Interview with Valerie Pepper, Author of The Grump’s Guide to Chaos

13 Feb 2024

What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write The Grump’s Guide to Chaos?

This is the third and final book in my Guided to Love series, and follows the oldest of three brothers. I knew this brother would have my heart from the minute he stepped onto the page in book one, because I understood that he had a gooey center beneath that grumpy shell. Once I knew I had a controlling, grumpy man on my hands, the next step was to figure out how to throw him for a loop. The main female character was born out of that need, and she was chaos and strength and the perfect foil for the main character’s need to control things all wrapped up in one. Plus, I wanted to tilt the grumpy-sunshine trope just a bit—she’s “sunshine,” sure, but she’s also extremely chaotic.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

I love contemporary romance—it’s my favorite to read and write! I tend to write more romantic comedy than anything, but that’s just a subgenre of romance.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

In the trad publishing space, it’s Rebecca Yarros’s “Iron Flame” (I’ve been a huge fan of hers since 2019; she’s who inspired me to write romance!) and Erin Hahn’s “Never Saw You Coming”. Both those books have been out for a while, but I’m saving them. In the indie space, well, how much time do you have? I’m reading a great debut by A. Boss called “Wanted By You”, and right behind it is Jess K. Hardy’s “The Curse of Nona May Taylor” in an effort to stave off my rampant desire for her upcoming book, “Lips Like Sugar”.

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

I write steamy romance, and a lot of the time those are the most fun to write, because there’s so much more going on than the physical stuff. And while the scenes in this book are incredibly steamy, they don’t compare to the final “grovel” scene, because it completely took on a life of its own. The female main character thinks, “What the hell is he doing?” and I typed it because I was thinking the same thing! I was completely taken by surprise and enjoyed following the characters to see what they would do next.

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

Just the usual: stare at the computer, will the words to come, cuss, write some words, backspace, cuss again, close my eyes, then write like I’m being chased by rabid dogs and the only way to keep them at bay is to get as many words down as possible.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

I am relentlessly optimistic, and I always assume the best in people until or unless they prove me wrong. And I think the world would be a much better place if everyone read romance.

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

You mean besides the fact that love and family, whether related or chosen, is what it’s all about? I think I’d like readers to remember that even when you think you’re the only one you can count on, there’s always someone to help you. Too often, people get into their own heads and fail to look around. So I think I’d want people to remember to look up and around, and to accept help when they need it.


Valerie Pepper is the author of the new book The Grump’s Guide to Chaos

Connect with Valerie Pepper

Author Site



Buy The Book

B0CM2DYXMR cover image

Buy The Book

Sign up for our email and we’ll send you the best new books in your favorite genres weekly.'