Mason Cooley said, “Reading gives us some place to go when we have to stay where we are.”
A Center Stage Moment shines a spotlight on writers who give us great places to visit with the characters we love and want to call friends.
Today, I have the pleasure of introducing to you—M Pepper Langlinais!
M Pepper Langlinais is an award-winning screenwriter, produced playwright, and published author.
M holds a Master of Arts in Writing, Literature and Publishing and a Bachelor of Science in Radio-Television-Film. She has a love of Shakespeare, having both performed and taught his work, and has also interned on Hollywood film sets. M worked for Houghton Mifflin and Pearson before deciding to devote her full time to her own writing (and occasionally parenting). She lives in Livermore, California with her family, cats, and hamster.
Have you always wanted to be a writer? I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I’m not sure I always wanted to be a writer. For the longest time, I wanted to work in film and television. It didn’t occur to me when I was younger that screenwriting was something you could do, so I thought I’d be a director. Then I thought I might become a magazine editor. Or a journalist of some kind.
Why did you choose to write your genre? Which one? They say you should write what you enjoy reading, and I enjoy reading a lot of different things. So I write a lot of different things. Mystery, historical romance, fantasy…
What are you currently working on? Several things. I’m finishing up a YA contemporary version of “Hamlet,” writing the second book in the Changers series, and also writing another Regency romance novel.
What motivated the plot of your latest book? My most recent book is Brynnde, which is a Regency romance novel. I wrote that one because the couple books that I’d written right before it were kind of heavy, and I needed something lighter. My YA version of “Hamlet” stems from my love of Shakespeare. I’ve both performed in and taught a lot of his works.
What is the strangest subject or topic you’ve ever written? I’ve written some particularly strange short stories, though I’m not sure which is the strangest. They’re all in my anthology The World Ends at Five.
What was the hardest story for you to write? The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller. The first part came rolling out of me in three weeks, but the subsequent two parts after were like pulling teeth. Peter is very reticent. He seemed to fight my attempts to dig any deeper into him.
What process do you use to plan your novels? Plan? Ahahaha! Seriously, though, I start with a character or characters, and I picture them somewhere in a micro-situation. And then the story expands out from that moment. In fact, plenty of times that actual moment never ends up in the final book. As for planning, I flowchart my stories in a notebook I keep beside my computer. But I do it as I write, not before.
Do any of your characters reflect facets of your personality? Almost certainly. Cee (in Manifesting Destiny) is a bit naïve and has a crush on someone who can’t love her back—which I definitely have experienced. Andra in “The K-Pro” shares some of my experiences from when I worked on film sets, though of course to a much more fictional degree.
Have you ever experienced writer’s block? If so, how did you overcome it? Yes, there are times when I get stuck. Many tell you to write through it, and if you can, that’s great. Sometimes for me, though, it’s so terrible that there’s no way I can do that. So I go find some other outlet. I put together a puzzle or I paint a canvas. I find that if I don’t try to force it, the problem usually resolves on its own, though it might take a few days. Still, it’s one reason I try to have at least two projects going at any time. If I get stuck on one, there’s a chance I can work on the other.
If you were to choose another genre to write in, what would it be? I already write so many! I’m not sure there are any I would want to write that I haven’t. I know I would NOT write erotica or horror. Those aren’t for me.
Which authors inspire you? I can say that John Le Carré definitely inspired my Peter Stoller stories. There was perhaps a dash of Neil Gaiman in my short story anthology. And of course Sir Arthur Conan Doyle inspired my Sherlock Holmes collection.
What novel would you read multiple times? There’s so much out there that I seldom re-read books. But if I were going to, I’d say Kate Morton’s books probably have a high re-readability quotient, and Ben Aaronovitch’s Peter Grant books, and some of Tana French’s books, too.
If you could meet anyone in the world, alive or deceased, who would it be and why? (Person could be a fictional character) David Tennant. I’d like to hang out with him for a day.
What is your favorite quote?
What is your favorite animal, real or imaginary? I guess I should say dragons, else Livian will eat me.
What is your favorite color? Indigo.
When you’re not writing… Well, it’s my career, but I’d say I probably only put in part-time hours. I’m also a mother of three and have a family to care for, and that’s my full-time job.
You can find Ms. Langlinais online at…
Thanks for hanging out with me today.
Join me next week when Shawn McGuire will be dropping by!