Today I welcome the very talented Autumn Piper to the blog….
When did you start writing?
7 years ago. And it was 7 years ago this week when I wrote the first chapter of Trouble Won’t Wait (then it was A Walk at a Crossroads) as a short story for a local contest, my first writing competition. The short story left Mandy’s decision for the reader to guess, but my romance muse had already gotten a whiff and I couldn’t put her off the scent, so I wrote the rest of the novel while waiting to see how the contest went. (I placed fourth, and by the time the awards ceremony arrived, had written half of another novel too)
What do you think makes a good story?
A good story will make me laugh, cry, and swoon. Not necessarily in that order…swooning might be nice several times during the book/movie. But definitely those elements of romance: conflict, sexual tension, happily ever after.
Who inspired/inspires you and why?
I’m inspired by Nora Roberts. Honestly, when I’m feeling down or listless or just generally not romantic, I can count on her books to deliver characters I love, vivid settings, and that so-satisfying “awww” moment. And then when I’m done and close the book, I take a little hero-worship moment and hope I can one day be one-millionth as successful as she is.
Do you have any other books?
I do have 3 other Trouble books, all with Lyrical Press.
What do you have planned next?
I’m currently working on the sequel to Trouble Won’t Wait, as well as the prequel (story about Mandy’s big brother, how he and his wife got together).
What inspired you to write Trouble Won’t Wait?
I started the short story with a woman who’s just endured what so many of us do: Thanksgiving with the in-laws. Only, Mandy’s in a worse spot than most of us, because she managed to keep from letting the in-laws know her husband cheated on her and their marriage may be over. Talk about keeping your mouth shut, right? Well, I liked Mandy’s spunk, and I crushed on Adam after she met him on her walk, but then once she got home and I met her husband Mike, I saw he wasn’t really a terrible guy…and I was fascinated to find out how their story ends.
What can you tell us about Trouble Won’t Wait that isn’t in the blurb or excerpt?
This book was previously released as Waiting for Revenge. With a simple, wintery-looking, sort of literary cover. Which I loved at the time. I also loved the blurb. But guess what? It’s a romance, and “revenge” in the title, plus lack of fun, romance-y images on the cover, didn’t exactly draw readers in. Despite some dark subject matter, the story for the most part is light and even funny at times. So when it came time to renew my contract, I wanted to re-market it using a more accurate angle. And since my other books all have Trouble in the title…
Is Trouble Won’t Wait part of a series? If so, tell us about it.
It is now. Almost. I’m working on the sequel, where Mandy’s husband (the “bad” guy in this book) gets his own happily-ever-after. And I know that’s a big undertaking—getting women to forgive a guy who once cheated. But everyone who’s read Trouble Won’t Wait agrees Mike isn’t a bad guy; he just makes some stupid mistakes. His book will be Trouble, Anonymous because he’s in group therapy, again with the loony counselor from this book, when he finds new romance. I’m also working on a prequel, Marked for Trouble, which is about Mandy’s big brother Mark, and how he and his wife fell in love.
What is your favorite part? (If you’d like to share a little excerpt of that part, you may do so.)
I love the advice ancient Aunt Clara is always giving Mandy (we should all be so lucky to have a wise older woman who doesn’t mince her words, when we’re lost and need advice, and who is on our side). Here’s part of one scene:
I don’t have much time on my hands this week. Aunt Clara is coming over every day to make as much Christmas candy with me as she deems necessary. This candy-making is a good partnership. Her kitchen is way too small for it, and my one attempt at toffee resulted in a forever-gooey mess that ultimately stuck so badly, I had to throw away the pan it was in.
I’m here for transportation–of Aunt Clara and ingredients, as well as moving heavy pans of this and cooling trays of that–and for stirring. And hefting the fifty-pound bag of sugar, which I am beginning to doubt will be enough.
During a short break on Wednesday, while we eat lunch and catch People’s Court, I’m thinking of Mike and his behavior the night before. God, he seems so sorry. I can’t help thinking maybe I should give this whole marital counseling thing a fair shake and see if we can be fixed.
“What’s troublin’ ya, child?” Aunt Clara asks, munching a few crumbs of the peanut brittle we just finished making. “You’re a million miles away.”
“Just wondering if there’s a possibility my marriage could be fixed, if I really wanted it. People have gone through worse and stayed together.”
Clara rolls her little eyes, then looks off out my window at the small airport across the river.
“To me, a marriage is like a fort in the Old West. When you first settle in, you build it together, puttin’ up strong walls, hopin’ your love will be strong enough to protect you from anything scary that might come along. Outside your walls are maybe Indians or outlaws, wantin’ in to loot and pillage.” Lana. Yeah, she’s a savage, all right. “If one of ’em gets in, busts up part of your wall, you can’t ever change that. You can fix it, but it ain’t ever the same again, see?”
“Some people claim their marriages are stronger afterward. Like a bone that’s stronger after it breaks and scars.”
“Bone’s still scarred, ain’t it?” Clara scoffs. “Nobody’s ever gonna look at that bone again and not see the scar.”
“Still, if it’s stronger, that’s what matters, isn’t it?”
“You think your marriage will ever be stronger?”
How can she turn my most complicated life-struggles into the simplest things?
What’s your favorite TV show or movie of all time?
My favorite movie is Pure Country, because I’m a die-hard George Strait fan, and the romance in that movie hits me straight in the heart every time I watch it. But my favorite TV show is so different: TMZ. Not because I’m into celebrity gossip, but because the crew and graphics are so funny. And after living in California for a few years, I “get” lots of the stories and jabs among them. It just makes me laugh and laugh, which is very important to me.
If you could chose a period in history to be born in, what would it be and why?
This is funny, because my daughter keeps telling me she wishes I’d had her in the seventies or eighties so she could live then! LOL. Like, uh…my body wasn’t quite ready for that yet then, dear. But she really thinks she’d have loved disco, and who wouldn’t love 80s music, right? 😉 Though I know the baby boomers have seen some incredible changes throughout their lifetimes, and I bet there’s some really awesome stuff to come in the future, I’m pretty okay with living now.
What was the most embarrassing thing your husband/boyfriend/partner/friend ever did to you in public?
While we were dancing at our wedding, he somehow leaned against me (we might’ve had a little champagne in us) and with the weight of the dress bustled up on my rear end, plus his weight leaning while I stood on heels…we did the “ass over teakettle” thing (he was the ass—I was the teakettle! LOL). He landed on top of me and I don’t remember who helped pull him off and me back to The Upright Position. Good news, though: He’d sobered enough by the time we got to our room, he was able to carry me across the threshold.
What is the one place you have never visited but would love to?
The Florida Keys. I have roots there, of a sort. We were supposed to be there this Christmas for a family getaway, but our plans got highjacked by life. I will get there, though. And also…Ireland. sigh
If you were stranded on a desert island and could choose any famous person (living or dead), who would you choose to be stranded with you and why?
Since you said famous, I can’t pick my pal Amanda, who’d be the very best person EVER to be stranded with, because she’s got mad improv skills and could find a way to have Amazon deliver anything she couldn’t drum up. But anyway. Since you said famous: Without a question, Joan Rivers. She makes me laugh so hard. And I can tell she’s totally a survivor, so we’d be just fine, unless I died of a stomachache from laughing.
Cake or Chips Does cheesecake count?
Steak or Veggie Burger Oh God. Steak. Texas Roadhouse, anyone? Meet me there in 30!
Chocolates or Roses Roses. Unless the chocolates have cheesecake filling…?
Boxers or Briefs or Nothing at all Briefs. Very brief ones.
Vampires or Cowboys. Cowboys, no question. I see enough dark rings under my own eyes when I look in a mirror. If I had a vamp, we’d constantly be fighting over my Garnier undereye roller stick thingy. Plus, geez…I can’t think of anything more handsome than a guy in a tux and a nice cowboy hat.
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.
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.
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.
It’s time for me to go, and as I back out the gate, Adam says, “I’m crazy for you, remember.”
I write contemporary romance with a high heat index to match their American southwest settings. Known by my writing buddies as “Angst”, I have a penchant for making my characters suffer. My stories may be tributes to the old saying, “No pain, no gain”, but my Hero and Heroine always get the happily-ever-after they so deserve.