Series: Pepper Jones
Author: Ali Dean
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pepped Up #1
Pepper Jones is ready for an epic cross country season. She wants to qualify for Nationals, and she’s willing to do anything it takes to make it happen. She can handle long miles and hill sprints, but boys? That’s an entirely different challenge.
Pepper’s never considered revealing her deeper feelings for her longtime friend, Jace Wilder. After all, he’s got the personal magnetism and good looks to hook just about any girl in town — and he has. Their friendship stands apart from high school social circles, and they’re both just fine with that (or at least they pretend to be).
That is, until running star Ryan Harding moves to town.
When it comes to running, Pepper’s goals are clear. But when it comes to Jace and Ryan, it’s nowhere near as simple.
All Pepped Up #2
Pepper Jones knew that being Jace Wilder’s girlfriend wouldn’t be simple. But she didn’t predict just how many complications would arise from his past. Jealous girls? That she expected. Family secrets? Not so much. At least Pepper can always hit the trails to clear her head… except when it comes to racing. The high expectations from her phenomenal cross country season haunt her, and she can’t seem to get psyched up for track season. Pepper’s junior year at Brockton Public is full of challenges on and off the track, but she’s not afraid to face them.
Pepped Up & Ready #3
Pepper is finally a senior, and she’s determined to defend her national cross-country title. Although Jace is busy with the demands of college football, he’s still at Pepper’s side, supporting her goals. But is she taking her renewed enthusiasm for training too far?
As Jace and Pepper focus on their athletic ambitions, they discover that Jace’s social status has followed him to college, despite his attempt to keep a low profile. With her boyfriend as an idol on campus, Pepper discovers that she might just be a target to those who find Jace threatening.
Are Jace and Pepper strong enough to withstand the pressure from those who want something from them? It won’t be easy fighting for her title and her boyfriend, but nothing easy is worth winning… or keeping.
1. What is the biggest influence/interest that brought you to this genre?
I don’t think it was any specific book or person that brought me to coming of age/YA/NA fiction, but I love writing about the late teenage/ early twenties because it’s such an important time in our lives, and it’s not an easy transition from kid to adult. It’s that in-between time, when our actions begin to have more serious consequences, and our decisions become more important ones with lasting impacts. Not to mention, emotions are running high as we figure out who we are and what our values are.
2. When writing a book, what is your favorite part of the creative process(outline, plot, character names, editing, etc)?
My favorite part of writing a book is probably at the very beginning, as the story begins to form in my head. I don’t do an outline before I begin writing; I just have a general idea of who my characters are and concepts about the plot and where it’s going that are not yet figured out. As I write, the characters take on personalities and the plot forms a more precise shape. It’s exciting for me as I get in the groove (that’s what I call it when the story sucks me in), and the next thing I know, I’ve got a book!
3. When reading a book, what genre do you find most interesting/intriguing?
Just as I like to write coming of age fiction, I like to read it as well, for the same reasons provided to the first question. Personally, those years were a whirlwind of changes and a rollercoaster of emotions. Actually, I met my now husband at 21 and I think we both helped each other figure out our values and what kind of adults we wanted to be. Each day comes with unique experiences and each phase of life presents new challenges, but doing it as a team with my husband makes a huge difference. As cheesy as it is, we’re stronger together, and perhaps that’s why I like reading and writing romance fiction so much. I want everyone to have an awesome relationship like mine.
4. If you could co-author with any author, past or present, who would you choose?
That’s a hard one. I like tons of authors, but recently I’ve really enjoyed books by Colleen Hoover and Amy Harmon, so it’d be fun to write with one of them. I’ve always thought C.S. Lewis was a genius and find a lot of his writing fascinating, but I don’t see myself co-authoring with him. I’m not cerebral enough.
5. Have you always wanted to write or did it come to you "later in life"?
For the most part, I’d say it came to me “later in life.” I did like creative writing as a kid in school, and I remember enjoying it in high school and college a little too. I always did well at it, got positive feedback from teachers, but I was simply too busy with sports and other activities to really get into it at the time. Believe it or not, it wasn’t until after law school when I became a lawyer that I had some extra time. I was reading a lot on my commute on the bus, and I really enjoyed reading books by indie authors. They didn’t follow cookie cutter plots and had their own thing going on. Reading self-published books inspired me to give it a shot on my own – either while riding the bus or in the evenings or weekends, since I no longer had unending homework or bar studying to do! Once I got into creative writing, I was hooked.
Ali Dean lives in Colorado with her husband and two children. In addition to reading and writing, she loves the outdoors- everything from marathon training and biking to snowboarding and skiing.