Jen: Today we welcome Piper J. Drake to Romancing the Book. Piper, will you share a short bio with us?
Piper: Piper J. Drake (or “PJ”) began her writing career as “PJ Schnyder” writing sci-fi & paranormal romance and steampunk. She has recently received the FF&P PRISM award for her work as well as the NJRW Golden Leaf award and Parsec award.
Now, Piper is exploring the complexity of romantic suspense
Play Find the Piper around the Internet for insight into her frequent travels and inspirations for her stories.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Piper: Extreme Honor is the first in the True Heroes series, releasing on January 26th.
The idea came from a brainstorming session with my agent over beignets in New Orleans, while I was sharing stories about my dogs.
Jen: What what age did you discover writing? Tell us your call story.
Piper: I started writing for fun at an early age, maybe as early as I learned to read. My earliest saved story was captured in middle school right around the time my family acquired our first personal computer, a Tandy 1000XL.
That’s not to say my writing has only ever been on a computer. I carried a notebook around with me throughout high school and college specifically to capture snippets of writing whenever I found time.
All those years, though, I was writing for me. I hadn’t even thought to share those stories or pursue publishing until I started to participate in National Novel Writing Month. In the beginning of 2010, I went through my divorce and decided I truly wanted to start writing to share with other people. I wanted to write happy endings for other people’s stories.
Jen: Describe your writing in 3 words.
Piper: Saucy, action-packed romance 😉
Jen: How do you remember ideas that come to you at odd times?
Piper: My smart phone is my friend. So is my laptop. I use Evernote, synced to both my phone and all of my multiple laptops, to quickly type up whatever idea hit me at a particular time. I also snap a picture using my phone and attach it to the Evernote record if there’s a particular visual involved.
Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Piper: I researched training techniques by Cesar Millan as a base for Lyn’s approach to understanding dog behavior in her more psychological work with Atlas and special forces training techniques by Mike Ritland, Navy SEAL, for David’s approach.
Lyn is compromising in Extreme Honor, keeping with David’s military based training techniques and learning what working behaviors Atlas has already been trained to perform in his career as a military working dog. Her own expertise is demonstrated more in her psychological approach to coaxing Atlas back into responding and wanting to work again.
I consulted with Air Force veterans for the action and fight scenes. And I also have personal experience interacting with working dogs on socialization, having worked with Schutzhund trainers, NYC K9 trainers, and other professionals.
Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest? Most rewarding?
Piper: The most challenging aspect of writing for me is setting my story free, putting it out there for readers to enjoy. It’s out of my control then, there are no more chances to revise. Either readers will “get it” or they won’t. And it’s for them now. My hope is that they’ll enjoy. If they don’t or if my stories are not for them, that’s okay too. I’m thankful they gave my stories a chance.
The most rewarding moments are when I come across a comment from a complete stranger and they absolutely got my story.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Piper: Ultimate Courage and Absolute Trust, the next two books in the True Heroes series, are scheduled for release in 2016.
My Safeguard series is also continuing this year, with Deadly Testimony and Contracted Defense.
Check my website for release dates and info on both of these series. It’s a busy year!