Long and Short Reviews welcomes Piper Shelly, whose debut novel Her Game, His Rules was recently released by Black Opal Books. Piper will give away a personally dedicated copy to one commenter on this interview. The drawing will take place on Sunday, November 4.
She's a native Austrian and loves her country for the wide fields and the Alps. She also loves the traditional dress people were for special occasions.
"Especially in Oktober," she said. "It's called a tracht, a dirndl for women. I love those dresses."
Piper told me that she wasn't sure exactly what inspired her to start writing—that sometimes it feels like she was a writer in a former life and she's just continuing what she's always done. She's always loved to write: essays, emails, random rubbish; the strong wish to be an author, though, settled in when she had finished reading all the book available from Lisa Jane Smith. When Piper closed the cover on The Forbidden Game, she knew that she wanted to do what L.J. Smith was doing. Piper was nineteen when that happened, and she's been writing ever since.
She first considered herself a writer, though, when she was talking with a friend one day.
"I had almost finished my first book and went out one evening with my friend. She told me that she had a chat with her boss about, I don't know what, but she mentioned that her best friend (that would be me) was a writer," Piper said. "I was totally dumbstruck at that moment. But I loved it, and ever since I called myself a writer. After all that was what I really did...writing. It's just that after publishing my first novella I was brave enough to call myself an author."
Piper writes in her son's second room, that he rarely played in, so she thought she would use it for her office. There's a window facing east, and she loves the morning son coming in. The walls are painted turquoise and she has a huge fish tank along with her mahogany desk and two bookshelves which look like two halves of a boat and a comfortable chair in spicy lemon green.
She works five hours a day as an accountant not far from her home, but comes home around noon, boots up her laptop and writes until her head starts aching and she gets cross-eyed, which is mostly around ten in the evening—especially when the words are flowing. When the flow really sets in, she's like a drug addict—only her drug of choice is her WIP. She doesn't need food; she doesn't need sunlight; she doesn't like it when people talk to her or she has to do housework. After a few days to a week, the flow dries up and writer's block set s in.
"Writer's block has become my friend," she told me. "I call it 'writer's block.' My family calls it 'family time.'" She laughed. "From experience I can say that writer's block normally last about two or three weeks. I try to spend as much time with everyone in this time because we all know it soon will be over and I will return to the dungeons of my writing world with a lock to real life outside."
Most of the time, before Piper starts a new project, she'll get the picture of a hero in her mind.
"Can't say where or when, it just happens. Then I try to work this cute man into a nice situation with a girl. I start a new project and write down that scene. Most of the time, it's the opening chapter. When that is done, I lean back and try to come up with the cornerposts of a good story. I piece together a really simple and short synopsis, but as I continue writing the novel, the story changes a lot due to what my hero and heroine do in certain moments. I'm always surprised where they are going to lead me in the end. That's the funniest part of writing, really," she explained with a smile.
Piper has recently finished a YA novella called Play With Me, a high school romance/drama centered around soccer and first love. To read an excerpt visit see Piper's website.
She's also working on three other books: Gabriel, Dark Spirits, and Kiss Me, Vampire. Excerpts for these can also be found on her website.
. Piper has a handful of favorite authors—Kerrelyn Sparks and Sherilyn Kenyon are two of them. But her favorite author doesn't even have a book on the market yet. Georgia Lyn Hunter has been contracted by Black Opal Publishing and her debut novel is due out late this year or early next year.
"We started out as critique partners in a group. By now I'm proud to say she's a personal friend of mine," Shelly explained. "And boy, she can write. Her genre is 'really hot paranormal romance.' I learned a lot from her over the past two years as I critiqued several of her novels."
"What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?" I asked.
"For me, a humorous voice is really important, and a vivid imagination. Fast pace without endless descriptions. Cool, snappy dialogue. Something you wish you could come up with in everyday situations when you read it."
For fun, I asked, "If you could keep a mythical/ paranormal creature as a pet, what would you have?"
"An angel. Hm, I like the thought an angel just for myself," she said, winking. "But a dragon would be cool too. Oh no, wait, let me think again...a Jinn. A heck, there are so many. You shouldn't tease me with such questons. Now I want them all. And a pet-vampire too!"
The WIP mentioned earlier, Gabriel, is the first book in a series she's writing about the archangels. She told me that she has a strong relationship to her guardian angel.
"What is your most embarrassing moment?" I asked.
"Nah, you're not seriously expecting me to tell you...? Ha ha. No way!"
"Well then, what about the most embarrassing thing your mother ever did to you?"
"It's not something she did to me, but something she heard. My boyfriend (who's my husband now) pinned me to the wall and told me he wanted to sleep with me. Now. (And he used slightly different words to say it) My mother chose that moment to walk into my room and heard that. Very. Very. Embarrassing."
Finally, I asked, "What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?"
"Critique partners!! They are the most valuable thing to any writer. And don't take a tough critique or a rejection personal. Just that one person won't like your stuff, doesn't mean that there aren't ten thousand others who will love it!"
About the Author:
At seventeen, I met the love of my life. Although we had a few little affairs, it took another four years until we finally decided to try the couple thing. ;-) It was the best decision in my life. I’m married to this amazing man now, and I praise myself lucky for someone like him. You know, it can be hard at times to live with someone like me, who’s moody like a loon and dreams away into a fantasy realm in every free minute. But he learned to accept that about me and he gives me all the time in the world I need to write. By now, I know I wouldn’t survive without that.
We have a ten-year-old son, and together we travel a lot…although I sometimes wish the trips were shorter because I can’t wait to get back to my laptop and WIP. Yeah, that’s just me. I built my world around my passion, and I like it that way. So, yeah, there’s not really a lot to say about me.
Find Piper online at:
She’s seventeen. She’s snarky. She’s trouble...
It wasn't nicking an expressive watch or diamond bracelet that landed Jona Montiniere in the clutches of the police. It was just a darn sweater. After her last spectacular misadventure, she is forced to return to a mother who spurned her. Jona is furious about the judge’s decision—until she meets her mother’s companion. Gorgeous, provocative, and mysterious, Julian is everything her lonely heart desires. But then he awakens her mother from the dead with a simple touch.
Hunting for the truth in a strange new home, Jona unearths broken promises and bitter secrets. Soon she realizes she’ll once again lose someone she loves…unless she gives him a reason to stay. But how the hell do you keep an angel earthbound?