Amber Love is not necessarily a comic book artist per se but she has been involved with writing webcomics as a guest writer. Love also has a podcast called Vodka O’Clock. She also interviews people from the arts and entertainment world, which is pretty cool.
What was the first thing that you were proud of drawing/writing?
My first comic Holyoak was the first time I had more pride in accomplishing something up to that point. It was part of a collaboration and part of a larger class project anthology so it felt like people were really interested in supporting each other. Opening the box and seeing it in print was fantastic! In prose work, it was getting into impressive anthologies like Protectors volume 2 edited by Thomas Pluck was an unreal experience; my name is in a book with Harlan Ellison and Joyce Carol Oates along with a lot of my dear friends in the creative world.
What are you working on now?
The only comic project I have at the moment is a story that’s gone through so many revisions, it’s been several years in the making of a one-shot. It’s a historical fiction that became a supernatural historical fiction script. I honestly haven’t worked on scripts in quite some time in order to focus on my novels.
Who has influenced you the most as an artist?
What’s been emotional for me as a new novelist is that several advanced readers and even an agent, who I consider a friend, told me that female characters shouldn’t use foul language in my genre of choice (mysteries); the readers at large would be off-put by it and it’s “just not done” that way. So, I look to comics, in particular Bitch Planet, and my response is maintaining the status quo is not a valid work process for me. I’m not taking away from the demure female protagonists out there; Jessica Fletcher is my favorite character of all time! All I want is to add some realism to the book shelf — and sorrynotsorry, but I curse up a storm in real life. I’m a big ol’ proponent for understanding rules but knowing it’s fine to break them when it doesn’t do any harm. Bitch Planet’s team shows non-compliants like myself that we’re okay to exist regardless of genre and medium.
Who is your favorite female superhero/villain/comic book character?
In contemporary works, it’s Penny Rolle from Bitch Planet. Athena Voltaire is always on my list of favorites too and I even got to write her which was unbelievable. Classically, I always loved Rogue and Firestar.
Do you think people expect a certain type of art from you since you are female?
Absolutely! It’s 2016 and women are still disguising their identities with gender neutral names. As I said, if a male creator writes a female character that swears, she’s called badass and strong; as a woman, I was told “that’s just not done” and it’s total bullshit.
How often do you go to comic book conventions? Do you enjoy conventions?
I usually go to at least two comic conventions a year and then try to hit some other subculture ones like Steampunk World’s Fair. I used to enjoy it a lot more a few years ago, but things have changed drastically for me in my personal life and with my health, so as much as there’s a longing for me to want to go to cons, I’m usually better off not considering them, especially giant cons. I love small shows so much more.
Introvert or Extrovert?
I’ve always had issues with these labels because I don’t think they’re accurate and come off limited. I was called an extrovert most of my adult life even though all those tests you can take would say I’m in an introvert. Based on what seems to be the accepted definitions of them, I’d say I’m an introvert. I do love my chance in the spotlight, but I need serenity more and more to prepare and recover from even basic daily functions.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I love podcasts and memoirs on audio book. People who have listened to my show Vodka O’Clock know that I’m not a regular Stephen King reader, but I love his writing advice. He’s motivational and honest. I also love the real stories of women who found their true calling and success defeating the odds like Malala Yousafzai and Jennie Lawson — two extremely different women that have made huge impacts on other people.
What do you do if you have writer’s block?
I don’t believe writers need to write every day. That only works for some people. I can’t do it. There are days when all I can manage are showering and putting on clean clothes. On a bad writer’s block day, as long as I’m up and about, I’ll put on interviews with authors or audio memoirs. If that doesn’t work (and it often isn’t enough), I’ve learned to forgive myself for not having a productive writing day. Sometimes my brain needs to tune out and marathon Netflix or take on a different kind of task like sewing or cleaning. If I get stuck on the plot, I usually ask friends or even throw questions out on Twitter in the #amwriting #help tags.
Have you had any interesting or awkward experiences since you’ve been an artist/writer?
I think rejection is an awkward experience! However, it’s something you have to learn to live with as a creator. More awkward was when my mother read my novel that’s now available, Cardiac Arrest, and she said she couldn’t read any more of my stuff because there’s too much “me” in it. She’s one of only two people that read the previous manuscript that I tossed out years ago and eventually pulled pieces from to make Cardiac Arrest and she said the same thing back then. I see her point. There are all these characters and each one is so blatantly exposing something about myself. She’s a great proofreader so I hoped that she would be my first round editor, but I guess that’s not going to happen.
Beverage of choice?
Melitta Enchanted Evening coffee, Cosmos, and Sidecars. Otherwise, filtered water.
When was the last time that you dressed up for Halloween?
Halloween is sacred for me so half the time I’m either in ceremonial garb or fancier dress regular clothes. I haven’t donned a real costume for Halloween in several years. It used to be a big deal in my house, especially as someone who cosplays, but I’ve scaled back and want to stick with wearing anything that’s self expressive as opposed to being a character (at least for the time being).
What do you want people to know about you?
I’m never going to be the kind of author that only posts about where to buy my books. My feeds are brutally honest and genuine accounts of what my life is like and that includes living with mental health issues and personal problems. My Patreon (amberunmasked) is there to help me make a living because I’ve even stepped back from most of my modeling jobs that required me to drive far and were tough physically. The best thing anyone can do is support me at Patreon directly or share links and write reviews. Even a review that meets the minimum word count on Good Reads or Amazon can help. Amazon is programmed to pay more attention to titles with reviews.