July 10, 2023
Transcript: 15. Piper Malone

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Full episode transcript

Lee: Welcome to episode #15 of the Low Angst Library. Today we have an interview with Piper Malone.

I’m your resident librarian Lee Blair. This library is your stop for all things. Light, fluffy, funny, sweet, spicy, and everything in between.

I not only publish low angst queer romances, but I’m a voracious reader of them too. I started this podcast because I wanted to talk to fellow authors who write romances featuring queer characters so that I could learn what draws them to the lighter side of angst, more about their books and their writing processes.

I cannot believe we’re at episode 15 of the podcast. Oh my goodness. I’m so grateful for all of my guests and all of you who listen to the episodes and read the transcripts. It’s been amazing to watch this community grow.

I have been continuing to work my booty off on book stuff this summer in between doing my damnedest to try and grow my garden. Gardening has turned out to be so much fun by the way. My dahlias and tomatoes and potatoes and cucumbers and peppers and dill and lettuce and beans are all actively growing. Who knows what will happen in the future? And I’ll just avoid mentioning the stuff that I’ve killed because oopsie.

Over the first weekend of July, I focused on catching up on literally dozens and dozens of admin tasks that have been collecting on the writer front. I did just so many different things, which included creating pre-orders for my next four books. One of them is releasing July 31. So three weeks from the release of this podcast episode.

It’s called Perfect Blend and it’s a novella that involves a secret online identity, friends to lovers, a high school crush come back, adult fans of LEGO, amateur drag, and all sorts of Pride month goodness. I’ll drop a link in the show notes in case you’re interested in pre-ordering. I have made this one available on all major retailers. But only Amazon shows the pre-order so far.

I’m also in the midst of writing the other three books that I’m releasing this year that I have pre-orders for, which includes book three in my Tap That Brewery series called Relief Pitcher. This one’s about Tyler. And he’s a guy who loves his one and done casual encounters. He’s never really felt a pull toward love and romance until his car breaks down during a storm. And he gets stranded at the house of a sexy widower. Ty is the perfect guy to help Cooper, the widower, get back out there for the first time since his husband’s death. Because Ty’s like, hey, I’m here. You’re here. Uh, there’s literally a trees blocking my car from leaving, so let’s just get it on. And Cooper’s like, you know what? Ty you are gorgeous. And I cannot argue with your logic. So they do, and Ty thinks is going to be one and done except circumstances, bring them back together. And Ty realizes he wants more. This is a demiromantic awakening book.

I also posted pre-orders for my two Christmas books that I’m releasing this year. I had an idea about two best friends who were also roommates and coworkers who get laid off right after Thanksgiving. So this is about Arlo and Keaton. And while commiserating, they have a few drinks and get the idea to use some of their severance money to send each other on a trip right before Christmas. You know, before they have to get serious about finding some new jobs.

So the first book is Mistletoe Kisses. It’s Arlo’s story and he ends up in Dahlia Springs, which is where most of my other books are set. He meets Lucas in a very embarrassing and I think funny, but also awful way. And Lucas is the brother of a main character in my 24 Dares of Christmas book that came out last year. Arlo is shy and not very assertive. Lucas is outgoing and bold. And Lucas helps Arlo come out of his shell while Arlo helps Lucas get over a major fear after something embarrassing happened. So there’s a thread of some of those embarrassing moments.

And then Christmas Wishes is the companion book, which is Keaton’s story. Arlo sends Keaton to sunny Arizona because Keaton is desperate to escape the Snowmageddon weather in Minnesota. Except Arlo accidentally sends Keaton to the snowy part of Arizona and Keaton didn’t even realize that there were snowy parts of Arizona. Oopsie. Keaton stays at an Airbnb hosted by a gorgeous man named Riggs and Keaton uncovers the mystery connected to someone very important to Riggs and they get close while trying to solve it.

Both books are set at the same time. And one thing I’m really excited about is, you know, the two best friends Arlo and Keaton will be having conversations with each other in each of the books. And so in both books, you’ll get each side of their conversations, which will be fun since they’re set at the same time.

One last thing- I know I’m chatty today. One last thing is if you’re a fan of Christmas books, watch my social media, which is @LeeBlairBooks, because there is a super fun Christmas in July thingie mcbobber headed your way later this month. And I will mention it during the next podcast episode too.

Okay. Now onto the reason that your here, my delightful interview with Piper Malone. We talked about how she expanded from writing male-female romance into telling some male-male stories, in-person author events, writing sibling dynamics and so much more.

Piper Malone is an award-winning romance author. Her novels enchant readers with deeply romantic tales infused with passion, friendship, and laughter. She is a reader of all things, lover of dark chocolate, sports and pet adoption.

Piper Malone, thank you so much for hanging out with me in the Low Angst Library. I’m really happy you’re here.

Piper: I am so thrilled to be invited. Thank you so much. I am so grateful for this opportunity. I can’t wait to chat.

Lee: Oh, me too. This is gonna be such a good time, and I really just like to jump right in and ask you how did you get started in writing books and writing romance specifically?

Piper: So on some level, I’ve always been a writer from a very young age. I always wrote poetry and stories and those really vital angsty teenage years, just putting words on paper. And then as I- I stopped for a period of time just because life took over and I was never really someone who read romance. I didn’t think that romance was for me.

And then I picked up a romance novel, a romance series, and I thought, wow, this was, this is amazing. This is so wonderful. And I started to think about the angsty writing I did when I was in high school. And I thought, how can I turn this one core story into a romance novel?

And I worked on that for quite some time, and I had a finished product and sent it to an editor with the understanding that if the editor said this is cute, don’t ever do it again. I would walk away. And if they had feedback and criticism for me to build and work from, that I would continue this. Cause I enjoyed the process and I had amazing support and lovely feedback. And that book was the first book that I published and it’s been a forward train since then. The more I have read romance and written romance, I just, I love it. I just, it is such a wonderful genre and I’m thrilled to be a part of that.

Lee: That’s incredible. What a great story that, that you were able to re-purpose that initial writing and then move forward and publish your first book. And there’s just something about not thinking romance is for you and then trying it and just being willing to change your mind and how that is life changing.

Piper: Absolutely. And to recognize all of the good things. First of all, the diversity of the romance genre. There’s something for everyone. And if you’re someone that loves everything, it’s here for you too. And really recognizing that romance there is that uplifting end that happily ever after or happily for now or whatever it is.

So you know that this is going to be a feel good, that this is something that’s going to soothe your heart and your world in some way. And I’ll tell you what, some days the end of a really rough day, all I wanna do is pick up that book and just dive right in because you need that good, warm feeling, and that’s what you get with a wonderful romance novel.

Lee: Yes, I couldn’t agree more. It’s just so nice to be able to trust that you have that happily ever after so that it’s safer to have those highs and lows after a stressful day because you’re like, it’s gonna be okay. I could trust that.

Piper: Yes. You know it’s gonna catch you. It’ll be all right.

Lee: Yeah, exactly.

That kinda leads into the next topic I’d love to talk about in terms of angst levels, because you mentioned that first writing you did was very angsty and you do write a mix of angst among your stories. So when you do decide to write low angst, what draws you to writing that?

Piper: So for me, when I write low angst, what I want or what my goal is to create a book or a story or a series that is like candy. That’s probably the best way to describe it. I want people, readers to have fun, enjoy themselves, get those warm feelings, escape, go on a little bit of a vacation, enjoy all the good things that are out there, and have a really wonderful, heartfelt romance along the way.

So when I first started writing lower angst is really when I started getting into more of the comedic pieces of writing. And I love to laugh. I love to have fun, so I thought, oh, this is great. Like maybe we don’t need these, like very heavy things. Let’s bounce along. Let’s have a good time and let’s add in these very human elements and pieces and recognize that we don’t always necessarily have to have these very heavy pieces. Sometimes life is heavy enough. Let’s focus on some of the things that are lighter and brighter because we do have those rough days and we’re picking up that book, we want that getaway. And that’s really what has been so fun with writing lower angst books and just enjoying that process.

Lee: Oh yes, absolutely.

What does low angst mean to you? Because I’m finding that it’s different with every person I talk to.

Piper: Yeah, so I think for me it’s really nurturing that very stable, mature relationship, and understanding and recognizing what’s going on. Like we are individuals that are interacting with one another, accepting what’s going on in each of those spheres without necessarily having to have this like big dramatic piece or these big sweeping heartbreak situations.

We recognize that there is stress and difficulties and that there is a path to navigate those situations that doesn’t necessarily result in a total disruption of our worlds. We can have a focused, mature conversation that is sometimes difficult, but has that outcome that we want. So I think really looking at what the dynamics that happen within relationship and recognizing that it’s not always happy, it’s not always right, but that it’s that you can navigate difficult times and still really love each other in that process, and as a result, your relationship is stronger.

Lee: Yes. Oh, I couldn’t agree more. You’re so right because it’s almost like with a lot of low angst, I like to call it communication porn because it’s just like people, yeah. They just talk so much, but it’s I feel like I almost trust the happier, happily ever after in a different way when I can see how they have navigated those tougher moments in a low angst story. Sometimes there’s a part of me that’s oh, I really believe they’re gonna be okay. If these were real people and if they had a real future. There’s something about watching them, be good with each other through those tough moments that makes me like, oh yeah, okay. They’re gonna be fine. They can communicate.

Piper: Yeah, absolutely. It’s and that’s what you want, right? You don’t want, if you think about your own relationship, you just don’t want somebody to pick up and leave and wait a minute. What? Come, wait, we had a thing here. What? And it was good. What happened? Yeah, you and I think sometimes, you read and you think about things in a different way.

And you have that communication porn as you call it. It’s wait a minute, is this something that could be a real thing? Can we work on talking through difficult things? And I think it’s just could be a very good example for how people can move forward in their own relationships.

Lee: I sometimes joke with people who like what do you like about low angst? I like that people in low angst stories can often communicate better than I can in my own relationship. So that’s part of the fantasy.

Piper: Yes.

Lee: Yay for therapy.

Piper: Oh, yes. Hey it’s there for a reas- Yes, you, yay.

Lee: Do you read a lot of low angst or do you read all over the angst spectrum?

Piper: So I would say more recently I read a lower angst. I have noticed as I have matured there are certain topics or maybe books that I am interested in, but I know again, in that balance of this is my escape, this is my getaway, what’s going to soothe my heart in this moment? I have gravitated more towards those lower angst stories because I need that soothing in a sense.

That doesn’t mean that I won’t ever pick up another angsty book or heavy book. It’s just that. It’s not something that I necessarily look for, but I’m also not, let me say, I also don’t discriminate in what I could potentially pick up. If I could pick up a book and say okay, maybe I can’t read this right now, but I might be in a place in a little bit. It can rest on my shelf, and when I’m ready to grab it, I will definitely grab it.

Lee: Nice. That makes so much sense. I like that.

Do you have any book recommendations from your low angst reading?

Piper: So I recently read the Shore Leave series by Annabeth Albert.

Lee: Oh yes.

Piper: So good. And I love Annabeth Albert. I also recently just finished See the Light by Kate McMurray.

Lee: Oh, nice.

Piper: Yes, and what was great is that there is a there’s a Broadway tie-in. So I was, living this Broadway life and then the Tonys were on, and I thought, oh I, I was just thinking about just just loving just loving those stories. Really wonderful.

Lee: Oh, fabulous. I haven’t read Kate McMurray’s. I need to put that on my TBR. I love Anna Beth’s books. Annabeth is local to me and we actually met in RWA many years ago. It’s just been incredible watching her career and like her books are just so emotional and so heartwarming, and she’s an incredibly talented writer. I, oh my God, I love her books.

Piper: Oh, if I ever met her, it’d be like one of those I don’t think I would know what to say. I oh, it’s you, huh? Like that fan girl moment of this internal kind of like confetti party, but you don’t know what to say out, oh, what do I say? What do I do?

Lee: Those moments are so tough. Last year was the first year I went to the Gay Romance Lit Retreat, and so many of my favorite authors were there. So the reader part of me is just like fangirling like a mofo. And then the author part of me is these are my peers. You can have conversations with them. It’s okay, you’re an adult. And the other part of me is ah.

Piper: See, I would have to go through what is the script you are going to say in your mind? How are you going to see yourself saying the words so you’re not just blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. All over the person that you adore.

Lee: Yes. Oh my gosh. So relatable.

Piper: Oh my gosh.

Lee: As we transition been talking about your reading a little bit, we, and then moving into talking about your writing, I would love to know your favorite tropes to both read and write.

Piper: Oh, my favorite tropes. Let’s start with read. I read everything. I do love I do love a marriage of convenience and a big part of that is because I love a wedding. A Vegas wedding. I absolutely adore. I so a marriage of convenience. Absolutely. I do enjoy a good age gap. Those are my two, those are my two favorites. I love sports romance. You’re really, and I’m a huge fan of historical, I’ll just that’s just delightful. Even though there’s a, just, I think about the clothing is beautiful, but I think about how hot I would be wearing all that clothing. But that’s a, that’s different for another time.

As far as my writing. It varies. It varies couple by couple. I really like to focus on overcoming adversity. Again, I love writing a wedding, a proposal. Marriage vows are one of my favorite things to write. And I do enjoy a second chance romance. Opposite attract is very fun. Every one of my stories has its own trope, its own storyline, so I don’t really focus on one specific area. I just, I write the character’s story and I go from there.

Lee: I love that. That’s so fun to think about the. Starting with the characters and just seeing where that goes. My brain works opposite. I’m a plot first person, so I’m always just like with the character driven people. Tell me more. Tell me how your brain works. I love it. I love just that idea of exploring people.

Piper: Yeah, I always start with a what if scenario, what if this and this came together and and what would that look like or what would happen and how would these two people interact? And then from there, I start my plotting and, thinking about what’s going to happen and how they’re gonna get through all of the things they need to get through to get to their happily ever after.

Lee: Nice. That’s a great transition into another question. I’d love to know more about your writing process. So you started to tell us a little bit about it. What else does your writing process look like?

Piper: So I am very much inspired by just the world around me. Society, communities, people around me very much inform my writing and I do look at relationships a lot. That’s really one of the cores of when I’m writing, I focus on relationship and not just between the two main characters, but also between their families and their community. And because we are all integrated in all of these different systems in our lives, whether we recognize it or not. And for me, that’s very important to put into all of my books.

So sometimes for- I wrote for an anthology once and we had to have a theme. So the theme was glitz, glitter, and fame. And I thought what am I gonna do here? So I thought, cuz I’m really not a glitz, glitter and like I’m, it’s not really what I do every day. So I thought, okay, I need to figure something out. What am I gonna do here?

And I thought about, what if a movie star had a dog that couldn’t behave themselves. And so she was constantly being followed by paparazzi and posted all over media sites because her dog just can’t behave. So there’s pictures of her walking this dog down, Central Park West, and she’s flopping a frappuccino all over her white pea coat because this dog is dragging her.

And okay how do you learn about a starlet? I went and did some hardcore research and I watched the Kardashians, so that’s what I did. I watched the Kardashians and just gathered information about, what do you see? What do you know, what goes on in these circles? And I built hoppy from that. And I thought, okay, what’s her opposite? And her opposite would be a a guy who’s a farmer and raises rescue dogs and makes his own cheese for the farmer’s market, and he’s gonna be her dog trainer. Okie dokie.

Lee: Oh my God. I love that.

Piper: so fun. And so that’s how I built them. And, but I think for other stories, I’ve just asked what if questions or I’ve taken things that I love, I’ve taken travel, I’ve taken food, I’ve taken places that have just been so heartwarming to me, and I’ve thought, okay what would a romance in this place look like? And let’s think about that. What would that look like?

Lee: That’s a really interesting way to think about that. Oh, I like that. Cuz you’re right, like different settings are going to dictate things differently.

Piper: Absolutely.

Lee: I like that a lot. That’s awesome. And so with the books, you’ve talked a bit about a couple stories that you’ve written and with your publishing career so far. You started by focusing on books around male-female romantic relationships, and you’ve expanded to also publish books that have male-male romances. So what led you into expanding into writing male-male?

Piper: So this may sound strange but the characters in that first book, in the first book I published, which is a male-male story, there is a male-male couple in that book. They are side characters. They are supports for the heroine in that book and I love them. They’re just, they’re amazing.

But I wrote my first male-male romance in the Beachside Boys series. And at its core, the Beachside Boys series is a story about three brothers. And the intention was always to write a book about these three brothers, Zeke, Milo, and Leo, and their foodie obsessions. And then their paths to their own individual relationships.

And as I, and my intention when I started the series was that it was going to be a male-female series. Just that’s what I wrote. That’s what I did. Here we go. And as I was writing the first book in the series, and as I was incorporating Milo into the book and watching him interact with the heroine in that book, I thought the path I have for Milo is not Milo’s path. And I doubted myself and I thought, no, this is what you set this series, this is what you’re gonna do. And the more I tried to pair him with a female lead, the more he said, absolutely not.

And then I met Jackson. And, so it’s o it’s okay, here we go. And I am very lucky in that my editor is is a sensitivity editor and really taking a lot of care and love for Milo and Jackson and how their relationship and story evolved. And I am completely 100% biased, but I absolutely love and adore them. And they are so they’re just, they’re wonderful.

So it wasn’t my intention. I didn’t go into it saying, this is what I’m going to write. It was this is this family and this, and families are diverse and this is what the Casano family looks like. So this is what I need to write because this is this family within this community.

Lee: That’s amazing. I love that you just let this story lead you instead of trying to force it into the box that you originally had set and that you were just like, exactly what you said. This is a diverse family and that is representative. And I think that it’s becoming increasingly common to see authors writing more diverse mixes, whether that’s straight and queer romances or different types of queer romances in series where you’ve got sapphic relationships, male-male relationships, mixes, male-female who maybe one or both are queer. Like I just love that’s becoming more common and that our books are having just increased representation of just what’s out there in the real world.

Piper: Yeah. 100%. Absolutely. People deserve to see themselves. Representation is everything. You deserve to see yourself. And the other piece is that in this, so in the world of Beachside where, Milo and Jackson live, it is idyllic. It is just every, the sun always shines and that, and as the loving overlord of Beachside, I make it that way and that’s how it is. Cause that’s what I want. I want people to go on a vacation and have fun and have a good time. so,

Lee: Loving overlord. Oh my god.

Piper: Loving overlord. That’s what I am. A loving overlord. I wear my name tag proud. So I, I wanted there, so there’s this very clear understanding that, and this is voiced in the novel that. Milo knows very clearly that his upbringing, the support of not only his family but of the community that he’s from, is not always the experience of other people who are young and understand who they are as individuals and they are not as supported as Milo has been, or Milo and Jackson as a couple have been. And so there is recognition and understanding of that. But it’s also a place where your people are welcome to be in this place and space and loved for who they are. And that’s the joy of this place. That’s the joy of these books.

Lee: That’s my favorite is towns that just are embracing. It just makes me think of Schitt’s Creek. I’m a huge Schitt’s Creek fan, but like when Dan Levy created that town, Schitt’s Creek, there is no homophobia. And that was an intentional choice. There’s a lot of other issues with that town, but none of them are like, the homophobia or the -isms that we see in the real world, and that’s just nice to have that fictional escape sometimes, like it’s nice to have it represented in fiction too. That’s also important and it’s nice to have an alternative.

Piper: Absolutely. Yes, and I agree and I think if we’re representing what we want to see, like how we wanna see our worlds, that’s it. And again, not to say that there aren’t problems or issues but we accept people and we respect people and we understand that they are members of our community and we value them as being members of our community.

Lee: Yeah, absolutely.

I guess we didn’t fully talk about the how you No, we did talk about that, how you decide which gender pairing. It’s the characters. It’s the characters take you. So we did talk about

Piper: that.

Yeah, characters drive that it’s wild. I know the exact moment. Like I was, I remember writing and writing this interaction and thinking to myself, oh no, like this path I have for Milo is here we go. We’re turning, we’re shifting. It’s, yeah.

Lee: He is Hey boss. Hey, Piper. I don’t like women.

Piper: It’s so funny cuz when I was thinking about, I’m like, okay, no, this is, this was what, this was my box. This was what I could, you can just I have this internal visualization of all of these characters and I could just see Milo doing this. No, you think it’s her and I assure you it is, it’s not.

Lee: We’d be great friends, but.

Piper: Fantastic friends love to hang out, however never gonna happen.

Lee: Awesome. That is so funny. I love that.

Piper: Writing was just so much easier.

Lee: I bet when those little weird things get worked out. Not weird things, but like the things that our brains are like, oh, there’s something wrong here. There’s a reason I’m hung up. There’s just something not right, and then when you figure it out, you’re like, oh god. Okay.

Piper: Light bulb moment. It’s oh, really? You couldn’t have told me that, three days ago, and I’m agonizing over this. All right. I guess that’s, that was the thing we had to go through and here we are now. Cool.

Lee: It’s oh, the last three days of thinking about moving my editing appointment and changing my pre-order and like all this stuff, and it’s oh no, we’re good. It’s gonna be fine. It’s gonna work out It is so fun. Oh my gosh. It’s worth all the pain.

Piper: Yes.

Lee: Yeah.

And we’ve timed this conversation because of the Love is All charity anthology, and I’ve been talking to a few authors who submitted low angst stories to the anthology, and this interview is wrapping up that kind of mini series. And I would just love if you could tell us about your story in the Love is All charity anthology.

Piper: Sure. Absolutely. Yes, I’m so excited and honored to be a part of the Love is All volume six charity anthology this year. My contribution to our book is Love and the Greek Isle God. So my story is set in Greece and it opens with anthropology professor Ben Brooks has made the unfortunate decision of going online and looking at the website in which students post their reviews, their open, honest reviews of professors. Pro tip, don’t ever do that. Those reviews are not professors. Those reviews are not for you.

Lee: No.

Piper: So he is the youngest member of his anthropology department. He recognizes very clearly that there is a significant generation gap between himself and his colleagues. He’s striving for tenure and now he has these abysmal reviews, and he also recognizes that because he’s so young, he hasn’t traveled, he hasn’t gone on any digs. He hasn’t done any on the ground research. So he decides that he’s going to go to his favorite place, Greece and do a summer of research work.

What he does is he inadvertently books a house along this, the beautiful water, the shoreline, from a local family. What he doesn’t realize is that he has booked a house boat that is docked in a harbor and the houseboat is owned by castor Makris who is taking over the family’s fishing business.

So the houseboat is docked next to Cast’s fishing boat. Cast is quite upset that his sister has rented his houseboat out. His houseboat is his secret, quiet getaway from the stress of running the family business. So his father hawks over him to make sure that he’s running the business correctly. He has lost his private getaway and so now not only does he have the stress of his job, he lost his getaway. And the gentleman that has rented his houseboat is just a little too hot for his own good.

Ben obviously doesn’t realize he’s rented a houseboat. Is quite put off by the fact that his home is quite literally floating on the water. And he and Cast work together to explore Greece help and with his research and in that they develop this wonderful relationship that in which they both have the opportunity to learn, grow, and explore their community.

Lee: Oh my gosh, this. It’s just like catnip, ugh. I have been wanting to visit Greece since I was a kid. I am an anthropology major, and I worked in higher ed for 17 years, so it’s just yep. Check, check, check. Oh my God. I can’t wait to read.

Piper: I have a very good friend who is a professor, and she texted, she’s I can’t believe you opened the student reviews.

Lee: It’s so relatable. I had to read them. I was on the admin side, not the professor side, the teaching side, but I had to read them for my job doing communications. And oh, some of the stuff students, as the mean stuff they say, but also the incredibly awkward hot prof type comments too. Or just I can’t even pay attention in class cuz he’s so hot. I’m like, oh my god, that’s so awkward.

Piper: That’s actually one of the, that’s actually one of his comments. It’s he’s hot, but you better be in your seat because he’s gonna, the best thing about him. He is hot, but he reads from the book.

Lee: Oh my God, that’s so relatable.

Piper: He’s never gone anywhere. So I do, I larp while I’m in class cuz I go to the dig sites that he is talking about cuz it’s the only, it’s the realest thing there is.

So it’s a lot of fun. But Greece again, writing that getaway piece of it. Even as Ben is walking down the dock, his rolling suitcase like thunking against all of the planks on the, it’s wait a minute, this is beautiful, but it’s very wrong. This is not he planned for, and it wasn’t what any of them planned for, but it was exactly what all of them needed.

Lee: I love when that works out and I can only imagine when you like are surprised by it being a houseboat and then that first morning when you’re woken up by all the boats, like leaving to go fishing in the middle of the night and you’re just like, oh, what fresh hell is this?

Piper: And that I just, all of the, the houseboat comes with a cat. There’s a cat that lives on the house. It’s Cast’s cat. And that’s his, like you, you rented my houseboat. What if this person that comes in is allergic to cats? And his sister who rented the houseboat says, well just take her home with you. You have a home, you have an apartment. It’s like the cat can’t live in a house. She lives on a houseboat. Don’t push your static views about housing for cats on my cat.

Lee: Oh my God, this sounds so funny.

Piper: It’s, I love writing like a sibling dynamic is just, that like back and forth, like this person that you know so deeply and gets you so deeply. But does that like fantastic snip snap back and forth to just, it’s so fun.

Lee: Oh, what a good story. I’m so excited to read. I’ve been saving the anthology to read after I finish a deadline in the next couple days, and I’m just, oh. I can’t wait to read.

Piper: Oh, that’s so good.

Lee: It’ll be so fun.

Piper: Yeah.

Lee: And so in addition to this recent release, which for anyone listening, it’s. I don’t know the exact date it’s gonna go off sale. But you also have an upcoming male-female book called Golden Summer in Beachside. Can you tell us more about that?

Piper: Absolutely. So Golden Summer in Beachside is another installment in the Beachside Boys series. So I’ve had the absolute pleasure of expanding that three the brothers story into further and further up until now, the extensions of the Beachside Boys stories have centered around the boys.

There’s a Halloween book that focuses on Leo, the youngest brother. North Shore Nuptials: Holidays in Hawaii is actually Milo and Jackson’s wedding in Hawaii at Christmas time. That was very fun. The sixth book in the series focuses on Nana, who is the boy’s grandmother, and for readers of the Beachside Boys series.

Nana is this, she’s like the rockstar, awesome grandma that you want to have in your life. She’s very young, she’s very vibrant. But she was widowed at several years prior to the Beachside Boys series starting. And for this entire time, the boys have always paid homage to Pop Pisano because he has really, he worked with Zeke to found the initial pizza shop that the boys built.

Now Nana has this reputation of loving the college guys that come to Beachside. She is a big fan of making a viral moment. Enjoying the sexy surfers that come to Beachside. And she’s in Hawaii and she enjoys some, ukulele-playing Santa Clauses. But now she is back in Beachside and comes to meet Silas, who is a also grandpa who is widowed and visiting Beachside as a member of his rec polo team, water polo team. He has gone back to college to finish his degree, has connected with his water polo team and Silas and Esther, Nana, have the opportunity to meet and they begin to build and forge this relationship. So they’re both these two very sassy, vibrant, energetic grandparents that have the opportunity to build a relationship together.

What I absolutely love about this story is the foundation of their relationship. They meet in Beachside, but then they’re apart for a period of time. They actually build their relationship through letter writing.

Lee: Oh.

Piper: It was so incredibly fun to write. I have always lo there’s joy in a handwritten letter and note, and they write these letters back and forth to each other, and that’s how they build their foundation until they’re able to be back together again. So it’s, taking risks, being together. What does this look like at your late sixties? What does romance look like? Do you get happily ever after? Do you get a second chance at this love that you had? And how can new love, honor your previous love and still be the life and the relationship that you want? So it really has been so much fun. Esther is surrounded by two of her girlfriends who are in their book club, their romance book club. And so had a lot of fun writing this very Golden Girls esque interaction between the friends.

Lee: Was there cheesecake? Yeah.

Piper: Oh my gosh. Oh, absolutely. Yes. There was the, there’s the late night, there’s the late night phone call, can you help me? I have this problem. And it’s it’s wine, it’s cheesecake, it’s, what do you mean you, you don’t think you love him? It’s all of these it’s just, it’s very. Like food is always central.

And Leo is part of the book club too, like the youngest of the Beachside Boys. He’s in the book club too. So as the baker, like desserts are his jam. So he’s the one that always provides like the pastry themed to the book.

Lee: love that.

Piper: Oh yes. So there’s never a shortage of a sweet treat. Leo’s got you. Yes, there’s always good stuff on hand.

Lee: I love just picturing this like young guy at a book club with these older women.

Piper: The dynamic is so fun because one of the, one of the friends is the mayor of Beachside, so Sadie is the mayor. And one of my favorite scenes is they’re all together and they’re arguing the idea of insta love. What? Does this really happen? Or, can this really happen? And Leo and Sadie, who’s the mayor, are like going back and forth and Esther’s like never in the outside world would Leo sass the mayor of Beachside. But book club is a strange realm.

Lee: Everyone’s equal.

Piper: Everyone’s equal, and yeah, this thing, so it’s truly so fun to, to write that, to write those dynamics. And I just, yeah. Leo in the book club is, has been a theme for a couple books now, and it just gets better and better.

Lee: That is so fun.

One of the things that I have seen you posting about in addition to these fabulous books is that you are doing some in-person events. And so I saw some posts, you had one recently, and you mentioned that you have some more in-person events coming up, I think. So I just would love to know more about your in-person signings and what draws you to doing these kinds of events.

Piper: So I think there is, so pre covid, we had these, author events where we would be able to go and meet and interact and I enjoy that. I enjoy talking to people. I enjoy meeting people and I thought that expanding post covid, once we’re back and we’re, we’re regaining some sense of normalcy and I thought, why not? Why not try to do this?

I was invited to actually how it started was, and this will be my advice to anybody who th you know, is considering doing cabling or, you wanna approach a place, I went to a author event. I knew people that were there. I went in, I said hello. I talked to all of the authors that were there, and I met an author who was organizing tabling events and they said, would you be interested in doing this? And I said, yes.

So I thought, why not? Let’s go for it. The opportunity is in front of you. Take it and try and see, see what happens. And I loved it. I had a great time. It was wonderful cause it was local, so my people could come, like my friends. So that was a lot of just a great time.

And then I decided I wanted to expand and do more events. It’s a thrill then to see your book on the shelf. First of all, particularly as an indie author, it is a thrill to see your book out there, like in this place that.

Lee: I bet.

Piper: Oh my gosh. So I thought, okay I’d like to do more. So I would send messages introducing myself. Do you offer events? Would you be willing to have me? And I have received really very positive feedback and support. So my encouragement is if you are somebody who is interested in thinking about doing these things, ask the question. Just ask. And then, and go from there. But what I really enjoy about doing tabling events is you have the opportunity to talk to people and really being in conversation with members of your community.

Cuz I’ve been local this whole time so far post covid. So I’ve loved, I, I was at I was at the Barnes and Noble in Center Valley last weekend, and the first three people that came to my table were a gentleman who had been, and again, he was an older gentleman. He told me point blank, he’s not interested in reading romance. He looked at my books and said, no way, but we had this great, he was great. Which fine. Okay, I’ll, I appreciate your honesty. He was lovely and he talked to me about how he jaded for years and he was just sweet man. And then another gentleman came up and said that he didn’t read romance. But that he wrote for the local paper and he took some swag to show his wife. Okay, great.

And another woman came up to me and said, you write romance? And I said, I do. And she said, that’s not for me anymore. I said, okay. And she said, I give all my love to my grandchildren. And I said, as well, you should. But she was lovely and it was just, it was nice, positive interactions. Do you always wanna, do you wanna interact with people who are going to read? Absolutely. Is it cool to have genuine, nice conversation with people? Absolutely. It’s a lot of fun and it’s fun to share the stories about how you come up with these books.

One of my first books that the the heroine is divorced. So for some people that’s a touchstone for them. And they’re like, oh, love after divorce, love after my heart has been broken. Sure, absolutely. Like I understand that, oh, you wrote a story about a dog that has no manners. I have a dog that has no manners. I’d like to read your book. You can have just really fun, cool conversations with people.

And one other thing I’m just gonna say is sometimes people, again, they don’t necessarily, they might not read what you’re writing, but some people are just genuinely proud of the fact that you have done this thing. So people would stop and say, these are your books. I say, yes, these are my books. Congratulations, you did this. And it’s just the kindest. Most genuine. It’s just, it’s right. It’s a, it’s like a heart. Like it’s, and they don’t know, you don’t know their, they don’t introduce themselves, but they know your name. But this genuine, they’re proud of you. You did this really awesome thing. It’s thank you. Just, I enjoy it. And to give somebody a pen and I give out post-Its like I have post-it notes with my logos. This, who doesn’t love a post-it? Some office supplies. Go ahead.

Lee: Oh my gosh. I love that people were congratulating you because it feels like books or something where so many people are like, I wanna write a book. But most people never start or finish it, so it’s just nice to like, I imagine to just get that recognition from someone who just understands this is hard. I recognize how hard it is.

Piper: Absolutely. Yeah, and it’s hard. It’s daunting. You go through those periods of self-doubt like, what am I do? What is this? Thing that I, what are these words? Nobody’s gonna ever gonna read these, the emotional rollercoaster that you experience, not only while writing, but then that moment before you hit publish, like the absolute tremors that rack your body as you’re like, is it good? Is it, am I really gonna push this button?

Lee: God, yes.

Piper: There’s, but to recognize that, yes, it is some, it is a challenge and it is craft and it is a skill and to be able to work through that process is yeah. And people are just genuinely proud. It’s cool. It’s so cool.

Lee: That’s amazing. What fun experiences, and you have more coming up this summer, don’t you?

Piper: I do. Yes. On August 19th, I will be at the Barnes and Noble in White Hall. For September 23rd, I will be at the Books, Books, Books event in Lititz. And information for all of these events are on my Instagram. I keep posting where the events will be and when they’re there and stop by.

Lee: Cool. Oh, that’s so exciting. Exciting. I hope you have a great time. So in addition to the awesome upcoming book about the grandparents you told us about, which is gonna be so fun, do you have any teasers of other upcoming projects you can share with readers?

Piper: Oh, I have so many stories that are in the works. It has always been my goal to add a fourth book into the Rain Series, which is that first more gritty series that I started. I have a spinoff from that. And I do have another idea for a standalone that sort of spins a little bit of that Hollywood glitz and glam and again I think there needs to be a getaway to like the Maldives. I’m working on all of those. I’m working on all of those projects, little by little. So yes, there is always more to come, so stay tuned.

Lee: Fabulous. And to sum up what we’ve talked about your awesome books, can you tell us just, what can people expect from a Piper Malone story?

Piper: Absolutely. I’ve said this, I’ve mentioned this at the core of my books, I focus on relationship, so that for me is the primary pillar that motivates my stories. So what you will find is you will find characters that genuinely care about one another, characters that are surrounded and supported by people who love them and see them for who they are.

You will have fun dynamic cast of characters. A few pets in interwoven in there. I do enjoy writing lighter and more comedic pieces. Looking at understanding the genuine comedy that sort of just comes from life and those real, those close connected relationships.

So relationships, fun. If you need a vacation or a getaway, please take a trip to Beachside. None of the calories count. You never have beach sand in your bag. It never goes back to your house.

Lee: No, that sounds nice.

Piper: Absolutely. Yeah. It’s always fun. So fun getaways, great relationships, heartwarming romances, fun and happily ever after.

Lee: That’s amazing. And where can readers get in touch with you and learn more about your books?

Piper: So Instagram is the place that I hover the most. I am on Facebook as well, and but not as often. On Instagram, you can connect to my newsletter and I have a website, PiperMalone.net. And you can find me there as well.

Lee: Fabulous, and I’ll put links to those in the show notes. Thank you so much for joining me. It was great to talk with you. This was so fun.

Piper: Thank you so much for having me. This has been an absolute pleasure.

Lee: I had such a great time chatting with Piper.

Thanks for joining me in the Low Angst Library. I hope you enjoyed this interview. Is there an author of low angst queer romance that you’d like me to interview? There’s a link in the show notes and on LowAngstLibrary.com with a guest suggestion form. If you’re an author writing low angst queer romance, there’s a self-suggestion form in the show notes and on the website as well.

A major goal of mine with this podcast is to have guests who write main characters in romance novels representing all queer identities and your suggestions will help me with that.

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Until next time, keep reading.