Monday, January 6, 2014

#OhMy! Monday: Author @PiperPunches Shares a Bit About Herself and Her #Debut Release

Welcome to Not Enough Time in the Day and the return of our Oh My! Monday spot. This week we have author Piper Punches stopping in to tell us a bit about herself and her debut novel The Waiting Room. Here's the blurb...

Waiting rooms tell stories. They are a medical purgatory. Some sit in the waiting room for hours to be shone the light, graced with blessings. For others this is the final holding room before they are delivered into hell; facing uncertainty, despair, sadness, even death.

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When Charlotte receives a note on the day of her mother’s funeral containing a cryptic message, she is confused and intrigued. Although she knew that waiting rooms told stories, she never realized that part of her own story resided in this seemingly neutral environment.  But, then again, why should she be surprised? Her mother had secrets. Charlotte knew this.  She just didn’t know how life-altering those secrets could be. . .

A stunning debut novel from Piper Punches, The Waiting Room weaves a tale that reveals the complexities of family, the invisible bonds that connect people, and the pain that can reverberate through the choices we make. Told from several points of view the story becomes clearer and clearer with each turn of the page that the secrets we keep aren’t always ours to take to the grave.

Welcome to the hot seat, Piper. So happy you could join us today.
Thank you. I'm excited to be here. In fact, it's the first of three stops I have planned with you and your alter egos. ;)

That's right! We'll give more details about you next visits at the end of the interview. Why don't we get things started with one of the most common questions asked of all writers—what or who inspired you to start writing?

To quote Maya Angelou, "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." People inspire me to write. Everyone has a story inside of them; something that can be embellished and explained that challenges the way we may view that person's actions or choices. Telling other people's stories and studying human nature deeply and intimately is what inspires me to write.

What are the recurring core issues in your stories? Why do you think you are drawn to these types of characters/plots again and again?

When I write a story I strive to peel apart the layers of my characters. I want you, the reader, to see their flaws, experience their brilliance, and cringe at their bluntness. Issues that tend to appear over and over again in whatever I write are issues of conflict and turmoil. Not just between the characters, but the conflict and turmoil that resides within my characters. I don't write stories that are sugar-coated. It's not in my nature. I prefer my characters to be sweet and sour. 

What are your favorite fiction genres to read from?
I tend to read general fiction titles that are more character driven rather than plot driven. Examples? Let's see. Just this year I have read A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra, Five Grounds by Scott Rempel, and And the Moutains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. However, I also really enjoyed The Passage and The Twelve, both by Justin Cronin; once in a while I cross genre lines. 

Besides reading and writing, what activities do you enjoy in your leisure time?
I love to quilt! It's a hobby that helps me relax my mind and be creative in a completely different way. I am currently working on an Amish style quilt that is probably going to take me my entire life to finish. 

I also love to workout. I know. I am one crazy – bleeeeep!  It may be cliché, but I don't feel like I can start my day off right without hitting the gym. I actually use this time to think about the direction I want my stories to go. 

What’s your day job? Do you like it? Why or why not? How has your job affected your personal development? How has it affected your writing life?

Oh, my goodness! My day job has changed so much over the past several years. Currently, I write full-time, while teaching music to preschoolers part-time. I started a music business six years ago that became quite successful, but over the past two years I have pulled back and drastically reduced the number of preschools I offer my program to simply because I have had the opportunity to make an income from writing. 

The day job that influenced my writing the most would have to be my time as a social worker at a domestic violence shelter. For eight years, I worked alongside some amazing women, helping countless other women and children create safe, violence-free lives for themselves. The work was tiring and burnout is what led me to leave, but the stories, the pain, the hope, and the sadness that I witnessed during those eight years shaped the person I am today. They helped me understand that human beings are not one-dimensional and unless you have the same experience as someone else you can't possibly judge them. 
Get your copy from AMAZON

In one or two sentences, give the core premise behind your story.

The Waiting Room is about learning to let go of the past, embracing the future, and learning to see our loved ones as three-dimensional people with their own experiences that shaped the person they are today. It is a story about a woman seeing her mother as a more than a caregiver, but a human being capable of fault and error.

What is the theme at the heart of your story?
In a word: forgiveness. Forgiveness is something that I think everyone struggles with at one point or time in their lives. Either they cannot let go of someone treating them poorly or they can't forgive themselves for choices they made that altered the course of their lives. All the primary characters in this book struggle with past choices and in some cases this struggle paralyzed their future and interfered with their ability to form meaningful relationships. But, once these characters let go of grudges and decided to forgive themselves hope begins to filter into their lives. 

About the Author

Piper Punches lives in the far west suburbs of St. Louis with her husband and two daughters. The Waiting Room is her debut novel. Piper is excited to connect with her readers and encourages everyone to stop by her website and say hello. In the meantime, she is currently working on her second novel, 60 Days, which will be available April 2014 and a short novella, Missing Girl, available January 2014.


Look for Piper to visit with my alter ego Stephanie Ryan on Through Stephanie's Eyes January 16th and with me again on Behind Closed Doors on January 26th.

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