Monday’s Friend: Autumn Piper
Today I’m pleased to welcome romance writer Autumn Piper to the blog, on the official release day of her latest novel TROUBLE WON’T WAIT.
Minor characters/major players
By Autumn Piper
Where would we be without secondary characters? Imagine Ricky and Lucy Ricardo without sidekicks Fred and Ethel, or George and Louise Jefferson without their friends and neighbors (Mr. Bentley was one of my favorites!). And though Seinfeld featured a number of main characters, Newman the mailman was a hilarious secondary personality. Sometimes secondary characters evolve into icons. Take Arthur Fonzarelli on Happy Days. Sure, the Cunninghams were an entertaining bunch, but the Fonz became the mascot for Happy Days, probably the first character who comes to mind for most of us when we think of the program. In case I’m citing old-school examples, how about LOST? Ben Linus was originally planned to be in only 3 episodes, but Ben was creepy, so his character grew in importance.
Take Kit De Luca, in the movie Pretty Woman. She’s Vivian’s roommate, and she could’ve easily been a cardboard cutout: drugged-out, seasoned hooker who could care less who comes or goes so long as she’s getting her rent money. But Kit is funny, takes a real interest in making sure Viv doesn’t get hurt by falling for her Johns, and, hey…she’s funny, right? The image of her in the hotel lobby complaining about the “sphinctah police” is indelible. And at the end of the movie, she’s so sad Viv is leaving she can’t even say goodbye, but—true to the movie’s theme—she’s got her own dream of going to beauty school, and she intends to make it happen with the wad of cash Viv gave her. (incidentally, while I was looking up info about Kit on the net, I learned—quite to my annoyance—whoever made the Wikipedia page left Kit out!! What the heck? If she hadn’t let Viv get in the car with Edward… Geez. Of course Kit was important.)
In Trouble Won’t Wait (releases today. Yay!), several secondary characters add color and levity to the story.
Mandy’s big (literally, he’s a huge guy, so big he worries people will assume he’s dumb because of his size) brother Mark is way into protecting her, but still treats her as his doofus little sister. He has a joke about any topic, and always manages to know more about Mandy’s troubles than she’d like.
Mandy’s sweet, yet sure he’s world-wise twelve-year-old son Ben figures out what his dad did, and is very angry at him throughout most of the story. In trying to help out his mom, Ben manages to make Mandy’s predicament even more complicated.
Baldwin the marriage counselor is kooky and unusual, but his method lighten some otherwise heavy scenes, and prove more effective than Mike and Mandy think while they’re in his office. He’s a hippie throw-back in zen clothing, and his philosophy of practice seems to be some combo of feng shui, aromatherapy, and unorthodox new-age relationship theories. Baldwin also plays heavily in the sequel-in-progress.
Here’s a little info about the book and a snippet of a scene where Mandy is having her one-on-one session with Baldwin:
Good things may come to those who wait, but trouble waits for no one…
Cheating is a dealbreaker…or so Mandy’s always thought. But when she catches her husband getting some “strange,” she realizes how hard it is to cut and run, or even file papers. She agrees to a month of counseling, which will give her time to grieve the loss of her marriage before she has to tell the world—and the kids. Then she meets Adam, who gives her a hunky–if mysterious–shoulder to cry on, and that thirty-day waiting period seems like an eternity.
Adam has no problem confessing that he’s watched Mandy from his window for months as she runs by his house. If he told her why, though, she’d freak out for sure. He knows they’ve got a future together, if he can think of a way to explain his past. And he’s sure the rat-bastard who cheated on her is putting the moves on her again, but he won’t be the revenge guy. The month-long cooling off period she agreed to is lasting forever, and might just be indefinite, if trouble keeps getting in their way.
WARNING: Eccentric old lady pushing salt-of-the-earth advice, bossy big brother, kooky counselor, super-secretive hunk, and perfect justice served amidst adult situations and language.
Mike finishes his appointment, blowing me a kiss I scowl at, and I enter Baldwin’s little Nook o’Nirvana. No incense today. Instead, he has at least a hundred candles burning. I think I can feel wax in my lungs.
Baldwin’s hair is in a ponytail and his bangs keep flopping in his face, but he incessantly tucks them behind his ears. Am I on Candid Camera? Nobody real can be this funny. My brother would love this shit. Maybe I’ll confide in him, just to share this.
Laughter is every bit as hard to keep down today as it was when I smoked weed in college, guffawing uproariously at anything and everything. My sides used to hurt the next day from laughing so hard. I feel the same unbridled hilarity jetting out of me now in near-snorts. It sounds like the way Grandpa used to breathe when he slept in his recliner during televised boxing matches. Little puffs of mirth.
Baldwin opens the dialogue. “How do you feel about the state of your marriage?”
Uh, let’s see, Banged-one. You recall Hiroshima? It was in better shape after the bombs than my marriage is now. It’s silly for me to pretend I want this to work out. I’m wasting everybody’s time here. Might as well put all my cards on the table. “It’s over.”
Showing absolutely no reaction, he scribbles my reply on that itty-bitty pad of his. Rachel has a similar pad with Hello Kitty on the front. She keeps her friends’ phone numbers in it, not in alphabetical order, but in order of importance to her.
I doubt Baldwin understands my resolve, so I explain. “I’m only here because I’m stalling Mike until after the holidays to separate.” Or was Mike stalling me? I’m not sure anymore. “I have no intention of ever sleeping with him again, and I want a divorce.” That should be clear enough.
His bushy brows shoot up. I’ve piqued the wanta-be therapist’s interest. “Why do you feel that way?”
God, could it be more simple? “He had sex with a woman we know, while I was in the same house! Anybody, even one of the kids, could have walked in on it! It makes me sick to think of him touching me.”
“Do you still love him?”
Jesus, did Mike put him up to asking that?
“It doesn’t matter. I can’t forgive him for what he did. I’ll never forget what I saw. It comes to me at all hours of the day and night.”
“So you do still love him, but you’re angry, possibly jealous of his having another partner without your consent.”
Without my consent. This guy probably advocates swapping and threesomes, all the fun and games, as long as both spouses consent. I snap my gawping mouth shut.
Good ole Baldwin looks me straight in the eye. “What if you were to have an encounter with an outside partner, to even the score?”
Is it the smoke from the candles or his suggestion making me choke?
“You mean like a revenge affair?” Stampeding thoughts of Adam shred my calm like buffalo through prairie turf. I feel flushed.
Trouble Won’t Wait officially releases today, but because Sandy knocked out power to my publisher’s home office a week ago, it’s only listed on certain venues. Please be patient—it will be available anywhere you buy ebooks.
Here’s a link to the book’s page on the Lyrical Press site:
ABOUT AUTUMN PIPER:
I write contemporary romance and women’s fiction/mom-lit. My stories often have a high heat index to match their American southwest settings. Known by my writing buddies as “Angst”, I have a penchant for making my characters suffer. My novels may be tributes to the old saying, “No pain, no gain”, but my hero and heroine always get the happily-ever-after they so deserve.
I love sunny days, hot bread, the ocean, and that fluttery feeling I get inside at the first spark of a great romance. In between being a wife, mom of two teens, writer, and editor, I like to read, take morning walks, make people laugh (this probably happens when I break into a jog!), garden, and play Jigsaw World on Facebook. (sad but true)
For me, an excellent book has characters you can sympathize with or hate (sometimes both at once), a story you simply must see through to the end, and realistic dialogue. Give me those key elements, and I’ll read any genre or time period, any author.