes him away, but when she needs help, Colin is there.

I call Giving It Up an erotic romance, but it’s a chameleon of a book. It’s also romantic suspense and many readers have told me that it feels like women’s fiction. Personally I have always said I feel like I’m writing an urban fantasy, except that the rules of the world are similar to our own. And the magic? You’ll have to read to find out that part for yourself.

What inspired you to write this book?

I noticed that a lot of romance heroines were portrayed as being virginal, whether they had the physical remnants intact or maybe they only had a few lovers but never truly enjoyed it. This is fine on a small scale, but when it happens over the course of an entire genre, it feels like more. Like maybe it’s shameful to be a woman who has sex, who seeks it out, even in these modern times. Plus I think it cheapens the romance, overall, if the hero is the only guy she’s ever wanted to bang. Well of course they’re going to stay together, the poor girl’s desperate for some nookie. Actually there is a name for this: the fertilization of virginity (or innocence).

So the seed of my idea was an opening scene where heroine who sought out sex in a big, bold way. From there the rest of the story was built: her backstory, her hero. Oh, and all this plot stuff happens too :)

Was there a character you enjoyed writing the most?

My favorite had to be Allie, especially considering the book is entirely from her point of view, so I spent a lot of time with her! However, there is a special place in my heart for Shelly. She is Allie’s best friend and also happens to be a prostitute. Generally speaking, I don’t write books about beautiful people. There are nice looking or average looking or scary looking, but their appearance is really the least interesting thing about them. However, I make an exception for Shelly. She is gorgeous and this has shaped her life in a big way. She’s also smart, funny, sarcastic and kind to the point of risking her own neck to help her friends. Definitely a joy to write. And by the way, I’m currently working on her book, which will be a sequel to Giving It Up.

Please share with us who or what is the antagonist of your story.

Love this question!

There are a few different villains in the book, but probably the most obvious one is the person who caused Allie’s hurt in the past—Jacob. This is hinted at in the blurb, so I’ll go ahead and spell it out. Jacob and Allie were best friends, but in a moment of weakness and fear, he raped her. He comes back into her life early in the book and causes trouble. I don’t want to give it away, but suffice it to say, he’s not your traditional villain. Or maybe he is, but I don’t treat him that way and neither does Allie.

This is not a book where all the bad guys are pure evil and end up dead or strung up by their balls. Neither is this a book where all the good guys are sweet and innocent and end up with rainbows at the end of the story. I think life is more ambiguous than that and I also think that readers are smarter than that.

What was one of the most interesting things you learned in researching your book?

This wasn’t exactly while doing research, but while exchanging critiques in a writing group. A woman got upset while reading my first chapter and told me that no one would ever react that way. No one who ever was raped would want to seek out rough sex. It shouldn’t have surprised me that someone would think that so vehemently, but it did. I mean, I know that rape victims do react that way, in real life, all the time. Rape victims are people too. They act in all sorts of ways! But this was something I just knew intrinsically that a woman might do, maybe because she felt low about her self worth, maybe she was repeating the experience in a bid to reclaim control over her body.

That woman’s comment that Allie’s behavior was impossible, never happens stuck with me. It stuck with me when I consulted a psychologist about Allie’s behavior to make sure it made sense (it did). It stuck with me when people tell me that they loved the book and found it deep and moving. It stuck with me when people say it’s too much, too real, too painful. And it was with me when I got an email from a reader who said she did the exact same thing as Allie for the same reasons.

Through it all, I’m thinking: I need to write this book, I have to get it out there. Because people understand that this happens, that victim can behave in different ways and it doesn’t undermine their victim status. It doesn’t mean they deserve what happened to them. It doesn’t ruin their chances of a happy ending. There’s hope.

Tell us a little bit about your hero and who makes his perfect other half. :)

Colin, sigh. The thing about him is that he’s naturally a taciturn kind of guy, and this book is told entirely from Allie’s perspective. So we are along for the ride as Allie has to judge him by what he does say, and more importantly, by his actions. Should she trust him? Why does he care about her? These are questions that don’t have a definite answer in real life, and they don’t here either. We can never really know another person, and that’s what makes trust so hard… and so valuable.

Originally Allie is drawn to Colin because he looks rough. He’s got rugged features and cold demeanor. He even tells Allie that he’s a mean son of a bitch. However…. he also treats her gently. He wants to know her and help her. He’s always there for her. And this is the ultimate for me: he doesn’t try to change her. I think it would be easy for a hero to come in and want to make Allie into the innocent, but he doesn’t do that. He wants to fix her problems, not fix her. And to me, that is so freaking hot.

Can you leave readers with a little teaser from GIVING IT UP?

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.

Author Bio:
Amber Lin loves to read angsty romance with plenty of sex, so it was no surprise that her debut book turned out to be erotic romance set against a dark urban landscape. She writes with one rule in mind: it has to get worse before it can get better. She lives with her husband, son and passel of puppy dogs in the great state of Texas.

Where can readers find you on the web?

Website: http://authoramberlin.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/authoramberlin
Book website (and trailer): http://givingitupbook.com/

Giveaway Details:

  • One randomly drawn winner from each blog will receive a Giving It Up Swag Pack, which includes romance trading cards, a signed cover flat, a signature soap bar for showers together handcrafted by AnaBanana Creations and a $10 Amazon gift card.
  • One randomly drawn commenter on the tour will win an erotic romance prize pack, including paperback copies of Bared to You by Sylvia Day, Simply Carnal by Kate Pearce, Lessons in Letting Go by Cara McKenna (print combo of Willing Victim and Curio), Comfort Object by Annabel Joseph, a collection of signed Giving It Up swag AND a $50 Amazon Gift Card (BN.com or All Romance may be substituted).
  • Please leave a meaningful comment or question for Amber, along with your broken up email addy.
  • Contest is open the duration of the tour and a winner will be randomly selected and notified.

 

Tour Stops:

The tour dates can be found here:  http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2012/05/virtual-book-tour-giving-it-up-by-amber.html