...for readers who love animals, and animal lovers who read!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Interview with Author Amber Polo

Tell us a little about your journey as a writer.

I spent much of my life as a librarian surrounded by more books than I could ever read. After moving to Arizona I wrote two romances and then, looking around for a special story to tell, realized that I could combine my love of libraries, fantasy, and dogs. Besides, with the popularity of werewolves, why so few dog-shifters? Dogs have the wonderful noble qualities to be heroes and heroines.

Tell us a bit about your latest book.

Reprinted is the fourth in my Shapeshifters’ Library series. For centuries a magical race of shape-shifting dogs have protected the world’s libraries from evil book-burning werewolves. But when Chihuahua-shifter Pacifico Lopez, genius inventor of Zoogle, the world’s most powerful search engine, discovers a werewolf ebook pirate plot that threatens to destroy the world of books, he must team up with werewolf Atlandia Romero, editor at wolf-owned World Wide Publishing, and secret book lover. Pacifico and Landy are thrust into the heart of a tropical storm where they discover an e-book thieving sailing vessel called The Cloud, and a diabolical book distribution plant as they battle lies and uncover truth.

Are any of the other characters based on real animals or people?

Do characters ever emerge completely from imagination? I think all the people in our lives are examples of personality types. Heads in the Clouds is set in my own Arizona neighborhood and I used some of my neighbors as minor characters. Only one couple is sort of identifiable and they have a great sense of humor, thankfully. Some authors say when people you know read your books they either are upset because they see themselves as characters or upset because they don’t.

In my fantasy series, where all my librarians shift into dogs, I patterned types of librarians after people I worked with in the past. And at least one character was inspired by a real dog. The hero of Released is a headmaster/librarian who shifts into an Old English Sheepdog. I’ve had many beautiful smart Old English Sheepdogs, but my first, Pellinore, seemed most like a man in a dogsuit and I honored  his memory in my fantasy. And I can’t forget my dear Jonathan who stayed with me through many life changes.

Which do you consider more important, plot or character?

Plot and character are equally important and I’d add location. I love putting a character into a new location to see what happens.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer?

The most challenging parts of telling the story often turn out to be my favorites. When Reprinted was almost completed, I’d put my hero and heroine in a mysterious pyramid during a hurricane. But I didn’t know what they’d discover inside. I spent weeks staring out the window, going back to my research, and trying to imagine what they found. But when the answer came, it became my favorite part of the book.

What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?

I’m working on an alternate history, using the backstory from the world of my Shapeshifter series.

What advice do you have to offer to an aspiring author?

I believe there is nothing more important than books and imagination. Find a creative outlet for your imagination. Read widely. Sample many genres and authors. Step boldly into new worlds.


Amber Polo is the author of the award-winning The Shapeshifters’ Library series (Released, Retrieved, Recovered, and Reprinted), an canine cozy fantasy filled with books, librarians, dogs and a library everyone will love.

In addition to her award-winning fantasy and Arizona romance novels, she wrote
Relaxing the Writer  to offer tips to help writers and readers relax.

After living in seven states, she happily calls a small town in Arizona home. To learn more about her books and read excerpts, visit her website and find her on Facebook and The Shapeshifters’ Library Facebook page filled with lots of dogs. E-mail her at


  1. Thanks for inviting me to visit. And especially for post the (very old) photo of me (when I was very young) with my forever dog.

    1. You're very welcome, Amber - delighted to have you!

  2. Sounds delightful! I must try one of these books! The perfect magic for a retired librarian and forever dog lover.

  3. trying again.

    I sooooo LOVE these books, Amber! I just wish Id thought of the idea first!

    hugs, Kari Thomas, www.authorkari.blogspot.com