Tuesday 1 April 2014

A-Z Challenge: A is for Amber

Amber was my first published work with its own cover, so it seems like a good way to start my A-Z Challenge!

Blurb: Anthony was a painter until he lost the ability to see color. Worse than color blindness, the edges of objects and people blur together, making it almost impossible for Anthony to interact with anyone or anything. After retreating from the world for decades, he sees a glimpse of yellow that leads him to a musician, Teague.

At first Anthony is frightened and overwhelmed by the color, but he can’t stay away from Teague for long. He finds the courage to confront Teague and explain his unusual problem and Teague’s role in helping him. To Anthony’s relief, Teague believes him. Very quickly, they both realize that getting colors back may be more important to Anthony than his relationship with Teague. If Anthony pushes too hard, he’ll lose Teague, and possibly the colors, forever. 

Genres: M/M, Contemporary

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Here's a little bit about how and why I wrote Amber:

I had decided I wanted to write a Color Box story called Amber, and had actually begun (and subsequently abandoned) a completely different idea with the same title. And then, bam! The story that became Amber sprang, almost fully formed, into my head. Then all I had to do was write it down. (Easier said than done!) My wife is an artist, so it’s not too much of a surprise that this is the direction my muse led me.

If I had to use only one word to describe writing Amber, it would be ‘synchronicity’.
While writing it (not at the same time, but between writing sessions), I was watching Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender. When I got to the episode The Guru, I was completely stunned. Without any conscious effort on my part, the way Anthony got each color back perfectly matched its Chakra site. It also helped me figure out how he would get the colors I hadn’t written yet, sticking with the Chakra theme.

Little side note: there are two scenes in the story I didn’t realize were connected until I was editing. Shortly after meeting Teague, Anthony has a vision of Teague standing in a shower of golden raindrops. When Anthony and Teague make up, Teague is eating a dripping yellow ice cream treat. And I swear I didn’t have any idea I was echoing the earlier scene when I wrote it! (My wife, of course, knew the whole time and thought I had repeated the imagery on purpose. If only I’d been able to convincingly pretend that I meant to write it that way. I would have come off as brilliant. Instead, flailing. Don’t believe me? How cool would it have been if I’d intentionally set out to have a color/chakra connection. Sadly, it took a really, really obvious nudge for me to notice what I was doing.)

The fortune teller didn't originally have a name, and when I decided to give her one, the name Madam Andromeda popped into my head. Because I'm an etymology/name meanings freak, I had to look up what it meant. The meaning, "leader of men", was eerily spot-on! 

Bonus: a song about chakras from Avatar. 

And, this is Teague’s favorite color

As far as I know, there is no condition where a person wakes up and can longer see colour, so there's that tiny bit of fantasy in Amber. Anthony thinks the fortune-teller cursed him, but I don't think she did. I think she just saw it coming and told him. But not even I know! I'd love to hear your interpretations. 

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