Jen: Today we welcome our next Historical Romance Retreat author, Piper Huguley. Piper, will you share a short bio with us?
Piper: Piper G Huguley, named 2015 Debut Author of the Year by Romance Slam Jam and Breakout Author of the Year by AAMBC, is a two-time Golden Heart ®finalist and is the author of “Migrations of the Heart,” a five-book series of historical romances set in the early 20th century featuring African American characters, published by Samhain Publishing. Book one in the series, A Virtuous Ruby won the Golden Rose contest in Historical Romance in 2013 and was a Golden Heart® finalist in 2014. Book four, A Champion’s Heart, was a Golden Heart® finalist in 2013.
Huguley is also the author of the “Home to Milford College” series. The series follows the building of a college from its founding in 1866. On release, the prequel novella to the “Home to Milford College” series, The Lawyer’s Luck, reached #1 Amazon Bestseller status on the African American Christian Fiction charts. Book #1 in the series, The Preacher’s Promise was named a top ten Historical Romance in Publisher’s Weekly by the esteemed historical romance author, Beverly Jenkins.
She blogs about the history behind her novels at http://piperhuguley.com. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Piper: The Representative’s Revolt deals with the tensions in a marriage when two equally powerful people have different dreams they each want to pursue and how they come to understand what is most important in their lives.
I got the idea for the novel based on some of the real life incidents of violence in Reconstruction where political officials were attacked or assassinated. What happened in their households when their political dreams were put to rest?
Jen: What what age did you discover writing? Tell us your call story.
Piper: I started writing when I was twelve years old and we moved to a new neighborhood, which took me out of my comfort zone. I wrote novels to create a world that I knew and seemed familiar.
My call story was an e-mail. Latoya Smith send out a call for stories of African American romance on Facebook. I couldn’t believe that she wanted to see any historical stuff, so I inboxed her to ask her and she did! And here I am!
Jen: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Piper: I’m a panster until about five chapters in which is usually the end of Act I. That’s when I break out the sticky notes and story boards and plot it out. So, I’m a little bit of both I guess.
Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Piper: I’m a professor in college of Twentieth Century American Literature and I specialize in The Great Migration so I’m very familiar with the world in my “Migrations of the Heart” series. A lot of this research is part of the studying that I had to do for my day job. Experts in a time period are also required to know what came before and after, so I’ve done quite a bit of research on the Civil War to the first part of the twentieth century. That knowledge helped me with my “Home to Milford College” series.
Jen: How do you come up with characters names?
Piper: Names are the first words that a character speaks to me, so naming them is major part of getting to know them. Figuring out a characters name tells me their backstory, their heritage, their parents and who they are. So, I have a number of naming books and websites that I consult. It’s very important to me. As a reader, the quickest way I’m pulled out of a historical novel is for characters to have names that are not plausible for the time period.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Piper: The next “Home to Milford College” story, The Songbird’s Stand, is the love story of March Smithson, the daughter of the founders of the college, and a teacher who comes to teach at the college. It will release in Spring 2016.
The next “Migrations of the Heart” book, A Champion’s Heart, will release in January 2017.