Amber Lough

Young Adult Fantasy Author

How do you pronounce your name?

It rhymes with “dough.”

What did you do in the Air Force?

I was an Intelligence Officer for five years, which sounds sexier than it really was. I was an analyst, which meant I read a lot of what was going on in whatever region I was supposed to focus on, and then I tried to discern what would happen next. It was a bit like being a fortune teller, without the cool scarves and Tarot cards.

What languages do you speak?

English, Japanese, and some Russian. I'm currently learning German, and with each new word of German I seem to forget a Russian word.

What sorts of books did you love the most when you were a teenager?

I read anything I could get my hands on. I spent my early teen years in Bahrain, and our library was designed more for sailors than teen girls. I read any and all fantasy and sci-fi I could find, plus some historical fiction and some classics. For some reason, I avoided anything contemporary or too-real, and I still tend to be this way. I also read loads of nonfiction books on anthropology, the ancient world, and foreign cultures.

Is The Fire Wish the first book you’ve written?

Nope. I wrote another book, but it was historical fiction instead of fantasy, and set in New Zealand.

Why did you write a book set in the Middle East when you don’t speak Arabic?

I don’t speak Arabic...yet. Actually, when I set out to write this book, I thought long and hard about what sorts of books I wanted to read but couldn’t find. I love the art, the history, and the culture of the Middle East, and I wanted to really get myself into the thick of it. Most of all, I love fairy tales and folk tales, and I wanted to work with something set deep within our social consciousness, and then make it my own. And who doesn’t love something different?

Are you ever going to write a book set in Japan or Russia?

I’m sure I will. I’ve got an idea for a book set in Japan, but nothing based on my own experiences. And as for Russia and Germany...oh yes. I’m going there. Don’t worry.