Monday, November 26, 2012
And Now, Our Feature Presentation...
Hellllooooooooo ladies and gentlemen!! The penguin has drunken himself into a stupor and can't work the keyboard right now, so I took over the blog today. And it's a good thing, too, because I get to introduce you another amazing indie author, John Peters! Some of John's numerous works include Claiming Moon, The Chosen, and Patron Saint.
So I won't bore you with rambling on and on about how awesome he is-just find out for yourself. Without further ado, I'm pleased to introduce you all to indie author John Peters!!
DSP: Welcome to the Drunken Space Penguin, John! I'm sorry the Penguin himself isn't here to greet you personally, but believe me, it's likely better this way. I'm sure he'll make an appearance later in the week. For starters, though, tell us a bit about yourself. We like to get to know our authors as a person!
John: Well, where do I start on this one? My full-time job is the dual role of editor of a small daily newspaper in North Carolina and regional editor for a group of smaller newspapers our company owns in the area. I’ve spent most of my adult life as a full-time journalist, though I have had stints as a full-time freelance writer, executive director of a suicide prevention/crisis hotline, and as a grant writer/PR person for a community college.
My family and I live in the mountains of SW Virginia, just a few miles north of the Virginia-North Carolina border. My wife and I have five kids, along with an always-changing number of animals (cats, dogs, bearded dragons, hamsters, wolf spiders, tobacco hornworms…I think you get the idea). I love basketball, coached little kids for a while, then coached a local high school ladies varsity team for three years – we won 72 games in those three seasons and played in two state title games, winning one of them. I gave it up though, primarily to spend a little more time at home before the kids move on and to have time to devote to my writing. This is my first basketball season in some time not on the sidelines, and I’m having withdrawal symptoms. I write more to try to alleviate them.
DSP: Nice to meet you! So tell us, where did you find the inspiration for your most recent book?
John: I just published a mini-collection of holiday-themed horror shorts called Holiday Horrors (http://amzn.to/XHj6wu), but for this question I’ll talk about my latest novel, CLAIMING MOON (http://amzn.to/N2sjse). I’m not really sure if I can pinpoint a single inspiration. Part of my desire to write the book came after reading several romance novels. I like to challenge myself as a writer, try working in genres that are not natural for me, and I had been reading a fair amount of romance as well as murder mystery work at that time.
So I decided to try my hand at writing romance. A funny thing happened, though, as often does when I’m writing. The story went a different direction than I had planned, and I ended up with a combination of the romance angle I wanted to write and a horror novella I had been working on. I didn’t want to do a horror work – remember, I was really looking for something outside my comfort zone, so rather than follow a horror angle, I decided to make it a murder mystery romance. I have to admit, a bit of my old horror leanings wormed their way into the work, but it’s truly a romance murder suspense novel, if there is such a genre.
DSP: So, do you have any kind of ritual for writing? Such as, you have to write with music on, or you can only write when you’re completely alone, etc?
John: Generally I just sit and write when I have some time. I’ve spent most of my full-time career in newsrooms, with phones ringing and people conversing and all sorts of noise around, so I’m used to being able to block out a lot of distractions and zero in on what I’m doing. Generally I’ll put some earbuds in, read the final few paragraphs I left off with during my last writing session, and then dive in. Generally I’m good to write for 60 to 90 minutes at a time, then I’ll take a little break before going again.
DSP: Who is your favorite character in your book, and why? How about the character you had the most trouble with?
John: Frank Taliaferro, the detective hunting for a serial killer. He’s a good guy, totally committed to the job, but he’s also got a lot of layers to him, and he’s definitely not a conventional cop. On the job he’s by-the-book, serious-minded and relentless, but he’s also got a dry sense of humor, and off the job there are a few surprises for readers. He has trouble making a romantic connection, though, not because he’s afraid of commitment or change, but he’s seen a lot in his career – he’s good at putting himself in the mind of a killer, tracking them down, and as a result he’s been used by the FBI, some international war crime tribunals – and he’s seen the worst people can do. To cope he’s shut down some parts of himself, emotionally, and it’s hard for him to open up after what he’s witnessed.
The most difficult character for me to write was Cassandra, a reporter who is assigned to cover the same serial killer Frank is investigating. In fact, much of the novel is told from her perspective. Writing from the angle of a journalist was easy, but this was the first time I had attempted writing from the perspective of a woman. I wanted readers to believe they were seeing, hearing, and experiencing things in the way a female writer would communicate. That was a big challenge for me.
DSP: Now, when you sit down to write a book, a paragraph, or whatever you‘re working on at the moment, do you just sit down in front of the computer, or do you need an outline of some sort? Is there any other prep you need in order to organize your thoughts either before you write or in the process of writing?
John: I just sit and write. I’ve never used an outline. Having said that, I do work on story lines and plot points when I’m not writing – in the shower, on my work commute, maybe before falling asleep every night. But I don’t work from a written outline, and even when I sit down with a mental outline and have an idea how I want a story to go, sometimes once I’m writing we go an entirely different direction.
DSP: Do you foresee any more books to continue this story? If so, do you think we can get a taste of what’s to come?
John: Oh yeah. Already started working out how that will flow. Frank, of course, will end up hot on the trail of a killer – probably one with a bit of an other-worldly origin. It’s a woman who’s been killing a long, long time. Longer than Frank’s been alive. That’s about all I can say without giving away some of the plot points of the first novel.
DSP: Other than this most recent story, do you have any ideas for different books that might be published in the future? Care to give us a teaser?
John: Oh heck yeah. My inspirational/religious holiday novel, CHOICES, will be out in just a few days. It’s the story of a young man named Joey Reagan who has a unique opportunity to make peace with his father, his past, and himself. His dad made some hard, and bad, choices years earlier that tore the family apart, left Joey and his sister alone, and Joey’s never forgiven him, never gotten over his feeling of hurt and loss, and that’s affected many of the choices he’s made in his own life. He has this chance to find some peace, but even with a bit of divine intervention, it’s not clear at all if Joey will make choices any better than his father.
Outside of that I’ve got two horror novels outlined in my head; a separate murder mystery with a cast of characters different from the CLAIMING MOON series, and I’m working out some ideas for an inspirational/religious romance piece that takes place in the months after the conclusion of the Civil War. That novel will be my next work. It revolves around a woman and her two children struggling to survive and rebuild their family farm in the Virginia foothills after learning her husband was killed in the closing days of the war; and a man dealing with crippling guilt over his killing of two enemy soldiers literally hours before learning the war had ended. What made this worse for him was the fact that he got to know about them after their deaths – they had families back home, letters written expressing their desire to return home, take care of their families.
I hope to get these four novels done over the next year. For anyone wanting to keep up with my work, they can visit my blog at http://johnpeters2.blogspot.com/
DSP: Do you have any aspirations to be similar or comparable to another author? Why?
John: You know, there was a time I would have said Stephen King, without any hesitation. At that time my aspirations were to become a horror writer. I’ve written quite a lot of horror over the years, seen a good bit of it published in some nice pro and semi-pro markets, but over the past three years I’ve grown far outside the horror genre – writing romance, religious and inspirational, and some other categories. I’m not sure I have any particular writer I look at and think “I’d like to be like that person.” If there were, it would be the late Robert Parker. That man could tell a story, communicate so much more with such sparse language, and he was a writing machine.
DSP: Okay, one last question, and this one is different for every author, not to mention completely off the wall! If you were a brand-new character in the video game Mortal Kombat, what would your name be, and what would be your finishing move?
John: Oh wow. I’m thinking my name would be Speedy and my finishing move would be to turn and run the other way as fast as I could.
That's one way to finish the game. "See ya, catch me if ya can! Oops, too slow, try again!" There's a game that could easily go on for weeks! Love it.
Well, there ya have it, kids. Another fantastic author, and we've been given the privilege of getting to know him. You can check out his books on Amazon HERE. Stay tuned all this week, I'll be posting more info on this awesome and accomplished author!
Thanks for stopping by, and Happy Reading from both Ashley and the Drunken Penguin!!