Hi Dear readers,
Today I have a special guest! For years now I’m reading Pepper Winters ‘s books.
It all began with “Tears of Tess”, one of my first dark, erotic yet solid stories and did not stop since.
Her last duet “The Ribbon duet” made me cry so much!
So when I contacted her and she agreed to answer all my questions I was overjoyed!
Here is how it went…..
Hi Mrs Winters (Pepper?)
First let me thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. I fell in lust with your books from Tears of Tess till after many reads The Ribbon Duet stole my heart forever! I am still not recovered from my read. I feel very lucky right now J
I guess you must be a busy bee with your next book coming in August but you still take the time to answer my questions and it speaks volume about the person you are.
The questions are in bold but I added some context (sorry I’m chatty). Feel free to only answer the questions you’re comfortable with. If you want to add some questions and answers you would have liked someone asking you, be my guest as the floor is yours!
Now time for you readers of future readers to know more about you and your work.
About your young years and you as a person first as I love to get to know the “person behind the pen”
1. First question about your childhood. How was it growing up in Pepper’s family? Where did you grow up? Do you have siblings? How was little Pepper like? What were her dreams, her hobbies? A wild child climbing trees? A dreamer? And did you always know you would write books one day or was it something “out of the blue” a “spurt of the moment” decision?
My childhood was awesome. I was born and raised in Hong Kong to an English expat family and growing up in Asia was incredible. I still call it home. I’ve been a bookworm all my life and was homeschooled for a few years and constantly wrote stories which showed my passion for words and imagination.
2. Could you share one of your most vivid memories? Maybe writing it like you would a scene from your books?
Honestly, I struggle with these types of questions! I remember everything in my life…I have a photographic memory. But nothing really ‘stands’ out as anything to mention. I guess like everyone I have the angsty moments from being a teenager right through to the hardship of death as an adult. There are too many to mention but I’m very lucky to have found my soulmate, have an incredible house rabbit, and get back into horses which has always been a dream.
3. Let’s say someone close to you is blindfolded and has to recognize you in a row of women. Your voice is altered so he/she can’t recognize it and no touching allowed 😉 How could he or she do it only asking questions? What makes you “you”?
Good question, and I don’t really know! Lol. I guess she could ask if I liked company over time alone (I’m not an overly social person). What my house rabbit is called? What breed my horse is. What books I’ve written. That kind of thing 😉
Now let’s get into your writing journey…
4. How did you happen to become a writer? Is it related to your studies? Something you wanted to do for a long time? What was the trigger to publish Tears of Tess?
I’ve always written. Right from when I can barely remember, so words and writing have always been in my blood. As for Tears of Tess, Q Mercer popped into my head and wouldn’t leave me alone. I was actually writing another book at the time which I had to set aside to write his tale.
5. Do you recall how you felt when you published your first book? Was “Tears of Tess” your first work published? What are the “lessons learned” or the “mistakes” you would not do again?
Yes, very nerve wracking! It was good fun though and I learned a lot. Great making friends with other authors and readers alike. As for mistakes, I guess to not place such crazy deadlines on myself so I can have more life/work balance 😉
6. Tears of Tess is or rather was NOT mainstream romance. It’s not the “classic” romance but rather dark and erotic. I read it before writing any reviews ever but I do recall Tess being torn and conflicted as her boyfriend wanted gentle and respectful love while she needed something else, something wilder. Yet when she is kidnapped she is terrified of what will happen to her. When she gets to know Q she gives him what he needs and what she needs. Q was also really conflicted as he feared becoming like his father. He fought yet could not escape his needs. You had two very “complicated” and conflicted characters with many layers. Certainly not two-dimensional characters. So why did you choose to publish such “dark and twisted” story? And how many times did you need to write something that was a real master piece for a first book? What was your writing process for this one? Did someone help you? How did you make “them” so real?
Thanks so much and yes, Tess and Q both have their own demons. As for help, no I sat down and ignored the world and just threw myself into their world entirely. I didn’t want any input so as not to taint the story I wanted to tell. I love dark and twisty stories as you really get into a character’s head and see who they are deep down when faced with such terrible situations.
7. Most of your books but not all have that dark and erotic edge. You can go really far in the dark. For Indebted I wrote : “”No, they won’t do this to her! They won’t dare!” or “Why did she reply? She knows she’ll be hurt!” or “You have to save her you sick b@stard, you won’t let her go throught this right? Right?” I could not breathe and I ended yesterday evening with a huge pain radiating in my chest and back I thought I was having a cardiac arrest. I realized it was just a monstrous cramp as I’ve been tense, shoulders just under my ears for the whole afternoon till midnight while reading all that Nila and Jethro went through.”
Yet with The Ribbon Duet you wrote something completely different. You broke my heart so many times I had not one tissue left. Even if Ren also had a savage side when making love he was totally different from Q or Jethro. So do tell me: where do you get your ideas? What inspired you for Destroyed; the Indebted series; Pure Corruption MC; Truth and Lies etc? Do you have a muse? Real life events you experienced? Where did you get your ideas for the plot? Conversations in a Starbuck? TV Shows?
I get asked this question a lot and I wished I had a better answer. But I don’t have a ‘muse’ exactly. I don’t get inspired by TV or books or conversation. I literally will be walking or driving or doing chores and a character will pop into my head. If they’re strong and have a vibrant world ready to share with me, then I can’t get them to shut up and I have to write their story—no matter what genre or plot line. However, sometimes characters will pop into my head, tease me with their story and then fall quiet which is why I have a few books that have been started but might never be finished.
8. What is your writing process? Did you change it from one book to the other to give each its unique signature? What do you need to write (coffee, chocolate, alcohol, …)?
I love to write so it’s not a hardship. I normally do a skeleton draft then go back over 6-8 times and layer in conversation, feelings, descriptions etc. Then I edit, proofread, and read on my kindle.
9. How do you choose and build your characters? How do you make them “flesh and bones”? Were you inspired by some movie character for Q or Jethro or …? What’s the secret to make them “distinct” from each other? Have their own unique voice? Do you use board? Sticky notes? Do you chat with them in your head and try the dialogs?…
I wish I had some great answer to this on how I flesh out my characters but it’s not me. It’s them. They land in my head fully developed and I just have the honour of writing them.
10. You write about very alpha males and being dominant in the bedroom… Is it your fantasy? Or rather something you think women secretly dream about and you are generous to give it to us? 😉 How would be (or is) your dream man? What qualities are you seeking in a mate?
It’s what I’m drawn to and what I think a lot of women are drawn to. Not because of what is available as the ‘norm’ today but because we are still female and like to be manhandled in the bedroom 😉
11. I would like to delve some more in The Ribbon duet… Did you struggle writing this book? Did you cry? Raged? Doubted? Was it painful to write? I don’t want to give away any spoiler but I loved the ending. I loved that you remained true to the story and to the characters. What reactions did you get from your readers?
The Boy and His Ribbon was the easiest book I’ve ever had to write. The Girl and Her Ren was the hardest. I didn’t cry but I never cry at anything but it did take a lot out of me. I reached burn out after that book and have had to take some time off to rebalance my world so it definitely affected me. As for reactions from readers it was much better than I expected and I’m wowed on a daily basis with messages and comments. I’m very blessed.
12. This will be a hard one but who is your favorite character so far? And which female character would most likely look like you?
Oh, I like all of them but it would probably be a three way tie with Ren, Q, and Jethro. As for female characters there is a lot of Tess in me and some Della too 😉
13. I think you are both traditionally published and an indie author. Could you tell us what’s the pros and cons of each one? Would you go traditionally published all the way or rather keep some books in the indie publishing? Why?
Yes, I’m lucky enough to have both experiences. I love both spectrums and like all things both have pros and cons. Traditional meant I was able to have my books in stores, airports, and around the world. Self-publishing means I can call my deadlines and what book I will write next. I think being in both worlds is best rather than just one 😉
Now some quick and fun questions to end this interview:
Most embarrassing moment of your life?
I’m lucky enough not to have one. I’m sure I’ve just jinxed myself but nothing springs to mind 😉
What was the last movie that made you cry?
I don’t cry unfortunately so don’t have one of these. However, the last movie I went to see was Jurassic World II. 😉
What book(s) would you choose to entertain you on a desert island?
Oh, too hard to list just a few. I would want to take some old classics and some new releases too!
Among your male characters who would you:
-discuss books and movie with? Galloway
-call to change a tire? Ren
-go to prom with? Ryder
-ask to win a business deal? Q
-have a one night stand? Jethro
-marry and have baby with? Ren
What superpower do you possess? And what other power do you dream of?
I would love to be able to fly!
Who do you want to be when you grow up? 😉
I’m already living my dream. I want to be an author forever 😉
Now just a personal note: a huge thank you for your time and consideration. I fell in love with your writing and I can’t wait to read your next book! You always suck me into your world and don’t let me go till the last word is read.
Aww thanks so much! I’m so totally honoured! I know I’m boring in interviews but thanks for such great questions! xxx
I hope you enjoyed this interview and will give a chance to Pepper’s books!
You can find Pepper:
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pepperwintersbooks/
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/pepperwinters?lang=en
On WordPress: https://pepperwinters.com/
Thanks for reading.
Another fantastic interview Sophie…loved all the questions!
Thank you so much Trisy!!
This is a great interview! I loved your questions Sophie! I’m planning to read The Ribbon Duet this month and now I’m even more excited.
Thank you so much Raven!!!