At Home in the Stacks: An Interview with Amber Dermont

At Home in the Stacks: An Interview with Amber Dermont

Earlier this week, I was lucky enough to steal a few minutes with debut author Amber Dermont whose novel, THE STARBOARD SEA, comes out this month! She opened our conversation with a word about what librarians mean to her. 

"I grew up in a library," she said. "My parents are rare book dealers and our house was floor to ceiling bookshelves and first editions. To this day, I still feel most at home lost among the stacks. During high school and college, I worked as a library proctor and apprenticed myself to a series of world-class librarians. These super heroes taught me how to research my stories, check my facts and compile the necessary details that lead me to write my own novel. I am forever in their debt."

And now, on to the interview! 

Ali: I would guess that every debut author takes inspiration from other artists, be they authors, musicians, painters, or, say, typographers. Does anyone stick out as a particularly important part of your process? 

opens in a new windowAmber fun photoAmber: Great question! Writers are like magpies thieving for shiny objects, eager for any charm that will help build a better nest. As I began writing THE STARBOARD SEA, I sought inspiration from the painter John Currin and the photographers Tina Barney and Anthony Goicolea. All three of these artists helped me envision the physical and emotional landscapes of the novel: the listless suntanned faces, the splendor of Manhattan penthouses, the caprice of adolescence and the brutal beauty of youth. John Currin often paints society women in sexy, outlandish poses. His portrait of his wife, "Rachel in Fur," served as the muse for my character Brizzey and the redheaded starlet in his masterpiece, "Heartless," helped me bring Diana and Aidan to life. Currin's intimate depiction of two nude sailors, "Fishermen," became a touchstone for Jason's tender and fraught relationship with Cal.