Thursday, October 15, 2015

Book Spotlight + Giveaway: Dream On, Amber by Emma Shevah

As promised, I have another book spotlight for you!

My favorite part of book spotlights is the fact that I get to draw your attention to books of all different age levels and genres. Sometimes my reviews get a little trapped in one area for a while, but with spotlights I can show you things that are on my radar. Even if I haven't gotten to them yet. Are you ready for some Middle Grade goodness? I hope so!

My name is Ambra Alessandra Leola Kimiko Miyamoto. But call me Amber. I have no idea why my parents gave me all those hideous names but they must have wanted to ruin my life, and you know what? They did an amazing job.

As a half-Japanese, half-Italian girl with a ridiculous name, Amber’s not feeling molto bene (very good) about making friends at her new school.

But the hardest thing about being Amber is that a part of her is missing. Her dad. He left when she was little and he isn’t coming back. Not for her first day of middle school and not for her little sister’s birthday. So Amber will have to dream up a way for the Miyamoto sisters to make it on their own.
Now, who can resist this premise? Amber's worry over fitting in at her new school is exactly what most middle graders go through. And how many of those also are missing their fathers? This book is on my radar because it sounds poignant, fun, and adorable. Are you adding it to yours?

Find it on:

Did you think up the character Amber first or the setting and plot of the story? 
Tell us about how Dream, On Amber came together. 

Well, in the first draft, the main character was boy called Shilo, and when I signed the publishing contract, it was for a book called ‘Dream Dad’ about Shilo and Bella. After I met and talked to my editor and we started working on the book, there came a point where the publishing team suggested we change Shilo to a girl. I wasn’t sure about it at all and neither was my editor (my kids were incensed and insisted I shouldn’t do it) but I rewrote a chapter, called her Amber and liked her. She was feisty. She was strong (even though she was weak and feeble). We need more girls like her! So Amber certainly didn’t come first. The subject matter did really. When I was a child, there were no books about fathers leaving and the loss, pain and anger a child feels so I felt a strong urge to make sure that kind of book existed. I wanted to say, yeah, I know you feel furious and sad and confused – I did too. But instead of focusing on the hole left behind, I wanted to fill that hole with something positive. My father left and I never knew him and when I went to find him when I was eighteen, I discovered he’d died a long time before. It crushed me, and once, a few years ago, I sat on my bed, sobbing my heart out, and imagined my father was sitting on the end of my bed. So I spoke to him, you know, in my head, and that’s where the idea for Dream Dad came from. I didn’t imagine my father in capes, costumes or stripy socks, though. That’s just Amber. She’s weird like that, whereas when I talk to people who aren’t there, it’s all perfectly normal.

Emma Shevah is half-Irish and half-Thai born and raised in London. She has lived in Australia, Japan, India (her first child was born in the Himalayas) and Jerusalem before moving back to the UK. Emma has busked as a fire-juggler, been a restaurant manager, a copy writer, an English teacher, and is now a blogger and author.
Find her at: Website | Twitter

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