IndieView with Amber D. Tran, Author of Moon River

I always know the beginning and end of a story before I start writing it. Then I fill in the middle with some conflicts, rising action, falling action, and humor.

Amber D. Tran – 13 June 2017

The Back Flap

In this debut novel from author Amber D. Tran, a tale of adolescence and heartbreak unfolds. Nine-year-old Abigail Kavanagh first meets Ryan Mills during the summer of 1999. A shy and awkward boy, Ryan hides behind his wide-framed glasses while Abigail is determined to learn everything there is to know about him. The next few summers are filled with birthday parties, adventures in and around the West Virginian mountainsides, and late night conversations where they share their most secretive and personal thoughts.

Their friendship starts to crumble when Abigail befriends the attractive and musical Lilly Anderson, a girl who is also interested in uncovering the mysterious nature surrounding Ryan. However, everything comes to an end the summer of 2004, and Abigail must decide if her new journey is worth traveling alone.

A novel that takes place in a small town in northern West Virginia, Moon River is a story that exploits the brutal honesty in growing up fast, loving too young, and losing too soon.

About the book

What is the book about?

Moon River is about two children growing up together in northern West Virginia. The novel is inspired by true events of my life, so it was interesting reliving some of my favorite memories.

When did you start writing the book?

I started writing the book the spring of 2013.

How long did it take you to write it?

From start to finish, from typing the very first word to finalizing my editor’s comments, it took about four years to write Moon River.

Where did you get the idea from?

The idea was inspired by my life growing up in West Virginia after meeting a boy on the bus. Once I talked to some friends and family, they were eager to learn that I was writing a book about him.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

Absolutely! The ending of my book was very difficult to write. I won’t give away any spoilers, but it took a lot tears and courage to finish the book on a positive note.

What came easily?

The dialogue of my book came easy. I enjoyed documenting the southern drawl of my friends, my family, and myself. Readers have shared with me that they thought the dialogue to be authentic and to help place the setting of the novel.

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

Since Moon River is inspired by true events, all of the characters are based on real people in my life. There is one composite character that encompasses up to five different people.

We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?

I have been influenced by the likes of Jo Ann Beard, Kelly Braffet, Kerry Cohen, and Jennifer Armintrout. While I was in college, a few of my friends compared the tone of my writing to that of Beard’s, which was one of the best compliments I have ever received.

Do you have a target reader?

I do not really have a target reader. Moon River is a blend of Young Adult/New Adult, so perhaps my target reader is between the age of 12-18.

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

I always know the beginning and end of a story before I start writing it. Then I fill in the middle with some conflicts, rising action, falling action, and humor.

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

I only outline the beginning and the end. I have tried using outlines before, but I hated sticking to something so definitive and concrete. I prefer to let the story carry me rather than forcing myself to stick with a program.

Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?

I edit as I go, and I also edit at least five times after I have finished a piece of work. Editing is crucial to writing. I also have a friend read my work before I submit it to journals and/or publishers.

Did you hire a professional editor?

My publisher’s editor reviewed Moon River. She was so helpful and insightful. I owe her a lot of credit for the fluidity of my novel.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

I love listening to music when I write! Music from my childhood really inspires me to write. Some of my favorite songs are by The Offspring, Ai Maeda, The Veronicas, P.O.D., and System of a Down. (That last one is strange, I know.)

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

I submitted my work to over 75 different agents. In the end, I only heard back from three of them, two of which were Declines.

What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

I went with a small publisher because they focused on work by females in the Appalachian area. Since I was born and raised in West Virginia, and since my novel takes place in West Virginia, I fit their mold and they were eager to see my full manuscript.

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?

Tara Sizemore designed the cover of my book. I gave her a concept and she went right to work! She captured my cover so well that I cried when I first saw it.

Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

I try to stay relevant on social media and at local events. I tweet often, I share pictures on Instagram, I post at least once a week on Facebook, and I attend as many book festivals and book signings as possible. The community has been very supportive of me.

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?

Do not become discouraged if you are declined by a publisher. It happens to everyone. You must remain confident in yourself and your work and proceed with resilience.

About You

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in the small town of Hundred, West Virginia.

Where do you live now?

I currently live in Madison, Alabama.

What would you like readers to know about you?

I have been writing since I was in the 5th grade. Oh! And I met my husband in a Dragon Ball Z chatroom! Talk about a love story.

End of Interview:

Get your copy of Moon River from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

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