Piper Huguley – Joyfully Reinvigorated

August is Read-A-Romance Month.


I hope you’ll visit ReadARomanceMonth.com every day in August to see what 93+ of your favorite authors have to say about the Joy of Romance.

(Check out the calendar. And follow RARM on Facebook!)

Do you love Romance? Let’s celebrate. xo

Celebrating Joy with a marathon of the most romantic story ever.

Virtuous RubyYou know it well before I even said it. Pride and Prejudice. It’s hard to imagine any author in the world who has been more seminal in the development of the romance genre. Austen’s work even brought me back to the love of writing and has impacted me, a Black woman from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She’s remarkable.

Quite a few years back not, my mother knew I was stressed out from graduate school. So to offset the rigors of my academic life, one way that my mother would help me cope would be to schedule a once-a-year Pride and Prejudice marathon during either Christmas or Spring Break when I would return home. The marathon was an all-day endeavor—especially after the 1996 BBC version was released on DVD.  We would have a hearty breakfast of eggs, grits or potatoes, sausage or bacon, and toast.  We would then start to watch the Pride and Prejudice productions, back to back to back. For twelve hours.

We would always progress the same way, earliest version first.– the 1940’s version. Yes, the costumes are all wrong, but Laurence Olivier. Yes, Greer Garson is a little green, but Laurence Olivier. Some of the story is missing and wrong in just two hours, but Laurence Olivier. Remember, this is the man Vivien Leigh left her husband and young baby for and followed this hottie across an ocean and a continent. Leigh didn’t even know if she could be Scarlett in Gone With the Wind yet. That’s some powerful love juju. And Edna May Oliver too. She’s my candidate for the best Lady Catherine De Bourgh. She’s just so good in one of her final roles. And Laurence Olivier. 

Next we’d have a little snack break and then start on the 1979 BBCMostPreciousPearl-A300 version of Pride and Prejudice, which is my favorite. Stop. All you Colin Firth fans, don’t leave comments lifting him up.  I love him too and he’s great, but David Rintoul is just a bit better. Sorry, not sorry. He is. And Jennifer Ehle laughs a little too much. I prefer Elizabeth Garvie’s gravitas. The 1979 version of Pride and Prejudice is four hours long and we would watch the first two episodes and then break for lunch. To continue our serious work, we would bring our sandwiches to the television and eat and finish the rest, quoting lines, all while enjoying Rintoul’s cool sex appeal.

Next, we would dig into the first parts of the 1996 version. After about half, it was time to break to cook dinner.  During the dinner break my poor father would somehow ask if there wasn’t anything else on television, but my mother and I would be determined to see the marathon through to the end.  After all, we had Firth’s sexy pool dip to watch.  So usually, when we started the marathon at around 8 a.m., the all –day marathon always concluded around 10 p.m. or so, allowing for eating/cooking breaks.

After the marathons, I returned to graduate school reinvigorated. Those days are gone now, but those times never failed to bring me joy. I now understand that those marathons were meant to be training for me—to help me keep in mind the kinds of stories I was meant to tell.  Is it any accident that my Migrations of the Heart series features five sisters, albeit set in rural Western Georgia? I don’t think that it is.  I always believed it was Austen who led me away from the confines of literary fiction, and into genre fiction. She made me think about the similarities between the situations of the man shortage in the early 1800’s and of marriageable African American men in twentieth century United States. Pride and Prejudice, especially the 1979 BBC version, always brings me joy.

Piper recommends:

Belle Calhoune (bellecalhoune.com) and Ann Christopher (annchristopher.com). Both of these women, as romance writers, wring every ounce of emotion from their readers.

Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy. 

I experienced sheer joy the first time I set a goal and I realized that I could accomplish it.  I was a teenager and I was determined to qualify for a place to go to the National Speech and Debate Tournament in San Antonio, Texas.  My previous attempts had not gone that well, so I tried a different approach, and a different category.  I used positive self-talk and visualization to help me. I only needed second place to go, and that was what I had aimed for, but I earned first place!  I couldn’t believe that I won a placement through my own efforts.  It was the first time that I realized my own value and worth.

Tell us about a place that brings you joy, or is attached to a memory of joy.

Going back to my parent’s home brings me joy.  Every time we turn down the lane of the street, I start feeling happy again.  My mother isn’t there anymore, but it’s a place that is close to her and reminiscent of her so I still feel joy whenever I return.  I was married in the garden in the back of their house, so the old homestead is just that meaningful to me.

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

My son’s laughter brings me joy. Right now he’s beginning to go through the teen years and I want to keep hearing it, even though I hear the laughter less and more angst from him about who he is. I still try to keep his laughter front and center because I don’t want him to lose what makes him joyful.

What recent book have you read that brought you joy. (Or a book you read in your life that brought you so much joy you’ve never forgotten it.) Why?

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  I’m a hard-to-please reader and will always, always find a stopping place.  With that book,  a stopping place was impossible. I started it a few days before my sophomore year in college, but I could not put it down. I didn’t even want to stop to go down to the cafeteria to eat; I was so determined to finish that story. While Francie’s experiences are not the most joyful, it was the most vivid, joyful experience as a reader I have ever had.

And for fun, the joy of choice ~

Pick your Chris! Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris Rock, Chris Evans or Christopher Plummer (circ. 1964 aka Capt. Von Trapp?) – trying for a little diversity! ;o)

Is there another Chris besides Chris Hemsworth?

Piper is generously giving away the 1979 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice for US Colin Firth fans who are willing to give her favorite Mr. Darcy a chance. Entry below.

PiperPiper G Huguley, named 2015 Debut Author of the Year by Romance Slam Jam and Breakout Author of 2015 by AAMBC Literary Awards, is a two-time Golden Heart ®finalist and is the author of the “Home to Milford College” series. The series follows the building of a college from its founding in 1866. On release, the prequel novella to the “Home to Milford College” series, The Lawyer’s Luck, reached #1 Amazon Bestseller status on the African American Christian Fiction charts. Book #1 in the series, The Preacher’s Promise was named a top ten Historical Romance in Publisher’s Weekly by the esteemed historical romance author, Beverly Jenkins.

Huguley is also the author of “Migrations of the Heart,” a five-book series of inspirational historical romances set in the early 20th century featuring African American characters. Book one in the series, A Virtuous Ruby won the Golden Rose contest in Historical Romance in 2013 and was a Golden Heart® finalist in 2014. Book four, A Champion’s Heart, was a Golden Heart® finalist in 2013. A Virtuous Ruby will be published in July 2015 by Samhain Publishing.

She blogs about the history behind her novels at piperhuguley.com. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son.  

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