What's your book/current WIP about?
When Mandy catches her husband “getting some strange,” she knows their marriage is over. They postpone announcing it until they’ve tried a month of counseling, which gives her time to be sure of her decision—and get wild advice from a great aunt who thinks she should learn from the black widow spider, a big brother who wants to beat up her soon-to-be ex, and the kooky counselor…who recommends a revenge affair. The one person not giving her advice is a new-to-town hunky Adam. He’s confessed to watching her run by his house every day for months, and provides an attractive shoulder to cry on, but is very secretive about his own past. Mandy has to deal with lots of conflicting feelings, in a variety of mostly funny situations, before finding what happily ever after will mean for her.
Care to share your favorite line(s)?
Sure. A couple come to mind:
1. Mandy contemplates what walking has done for her lately: Please. What would he want with me? Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking better. Been walking off about ten years of accumulated, sedimentary butt. Not sedentary--I’ve never been a couch potato. No, this is sedimentary, one fat layer on top of the last. Just got caught up in the mommy lifestyle. Too many Happy Meals, too much time spent doing everything I had to, except for taking care of me.
2. Mandy considers a predicament she’d never have expected to be in, when Adam is dissappointed
she’s agreed to marriage counseling:
I really hate being cross with him, but this is such a difficult situation right now. He’s going to be worrying every day and night that I’ll cave and take Mike back, that he’s seen the last of me. And I’ll resent him not trusting me, but why should he? All he knows of me is I’m married and sneaking around to see him! It’s a waiting game of epic emotions.
3. (okay, this is more than a couple, I know) Adam and Mandy discuss his previous marriage:
He continues. “She was a girl I’d known since we were kids. Our families still bump elbows now and then. She decided she was bored with me and moved on. Now she’s married into a Georgia family with old money. Sugar plantations and all that.”
“Bored with you, huh? ‘Old money,’ you say? I think you should know, I come from a family of CTMF money.”
He smiles when he asks, “CTMF?”
“Checking the Mail For.”
What's your next project?
I’m working on a couple things: The sequel to this book, Trouble Anonymous, where Mandy’s ex redeems himself and gets his own (well-deserved, I promise! He’s really not a bad guy.) happily-ever-after, which comes about through group therapy. And also the prequel, Marked as Trouble, about Mandy’s bossy big brother, who falls for a southern belle. I’m planning for this one to be a free novella.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I learned how awesome and fun other writers/authors are. Very friendly bunch of people, and always with something to talk about. The beginning of Trouble Won’t Wait was originally a short story I entered in a local writing contest. When I placed and attended the awards ceremony alone (it was flu season and I had an entire sick brood at home), I met a bunch of really fun, nice people. Not at all reclusive and strange, like I’d sort of expected.
What sparked your interest in romance writing?
I’ve forever loved reading romance, watching romantic movies, seeing the spark of romance with couples on TV programs…and made up little love stories in my head. So writing them down was the next, natural, terrifying progression.
Describe your writing in a sentence.
My contemporary romances have a high heat index to match their American southwest settings, and my characters usually have to suffer, but they always get the happily-ever-after they so deserve.
Do you choose character names or do the characters whisper them in your ears?
I choose them. Sometimes I go to baby names web sites to look up the meanings of the names and find the one that fits.
Plotter or panster?
Pantser, but I’m trying to reform. Honest, I am. If I can ever get my characters to comply with my plans…
Do you like background noise or do you prefer a quiet space when you write?
Dead silence, or Billy Idol blaring in my headphones. Nothing in between.
What are you currently reading?
The Fiery Cross, book 5 of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. And, though I’ve got a brand-new paper copy of it on my shelf, I gave in and bought the Kindle version to read on my Fire. This copy fits in my purse, and I can even read it in the dark. Yay!
What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview and how would you answer it?
Do romance authors have a special vocabulary all their own?
Why, yes, we certainly do. In fact, I’ve got a glossary of terms on my website, here: http://www.autumnpiper.com/writersdictionary.htm (and sorry, but…I could come up with no other questions! Hopefully these will be good for a laugh.)
People think I'm weird because...
I polled my friends on Facebook for answers to this question. And they were either A)not forthcoming or B)busy. So. I’ll go with something my hubby finds crazy.
I’m positively anal about Making Our Bed Every Day. Life feels chaotic and gross to me if I walk into my room and find an unmade bed. Going to bed at night is squicky if I don’t get to turn down the sheets and slide into neatness. Fortunately for me, my two teenagers have embraced this value, and they both make their beds up every morning also. Yessss!
Good things may come to those who wait, but trouble waits for no one…
Cheating is a dealbreaker...or so Mandy’s always thought. But when she catches her husband getting some “strange,” she realizes how hard it is to cut and run, or even file papers. She agrees to a month of counseling, which will give her time to grieve the loss of her marriage before she has to tell the world—and the kids. Then she meets Adam, who gives her a hunky--if mysterious--shoulder to cry on, and that thirty-day waiting period seems like an eternity.
Adam has no problem confessing that he’s watched Mandy from his window for months as she runs by his house. If he told her why, though, she’d freak out for sure. He knows they’ve got a future together, if he can think of a way to explain his past. And he’s sure the rat-bastard who cheated on her is putting the moves on her again, but he won’t be the revenge guy. The month-long cooling off period she agreed to is lasting forever, and might just be indefinite, if trouble keeps getting in their way.
WARNING: Eccentric old lady pushing salt-of-the-earth advice, bossy big brother, kooky counselor, super-secretive hunk, and perfect justice served amidst adult situations and language.
First part is Mandy’s individual session with their rather…unusual counselor.
I doubt Baldwin understands my resolve, so I explain. I’m only here because I’m stalling Mike until after the holidays to separate. Or was Mike stalling me? I’m not sure anymore. I have no intention of ever sleeping with him again, and I want a divorce.?That should be clear enough.
His bushy brows shoot up. I’ve piqued the wanta-be therapist’s interest. “Why do you feel that way?”
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“Do you still love him?”
Jesus, did Mike put him up to asking that?
“It doesn’t matter. I can’t forgive him for what he did. I’ll never forget what I saw, it comes to me at all hours of the day and night.”
“So you do still love him, but you’re angry, possibly jealous of his having another partner without your consent.”
Without my consent. This guy probably advocates swapping and threesomes, all the fun and games, as long as both spouses consent. I snap my gawping mouth shut.
Good ole Baldwin looks me straight in the eye. “What if you were to have an encounter with an outside partner, to even the score?”
Is it the smoke from the candles or his suggestion making me choke?
“You mean like a revenge affair?” Stampeding thoughts of Adam shred my calm like buffalo through prairie turf. I feel flushed.
* * * *
As I clomp past Adam’s back fence, a very wet snowball clobbers the back of my head. I react in time to see a second tightly-packed missile heading at my chest, and move aside without a moment to spare. Adam thinks he has an advantage hiding behind his fence, but he doesn’t expect me to charge straight for him and run through the gate so he can face me like a man. In his yard, we wage silent war for several minutes. The only audible evidence of the battle is the splatting of snowballs exploding on impact, and an occasional grunt as we bend our old bodies over to form our weapons. I’ve been stockpiling mine, awaiting opportunity. Which just arrived. He’s bent over, packing and rounding a huge ball. He must think there’s some Snowball Fight Code of Ethics, and I won’t attack if he’s unarmed.
He’s sadly mistaken. I launch my stash in quick succession, until his entire backside is white.
He waves his snow-whitened glove in the air, begging, “Truce, truce!”
“You started it, troublemaker!” I cautiously approach, making sure he’s going to abide by his truce and it’s not an ambush. His cheeks are pink and his eyes are bright.
“I see the wheels turning, tell me what you’re thinking,” he prods softly.
“How lucky I am that I met you at just the right time.”
“You’re tryin’ to kill me, aren’t you?”
It makes me giggle, while he hugs me hard against him. With all our outerwear, it’s more of a big squeeze than a hug.
It’s time for me to go, and as I back out the gate, Adam says, “I’m crazy for you, remember.”
I answer with, “Me, too. Bonkers. Nutso.” I turn and run.
About the Author:
I love sunny days, hot bread, the ocean, and that fluttery feeling I get inside at the first spark of a great romance. In between being a wife, mom of two teens, editor and writer, I like to read, garden, take morning walks, and make people laugh--probably succeed here when I try to jog.
For me, an excellent book has characters I can sympathize with or hate (sometimes both at once), a story I simply must see through to the end, and realistic dialogue. Give me those key elements, and I'll read any genre or time period, any author.
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