Friday, August 29, 2008

Interview: Piper Denna

Today we travel to meet a relatively new author on the romance scene, Piper Denna. Her first book, All Fore Revenge, debuted with Lyrical Press just last week. We caught up with her high in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Could it be she was looking for that famous Rocky Mountain High John Denver was always singing about? As Morgan knows, the air can get pretty thin up there, but the vistas are incredible. Jmo’s ears are still popping. The scent of evergreens is enough to counteract the nitro high we got with Sutton down in Georgia. We finally found Piper on the Vail golf course trying to play behind some VIP. Too bad we interrupted that plan. The guys in black Dockers and Polos with mirrored sunglasses keep giving us dirty looks.

TMD: Piper thanks for allowing us to join you on the green today and please ignore Jmo. I have no idea why he brought a hockey stick to a golf course. Please tell our readers a little about your book?

PD: Hi! Thanks so much for meeting me here. I’ve heard a few former presidents live in the area. Maybe we’ll get lucky and see one.

All Fore Revenge starts out with a common – if unpleasant – scenario: Ali Smyth discovers her Phoenix golf-pro husband is cheating. Once her initial shock wears off, she goes for revenge in the form of an affair (insert gasp here!) with Cam, the hunky cable guy. With two sons to think of, she intends to take her time deciding what to do about her marriage. When she realizes Cam has fallen for her (and the feeling is mutual), she retreats to her childhood hometown in Colorado for the summer. She’s got to figure out how to survive betrayal, her sons’ fear and anger, her husband’s pleas for reconciliation, and Cam’s growing feelings. Then there’s the mystery of what’s driving her best friend to act even more crazy than usual…

I’ll share the trailer link:
http://www.youtube.com/v/n9-hItyspCY&hl=en&fs=1

TMD: As the title indicates, golf plays a large role in this unusual romance. So, what’s your handicap?

PD: You know, I love golf. Truly. Unfortunately, up until today, my Wilson “Pink Ribbon” golf set has languished in the garage this season. (Feel free to sniffle on my behalf.) In order for me to determine my handicap, two things need to happen:

1- my life has to slow down so I have leisure time
2- I’ve got to sell lots of books! (especially to afford the green fees up here)

TMD: Cheating. How did the romance publishers first react to the subject?

PD: My uncle used to have a saying something like, “That went over like a lead balloon.” In other words, it didn’t fly. I got lots of rejection letters which started with “We really love your writing...” or “Your writing is very strong…” but…The publishers were determined their readers would never accept a story about infidelity.

I’d love to prove them wrong. The shelves at Barnes & Noble always have books about adultery, so I know it’s not an entirely taboo subject to the women of today. Tune in to the latest dramedy during primetime, or even the nightly news, and you’ll see women dealing with the issue of adultery from both sides.

TMD: Did you think the subject was controversial when you were writing the story?

PD: I once did an exercise from a book on writing. The author suggested you sit undisturbed for five minutes (yeah, I know, how many writers are not disturbed!) and brainstorm words, ideas, images that move you. Could invoke good feelings or bad. Adultery happened to be one of these topics for me.

Ali and Cam’s story came to me and I felt compelled to write it. Sure, I thought Ali’s actions would be controversial. But I never imagined it would be such a hard sell in the erotica market.
If I had it to do over, would I change it? Not a chance.

TMD: Why do you think the publishers you approached were so resistant to the idea? It is, after all, real life.

PD: Most romance publishers cater to what the majority of their readers have wanted in the past. What I needed was a publisher willing to take a risk, one who’d bet on a newer generation of readers. I believe Lyrical Press is the perfect fit.

TMD: How much reality do you think is important for a novel to be believable to a reader? Or do you think most readers approach a book for escapism?

PD: Traditional romance readers seem to gravitate toward escapism: Prince Charming falls head-over-heels for a virgin/widow, with little more than a few cross words from a friend (or the possibility of losing her) to help him overcome fear of commitment. A reader of women’s fiction tends to want a stronger dose of reality. She wants a heroine she can relate to.

My aim is to write books women like me would like. Most of the women I know have had more than one romantic relationship, possibly with a rough beginning or end. Seems like they’ll relate to a heroine who has made a mistake or two along the way. No matter the problems my hero and heroine encounter, I promise you can always count on me for a Happily Ever After!

TMD: When you were writing Fore did you think a lot of women would empathize with your heroine’s plight and her way of dealing with the situation?

PD: Have you ever mused about what you’d do if you caught your significant other cheating?

There are knee-jerk responses: Kick him out, file for divorce, pick up the kids and leave.

Then there are extreme reactions: Go crazy with rage and do bodily harm to him and or/his cheating accomplice.

But what if you were shocked and pulled away until you’d had time to think? “Perfect justice” just might feel, well…perfect.

TMD: It does bring out the question of what do you do when the old magic has changed or gone away. How hard to you try to fix things before you realize they can't be fixed?

PD: It would take tons of soul-searching to make such a decision, particularly when kids are involved. Ali’s decision effectively channels her anger into action – revenge – in order to avoid hurting. As we learn from her example, adultery isn’t a solution, but another problem.

TMD: Crazy question time. Thought you were immune did you? Sorry, it has to be done. If you could play a couples tourney with anyone from a famous golf movie, would you pick Bill Murray, Chevy Chase or Happy Gilmore? No JMo we’re not calling you Happy Jmo!

PD: God. You’ve gotta love Bill Murray’s philosophy as the groundskeeper in Caddy Shack. Still, I suspect he’s got major B.O. Can’t see myself crowded into a golf cart with him.

Chevy Chase. Hmmm. He was quite suave on the course, but I’d have a hard time forgetting he’s also the dope in the National Lampoon movies, making eyes at every set of D-cups he sees. Besides, if he bet thousands on one of my shots, I’d miss for sure!

I’d have to say Happy Gilmore would be my choice. His colorful language would entertain me (who else in the world could call Bob Barker “bitch” and make us laugh?). And with those wild temper-strokes, I might finish with a better score than him!

Er. Speaking of wild strokes…

TMD: Oh Lord! JMo, you’re supposed to yell fore before you hit the ball into a crowd. I think you just killed a secret service agent. Piper before we’re hauled away for murder, could you please tell us about any other books you've got looming on the 18th hole and where we can find them?

PD: This fall from Sinful Moments Press, comes my book about Fantasy Mountain, the resort where no want is too wacky, no urge to unusual, no passion too peculiar.

Meet the owners:
On her remote ranch, Victoria has built a world-renowned business with her ability to create any sexual scenario requested. She has it all; power, money, independence. The only other thing she wants is the one she knows she’ll never have, and he works just down the hall.

Brett has all but given up hope of breaching the wall around Victoria’s heart. In fact, he’s engaged to be married back in London in only two months. But he knows Victoria has desires; he’s seen them firsthand. When one night of passion rekindles old feelings, can he finally fulfill the ultimate fantasy of the woman who’s made it her mission to satisfy everyone’s desires but her own?

Whatever the erotic dream, it can come true at Fantasy Mountain.

TMD: Thanks again for letting us join you today and let our readers know where they can find you on the net? Jmo stop running, that’ll only make them shoot to kill!

PD: Thanks for the interview, I really appreciate…wow, those two Morgans really have wheels! Guess they can’t hear me anymore.

All Fore Revenge is currently available as an ebook from
http://www.lyricalpress.com/ and will release in print on February 2, ’09. Watch the trailer at: http://www.youtube.com/v/n9-hItyspCY&hl=en&fs=1

Fantasy Mountain will also be available November 15th from Sinful Moments Press in print and ebook format.

My website is
http://www.piperdenna.com/ and I’m also at www.myspace.com/piperdenna .
Email me at piperdenna@gmail.com

3 comments:

Cindy Jacks said...

Great interview, Piper, Morgan, and Jmo!

I totally agree about women's fiction changing to more believable scenarios and real emotions. And you've definitely created a heroine we can identify with, Piper. WTG

Sandy said...

Very entertaining interview, Piper, Morgan and JMO. Of course, what else can you expect from JMO? Grin.

Piper, this sounds like a serious subject and one many women and maybe even men will relate to.

Sandy

Piper Denna said...

Thanks, Cindy and Sandy. Hey, you know the first book I ever wrote - back in 3rd grade - had 2 best friends named Cindy and Sandy. Heh. Anyhow. I'm glad to hear "real life" is coming into play in modern romance. I do like to see lead characters with real problems, deeper than a broken heel on a favorite pump. Not that I'm belittling shoe issues! It's just nice for women's fiction to include a little meat (a beefy hero is always a nice component too, eh?) along with the fluffy fun stuff.