Hi, all! So we’re in the middle of our One Small Thing blog tour and we thought we’d do something a bit different this time around. Instead of having someone interview us jointly, we decided to interview each other. We both came up with a set of questions, emailed them to each other, and the results are what you see below! We hope you enjoy this rather unconventional interview. Be sure to check out the excerpt for One Small Thing at the end of this post.
MJ’s Questions for Piper
What's your favorite part of OST? What do you think will be a favorite part for readers?
-I think the haircut scene is really cute and I can see a lot of readers liking it. My favorite part, though, might be their first real kiss and the first time they really touch each other, since touching is such a big thing for Erik. I’m hoping the readers will like that, too. Well, I hope they like the whole thing. :P
What story are you dying to write, but just haven't sat down and plotted?
-I’m dying to do a couple of twisted fairytale kind of things, actually. The one most prevalent in my mind is “Beauty and the Beast” because it’s my favorite fairytale, but there are a few others I want to redo also.
Erik (in OST) was a different kind of guy. What, if any, parts of him were drawn from your own personality/tastes.
-Erik’s fondness for Star Wars was drawn from myself. I can also be very introverted and shy like him, and wary/skittish around strangers. There were actually multiple things about him that were drawn from my own personality, but in him they are way more amplified. Also, I’m a bit of a junk food junkie like him. :)
Favorite boy band member. Tell me why:)
-Oh, jeez. Embarrass me, why don’t you? LOL. Um…I’d probably say Justin Timberlake. I really liked him and his voice when he was in *NSYNC (and, yes, I have seen them in concert :P), but honestly I liked him even more when he went solo. His FutureSex/LoveSounds album is still one of my faves.
In any order, name your top 5 pairs of socks (just in case you didn't know, Piper has a thing with socks)
-That’s a tough one. Okay…you can actually see a couple of these on my FB page, if any of you are curious. LOL. 1) My gray and black striped socks with blue at the toes and heel and buttons at the top. 2) My comfiest pair, which are made of brown wool with specks of pink and purple. They’re kind of loose, but nice and warm. 3) My sushi socks. They’re adorable. 4) My rainbow toe socks. They go up to the knee and they’re soft and warm. 5) My Goldilocks and the Three Bears toe socks because they are probably the weirdest pair I own, and yet still comfortable.
Dream vacation. Where would you go and why?
-Another hard one. I guess my dream vacation would start in Ireland, then on to England, down to Spain, then over to France, Italy, and Greece. From Greece, I’d fly to Japan, and from there Australia and New Zealand. Those are all of the places I want to see most, and all for different reasons. So my fantasy vacation would be some grand tour that encompassed them all. Keep dreaming, right? Hehe. The sheer amount of money needed for something like that would probably send me into a dead faint. But it would be the fulfillment of a lifelong dream, for sure.
Piper’s Questions for MJ
In One Small Thing, you wrote the character of Rue. What would you say is your favorite thing about him?
-I like his snappy retorts and how he's sarcastic but not mean, witty but not slapstick.
Another question relating to One Small Thing. In the story, Rue is a gay man who slept with a woman as an experiment. Some people might question the believability of this scenario. What would your answer be to the people who wonder why a man who identifies as gay would sleep with a woman?
-Answer: It happens. Trust me. I think I'll plead the fifth on the rest of it :)
Which one of your characters is most like you?
-Okay, as far as most like me? I'd say a combination of Rue from One Small Thing and Nick Ventura (Lucky Moon series). Rue appeals to my girly sparkling side that likes to dance and wear makeup and decorate. Nick, well, I can have his mouth on occasion, and a bit of his Peter Pan syndrome. I hope I'm not obnoxious like he is though.
Name your top 5 favorite musicians/bands and your favorite song by each.
1. Muse. Of course. Favorite song? Damn… I'm going to go with Knights of Cydonia tonight.
2. Death Cab — and I like the new one. You Are A Tourist
3. The Posies — Definite Door
4. Superdeluxe — Years Ago (GORGEOUS song)
5. Phoenix — Sometimes in the Fall
Ask me that question tomorrow, you'd get a totally different answer. Except Muse. That wouldn't change. Probably.
If you could live out one fairytale, which one would you pick and why?
-Are we talking the Grimm version or the Disney? Cause those original ones are pretty brutal. I'd have to say Aladdin. The flying carpet would be pretty badass, and a cave full of pretty sparkly things? Hell yeah.
What place in the world do you want to visit most? What would you do first when you got there?
-I'd say...wow. I really don't know. Everywhere. Probably Santorini. Then Ireland. Then somewhere like Bali. And I'd do what I always do when I'm somewhere new — walk around and look at everything and take it all in. No photographs, no posing, just looking.
“Daddy” is not a title Rue Murray wanted, but he never thought he’d have sex with a woman either. Now he’s the unwitting father of a newborn named Alice. Between bartending and cosmetology school, Rue doesn’t have time for babies, but he can’t give her up. What Rue needs is a babysitter, and he’s running out of options. He’s on the verge of quitting school to watch Alice himself when he remembers his reclusive new neighbor, Erik.
Erik Van Nuys is a sci-fi novelist with anxiety issues to spare. He doesn’t like people in general, and he likes babies even less. Still, with his royalties dwindling, he could use the extra cash. Reluctantly, he takes on the role of manny—and even more reluctantly, he finds himself falling for Alice and her flamboyant father.
Rue and Erik are as different as two people can be, and Alice is the unlikeliest of babies, but Rue has never been happier than when Alice and Erik are by his side. At least, not until he receives an offer that puts all his dreams within reach and he’s forced to choose: the future he’s always wanted, or the family he thought he never did.
(Just as a lead in to this excerpt, Rue, Erik, and a couple of friends are on a weekend getaway at Rehoboth Beach. They’re having fun and enjoying themselves and then Rue has a run in with someone he wasn’t expecting…)
I was laughing at something my goofy dork of a boyfriend was saying as we rounded the corner, when I was suddenly ambushed by a hug and a wet, tipsy kiss on the cheek.
“Oh… hey, Nolan.” I didn’t know how to react to him. We’d never been serious. I hadn’t been anyway. I’d never actually asked if he was. Didn’t matter. It only took him a few months to stop calling me after I’d hinted that I was done by never returning his last voice mail.
“Um, Nolan, you remember Dusty, and this is Paul….” I reached out and took Erik’s hand.
“And this is my boyfriend, Erik, and this is Alice.” Nolan’s eyes grew wide for a moment, but he recovered. I’m pretty sure the word boyfriend threw him.
“Cute kid, hon,” he said to Erik. He leaned over to tickle Alice’s stomach and got a good look at her face and her midnight black hair. Then he looked up at me, that wide-eyed, “you’ve gotta be kidding me” stare coming right back.
“She’s mine, Nol,” I confirmed.
“Yeah, I can see that. Wow.” I could see he was trying to decide what the hell was going on. “Rue, babe, we have got to do lunch when we get back to town. I’m personally convinced that there’s some alien invasion situation going on here. Boyfriends, babies? Where is the slutty little club boy Rue we know and love?”
I flinched at that. Dusty giggled nervously. Erik’s hand tightened. “You’re hilarious, Nolan.” Unfortunately, he was also right. “I’ll give you a call when we get back into town.” I pulled on Erik, trying to get away from the suddenly awkward situation, my past, things I didn’t really want to think about. I wanted to be on the beach, eating dinner and not thinking of the way things used to be.
The pizza was good, though not quite as good as it would’ve been without the weird aftertaste of the past on my tongue. I clung to Erik a little, perhaps to remind myself of how different things were in my life. Family and stability, things I’d never thought to really even dream of, were suddenly imperative. Still a bit weirded out, I held Erik tightly all night and didn’t fall asleep for a long time. I was reassured by the sound of Alice breathing in her little makeshift crib and by the steady rise and fall of Erik’s chest under my cheek. His hand had slipped beneath my sleep shorts to pull me closer and cup my butt possessively. That helped too. It was a gesture that would’ve annoyed the hell out of me with anyone else, but from him it was natural. It felt like the way it should be.
I was relieved (and surprised) in the morning when Erik went out before I was even awake and came back with donuts and coffee for everyone. We spent the early part of the day wandering around town and checking out all the tiny seaside shops. At one point, Dusty pointed and started skipping ahead excitedly, and we spent the next half an hour in his “favorite shop in the world,” which was owned by a sweet fur ball of a man named Caleb and his gorgeous partner Wendell. Together, they sold every kind of chocolate that you’d ever want or need, and some you’ve probably never even heard of. I have to admit, the samples he kept plying us with were delicious, and I ended up buying a few bags of treats for later, even if I might regret them once we were home. Our afternoon was spent on the beach, which was thankfully a bit quieter than it had been on Saturday.
Erik and I were half-asleep, lolling on the sand with our fingers loosely entwined while Dusty and Paul built little hills of sand for a giggling Alice to roll over. The breeze was pleasant, and my daughter’s delighted squeals rang in the wind and made me smile. We were leaving for home in the morning. I didn’t want the weekend to end, but that feeling, that deep contentment that had settled on me—I didn’t think it would go away just because we’d packed up our bathing suits and headed back to everyday life. I traced a heart shape on Erik’s palm with my index finger. He reached across and trailed his other hand up the inside of my arm. It was so peaceful….
Until a wriggling, sweaty body was on top of me making odd humping motions and cackling. “Hey, sexy beast. I didn’t know you were coming out here this weekend.”
Jeremiah. Shit. One of the Tom Tom Club’s go-go dancers and a notorious bottom boy who I’d fucked a few times on the back deck of the club on one of my nights off. That seemed like a million years ago. It was a million years ago, experience wise. He was one of my favorite club boys and a great tipper, but Erik, and even Dusty, weren’t part of that life. Jeremiah really didn’t fit into my happy little family picture. I needed him gone. Immediately.
“Uh, hey, Jeremiah. I’m kind of here with my family. I’ll see you at the club, okay?”
He gave me a confused look, which became even more confused when he saw the sudden death grip Erik had on my hand. I had to get rid of him before he said anything else. I knew Erik didn’t think I was a virgin, but the very real reality of my past wasn’t something we were ready for. He wasn’t like other guys, who’d assume I’d been around the block a few times like most people and just shrug it off. I could see it in his eyes, how it hurt him every time a guy smiled at me too familiarly. I hated that look. And it was back.
All of a sudden my perfect weekend at the beach wasn’t so perfect any longer.~*~
Want more? Look for One Small Thing tomorrow, May 4th, from Dreamspinner Press, available in both ebook and paperback formats.
Piper Vaughn and M.J. O’Shea have been writing jointly since January 2011. Their first joint title, Moonlight Becomes You (released August 2011), was Piper’s publishing debut, while M.J. already had several published titles under her belt. Both authors have solo titles available in addition to their co-written projects. You can visit them at their joint blog, Babes in Boyland (http://mjandpiper.blogspot.com), or their websites, http://pipervaughn.com and http://www.mjoshearomance.com.