I’m a lucky girl. See, about a year ago I got tangled up with Chicklit Blog Tours (waves to Samantha) and started doing interviews and reviews with them. It has been great fun. I’ve hosted writers that I might not have heard about, indy authors who were brave enough to publish their own work and authors who have a house behind them yet want more exposure. I’ve read everything from mystery to romance, speculative fiction to gritty reality, all in the name of ‘chicklit’. But the main thing is, I’ve read books that I might not have read otherwise.
Today’s guest does not fit into this latter category. Pepper Phillips’ novel The Devil Has Dimples is a book that I hope I would have found on my own, but I’m so glad I had the chance to read it. I’ll be posting a complete review of the novel really soon (maybe even this afternoon), but right now ‘mom duty’ calls. So to hold you over until then, I have Pepper (doncha just love that name?) here answering all of my nosy questions.
~*~*~*~The Interview ~*~*~*~
Amie: Hmmm…first question–Why did you choose your genre?
Pepper: I write in several different genres, contemporary, women’s fiction, time-travel, paranormal, historical, children’s stories, etc. I have to go where the story leads me.
Amie: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? How has that childhood dream affected your current career?
Pepper: I wanted to be a teacher, a ballerina, a librarian, a businesswoman, a wife, a mother. I am a businesswoman, a wife, a mother, have taught as a substitute teacher, was a modern jazz dancer (met the husband while dancing at a USO show) and have enough books to start a small library, so most of the goals were accomplished in one way or another. I think that my various interests show up in my work as a writer.
Amie: A USO show? How cool is that! What do you do for fun?
Pepper: That’s a hard question…LOL! I love to read and always have a book lying around that I’m reading, or one of my two kindles. (I couldn’t resist buying the Kindle Fire so I could view children’s books in color, because I have several of those written as well.) I think taking pictures is fun. I did take a workshop and a college course in photography, and love to arrange a photo for the best effect.
Amie: How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?
Pepper: Usually they come to me with the idea. There’s only one that I had trouble with and my critique partner thought of a title that really works.
Amie: Yay, critique partners! What would we do without them? Have you ever used contemporary events or stories “ripped from the headlines” in your work?
Pepper: Sort of. My time-travel, which isn’t finished, came to mind while I walked in front of the television and they were talking about the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa, who has never been found. My brain started clicking and I thought that being pulled into the past would work. Though I always love to read time-travels, I came up with an idea I’ve never seen done. So, that’s on my list to finish.
Amie: Please tell me you’ll come back when it’s finished. I LOVE time travels! How much of your work is real? How much is fantasy?
Pepper: Good question. My stories are fantasy…but there are real things stuck into the story to make it funny or ring true. The beginning scene of The Devil Has Dimples is pure fantasy, but it’s funny.
Amie: It’s adorable, that’s what it is! :) Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?
Pepper: Editing. You have to go over your manuscript with a fine-tooth comb…several times. Thankfully, I have some fantastic editors who give great pointers so I can make my story better. I’ve always thought that if I can make my readers laugh, cry and think, then I’ve done my job.
Amie: You made me laugh that’s for sure. What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Pepper: Write every day. Read every day. Study the craft always. I still study craft.
Amie: Who is your favorite author and why? What books have most influenced your life?
Pepper: My favorite author changes as I grow in my writing. I will read anything the following authors write: Marshall Karp, Lisa Lutz, Suzanne Brockmann, Lee Child. Right now I’m in a Russell Blake mood. I’m reading him because his stories are interesting, the heros (except for the assassin) are good men, and their women are fascinating. He has a touch of humor in his work, and I like that.
The books that influenced my life the most are those from my childhood. They took me on so many adventures. Lois Lenski was my favorite author, Toby Tyler and the Circus, Pollyanna and The Diary of Anne Frank are the books I remember most.
Amie: What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Pepper: LOL…a computer! What a bonus over a typewriter! When I write or edit, I have www.onelook.comrunning in the background so I can easily check my compound words. My first editor pointed me in that direction as I really had a problem with the little devils. It made me more aware of them.
Visual Thesaurus is another tool that I use to find the ‘right’ word to use. I also like Webster’s Ninth for a dictionary as it gives you the year a particular word came into usage, perfect if you’re writing anything historical.
Hmmm…I think I may have to use a few of those myself! Thanks for stopping by, Pepper! And visitors don’t forget to be watching for my review of The Devil Has Dimples.
Lot’s of <3–Amie
~*~*~*~ About Pepper ~*~*~*~
Pepper Phillips wrote her first play in the seventh grade. But before that she read every book in her age group at the small local library. An only child, she entertained herself in the worlds she created in her mind. She’s still pretty mindless in some respects, but her writing world is where she is the happiest. She ventured into self-publishing in 2011.
~*~*~*~ Connect with Pepper ~*~*~*~
~*~*~*~ Blog Tour ~*~*~*~