I met Piper Huguley in Atlanta at the 2013 Romance Writers of America National Conference. I can’t remember our first meeting, but I do remember running into her several times and doing what you do at conferences — talking about books, the conference, the workshops, the speakers, the authors. Everything you can chat about in five-minute encounters that take place waiting for elevators or chilling at the bar or a restaurant.
Oh, and I also knew she was a 2013 Golden Heart® finalist (now also a two-time finalist with her 2014 Golden Heart® finalist nod), so some stalking on my part might have been involved:)…
But she was always gracious and chatty, and funny, and we’ve been buds ever since. I may not be a regular inspirational romance reader, but I enjoy a good book, first and foremost, and I love her books, but also her marketing savvy, and her commitment to her Sunday blog posts! If you haven’t checked them out, please do — you’ll be wiser for reading them:)!
So, I invited her here to the Waterworld Mermaid pond to answer some of my questions about her newest release, The Preacher’s Promise, and in general share some of her awesomeness!
1). Denny asked: Tell us about your setting – time and location – how does setting help you tell the story of your protagonist?
Piper said: The Milford College series starts in 1866 Georgia. This is the Reconstruction Era that follows the end of the Civil War. It’s a time of great change, unrest and uncertainty. I think it’s a lot like the Wild West where great opportunity existed alongside of turbulence and change. So when these forces of an educated African American woman comes in contact with a former enslaved blacksmith, there is bound to be conflict. They wouldn’t have come in contact at any other time.
2) Denny asked: Pick a line from your book that you’d say ’nails’ the personality of your heroine and/or hero?
Piper said: Virgil says: “Don’t address people I don’t know by their first names. Especially not young women. I got manners.”
He won’t have anyone, not even the newly arrived schoolteacher, treating him as if he doesn’t know the rules of society. The line shows his pride, but at the same time highlights his vulnerability.
3) Denny asked: You are a two-time Golden Heart finalist entering the world of indie publishing with two books debuting in six weeks, what’s next?
Piper said: Hopefully, people will be engaged in my series and I can continue to release Milford College stories. I’m still shopping my single title 20th century series and people will be able to learn about the Bledsoe Sisters.
4) Denny asked: Name two books on your must-read shelf.
Piper said: Gone With the Wind.- Despite all of the difficulty with the way African Americans are portrayed, Mitchell still tells a captivating story. For me, the book serves as motivation—to tell a different kind of captivating story.
Mules and Men – Hurston captures pertinent stories/reflections in the speech patterns of her fellow Floridians from the 1920’s and 1930’s and gives them their human dignity.
5) Denny asked: What’s hot in historical women’s fiction and/or romance (besides your new book:)!
Piper said: The whole genre of “wife of” books seems to have cooled for the moment. I see a hopeful shift in readers being more receptive to a wider variety of time periods in historical romance. The genre will have a hard time continuing to thrive if people are not exposed to a greater variety of stories.
Thank you, Piper!
Now readers, Piper will be around all day so please ask away!
Piper Huguley is author of the “Home to Milford College” series, and to keep in touch, you can visit her blog, http://piperhuguley.com, or follow her on @writerpiper on Twitter, or find her at Piper Huguley on Facebook.The Preacher’s Promise (in print and on iTunes)