Interview with Lee Piper

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING PROFESSIONALLY?
I’ve been writing professionally for one year, though spent my entire childhood and adolescence writing. It was the only way I could make sense of the changes and experiences I was going through at the time; I guess it was therapy in a way. I stopped writing once I graduated university – life got in the way – and picked up a pen ten years later after my second miscarriage when I once again needed a way to make sense of my world.
WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
I write Australian rock romance for adult audiences. Think dingy live music venues, dirty guitar riffs, thundering drum beats and smokin hot men.
IF YOU COULD GIVE NEW WRITERS ONE PIECE OF ADVICE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Write what you know. The written word is more authentic when it comes from personal experience, though that’s not to say you can’t embellish it to suit your own purposes. For instance, at the beginning of my novel, Rock My World, the heroine, Grace is a bitter, broken young woman who finds trusting people really difficult. These emotions were exactly what I was drowning in after losing my second child. I was therefore able to ‘method act’ my way through the storyline to ensure her actions/interactions were credible and realistic. However, that’s where the similarities end. She also talks before she thinks – often with hilarious results – and has the mouth of a sailor which isn’t me at all!
IF YOU COULD RECOMMEND ONE BOOK FOR ALL WRITERS TO READ WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Just one? Wow, that’s tough! I would really recommend Stephen King’s, On Writing. Not only is this man a heck of a lot funnier than I ever gave him credit for, but he understands the mechanics behind writing brilliantly. Better yet, he’s able to explain these concepts through examples from his and other writer’s work in a way which is heaps easy to comprehended. This book is super inspiring too because he wrote it after his accident and explains how writing helped him survive his darkest days.
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH REJECTIONS FROM PUBLISHERS AND EDITORS?
I cry. Seriously. It’s so hard not to take rejections personally because books become an extension of who we are as people. We put so much time and effort into them, we breathe and live these stories, so it’s really difficult not to think that a rejection – no matter how kindly worded – isn’t a reflection of our self-worth.

So I let myself feel sad, I wallow in it for a while and then, when I can finally look at the rejection from a more objection perspective, pick myself up and move on. After all, my books aren’t going to publish themselves.
MANY WRITERS ALSO WORK OTHER JOBS, DO YOU?
Yeah, I’m a full time high school teacher who specializes in English. It’s pretty awesome being able to instil a love of literature amongst teenagers – and debate the merits of it with those who aren’t so interested!
HOW DO YOU MAKE TIME TO WRITE?
To be honest, I’m still struggling with the whole work/life balance thing. I’m currently seven months pregnant and have a toddler as well, so it’s difficult to find a time when I’m not completely exhausted outside of work.

Before I fell pregnant though, I would dedicate two hours before work and about an hour afterwards for my writing which worked brilliantly. This meant I was able to write Rock My World in about five months.
WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO WRITE?
I’d love to say that I use the study which has been expressly furnished for my writing. It looks really cool with Stephen King quotes everywhere, photos of my family and an awesome Keep Calm and Write Your Damn Book poster on the wall. But that would be a lie. Instead, I always find myself at the dining room table while my daughter is asleep and my husband is on his PlayStation in the next room. For some reason, the epic sounds of a vampire apocalypse turns into white noise and helps me focus!
TELL US WHAT YOU LIKE TO READ AND WHO?
I love, love, love reading contemporary/erotic romance – particularly ballsy ones which aren’t lovey-dovey or euphemistic in any way. I find that authors who balance a sense of realism with heat and heart are the most enjoyable for me. Joanna Wylde’sREAPERS MC series is brilliant, Kylie Scott’s STAGE DIVE series is always a favorite, Meghan March’s DIRTY series is awesome, and Leisa Rayven’s STARCROSSED series is freakin mind blowing.

I could go on and on: Penelope Ward’s STEP BROTHER DEAREST, Nicola Rendell’s CONFESSED, Kim Jones’CLUBWHORE, T Gephart’s THE POWER STATION series, Tijan’s anything (seriously, they’re all good), Amity Cross’ THE BEAT AND THE PULSE SERIES… Oh, and I’ve just stumbled across Drew Jordan and am so glad I did!
WHAT OR WHO INSPIRES YOU TO WRITE?
Other writers inspire me. The fact that there are so many ridiculously talented people out there who can transport readers to another world through the turn of a phrase, is truly mind blowing. And it doesn’t stop there. Every word chosen has been so carefully thought out, edited and then edited again. There’s so much blood, sweat and tears behind every book published and this willingness to share a part of oneself with the world, is beyond brave.

Music also has the same effect. And I’m talking the heavy rock kind – the louder the better. For every book I write, I have a soundtrack. Cog’s The New Normal was the album which I listened to religiously while writing ROCK MY WORLD. Whereas Dead Letter Circus and Twelve Foot Ninja (all awesome Aussie bands btw) are what I’m listening to at the moment when writing the second in the four part Mondez series, ROCK MY BODY.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR WRITING HABITS. WHEN DO YOU WRITE, HOW OFTEN? GIVE ADVICE TO NEW WRITERS ON HOW TO ORGANIZE THEIR DAY AND WRITING HABITS.
Pre-pregnancy, I would go for a jog along the beach most afternoons while listening to heavy rock music. This was when I’d think up each chapter of the book I was working on at the time. I’d let this sit with me for a while, overnight worked best, and would then get up at 5am the next day to put pen to paper until 7am – which was when I’d get ready for work. That night, I’d then go over what I’d hand written; I’d type it up and spend the next day or so tidying it up until I was happy with it.

Once I was happy with it, I’d read it out loud to my husband – the world’s best sounding board – to see if there was anything which needed to be changed. I’d also email it off to my cousin who would give me feedback too. I tried sending some of my stuff through to my mum for a while but she wasn’t much of a fan of all the swearing and sex!
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE SNACK WHEN YOU WRITE?
Chocolate. Always chocolate. It helps me think (at least that’s what I keep telling myself).
DO YOU HAVE A GREAT WEBSITE, SOFTWARE, BOOKS…SECRETS THAT HELP YOU WITH YOUR WRITING?
To be honest, being an English teacher is really helpful for my writing because I’m surrounded by words, research and like-minded people everyday. However, in saying this, I also purposefully joined the ARWA (Australian Romance Writers Association) and SA (South Australian) Writers Center to continuously improve my practice. The workshops – both online and in person – are super helpful, as is entering lots of writing competitions because the feedback is specific to my current WIP.
WHICH BOOK DID YOU ENJOY WRITING THE MOST?
I loved writing ROCK MY WORLD more so than ROCK MY BODY. I think this is because I had nothing to compare my first novel to so felt like I had nothing to lose; it was liberating. Even though I believe Rock My Body is more complex, contains better layers and is better written, I have really struggled to get the words on the page. This was mostly because of the high expectations I set myself but was also due to the morning/allgoddamnday sickness (19 weeks people. 19 looooong weeks), I experienced earlier this year.
TELL US ALL ABOUT YOUR WIP.
Rock My Body is based around the epic relationship between Dominic, the lead guitarist from Mondez, and Riley Sears. He’s a womanizer; she wants commitment. He won’t sleep with the same woman twice; she refuses to be any man’s one night stand. He’s tempestuous and moody; she has anxiety and needs calm. But they both crave each other. Badly. The two try to traverse the murky waters of friends without benefits but Fate – the evil wench – has other ideas.
WHAT'S THE FIRST BOOK YOU HAVE WRITTEN?
My first book was ROCK MY WORLD; it’s the first in a four part Mondez series. ROCK MY WORLD took me five months to write and then another five or so to procrastinate over and question every decision I ever made! I entered it in a few competitions, shared it with some close friends and received some really positive feedback, so decided to work towards publication. Thankfully, Evernight picked it up and I’m hoping they’ll agree to publish the next three books in the series too.
Published 2017-01-19.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.