R.J. Pepper AUTHOR of THE HOT CLOTH “An Odyssey Into Internet Dating, Sex and Relationships”
April 16, 2014
By Jordan Morrissey(Rosi Phillips)
The arrival of this debut author certainly doesn’t show any newbie jitters. Quite the opposite. Like his novel, The Hot Cloth, successfully published by FreisenPress, out in print and ereader formats, Mr. Pepper in his comfort zone, gives it raw and straight from his soul, allowing this lady a peek into the open mind beneath the pages and the man.
Well-traveled, business development professional and entrepreneur his frank outlook on life comes with some hard knocks. Along with divorce, yearning for the forbidden soul mate and surviving the corporate rat race, his biggest achievement in survival, kicking the Big C. No. He’s not slowing down. Today nor tomorrow. Whether you agree or not, with Mr. Pepper’s philosophy and passions, you’ll surely agree his honesty and baring it all, regardless of the cost is way out of our comfort zone. If you haven’t read his story, even if you have, please join me in an ‘expansive’ conversation with R.J. Pepper.
Try this read. I dare you not to find a piece of yourself in his words and his novel. Did I mention Pepper’s hot new teaser revealed to me?
Not what you’re thinking. Grab a coffee, tea or your fav beverage to enjoy while you read on…
At what point did your book idea begin?
It goes back about 7 or 8 years.
How long before you completed The Hot Cloth – from the kernel of an idea to publishing on April 3rd, 2014?
The whole time frame? I was adding even to the end. The whole 7-8 years. There were periods where I was inspired to write but it encompassed the whole 7-8 years.
How did you decide the title of your book?
Actually there were a couple of titles. One was “After The Loving”, which I think is the defining moment in any relationship. It came down to where that defining moment had this moment of The Hot Cloth. If you want any more about this moment, you’ll have to read the book. We were still tossing it around at the end before publishing. A lot of people liked the first cover they put on it which was more a Harlequin type and then I picked this one. The title fit it perfectly.
You make a point of saying your book is not a knock off, of 50 Shades of Gray. Why?
In a way it is and but it’s not a knock off. What it is, is real stories. Even in my prologue I put that there’s no shades of gray between the covers of this book. It’s real stories in true living color…and it is. Whereas a work of fiction is a little different. And it’s bondage and in fact I didn’t like it. I read some of it and didn’t like it at all.
Note: This writer agrees on this topic. But live and let live.
Will you publish a sequel to your new novel,The Hot Cloth?
My publisher has asked me already but let’s see how this one goes.
Would you sell the movie rights to your novel?
Which actor could play you?
It would be difficult to cast, I’m sure there would be one who’d fit.
No one comes to mind?
The women in it would be far more difficult to cast than me.
Add me to your book and I’ll play myself.(laugh)
Would you consider playing yourself?
No. You need to start with someone halfway through life and it [The Hot Cloth] progresses.
I’ll offer my suggestion and say Richard Gere.
I’ve been told that before but sure.
Who is the most interesting celebrity you’ve met?
I think Joe Pesci.
Where did you find the inspiration for the book jacket?
I had sent the publisher a couple of images I’d seen online which would be a girl on a bed. One in particular the girl was laying backwards on a bed of roses. I sent this in and they said ‘I think we got the idea.’ They sent two covers. This [book cover] is one of them.
Does one special part in your book hit your VIP soul?
As I mention it’s more an Odyssey which is a journey through it. I put in there so you can follow your time frame here.But I came to the realization there is not one but many. I think you have to look at, if you’re talking soul mate, you have to talk about your whole experience. We’re supposed to be here more than once. You can’t believe the world is how many billions years old and here we are for 60-70 years and it’s shape up or ship out or whatever. I think when it comes to relationships they’re going to go on for an eternity and you have to embrace those footsteps.
What part of The Hot Cloth was the hardest to write?
Holding myself back. I think that was it.
What was a typical writing day for you?
It just came. There was no time in particular. When it came you just get on it. Like most writers, once you get into it, it just flows.
When you took breaks from writing,how did you wind down?
With my favorite drink, a good woman and good music.
Can you remember something you were doing then thought, I’d rather work on my book?
Not really. As I said, it came in spurts.
Did you only use a computer to write your book, or like some of us writers, did you have many handwritten notes?
No. Very few handwritten notes. Mostly the computer.
How much of your book is autobiographical?
Pretty well all of it.
Did you ever think, I can’t put this piece in my book?
Yes. Because there are certain people in my book…it may affect their relationships.
Did you purposely push controversial issues?
To me there are no controversial issues, just issues. There’s no pushing, it’s just there.
You evoke subtle emotions from the readerbefore sparking them with an abrupt truth. An example – boy meets girl for the first time even though she was there all along. The Mars and Venus differences come into play, disastrous in its predictability, both sexes challenged in their first game of intense youthful love. Was this intentional or solely based on your experience?
I don’t remember that part of it, actually. (laugh)
(laugh) I do.
(laugh) It happens to be the same thing. The Mars and Venus thing, I remember saying because it’s your typical way that a man and a woman work. That’s not so much cut in stone. I think we are unique like snowflakes. What you might have with somebody is totally different than what you and I might have. I think that is what you have to embrace.
What advice do you have for young men in your position stuck with a surprise pregnancy?
Do the same as I did. You have a responsibility. Handle it. At the same time, don’t take it that it’s the end of your life, it’s the beginning of your life. It has to be if it’s out of love you continue with it. If it’s not then you make sure you communicate it well. It’s still a responsibility you have to deal with.
Do you believelife changing moments are easier today for young boys?
No because I think they are really naïve. I’ve heard that said many times. When you start talking to them they get wowed by, I guess, the street savvy or whatever you’re able to tell them.
Is it better for a girl today, facing a pregnancy before she’s ready?
I think so. I think it’s more understanding of that and… men always put the onus on a woman to ensure whether she is having safe sex or not.
Are you still internet dating?
Are you still looking for a soul mate?
I think we are all always looking. Until you find someone you always click with… I think we always get very set in our independence and space…but realize you still need the feel and touch of a good women.
How many internet sites are you on?
Actually off and on, on one. I just got off the other one. It’s just back and forth.
How many dates per month do you go on?
I haven’t for awhile..but I did finish up a five month relationship, going back four months ago.
Are you in a relationship now?
Did you consider your past relationship, a moment or a lifetime, although it didn’t last?
They’re all that. Some are a moment, some are a month, some a year, some are maybe not a lifetime.
You tell your readers this book should be a guide for them. Who will reap more from your book, men or women.
Women more than men.
Why do you think women will gain more reading The Hot Cloth?
The inhibitions. The one thing I found, women tend to be inhibited…unbridled spirit is what I think they need to get…(laugh) as your beer runs over here (laugh)
(laugh) uhum…please go on.
I think that’s the point…be yourself. I think women are too conditioned…their parents, their teachers, their religion tells them don’t do this, don’t do that…don’t touch yourself there. By the time they’re middle aged they go, ‘what the hell was that all about.’ And then they are on their own again. They were crutches for their husband and their kids. And now they’re finding that young sweet thing but it’s in the 45, 50 year old body. And they go ‘oh, wait a minute-am I still that girl-am I still that flirty, ah, sexy sexual thing?’ Absolutely! If it’s in your mind, be it. It’s that simple.
Is there something else you would’ve added in terms of guiding your reader through the maze of relationships?
I don’t think so. I think it’s pretty well there. You’ve got a vast amount of, I guess, observations. It’s a journey, like anything else. That’s why the Odyssey it’s got all the elements – Like, Lust and Love…I think in that order.
How do you address opponents of your message and guidance?
I haven’t had any yet.
How would you address it?
I’ll do that when I get there.(laugh)
(laugh) Okay.Do you believe your lifestyle makes you a guru to casual relationships?
I’d say yes.
Aside from the pleasures stated in your book, is there something else exciting to you?
Aside from the pleasures? I think it’s all part and parcel of the whole. I think you can’t have a relationship unless there is pleasure and fun. Flirtation and intimacy. I think that’s got to be there. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need love, it can be “like”…but it does have to be “lust”.
How did you celebrate your book’s release?
I’m still doing it.
Which writer inspires you?
I do read a lot but it varies. I like a lot of non fiction. I think The Conversations with God [by] Neale (Donald) Walsch…I found it years ago, I said Wow, this is what I know and seems to be what fits.
Is there someone you believe is underrated for their writing?
I think there are a lot of them. I think there are a lot of undiscovered artists that are struggling to get looked at.
Can you name one?
It’s all promotion…You know. You’ve been doing it yourself.
True.Which book inspired you?
The one I mentioned.
Do you remember the first book you read as a young boy?
No, I don’t.
What was your first adult book?
My first what?
(laugh) I’m sure.
In those days, it was Catcher in the Rye. You read it in high school.
Do you have any advice for today’s new writers?
Yes. Just talk in your own voice. That’s the key. Be yourself. Talk in your own voice to it as if you’re sitting across the table from somebody. Bring your feel and touch to it. If not, hire a ghostwriter.
Anything seasoned writers should learn?
Sometimes I read something and it’s not well written because I think they’re not themselves… and they don’t say it in their voice, and they’re trying to be something they’re not. You can’t win that way.
Are those writers selling out?
Promote your book but it’s got to be there, the essence of you has to be in that book. That’s what they [readers] look for. They’re looking for the character not for what you might be.
What research challenges did you face bringing your words to life?
I don’t think it was as much research as it was observation. You sit and listen and I think that becomes the experience because how the reaction to that question or that word and the response by the person you’re with is the Key to making that relationship work, and then making the book work to say this particular relationship was like that, whether the woman was still carrying baggage from a previous relationships or whether she was Bipolar or whether she had some issues. There was always some issues but she was still in a relationship and still had a sense of the woman dealing with them in that relationship, be it for that evening or a month, or whatever, it’s something I’d tried to capture in the book.
Were there any psychological challenges?
What you saw. I think again, It’s observations, not so much myself because you’re not happy the way I am…but observing somebody that’s talking in the third party about themselves to say ‘Well she’s not like this, and she’s not like that’, tells me there is something wrong there. She doesn’t really realize who she is as opposed to what she thinks she might be. To say ‘I’m doing this or I’m really interested in this-‘ while saying ‘she’s not there or she’s not doing this’- I wonder who’s she talking about…and that has happened.
You don’t believe in therapy. Does your belief apply to everyone?
As I mentioned in the book, I think everybody knows themselves pretty well. Better than the person you’re going to sit down with for an hour. Honestly it’s true you can sit down with some wine and good music with your best friend or companion, and talk it out. By the end of all that, you should have a solution to the problem. But as there is in one story, the abuse of one of the children, definitely traumatic to that mother. In that case, maybe there is something that needs to be done. I mean, Society failed there. Therapists failed there. She had to come out of it herself. At the same time, there may be is somebody she couldn’t talk to – or somebody she did that maybe provided what she needed to get out of that. Therapy – self therapy, I think it works. Someone else’s [professional]therapy – no. You know yourself better than anyone else. I do not believe, really, in that therapeutic thing. I know I’m going to get a lot of crap out of that. I honestly believe there are situations where – Yes – you need somebody if you don’t have somebody but do it on the realization of who and what you are, and that’s the key. And knowing it rather than try to come and talk your whole life’s story to somebody who doesn’t really care.
What book is on your nightstand right now?
I’m into a whole bunch of – and only because my son got into this stuff – but the whole fanatic terrorism thing now, but real life stories. A lot of those that have gone to fight for the good of everybody’s freedom. I’m caught up in that thing because politics and religion does play a big part in that today. And it’s causing issues with people becoming fanatical on both sides.
Do you have a favorite genre?
I don’t think so. It’s wide open. I like experience and restless to find it. There is one thing, in that the whole restless thing in finding out what it’s all about…Alfie (laugh)
Do you read female authors?
Yes, a couple.
…Okay. Would you share a piece of advice for young girls today?
Yes. Be yourself right from the start. Don’t feel because you’ve been brought up with doll houses and little bunnies, and you’re still listening to what would, sort of, mold you into later years. I mean we’re all caught up in that where we’re too young to even have kids. Too young to even get married, and yet, society is bringing us to that. We’re playing with the doll house – your mother says you have to stay a virgin until you get married. Then you get married and sex sucks. There’s no communication anymore. I mean there’s 50% divorce rate. Half of the others ones are in a marriage of convenience now. It doesn’t work. Quit taking the vows. Talk to each other. Stay with each other as long as it does. Communicate with each other. And when it’s done and it doesn’t work anymore – say so.
What advice do you have for a young boy moving towards manhood?
Similar. I mean, It’s got to the same for both. Just be yourself. But have some sense of who your are. That is the key.
You have two sons whom you dedicated your book too. How much inspiration did you receive from them?
I think it’s the other way around but I liked the idea both had the same entrepreneurial spirit. One actually did write a book when he was in the casino reality series about 5-6 years ago. Mark Burnett that was one of his first reality shows and obviously, we know Mark Burnett went on to produce a whole bunch of other shows.
You spend lots of time in Vegas. How much does this have to do with family?
It’s been like that. My son was 9 years old when I brought him to Vegas. He says, ‘dad, this is what I want to do.’ I said, ‘well, that’s what you have to work too.’ And he did.
Your parents, Polish and Russian, met under inhumane circumstances yet they carved a loving human story for all ages. In your book, you presented them gentle in love, strong in surviving horrors. Have you ever felt you dated a woman like your mother?
Have you visited their birth countries?
Would you like to share the countries where they were born?
The Portuguese and Latin. That’s pretty well it.
To date, where is the most beautiful place you’ve traveled?
I have a thing for the Caribbean but Thailand was very amazing. I’d go back tomorrow but…I discovered Portugal last year and again, people are friendly…and it’s in the book.
Do you have any obsessions?
I don’t think so. Yes, I still like women. I think the hunt is still there but it’s that restless passion – I guess the thrill of meeting people – but being yourself through the whole thing. I know I keep repeating that but that is the key to whatever environment you’re in, whatever meetings you’re having, you have to really be yourself – and walk in that person’s shoes for a few moments. That’s the key.
In one word, how would you describe RJ Pepper?
Restless but passionate. (laugh) I know that’s two words but you know it’s what I am.
I can take two words. (laugh) Do you have another reason why you penned The Hot Cloth?
I just think it needed to be told. Whether it makes money or not – I just kept reading, and I’ve been reading a lot. But it just felt like it just came – and a funny thing, because I look back now, in grade 13,I remember there was an essay and I remember my teacher getting up one day we all handed them in – and he says ‘oh here’s one that is the best of the whole class and I’m going to read it to you.’ I didn’t know it [essay] was mine. When he started to read it, then I realized it was mine. And there was an A++ on that. And I did some writing for the Mercury for the school as well.
Your book is published. Have you planned another trip or another project?
No. Trips – yes. As a matter of fact, I’m going to Punta Cana on Monday.
Wonderful. Do you have my ticket? (laugh)
If you had the opportunity, which 20thc writer would you spend time with?
I don’t know if there’s one – I never even thought of that.
If one came to mind, where would youlike to meet this person?
I guess sitting on a beach on a lounger sipping a drink.
My favorite mediation (laugh)
If you only could ask one question, what would you ask this author?
I guess not so much the inspiration of what he did but did he convey his persona to paper.
When is your favorite time of year?
Oh God, not this time of year. It’s got to be beach and sunny weather.
What type of car do you drive?
What’s your favorite color?
What is this (laugh) ok colour – Purple…violet.
(laugh) I’m hunting for the guy behind the author.You’re also a musician. Are you still pursuing music?
Yes. In fact, I still play my guitar occasionally. And about 2 years ago, I tried to do a little solo thing with some back up vocals. Yeah, I still enjoy it.
Which type of guitar do you play?
I’ve got an old Telecaster® from ’65 and it’s actually worth a lot of money, today.
Buying anything for women is a daunting task for most men. What would you suggest a man buy for his lady after first time sex?
Um – A phone call.
On the first anniversary of the relationship?
It lasted that long? (laugh)
Some do. (laugh)
If it did. A lot of women think it’s a one night stand and I keep saying a one night stand is never a one night stand because it always results in something.
I’m speaking in general.
I know. I understand. I’m trying to be a bit sarcastic. (laugh) On one year anniversary [being together] maybe go away together.
And if they marry, which gift on the first year anniversary?
If they what?
It wouldn’t be with me (laugh)
(laugh) Again, I mean in general.
I would say again, take them away because people are caught up in their 9-5’s.
With all you’ve learned about life and relationships, can you point to one quality to help a relationship last a lifetime?
Being yourself and being passionate about it.
In your opinion, what is the mostimportant quality in a man?
What quality do you look for in a woman?
What is the right age to marry for a man?
There isn’t any.
For a woman?
You’re a cancer survivor. How much did this affect your change to a bohemian lifestyle?
Where were you born?
Where would you like to live?
Are you a sports guy?
I like baseball.
How do you stay healthy and fit?
Swim. Gym, just upper body – muscle tone. That’s it.
Do you have an all time favorite movie?
There’s a couple. Crash is one. I meant the one that the London author came up with. The intertwining of lives and it’s real. I like that kind of thing.
There’s a few – a few – Sinatra, ‘I Did it My Way.’
We have something in common, it’s my exit song (laugh)
It’s written by a Canadian -Paul Anka song.
Favorite singer – female or male?
The ones with real talent, that are not just a niche and not a drop in the pan. There’s so much talent around today, it’s tough to pick but I mean, one today, just came out – who is it – he wrote it to his wife – beautiful song –
No. Not Michael Buble. He’s taken that Sinatra thing…Actually he’s [fav singer]on the Voice. I’m trying to think of his name…John Legend. He wrote the song to his wife which is brilliantly done.
The excerpts, for example song verses, you chose for the beginning of some chapters in your book are familiar to our generation. Do you believe other generations will connect to them?
I think so because it’s the words and lyrics that usually do connect you to the song and actually there are a couple by Dixie Chicks and Robin Thicke, which is the sex thing, ah, Blurred Lines.
Did it take a long time to receive permission to use them?
I checked into it and you’re actually promoting the lyrics but I did write who’s it by and as long you use only a small portion of it, then there’s not a problem.
Why did you decide to use them?
They tend to set the tone forthe story that comes.
How do you answer critics saying you exploited women and now you exploit them in your new novel?
That’s interesting because it’s almost like a woman giving herself to you. And to me, it’s sharing each other. It was never an exploitation, it’s an observation.
Have you thought about writing a book specifically on dating and relationships?
This is it.
Would you consider publishing a travel book?
No. Not unless it had the elements of The Hot Cloth.
If told you had to choose one sexual pleasure, what would you say?
I don’t think there’s one you can put your finger on. (laugh)
Are you, referring to dating many women, another Charlie Sheen?
I’ve watched the show and there are elements of it there. Yes because it makes me wonder sometimes. But I think it only concentrates on that Charlie Sheen persona that he not only plays but practices in his real life as well. But I think there’s more to it.
What do you wear? boxers or shorts?
Um, they’re the short boxers.
Advertising is moving towards the baby boomers. Would you consider becoming t the underwear guy for Calvin Klein or Hanes?
I don’t wear any.
(laugh) You just told me you do.
(laugh) That’s okay. Use me.
What is your favorite food?
I’m a meat and potatoes guy. And I enjoy fish.
What drink pleases you the most?
There’s one I’ve been drinking for years and I believe it actually took care of my cancer. It’s the Kahlua, Grand Marnier with decaf coffee. It’s called the Monte Cristo.
Have you ever written parts of your novel in the nude?
In the nude?…Not that I can remember.
Talk show host Steve Harvey’s campaigned for women not to have sex until 90 days of dating the same guy? What’s your opinion?
(laugh) I think he needs to revisit that.
If you had a teenage daughter, and she said her boyfriend complained, she doesn’t love him because she won’t have sex. How would you handle this?
I think they need to communicate a little bit more and I would think I’d need to have a little talk with her.
What is the full name for the initials R.J.?
Same as my real name. Richard Joseph.
I’m taking a road trip this summer solo with my puppy. (laugh) Any advice on dating while traveling eastern Canada and the Maritimes?
I think it’s the same as traveling anywhere. The people you meet if you connect and there’s chemistry and comfort just have fun with it. It’s that simple. Don’t make all these conditions about why you can’t, why you won’t. Just do it.
You seem to break society’s stereotypical older male. You breathe life. You’re physically fit with bronzed good looks. What’s your vitality secret?
I think it’s essence of soul. I think everybody has that and they just need to bring it out. They bury it and their husbands and friends and kids and everything tend to put a stone wall around it. I think you need to bring it out. It’s you. That soul spirit has to be there.
Many older women say they’ll settle for a guy who’s breathing? What advice do you have for them to find Mr. Right?
If you’re settling for someone who’s only breathing, make sure it’s heavy breathing.
How will you promote your book, build readership for your novel, The Hot Cloth? I’ve already done that. Today’s social media is on Facebook, Twitter, and of course press releases. I’ve got two signings in Vegas, at Barnes and Noble. Chapters here in Canada. It’s continuing, but the biggest thing, is word of mouth. As people start to read it, they’ll tell your friends and that’s going to mushroom, I hope.
Any upcoming guest spots on TV and/or radio?
As I mentioned, the book signing at this point. And it’s only two weeks so it’s still fresh.
Will there be an upcoming ad campaign or focus on the media blitz?
Not at this point but there are others. A special little thing that’s going to happen. And you’re the first one I’ve really told other than one newspaper. And that is there will be a Hot Cloth that you can order for those special moments. Every night table and every bathroom counter should have one.
Hmm. A hot tease…How did you find a publisher?
I did a little bit of research on who offered self publishing, which were the best and so on.
Who currently sells your book, The Hot Cloth by R.J. Pepper?
All over North America. Barnes and Noble stores. Amazon. Amazon.com. There are not one but many eBook – versions, Kindle, iTunes, Kobo and more.
Can you quote a passage from your book?
The one I ended with. We are all children of the Universe and we’re at play. Don’t be afraid to come out and play. But there are three elements of creativity, thought, word and deed. And you can’t just think about it or talk about it. You have to do it, otherwise you’ll never experience and define who and what you are.
Do you own a dog? (laugh)
Oh yes, the one about women. (laugh) I was brought up with dogs. We did own a couple of them, I guess, when I was married. But I don’t have time for them now but yeah, having a dog is great but it’s no substitute for a man.
They’re no substitute for a women either, Mr. Pepper.
Mr. Pepper you’ve been a good sport. I’ve enjoyed this terrific interview and your candid answers. Is there anything you’d like the readers to know about you or your novel, The Hot Cloth?
Um, what are you doing after the interview?
Not doing you.(LAUGH)
(laugh) Well, there goes book two.
(laugh) Perfect. (laugh) You know I’m going to put this in, right?
Of course (laugh) I believe you. I would’ve said the same thing, anyway.
Again, thank you for the chat and the overflow – I mean the sudsy beer. You’ve been very candid. I wish you much success getting your novel, The Hot Cloth and your new [teaser]venture on all nightstands and in bathrooms – plus everything that comes in between.
Please come back with media and book signing dates.