I met Pepper online a few years ago, and then in person at the 2012 ACFW Conference. Pepper is one of those rare and unique individuals that makes you feel rare and unique, as well. She has a contagious smile and a sweet, sweet spirit. I'm honored to have her here today. Be sure to read to the end to see the cover reveal!
|Lindsay Harrel, Pepper, and Me at the 2012 ACFW Conference|
Thanks so much for having me, Gabrielle. Do you realize you are the VERY FIRST blog I’ve visited where I get to share about my debut?!? I’m so thankful to have this first opportunity with someone as sweet as you! J
I feel honored to be the very first blog!! I'm sure there will be many, many more. :) For readers meeting you here for the first time, can you tell us a little about yourself and your publication story?
Well, I wear a lot of hats as a music minister’s wife, mom-of-five, and speech-language pathologist, and I think the many ‘hats’ inspire my love for various genres. I’m a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains on the border of NC and VA and come from a long storytelling tradition, so my love for story began at my granny’s knee. I’m a big fan of chocolate, jazz, laughter, and dress-up, and I LOVE spending time with other writers.
It’s been a very long road. I’ve written ever since I was a little girl, but I didn’t start pursuing publication until about ten years ago. I started with Writer’s Digest and The Christian Writers Guild in hopes of learning the craft – and then I began my faithful conference visits. All along the way I worked full-time and added kids J Writing happened in the nooks and crannies of my life. I learned, wrote, submitted, received rejections….and started the process again.
It wasn’t until 2011 that things started moving at a little faster pace. I double-finaled in the ACFW Genesis Contest with two different genre books. A year later I obtained an agent which then transitioned into THE BEST AGENT EVER in Julie Gwinn. Julie took charge of my stories and publication with a passion – which ended in three contracts in three months. (All different genres.)
That's an amazing publication story! I love how God shows up at the perfect time, with the perfect agent, and the perfect stories to pitch to publishers. Speaking of the perfect stories, can you give us a sneak peek at the stories you have releasing this year?
I have two novels coming out soon. My debut, The Thorn Bearer, arrives in May and is a WW1 era historical romance. With the backdrop being the Lusitania and WW1, it is a very dramatic novel about friendship, forgiveness, and love. Be forwarned – it can be a little dark too. We have a sinking ship on our hands.
Historical: Ashleigh Dougall survived a painful past only to find her future in jeopardy aboard the ill-fated Lusitania. As she and her childhood friend, Sam Miller, face the tragedies both outside and inside themselves, they learn forgiveness and friendship can lead to something greater than either ever imagined. But Ashleigh’s secrets may be too dark for anyone to accept, even her best friend. Can she learn to release the pain from her past, savor the promises of the present, and believe in the hope of the future?
Then this summer, my first contemporary romance, A Twist of Faith, comes out. It’s a modern-day version of My Fair Lady with an Appalachian Twist. As a speech-language pathologist, I really had fun with this one!
Contemporary: The Language of Love doesn’t have an accent.
Dr. Adelina Roseland is determined to get out of backwoods Appalachia at all cost – even if it means making a wager with her arrogant supervisor to turn cattle farmer, Reese Mitchell, into corporate world material in two months. His accent is thick, but the love that binds his family is thicker and opens up a longing in Dee for a place called home. But will the truth of the wager end her future hopes with Reese and can forgiveness teach them both to speak the language of the heart?
The third book is a middle reader fantasy/steampunk that I’m coauthoring with two game designers from New Zealand. It’s slated to come out in late fall or early winter 2015.
All of those sound amazing! I love WWI (my current WIP is set during that era), and My Fair Lady is one of my all-time favorite stories. I can't wait for all of them to release. You write in a variety of genres. I’d love to know where your passion for each genre comes from.
What can I say? The Lord has a sense of humor?!? And He’s given me an overactive imagination J
I’ve always been in love with a ‘fantasy-like’ story, basically stories that have some sort of element of ‘magic’. Magic can be anything from the wonder of falling in love to the powerful amazement in the imagination of other worlds. I’m a big fan of history too, especially the Victorian era-WW1. There was so much ‘creativity’ and ‘imagination’ going on at a fast pace during that time.
So, to answer your question, I guess, it’s been an evolving closet of stories my whole life. In high school my first lengthy story was something like a ‘historical romantic paranormal mystery” – so I guess I’ve always been a little confused in the genre-world J
Author Cathy Hake once told me to “write where the passion is” and until someone decided to publish my books, that’s what I did. It just so happens that God’s decided to keep me in various genres even in publication. This year I’ll publish the historical, contemporary, and co-author a middle reader Steampunk J CRAZY!
That is crazy, but so amazing, too! Besides being a wife, a mom, and a published author, you also have a day job! Can you tell us a little about it?
I love being a pediatric speech-language pathologist! My specialty is Autism, especially highly verbal Autism and Social Communication Disorders. Up until last year, I worked in a university setting, but last year we moved to Asheville, NC and I began working back in the clinic-scene. Right now I serve a couple of charter schools in Asheville and hope to ‘someday’ focus most of my therapy on social communication. My charter schools are great, though. Fun kids! Fantastic teachers!
I'm sure they feel the same about you. I'm amazed you find time to write! I’ve heard that some authors need a special environment to write in (music, comfy chair, coffee shop, quiet room, desk, etc.). Do you have a special place you like to write?
Nope. Whether it’s been a skill forged out of necessity or not, I can’t say – but I usually write in the middle of life happening around me. If I waited for quiet and alone time– I’d probably never have a good opportunity to write J
And – you never know what kind of inspiration you’ll find in the middle of the everyday. My kids are a constant source of inspiration! I do enjoy those rare moments of focused writing time, but, thankfully, they’re not a necessity. I audio record in my car, scratch out info on napkins while waiting in the carpool line, and sometimes take my lunch break to edit a scene.
I guess I’ve learned to seize the moment – whatever moment God provides – to encourage this dream.
Pepper, it's been so much fun hosting you on my blog! I'm excited to see what the future holds for you and your writing.
Thanks so much for hosting me, Gabrielle. You’ve made my day!
Now, it's my pleasure to reveal Pepper's debut cover for The Thorn Bearer, releasing May 7th!!
|Releasing May 7th from Vinspire Publishing|
Your Turn Reader: What do you think of that cover?!?! Isn't it stunning? Please join me in congratulating Pepper.
~ ~ ~ ~The winner from last weeks drawing for a Navy Seal Noel from my interview with author Liz Johnson is: Susan Johnson. Congratulations, Susan! I'll be in touch.