Writing forces me to keep learning, face new challenges (every novel’s a unique puzzle to build and solve at the same time), and grow as an empathetic person every time I look through a new set of eyes.
A member of the Writers’ League for three years, Amber Royer lives in Dallas.
Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?
Amber Royer: I write comic space opera, which means it’s science fiction where character development trumps everything else. I’ve also dabbled in writing about time travel, virtual reality, lovesick AIs, and robot dogs.
Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them?
AR: Mark Twain. His travelogues are both hilarious and personal (though no one seems to know — or care — which parts are actually true). I would ask him what it was really like to travel in the late 1800’s and what real events were too weird, sad, or boring to put into the books. I love to travel, too, and I think it would be amazing to take one of his books and go some of the same places to see how the world — and people’s perceptions of it — have changed. I play around a lot with history in my own writing, and in the “Chocoverse” (the universe for the book I have coming out this summer) there is a race of long-lived aliens where individuals alive in my protagonist’s time could have overlapped the later years of Twain’s lifespan.
Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?
AR: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. That way I could just read back over the descriptions of the Guide’s cover: large friendly letters that say Don’t Panic. Because I have no idea how to build a boat or a short-wave radio. So if I’m on a deserted island, I’m pretty much doomed. Wait. Can I change my answer to a guide on how to build boats and short-wave radios out of driftwood and coconut husks?
Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?
AR: How many amazing writers there are in Texas — and how supportive they are of each other’s goals.
Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?
AR: My debut novel has just been released, with a second one to follow next year. I’ve also got a couple of other projects in the works. They all have one thing in common: a sense of fun, while playing with standard science fiction tropes. Hemingway said, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” Every writing project makes a writer stronger, and I’ve got quite a few stored safely out of sight on my hard drive. I’ve been teaching Creative Writing for about a decade now, and I’ve learned something from each of my students. Writing forces me to keep learning, face new challenges (every novel’s a unique puzzle to build and solve at the same time), and grow as an empathetic person every time I look through a new set of eyes. Writing helps decrease stress and increase mental agility, so I see it as helping to keep me balanced.
Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down?
AR: I write science fiction, but I read in a number of genres, and when I think Texas writers who use Texas as a setting effectively, the China Bayles mystery series by Susan Wittig Albert comes to mind. China owns a herb shop in rural Texas, so she’s alert to Texas plants in her surroundings – and they often serve as clues. This series is a cosy where you are guaranteed to learn something about botany. I’m a few books behind, but the twenty-sixth in the series just came in April.
Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion!
AR: My debut novel, Free Chocolate was released on June 5, 2018 from Angry Robot Books, and the launch party is on June 7 (that’s tonight!) at Interabang Books! Telenovela meets Space Opera in a galactic battle to control the only thing Earth has that a hungry galaxy wants: chocolate. Bo Benitez, former paparazzi princess and daughter of Earth’s most famous celebrity chef, gets caught in the middle. Barnes and Noble’s SFF blog named it one of the top 25 SFF debuts to watch in 2018.
If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!