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Author Interview: Amber Perez Chats about Lexi’s Cup of Tea

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Get ready to learn more about the book Lexi’s Cup of Tea in this discussion with sapphic author Amber Perez.

Join us for an exclusive peek behind the scenes as we quiz Amber Perez about Lexi’s Cup of Tea, writing, reading, and more.

This book is part of the Set in Australia / New Zealand category in the 2024 IHS Reading Challenge.

Why did you write Lexi’s Cup of Tea?

After introducing Lexi in my debut novel, Shay’s Gamble, I just knew she needed her own story. I had quite a few readers reach out to me asking about where Lexi would end up. I fell in love with her as a character and her story just took over my life until I wrote it! This one was fun to write for me because it was my first time presenting more of the playful side of a sexual relationship.

Who is your favorite character in the book?

Honestly, I think Van became my favorite character in this one. Without giving too much of the story away, she really grows as a character and realizes what she truly wants in life. I think she’s similar to me in that she was very worried about her family’s reaction to her sexuality. She starts out as a bit of a womanizer and that’s definitely different from my life!

How did you come up with the title for your book?

Lexi is from Australia and drinks a lot of tea! I was contemplating a few different titles and I came up with the scene where Lexi is speaking to a friend and mentions not knowing if someone is her “cup of tea”. Right then I knew I found my title.

If you’re planning a sequel, can you share a tiny bit about your plans for it?

Lexi’s Cup of Tea is the second book in the Worlds Apart Romance Series. Book three, Paisley’s Breakthrough, just released January 20th. This one focuses on Paisley, a friend of Shay’s and Lexi’s, a psychologist who goes through a very traumatic incident with a patient and struggles with the aftermath. She meets Rae, a paramedic, and they have to navigate the landscape of feelings in the wake of a tragedy and how trustworthy and genuine they may or may not be.

This one, while still having plenty of spicy scenes and light moments, deals with very serious issues. I felt the need to tackle some painful situations after I wrote a paper for my college Psychology class on the harms of conversion therapy. I’ve included a content warning at the beginning of this one, so please keep that in mind before reading.

What is your favorite line from your book?

“Rule Number Two: this is fun. It’s only fun and not meant to be anything else. We are doing friends with benefits. Bonk buddies. Casual sex. Call it whatever you want, but that is it and nothing more. Agreed?”

What is your writing process like?

I’m a big-time plotter! I research so much and make up entire lives for my characters, even though a lot of it never makes it to the page. Being a plotter works best for me because I have an outline and know where I want my story to go. As new scenes come to me, I’ll scan my outline and see where it would fit best. This is helpful because I’m constantly thinking of new situations I want my characters to get into, even if I’m not sure where it fits.

At times I wish I could function more as a pantser because I think that could make my process go faster. Right now, I’m going at a book a year pace. I do wish I could produce more quickly than I’m able.

Where do you usually write, and what do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?

I usually write while seated in my recliner in the living room at my house. I have fibromyalgia and really don’t get out and about very often. So, I relax in comfy clothes, set my lap desk up, and get to work. I have to have music playing softly in the background, Whitney Houston more often than not, and a steady supply of coffee!

I’m hoping to convert one of the bedrooms in my home to an actual office sometime this year. It would help out a lot with my writing and as I pursue college. I’ve already built up a pretty extensive collection of Snoopy items so I plan to decorate with those. I also want to include old books and images from lesbian pulp fiction.

Do you have a pet who helps/hinders your typing?

Ah, that would be Dory, my pittie! She just turned four on Christmas and is 70 pounds of cuddles and loves! She very much loves attention and is very protective of her momma. Usually she just relaxes near me while I’m writing and doesn’t really hinder the process. If we have an unexpected visitor, however, all bets are off because she will bark up a storm!! Not exactly conducive to creating.

Fun fact: Shay has two dogs in Lexi’s Cup of Tea, Aussie and Yank, and Yank is based on my Dory. Lexi spends a lot of time with the throughout the book. So, in that way, Dory was definitely an inspiration.

What has helped or hindered you most when writing a book?

I think, for me, the biggest help I’ve encountered in writing is the author community. I’ve been lucky enough to not only be engaged in sapphic author groups but also a very active all genre Discord group. I was actually invited to that one by a woman I graduated from high school with and it’s been the best thing for me. They answered ceaseless questions and pointed me in the direction of my amazing editor and wonderful formatter.

The biggest challenge for writing is school! I’m currently pursuing a degree in psychology (yes, I’m a 46 year old sophomore in college lol) and it’s been a challenge balancing schoolwork and writing time.

That’s why my plan going forward is to give my school time my all and write in my spare time as much as possible. I have a ton of story ideas, but for now I’m on a one book a year type schedule.

Have you ever cried when writing an emotional scene?

Oh my goodness, yes!! Without spoiling Shay’s Gamble, there is a scene involving Miss Leanne (the grandmother of Shay’s best friend) that was very emotional for me to write. I cried so hard while writing it and still do when I read it.

I think it was so emotional for me because I get so involved with my characters. They truly feel like real people to me so when they go through things, it’s like I’m walking through it with a friend or family member. My hope is that my readers feel that same connection to the characters in my books.

What type of books do you enjoy reading the most?

I must enjoy thriller/crime type books with a romantic subplot. I’ve loved those kind of books since my teen years. Now, I’m so lucky to have so many great sapohic books to choose from.

I do read mainstream fiction from time to time but since coming out in 2019, I really want to focus on enjoying stories about women also embracing and living their truth.

What books did you grow up reading?

I read pretty much anything I could get my hands on as a kid, including Stephen King at around age 8 (my parents had no clue, by the way)!! My favorites were the Nancy Drew mysteries, Agatha Christie, The Hardy Boys, Fear Street, and the list goes on and on. Like I said, I’d read anything available to me at the time.

I think being so open to different authors and genres has opened my mind up to wanting to write a wide array of things. While my stories will always be sapphic, I have ideas for all different genres and tropes.

Meet Amber Perez

Amber is a sapphic fiction writer. She grew up on the east coast but currently makes her home in Northern California. Amber faithfully cheers for the Dallas Cowboys during football season, regardless of their record. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys scrapbooking, planning her next tattoo and being an amateur grease monkey tinkering on her Jeep.

She is admittedly addicted to crime documentaries and single-handedly keeps the coffee industry afloat! Amber melts at the sight of anything Snoopy and tries to increase her collection at regular intervals.

Visit Amber’s Website

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Author Interview