About the author: Piper Bee is a YA author and indie storyteller who recently published Joy Summer Love Playlist, a book mainly revolving around college-bound singer Joy Becker and her romance between JIn Park along with her other relationships. Piper Bee’s debut novel is an adorable love story with a watermelon-sweet love triangle where music could change the whole game.
Questions and answers:
1. Firstly, what do you want your readers to know? Consider here your likes and dislikes, your interests and hobbies, your favorite ways to unwind — whatever comes to mind.
Well, I’m a mom of three and that takes up a lot of my time! I love being with my kids and homeschooling, but it’s been so special to see them develop a love for books like me! So, of course I love storytelling, especially movies and TV. My favorite series is Avatar: The Last Airbender, and it hasn’t changed in well over a decade! I’m also a food-lover, which might be obvious from my book. Good food is a comfort to me, and I love trying new cuisines. I’ve even eaten snack bugs before! So, I’m pretty adventurous, but I will say, dried bugs are… very dry, haha!
2. Give us three “Good to Know” facts about your book. Tell us any fun details that would enliven your book.
The first thing is that the best experience when reading is to listen to each of the songs alongside the chapters. These songs are like themes to each of the scenes and really make it feel more vibrant! The second thing is that it has a lot of typical romance tropes, but I tried to do them my own way instead of letting them play out the way they always do. And the third thing is that, when you’re done, it’s really good to go right into the B-Sides to get the full effect of what was going on in the other characters’ minds.
3. Favourite books to give/get as gifts (list as many as u want)
I love classic literature, especially books that are beautifully produced, like with linen covers and that sort of thing. I feel like it’s hard not to appreciate the classics. So anything Jane Austen wrote, any of the main books by J.R.R. Tolkien. Alice in Wonderland or Grimm’s Fairytales are good too. I also like certain non-fiction books that have helped me in life, such as The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. If I only had one book to give out forever, though, it would definitely be The Bible! Even for people who aren’t religious, there are so many interesting stories and visuals and poems in it.
4. Favourite films and music?
The Greatest Showman (counts for both!)
Spider-man: Into The Spider-Verse (also has tons of good music!)
Pride & Prejudice (2005)
As for music, I do listen to genres much more than artists. I love more popular music with happy synths or relaxing guitar, some 80s and 70s classics, symphonic scores, and lately a lot of jazz. One artist I’ve loved since I was young is the Canadian pop singer, Lights!
5. What did you originally want to be?
For a career? A singer or actress. I still kind of want to pursue it, but I’m glad I didn’t go into performing arts because I always, always wanted to be a mom and have a happy marriage. That was my dream and I got that! But writing was always around and I realized I could dream big with that too.
6. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Yes! I get messages in my DMs on Instagram mostly, but sometimes emails. People who go out of their way to contact me usually have tons of amazing things to say about JSLP and how it made them feel. Sometimes, when I’m brave, I ask them what their favorite scene was. Their answers vary a lot, which makes me super proud! Most of my readers really like Jin as a character, and I’m often told they really felt they were in the middle of summer when they read it, no matter what time of year they opened it!
7. What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Lately, because I have an au pair to help with childcare, I try to get writing in during the afternoon. A lot of times I end up doing other author work at those times, so I will a lot of times work on things in the evenings, with breaks for dinner and putting the kids to bed. It makes a huge difference that I have a wonderful support system.
8. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Ooh, good question! I think something I do that others don’t do is that I spend almost every night in bed before I fall asleep imagining scenes and solutions in my stories. For a lot of people this would keep them up, but that kind of focus really helps me be distracted from the other stuff in life and I end up sleeping pretty well, haha!
9. What are a few goals you have for the next couple of years?
Writing-wise, I want to publish quite a few more books. I have a lot in the works that I want to share! I might try querying in the future to see if traditional publishing would work for me. But mainly, I just want to reach more readers and have fun the whole time!
10. If you had to describe your work in five words, what would they be and why?
Amusing, love-centered, bittersweet, hopeful, vibrant.
These five words are what I aim for when I set out to tell a story, so that’s why I picked them!
11. How has the pandemic changed your workflow?
Well, for one thing, since my husband never had an interruption in his work, we were fortunate enough to afford the services I needed to finish publishing JSLP in 2020, which worked out because a few of those people were out of work. So I got to go quicker than I had expected to. But, shipping and printing were precarious and took longer than I’d hoped. My ability to write hasn’t really changed much except that I homeschool a bit in the mornings now.
12. Are there any themes in writing that you would like to explore in the future?
I always feel drawn to write about how bad situations can sometimes be the only way for things to work out the best way possible. Redemption, forgiveness, and grace are themes I constantly work into my stories. I also want to offer hope with my stories.
13. If you could give new writers some advice from what you’ve learned, what would it be?
I would tell them to first, keep at it. Don’t let yourself get too distracted, just pick a time and do it, even if it’s bad or awkward. And second, fill your vision with people who encourage and inspire you. It’s especially helpful to have friends who write, so find your “writing tribe” because they might keep you afloat when life gets in the way.
14. Do you have any upcoming projects that we should look out for?
Definitely keep an eye on Project Lady, my lady and the tramp inspired fantasy romance. It’s the most likely to be revised and polished!
15. Are there any writers whom you particularly admire?
Yes! I really love the works of Scott Westerfeld, and classic authors Jane Austen and J.R.R. Tolkien. I love how John Green approaches narratives and themes too. And my favorite childhood author was Lemony Snicket. His style is so unique and made me want to tell stories in different ways.
16. Where do you get your ideas for your books?
One of my favorite things to get ideas is to think of some virtue and make it into a person or a scene. For example, if I wanted to write about “peace” who would embody that? What scene might emanate that? But, for the books I’ve written, a lot of my inspiration was sourced from music, dreams, or bouncing ideas off of other stories that I like. I suppose the main component with all of that is emotion. If I get strong feelings from something, I tend to think about it a lot and try to turn it into a story.