Hi, M! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me, today!
Thanks for having me. It’s always a pleasure to work with Smut Book Club.
So step back to October 2013… I was just an unsuspecting little reader, all cozy and soft with my sweet little baby reader fur, and my sweet little baby reader eyes. Here I am all precious and fine, searching for my next read.
Hahaha. Baby reader fur? This is already getting interesting.
In my head: “Oh, Night Owl. I like the title, I like the cover, Ooo blurb looks interesting, let’s check it out…“
MIND. BLOWN. This book hauled back, slapped me in the face, gave it a little rub and a chuckle and then slapped me again. I went on a recruiting spree, telling anyone that would listen to READ. THIS. BOOK. (My motives were entirely selfish. I just wanted someone I could talk to about the book.) Did you ever in a bazillion years, anticipate the crazy wild success of Night Owl?
First off, thanks for pimping Night Owl. That’s what every writer wants to hear – that his or her story had an impact, and that readers are spreading the word. It’s incredibly flattering and so important. Word-of-mouth is still the best way for a book to get around, so thank you. (And Night Owl certainly did… get around.)
To answer your question – no, I didn’t anticipate the success of Night Owl. I dreamed about it, vividly imagined it, read countless anecdotes of indie authors finding success… but I knew that was a lofty goal. Thousands of wonderful self-published titles fall by the wayside every month. I hoped beyond hope that readers would connect with Night Owl, but the pessimistic part of me imagined otherwise. I’ll tell you the truth… at one point, I had about 10 reviews on Amazon, the sales just weren’t rising, and I said to myself… “Hey, at least I can pay my Netflix bill with earnings from this book.” It was a sad but realistic assessment of my “success” at the time.
And then… damn. I could tell the whole story of how Night Owl fever hit, but that would go on forever. Needless to say, bloggers and readers really responded to the book, and I’ll never forget that. Never. I owe you guys a lot, and I’m in a constant, pretty humbling state of debt.
I am not going to ask the gender question. It’s stale, it’s been asked and asked, and you don’t owe us that. You aren’t a product to be consumed, and you have to keep some of yourself for you. So I’m sorry readers, I won’t be digging in to that.
HOWEVER, since no one knows if you are a she or a him, I feel it is only fair to let you know that I refer to you as “Shim.” Gaaaaah… What a relief it is to tell you that. I feel unburdened.
Haha. That’s pretty funny.
I know your personal faith plays are large role in your life, and I also know that Night Owl is loosely based on real life events. Can you tell us about that? How did Night Owl come to be?
I wrote Night Owl because I wanted someone – someone I couldn’t have – and I exorcised a lot of emotion in the book. Yes, my faith is a big part of my life. It helps me stay sober. I’ve struggled with drug and alcohol addiction in the past, so I’m intimately acquainted with some of Matt’s demons. I don’t want to spoil the book for anyone, so I won’t be too specific, but I did draw on a good deal of personal experience to frame the story.
Night Owl opens with a ridiculously hot scene of mutual masturbation. I mean, that’s a helluva way to kick things off. What’s it like for you writing scenes like that? Is it real life, or is it fantasy? (nod to Freddie Merc.)
I’ve definitely gotten off, so that’s no fantasy. And it’s fun to write scenes like that. Fun, challenging, occasionally very provocative. Of course, writing intimacy can be difficult – figuring out how much to describe, or how to capture passion – but that particular scene was fun. It’s very spontaneous for the reader, also for Matt. The rushed pace and potential shock value mimic his experience. Afterward, he’s stunned. He’s not sure what he’s done or why. I wanted the reader to be a little stunned, too. I mean, have you ever gotten off like that with a relative stranger? It’s a pretty stunning experience.
One of the dominating themes — to me — is obsession, whether healthy or unhealthy. (Can obsession be healthy?) Obsessive control, obsessive passion, obsessive writing, obsessive relationships, etcetera. What are the main “themes” in the story, to you? What’s your message?
Obsession is definitely one of the themes in Night Owl. Matt’s very passionate about his writing, his privacy, Hannah. Of course, passion for Matt is dangerous. He always feels too much, and I think even “love” for Matt is a state of suffering. He’s a very intense person. And obsession ties in with addiction, and addiction ties in with mental illness. Matt has some real psychological struggles in Night Owl. I’ve had similar struggles. If my fiction opens dialogue about that, then I’m honored.
Another theme in Night Owl is art. Matt is my mouthpiece for a lot of ideas about writing and the creative process, and Hannah reflects a bit on Matt as an artist — i.e. a writer, whose first love is always going to be writing.
But if there’s one overall “message” in Night Owl from me, it’s that real love never burns out. I’m tired of the cultural concept that love terminates with the end of a relationship or the fading of passion or even with death. I think love is bigger than that. When Matt writes that “nothing lasts forever, and nothing ever ends,” it seems paradoxical. But that’s me talking about love. Relationships come and go. People don’t live forever. The things we feel, though – love, when it’s legit – echo after us indefinitely. I believe that.
The relationship between Matt and his brother, Nate, was one of my favorite parts of the book. “I love you buddy, your big brother loves you.” Their relationship really touched me. And Matt with that stuffed manatee. Beautiful. What are your favorite parts of the book?
I have a few favorite moments in Night Owl. Whenever Matt and Hannah are just chilling – eating dinner, or hiking in the mountains – I like that shit. I like the mellow stuff that doesn’t necessarily carry the story, but gives it flavor. For some reason, I also love when Hannah and Nate are hanging out. When they fly east and then drive to NY, I love their interactions. Nate is a natural storyteller and he talks passionately about Matt and the Sky family. More of that appears in book two, Last Light. Generally, whenever Nate’s on the scene, I’m enjoying the writing. That’s probably because Nate reminds me of my oldest brother, one of the best people I know.
Laurence. That leash-walking bunny is just as much a character in this book as anyone else. Tell me about your Laurence.
What can I say that hasn’t already been said? He’s a ladies man. A player. “Can’t keep it in his pants,” according to one reader.
No, in all seriousness… Laurence is a great pet. Clean, quiet, super intelligent. Rabbits are naturally “prey,” so you have to break down a lot of barriers with them, build trust, socialize them.
Incidentally, I happen to feel very strongly about animal rights, and when I think about the fact that rabbits like Laurence are used for product testing, I get pretty upset. Animals aren’t our test subjects.
Mkay, so as I said in the opening, I was ca-razy about this book. Totally nuts… And then… I read the epilogue.
M. look at me. I am not, by nature, a violent person, but had you been near me when I finished the epilogue, I would have punched you in the face.
Oh damn. Hahaha. I’m sorry…
Do you, M. Pierce, hate people? Cuz that was not very nice. Borderline cruel, even.
Hahaha. Oh Kyleigh, I love my readers. Let’s just say that I was a rather naïve author when I hit publish on Night Owl. I had absolutely no idea that Night Owl would become so successful, and that the cliffhanger would be that distressing. However, book 2 (Last Light) does clear up all the questions left by Night Owl, and I’m not planning to end Last Light with a cliff. Lesson learned for sure.
After reading the epilogue and doing the Tom-Cruise-Risky-Business-sock-slide all the way over to your blog, I was under the impression that book 2 was going to transition into paranormal. Which really irked me, because I don’t LIKE paranormal! Was the original plan to transition to that, or what? What the hell is happening? Something has happened. Who’s crying? Someone’s crying. Is it me?
Haha. This interview is pretty priceless. Yes, my original (insane) indie intention was to make book 2 paranormal. Don’t ask me what I was thinking. I wasn’t thinking. Vampires were going to be involved. (Yeah, I’m a big Anne Rice fan.) Anyway, here I am with my vampire idea, which is totally ridiculous, and then I get an agent. So I broach the idea to my agent. And the conversation goes like this.
Me: So. For book two, I was thinking of maybe introducing v—
That’s a rough interpretation of our chat. We decided it would be unfair to confuse the market and upset reader expectations mid-trilogy by going paranormal. And I think that was a wise decision.
Wheeeeeen will Last Light be out?!!!
Fall 2014. I can’t wait. The pre-order is available now. I believe the current price tag of $9.99 is incorrect. We’re working on that. Prices and release dates do fluctuate before a book is officially released.
There are two more books in the Night Owl trilogy: Last Light and After Dark. What can we look forward to in Last Light?
Well, I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say Matt isn’t dead. Of course. So, Last Light continues the story of Matt and Hannah, and they’re navigating some stressful situations. Lies are involved. Lots of drama. Matt’s brothers Nate and Seth make some appearances. And of course Matt is writing, always writing. Book three is going to be bittersweet for me, saying goodbye to Matt and Hannah. I want to give them one last good adventure, and lots of hot/nearly uncomfortably graphic sex, and some kind of closure. I have to say, I’m not looking forward to saying goodbye to those two – but they deserve some kind of happily ever after.
Looking forward- What’s next for M. Pierce?
More books — definitely more books. Maybe some more indie publications, maybe some more traditional publications – time will tell. I haven’t ruled out another self-published novel or novels. As to the genre, I have a couple ideas. I have some more ideas within the romance niche, and other ideas outside of that. So… haha. What a vague answer, huh? It’ll be a surprise, even to me.
Ok, this is the rapid fire portion of the interview. READYSETGO!
Sexiest man of all time? Sexiest woman of all time?
Matt Sky and Hannah Catalano, of course.
Oldest thing in your refrigerator?
I think there’s some grape juice that needs drinking.
Dirty little secret?
I’m crazy about someone who’s not available, just like I’m not available.
Tomato for sure.
When I say to someone, “I’m sorry,” and they say, “It’s not your fault.”
I’m very artistic.
Most prized possession?
Favorite book (other than your own)
My current favorite is Unteachable by Leah Raeder. My standing favorites (can’t pick one) are The Sound and the Fury, My Antonia, On the Road, Never Cry Wolf, This Boy’s Life, and The Catcher in the Rye.
Best joke you’ve heard in a while?
Nothing comes to mind, unfortunately. I think I need to hear more jokes.
Favorite song(s) on your iPod?
Right now, “Sweet Pea” by Little Hurricane. Very bluesy and chill, very sad.
A picture of yourself right now?
M, thank you so very much for talking with me. I cannot wait to hear more from you, and also more from Matt and Hannah!
Thanks so much Kyleigh. My pleasure, and let’s do this again some time.
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M. Pierce is graciously providing THREE copies of Night Owl and THREE signed bookmarks for us to offer in a giveaway! *happy dance*
Enter to win 1 of the 3 e-book/bookmark sets below, open internationally.
NOTE: If you already own Night Owl, you can always forward the gift to a friend and keep the signed bookmark for yourself!
About Kyleigh Jane
I suppose I was introduced to romance at an early age. When I was around 10 years old, I happened upon a highlighted and dog eared copy of “The Joy Of Sex” on my mother’s bookshelf. I was shocked. I was fascinated. Maybe it was the 1970s power muffs, maybe it was the mustaches, maybe it was phrases such as “tongue bath”, who knows. A couple of years later it was V.C. Andrews “Flowers In The Attic,” which upon discovery, my mom took away from me. From there I chugged along reading Danielle Steel novels, until one day, a little book called “Fifty Shades Of Grey” came along. It was a sirens call. It was everything I never knew I wanted. I was hooked. My love of reading romance blossomed into a new love for erotica, and I haven’t stopped reading since. I have a love for stories with grit, and substance, and meat on their bones. The dark stories, the format breakers, the unusual. I’m always searching for that next great read.