Let's start off with you telling us a bit about your latest novel Play
PLAY is a short, quirky experiment. It has all my fave things - a slow build (that I promise pays off!), lots of heat, some 'aww' moments, and plenty of laughs. Life is serious enough - most of the time when I reach for a book, I want it to lighten and brighten my day.
What was the inspiration behind the story?
My fiance was talking about this game he got in the spring (he doesn't buy many :)), and it made me think 'how come gamers don't get more love in the e-romance world? and what would happen if I mashed a gamer up with someone really non-gamery? Would it be awful or awesome?' So I did!
Both Payton and Max are quite complex characters. Did you start out writing them this way or did their stories develop as you wrote?
Characters always get more complex over time for me. I tend to write in passes - so the layers build every time I go through the story. Where they start on the first pass isn't usually where they end up. It's more fun that way - I get to feel like I'm getting to know them too!
Gaming, and it's complexities, are prominent features throughout Play. How did you research the different ins and outs of behind the scenes gaming?
I played one hundred different games, just like Payton...KIDDING. Google. Lots and lots of Google. The game industry is actually super fascinating...so I enjoyed learning about the process, the studios, and some of the genius Max-like guys (and to a lesser extent gals!) who make it happen.
I really loved the interaction between Max and Payton, especially when it was the frustration was heightened. I felt like Payton held her own against Max though! Was it important to you that Payton was able to hold her own?
Yes. A million times yes. Girls aren't doormats in the real world, and they shouldn't be in books either. Women are strong and capable and have ideas and opinions and feelings that matter. I love rooting for a woman who knows where she stands and isn't going to take crap from a guy (no matter what piercings he has).
I've also read some of your other work - Stripped, for example. One thing I noticed that carried over from that novel to this was the love the main female character had for fashion. Is that something that you are personally interested in?
Hehe, good observation! I do like style but to be honest, my fiance has more clothes than me. I'm not even joking - like 3 closets worth. I'd send you pictures, but it's just depressing. At least I have my shoe rack. It's mine. All mine...
Now for some different questions!
Who is your favourite author?
Hrmm. For romance, I love Jay Crownover. Her stuff's just so hot and her characters are so real. Real is important to me - I like reading a book I can believe. I like a clear line between my contemporary romance and my paranormal ;)
If you could swap places with a character for a day, who would it be?
Right now, it would have to be Charlie from PLAY. She's just so funny and she doesn't give a shit what anyone thinks. Plus, she has great clothes.
What is your writing process like, do you hide yourself away for weeks at a time?
I tried hiding myself away once. It lasted about three hours and I had to come up for air. And chocolate. I always have a schedule before I start and I write in sprints. Usually they're a couple hours and about two thousand words at a time. But inevitably, I spend WAY longer editing than I intend. Some people hate it, but editing's one of my fave parts - that's when an idea goes from 'OK' to 'yeah, this is going to work'
If you had one piece of advice for aspiring authors what would it be?
Wow. I consider myself an aspiring author, so I guess I'd say...craft is king. Read as much in the genre as you can, but it's one thing to read romance and it's another to write it. I realized when I started writing that I had a LONG way to go. I still do, but there are amazing books, blogs, and resources like RWA sessions that can help even the newest newbie navigate stuff like conflict, character arcs and backstory like a vet.
Thank you to Piper for joining me today check out her website here and chat with her on twitter @piperjlawson!