I’ve always enjoyed the theater. Becoming someone new when my real self was too shy to show. I never wanted to be a starlet, but I adored a sliver of the limelight and this is how I met Amber. Amber and I were in the summer theater camp program at Mineral Area College. She noticed I had a manga one day and we just started talking, bonding over our gushing otaku loves. We both later found out we went to Farmington, which was great. When I was a senior, she was a freshman and we had, get this, Drama I together! HA! I was one of two seniors in the class, all other freshmen, but I feel to this day that Amber was taking care of me, nurturing me. We did a lot of group projects together (Walk like an Egyptian anyone?) and she introduced me to the other ladies in her trio and she always made sure to invite me to her sleepovers and parties. Her mother was fun, upbeat, and just as accepting of my shyness as Amber. I recall her making a tent for us to sleep in and I watched Howl’s Moving Castle for the first time that night, sleeping outside (also a first for me), she made me biscuits and gravy for the first time and I saw Eragon in the first row of the movies, the first time I was in the main row as Amber dragged me along by the wrist, giddy and dressed up…
Huh… Now that I think about it, I owe Amber a lot of firsts. She expanded my box and allowed me to have adventures, experience the world more without me leaving my comfort zone, something so hard to do. Her heart is as golden as her hair, accepting and overflowing with fun, uniqueness, and love. Amber, thanks for never letting me sink into the background due to my monster known as fear while so many others have; although being three years younger than me, I will always consider you a sempai and a dear friend. I am glad I inspired fanfiction for you, made you smile with my kimono when we went trick-or-treating in high school (with that fun haunted house your mom crafted), adoring my Fruits Baskets plushies, along with other anime fandoms, and, above all, always being my singing partner for this one song (she even wrote it in my senior year book):
“She’s gonna to ask me something…On Edgar Allen Poe. I know, I just know it! Any moment now, she’s gonna call on me and ask me something I don’t know. On Edgar. Allen. POE!”
May I present the lovely and talented soon to be starlet of a bright destiny, Ms. Amber Gonz:
August Aspiring Author Spotlight Questions
- When you wake up in the morning, how do you see life?
I see it as a challenge with its good days and its bad days. I take it one day at a time.
- How did writing find its way into your life?
I’ve always been a story teller and one day in my sixth grade English class we were watching a video on writers and it just sort of hit me.
- What does writing do for you?
It’s a sort of therapy. It allows me to work thru issue that I have now and the ones from my past that aren’t easily addressed.
- What sort of genre or type of writing do you do?
I used to think strictly fantasy, but now that I’ve begun to delve into the LGBTQ story world I’m beginning to write some realistic fiction.
- Do events in your life or people you know affect your writing?
They do to an extent. It helps when you’re thinking of characters then and you can’t think of one to base it off people you know.
- What are you currently work on or what was the last thing you wrote?
I have few things in the works one is a steampunk inspired series with the main character based loosely on Mary Queen of Scots and one about an Anthropologist who does ethnography on gang life and she ends up meeting a girl gangster and falling in love with her.
- Can you tell us a little about it and its inspiration?
The first one was inspired when I watched the movie Elizabeth and I started to wonder about Mary’s side of her accusation and since I am very into the pop culture phenomena called Steampunk I figured why not write it. The second one is just inspired by what little experience of ethnography I have done in school and the fact that I’ve never really heard of anyone doing anthropology of gangs before and I thought the love story premises would make for a good and dramatic story.
- What are your goals for the future?
Eventually I want to teach Anthropology, but before that I want to get ordain and possible become a military Chaplin and continue fieldwork and writing as I can.
- What are your interests or hobbies?
Writing of course, I also enjoy ethnography attending my local Unitarian Universalist church and of course reading
- If you could be a superhero, what are your powers and how would you use them to help the world?
This is a tough one. I think I would have the powers to control the elements and I would probably close to captain planet and a champion for the environment.
- What advice would you give people who want to write?
Start off small don’t jump right into to writing a book. Write poetry then progress from there. Don’t worry if it’s really cheese everyone starts out that way.
- If you could be remembered for one thing or thought, what would it be?
How caring I am because I do care a lot probably more than I should.
Example of work:
Sixteen is a time of celebration for most girls. It means they are finally accepted as an adult. They have fancy coming out parties with dancing, feasts and young eligible men of their age. They are told that after this their lives are meant to change. Marriage would be one of those changes.
As the eldest daughter of the Emperor I was told my life would be marring a young man of noble blood who my father felt worthy of me. As a young child I thought that meant someone who he felt worthy of ruling our country of New Jerusalem. However that changed as I grew and began to see that father had intended for my younger sister Elizabeth to take over on the occasion of his death. At first this thought caused me great pain. As I grew older and realized how much father and Elizabeth were alike it began to make sense. I could only hope that this man he chose for my marriage was at least kindhearted.
I knew of several suitable suitors of the various noble houses. Most of them I know are interested in me at a least a small level. I can’t say I am interested in them though. If I have to be in an arranged marriage I would at least want to approve of my match. I feel I am at least entitled to that if nothing else. As that time approached this idea was starting to fade.
My mother being the woman I know her to be knew how to play father’s games and she knew at some point I would have to learn how to the play his games too. If not because I wanted to, but because I had to. It was a means of survival in our world. My mother knew that more than anyone.
She always used to tell me Mary you know we have to put on this act give the illusion we do not understand what is going on in the political world. This gives your father and the other noble men the idea we do not care about such things. When in reality we are getting what we want slyly this gives us the ability to have a hand in almost every decision they make. However I don’t think she had a hand in picking my future out that was the one thing father would stop at nothing to get his way.
I could see it in his cold dark eyes. The way his voice seemed to perk whenever he thought about the day he could throw my life into someone else’s hands. I’m not going to say I hated him, but I certainly wasn’t jumping for joy when we were forced to be together. Most of the time I just held my head up high and held it together just long enough to give the appearance we were a happy family.
Being the royal family we had to give the illusion of happiness. We stand as an example of what each family in the empire should be a unit and strong. When in truth we are the exact opposite. I cannot remember how old I was the first time I saw my parents fighting, but I think I was about five years old. nanny brought us back from town earlier than planned.
“I’m gonna go see mommy,” I said letting go of nanny’s hand and started up the stair case.
“Your royal highness no come back please,” I couldn’t hear the desperation in her voice as if she knew; “I’ll get her for you.”
“No I want to surprise her myself,” I stuck my tongue out at her as I continued up the stairs.
It was not until I got to the top of the stairs that I saw them. They were standing outside one of father’s rooms and their voices were raised, but at the same time quite. I stood there unnoticed for the most part. After a while a lady came out of the room and quickly hurried past me as mother threw something in her direction. I had to duck to avoid whatever it was she threw. By the time I had returned to see what mother and father were fighting about is when I heard it.
Father had pushed her up against a wall. She tried to push him off, but it was obvious that he was too strong for her. I stood there unable to move I did not know what was going on or how I could help. The best I did was run screaming to them. Not realizing or not caring he threw me against the opposite wall. Once mother saw what had happened she had the strength the push him off and get to me or so she told me once I woke up a few days later. I could tell that was not the whole truth given the bruises she tried to hide with makeup I could see.
It’s been over ten years since that incident and not much has changed except father has begun to treat me in similar way. He mostly just constantly reminds me that he is in control of my life and not matter what I do he will always be so. I usually just take his comments and put on a brave face as to not incur any backlash. Although with my future hanging in the balance I have become a little more fretful.
The one escape I have is that I am allowed to read. Surprisingly father encouraged it. I guess it makes him look a little more progressive in the eyes of the people, but I jumped at this allotted freedom. I loved the worlds that I could read about in books. I could spend days reading about valiant knights saving princess or learn more about the history of New Jerusalem. Every day was an adventure.
“What are is the princess in your fairy story being save from this time” I looked up from my book to see Katrina cleaning my room’s hearth. Katrina had worked for my family for most of her life. She started on when I was really small. After the incident with my parents nanny refused to take care of both me and Elizabeth so Katrina took on that role. She was like a second mother too me.
“If you must know Katrina this one has a female heroine thank you very much,”
“There is no need to take that tone of voice with me Your Highness,” I could tell she was rather amused. Katrina normally was amused by my jokes and she normally presented her own banter back. “Well what sort of story is that a female is the heroine? I do not think such stories suitable for a young lady to read.”
“It’s the story of Atlanta the Greek one not that horrid Roman remake,” I curled my nose at the thought of it. I hated the Roman myths on principle since all they did was merely change the names of the Greek deities and hero’s. They could have at least changed some aspects of their stories in order for them to make it a little more unique.
Once I begun to read I realized that we took things from the tribal peoples of what was once known as Europe in order to create Catholicism. However once the war broke out everything got out of hand. What started out as a war against the country formerly known as Great Britain and its colonies in America became a war involving all of Europe. Benjamin Franklin went over to France in order to gain support of the French Aristocrats. He was so successful that they sent troops to not only America, but they sent troops to attack island Great Britain was located on. Once this happened every nation rallied to its allies and took sides and it lasted until the founders of New Jerusalem came together and created the treaty that ended the war.
I loved thinking about these brave men. They came together despite all odds in the name of a common goal. They were ultimately successful and a shining empire was born. They called it New Jerusalem because it would be founded on the ideas of what the Messiah would have wanted. They had to recreate everything from the ground up. Their new state placed high emphasis on religion and politics.
The founders chose my ancestor Julius I as their new leader. He installed each of the men who signed the treaty a spot in high regard in this new empire. From these appointments he created the imperial class of our society. For a great many years the noble people of our nation lived in peace with the common people. That is until the reign of Edward IV.
He was a notorious womanizer, so no one was really surprised when he found to have mistress. What was surprising was that she came from the common people. She was a member of the Bohemian tribe Wicce of the Spider Clan. According to the history books this particular clan had never really given the empire any trouble until that point. It came a shock to almost everyone in the empire including Edward IV.
Edward claimed that because one of his greatest allies in the Bohemian world tried to kill him and his entire family that the Bohemian tribes shall be forever void of citizenship in the empire and that they are to have not official cities or communicate in anyway with any true citizen of the empire. Breaking this law meant execution for the Bohemian without a trial and a trial and then an execution for any citizen of the empire. You occasionally heard of tales when people were executed. Most of the time they were the biggest news in the entire empire even if something else is going on that some would deem more important. Father and his imperials told us that we had to do this in order to insure peace. It’s true we have maintained peace since that day, so in some cruel an odd way it might actually have achieved keeping the peace.
I remember the last time an execution of this nature had happened was during my sixteenth year. The first execution took place almost instantly. I remember watching as a young bohemian boy was forced onto the stake. He had been caught in the bed of a noble’s daughter. The girl was one of my friends. I couldn’t believe it. I felt so much remorse for her. I spent days crying about it.
“Be strong your highness. You must be for her. She wouldn’t want your last sight of her to be hazy because of your tears,” Katrina always had a way of trying to help me see the light in the darkest of situations.
“I know I will try to be strong,” I raised my head. She opened her arms and I went into them without hesitation.
Our embrace was cut short because of a noise from down the hall. I could see the look on Katrina’s face was that of worry. She hurried and proceeded in the direction of the noise. I wanted to follow her, but was unsure as to what the noise was. She could be in danger. What if she was in danger? I couldn’t let anything hurt her.
I got up and quickly followed her. From what I could tell she was headed toward the kitchens. Why would she be headed that way? We were not meant to get food for hours. The weirdest part is that she broke off and went into one of the unused pantries. The only time anyone ever went in there was when a royal wedding or birth was about to take place.
I stood in the door way and listened. She was not alone I could tell that, but she seemed to know the intruders. That was the odd part. Could Katrina be involved with the Bohemian rebels? Why would she be was the true question? She had the life ever lady’s maid in the country wanted.
“Will you two keep quite?” she said in a hushed voice, “I heard you from all the way up in Princess Mary’s room.”
“I’m sorry, but he insisted on keeping the lights out,” a female voice said.
“Axel was right you should keep the lights out, but you should also let your eyes adjust to the darkness before you go jumping into things Arabeth.”
“That’s what I told her,” this was a male voice. He must have been the one they called Axel.
“I wanted to make sure we were in the right pantry,” Arabeth said, “I would hate for us to get caught and then Katrina would lose her job.”
“You’re in the right pantry,” Katrina was getting furious now I could tell by the way her voice seemed to raise, “now hurry before you get caught.”
I started to back away without looking behind me. That was when I knocked something over. The loud bang it made frightened the pantry dwellers. I heard footsteps coming out of the pantry. I was not surprised to see Katrina standing in front of me.
“Your highness, I can explain,” her voice was weak. I’m sure she felt that I would report her to father.
“I am just going to go back to my room Katrina and I want your friends gone within the hour. If they are I will say nothing to anyone,” I had never taken that tone with Katrina before. I was surprised I had it in me.
About the Author:
Amber is a student at Southeast Missouri State University. She is currently studying Anthropology and English Writing with a minor in Religion Studies. She enjoys reading, watching tv and YouTube and of course writing. She is an active member of Tri-Sigma Beta Xi chapter. She recently became engaged to her best friend is getting married sometime next year.