Today, it’s my great pleasure to welcome the wonderful Piper Shelly and debut author to my very first blog interview. And to introduce her brand-spanking–new debut novel, a coming of age —YA paranormal romance, released few weeks ago.
Having been privileged to read the book, I can guarantee you one helluva emotional-roller-coaster ride. So get yourself a copy and grab onto your seat...
GLH: Piper, thank you for allowing me to test my fledgling interview skills on you. I promise any mistakes will be regraded as an art form. Tell us a little about you — oh what the heck, hit us with something personal. We'll get to business in a bit.
PS: Should I be doing this interview with you? Okay, just kidding :) I’m married, mom of a ten-year-old and I live in Austria. I work half-day as an accountant. I’m OCD and extremely impulsive. The decisions I make aren’t always stable...
Personal…hmm. On a whim a while ago, I had my shoulder length hair cut really short. It seems to attract my hubby’s attention. He can’t resist whenever he passes me to bend down and bite me on the neck. I really love that… LOL
GEORGIA!! you want to continue with the questions or what?
GLH: What? Okay—okay, my mind drifted there a bit, Piper, (big grin) I have myself back on track. So, moving on. What’s your favorite thing to do each day?
PS: Writing. (how could it be any different?) So many stories and characters are dancing in my head, I just have to open a door into their world and see what comes out when I let them free into this one. And it’s not always the nice angels who stalk out:-)
GLH: Talking about angels brings me to your debut novel. It’s been released, what has your experiences with the publishing world been like?
PS: Every writer knows what I mean when I say: It’s a damn hard business!
You write a novel which becomes the dearest thing to you—like family. You pour your soul into the words and anticipate the day you can send it out to literary agents or publishers, and then your dreams are stomped by steel-toed boots. At least it feels like that when you get your first rejection. But always need to remember: What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. Even if it’s not only one R, but like in my case, close to seventy form rejections.
When I found no one liked my first finished draft of Her Game, His Rules (which was titled A KISS ON THE VINE back then) I had to make a decision. Believe the market that my book was not good enough, or believe in myself? Well, I partly did both. I changed the story from the beginning, wrote a totally new and far more humorous and faster paced version, and voila things fell together.
After I settled for a publisher, my experiences from then changed to ‘really good’. The editors there gave me a huge say in everything. I must say, I'm very happy with them.
GLH: I for one am glad you didn't give up on that story. What inspired you to write HGHR?
PS: Seriously? An angel who kept me from sleeping for many nights :-)
GLH: I'm truly intrigued. Tell us more about this 'angel'. Is he like Julian and did you work him into HGHR? Piper's smiling and I can see her mind’s sifting through what she wants to reveal…
PS: Yes. And yes... okay, you twisted my arm. There’s a scene starting on page 285 of the book which I actually wrote after some sort of “real” experience. But I won’t say more :-)
GLH: I'm definitely going to find that page after this interview. *Piper's grinning now* Let us in on your writing rituals.
PS: Sometimes I pound away for ten hours, others it’s just for a short while, thirty minutes if I’m lucky… I have writing moods. Over the past couple years, I realized I could write for days, really hardcore, 3 to 4 chapters. Then it all fizzles out and I hit a dry spell—two-three weeks? When this first happened, I was in shock. I thought I’d never be able to write anything ever again. But with time, I learned to roll with the waves, knowing my muse will be back and my book finished.
GLH: So true :) So, are you a plotter or panster?
PS: All my books start the same way. An idea of a character or a certain situation. I write the first chapter. Only then do I take a break and plot. I write down a simple summary, and I mean simple, one every preschooler would understand. I nail down the main events in the story and add some twist. Then I continue writing and go from there. Often, the book ends totally different to how I plotted it in the first place, but that’s the best part of writing to me…to be able to surprise myself! :-)
GLH: What quirks make their appearance when you write?
PS: When I’m drawn into my imaginary world, food doesn't exist for me. And the rest of the real world better not talk to me —or at least they shouldn’t expect an answer. I tend to ‘merge’ in my written world.
Oh, and I talk to myself. After all, I need to test the dialogue I’m going to use, right? And I act out scenes. It helps me write body language better if I mime my characters in front of a mirror. You know, the usual, raising eyebrows, pursing lips, pulling my hair in frustration…
GLH: What do you believe is the most fundamental element in writing this genre?
PS: I only write romance. In my opinion, the ‘getting together’ is what its all about. You can’t start the book with the hero and heroine kissing. Half of the book must lead to this special moment. The tension must build with every coming chapter. And when it happens, the reader must finally be able to release the breath he was holding for the past 3 or 11 hours.
GLH: Wow! Absolutely. So… what has influenced your writing?
PS: Simple. My love for the paranormal and four authors. L.J.Smith started my wish to become a writer in the first place. Kerrelyn Sparks made me see how important humor in books is for me. Sherrilyn Kenyon gave me a good idea of what it means to ‘torture’ your characters. And Becca Fitzpatrick inspired my YA-tendency.
GLH: What is HGHR all about?
PS: It’s about a forlorn teenager who falls in love with her mother’s guardian angel. Of course there is so much more to the story, I don’t know where to begin without spoiling giving away the story.
But to keep it short, Jona Montiniere has lived a hard live without love. Dumped in an orphanage as a child because her mother wasn’t fit to care for her, she becomes a bitter teenager. Julian, her ailing mother’s angel, tries to help Jona find a way back to her family…and he also wants to find a way into her closed heart. Not an easy thing, if you know Jona. But then it’s not hard to fall for a guy as sweet as Julian.
GLH: Sigh...I know. I couldn't get enough of him. Okay, getting my wandering mind back in the game. And your favorite part of the book is?
PS: The beach. And the meadow :-)
GLH: Sneaky! *grins* It has to be the fertilizer hand prints Julian leaves on her shorts when he grabs her backside. What's up after HRHG?
PS: Currently, I’m working on an archangel trilogy. The first book is about Gabriel and his struggles on earth. I'm thinking naming all three books after the archangels. GABRIEL. RAPHAEL. MICHAEL. In that order. And with any luck, LUCIFER will get his own book, too :-)
GLH: Where can we find Piper Shelly?
Piper's Author's page
GLH: Thank you Piper for that interesting insight into your writing life.
Piper has a Halloween competition running on her website. So wander on over for a chance to win a copy of this amazing and personally signed book.
PS: Thanks for having me here on your site and firing your questions at me :-) It was fun answering them. It took me right back to how I felt, the excitement when I first wrote this particular novel.
See you on my site soon. And Georgia, be prepared for a bunch of hardcore questions. I know what you write...
GLH: Ah ah! Look forward to that *grins*
Hugs and all the best.
Her Games, His Rules available from:
Black Opal Books
All Romance Books