Q. So Peter, what initially made you decide to write a book?
A. My first book, “The Hit and Run,” evolved from a personal experience.
It took me ten years to write.
Q. How long have you been writing?
A. I have been writing seriously for 20 years and before that a little here and there.
Q. How long did it take you to write this book?
A. “Things Have A Habit,” is my fourth book. After the first one, which took so long, they take about three years from start to finish.
Q. What problems did you encounter?
A. Thank goodness I have never suffered from writer’s block! I just keep working it. Going over and over like you would a sculpture or a painting. The more work I put in the better the work gets.
Q. How do you think you’ve evolved as a writer since you’ve started?
A. I keep growing. Keep learning. Each experience builds on the previous one.
Q. Is there anything you wished you’d known when you started writing?
A. Not really, with the exception of what a tough business this is, and that the business end has nothing to do with the writing end.
Q. Do you structure your plots or just go with the flow?
A. Everything evolves and takes on a life of its own.
Q. Do you work on a set amount of words per day or does it change?
A. I have no “work schedule.” That is not my process. If there’s an idea buzzing around my head I like to bang it out. When I’ve done that it takes a long time to make sense out of what I’ve done. Generally, the core concept, that idea that was rattling around my brain, stays the same. Everything else is subject to change, revision, and more revision.
Q. Do you do a lot of research when writing a book?
A. I’m afraid I do not. That is not to say I don’t check various things out for authenticity, etc. But for the most part, I just plough ahead.
Q. How would you describe your writing process?
A. The adage ‘writing is rewriting’ would describe my process to a tee.
Q. What time of the day do you find is best to write?
A. Anytime really.
Q. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
A. Always a personal experience. They say you should write about what you know and that’s what I try to do, then I use my imagination to dress it up and make a story out of it.
Q. What draws you to this genre?
A. I had a lot of trouble, in the beginning, finding my way. I took some classes and some workshops and the general criticism of my work was, ‘who’s story is it?’ A fellow student liked my work and offered to read anything I sent her. She fell in love with my lead character, Detective Jimmy Dugan, so I decided to write my first story, “The Hit and Run,” through his eyes. It worked and from then on that’s what I’ve been doing.
Q. Have you ever tried to write other genres?
A. I have not. I don’t think I can. This detective/mystery genre seems to be the only way I can tell my stories.
Q. Which author/book would compare yours too?
A. I would not be so presumptuous as to compare my work to anyone’s, but below are the author’s I most admire and have tried to emulate:
E.L. Doctorow for his language and his magnificent storytelling.
Ed McBain, (Evan Hunter,) for his 57th Precinct detective stories, and his style that I tried to emulate when I first started writing.
Donald Westlake for his humour and his bizarre point of view.
And Robert Parker for his brevity.
Q. Can you relate to any of your own stories?
A. All of them. I’m in there all the time.
Q. How many books have you written?
A. Four. “Things Have A Habit” “A Simple Ride Home” “A Shot In The Dark” and “”The Hit And Run.” I’m currently working on a fifth Jimmy Dugan Mystery called, “Everybody Lies” that I hope to release sometime next year.
Q. Have you ever written in collaboration with another author?
Q. Who designed your front cover?
A. The cover for, “Things Have A Habit,” was done by an amazingly talented photographer called Peter N Karalekas. He has just released a book of his work on Amazon called ‘The Window Never Lies.’
Q. Who was the first person you showed your novel too?
A. A man called Brian Tart. He was a nephew of a client of mine. At the time he was with Bantam Books. These days he’s the publisher and president of Viking Press. He was very helpful and gave me a perspective and advice I would never have known. At the time my work was not good enough to be published. By the time it was, Mr. Tart was well on his way and told me he no longer accepted manuscripts and I should get myself an agent who would place my work with the right publisher for the best chance of success. That was ten years ago. I have been looking for an agent ever since.
Q. Have you ever dedicated a book to someone?
A. All my books are dedicated to my wife Susan Green, my very best friend and the love of my life.
Q. How do you market your books?
A. Press releases. Sending out books with a press release. Speaking at libraries, functions and book clubs.
Q. How do you handle bad reviews?
A. I can’t imagine. But so far so good. Let’s hope it continues.
Q. Do you use an agent?
A. I have been trying for ten years to obtain an agent and have been turned down so many times that I’m beginning to feel like J.K.Rowling.
Q. How much time do you devote to marketing your books?
A. Not enough. I have been fortunate to obtain some nice press, but to be frank that’s why I would love to have an agent and a publishing house behind me. They are the professionals, I am not.
Q. How do you get your book reviews/reviewed?
A. I’ve been fortunate. My readers have said nice things about my work on Amazon. I send out press releases and books and from time to time the local press have picked them up and written nice things about me. Frankly, it’s not enough. Another reason why having an agent and a publishing house behind you is so important.
Q. Do you ever run free book promotions? Have these worked for you?
A. I wouldn’t know how to go about it.
Q. Do you do all your own proofreading and editing?
Q. How and where are you publishing this book?
A. This book is published by Create Space, the publishing arm of Amazon.
Q. What are the main benefits of being an independent author?
A. There are none. You need an agent and a publisher if you want to expand your readership and get to the next level.
Q. What are you reading at the moment?
A. Saturn Run by John Sanford
Q. What was the first book you ever read?
A. Probably something by Enid Blyton
Q. Who is your favourite author/book?
A. “Billy Bathgate” by E.L.Doctorow.
Q. What is your favourite quote from a book?
A. “When asked what he was doing the boy answered, “I’m trying to get noticed.” (He was juggling balls on a bridge trying to attract the gangster Dutch Schultz’s attention. It is a metaphor for writers because isn’t that what we’re all trying to do? Get noticed?
Q. What is your favourite book to film adaptation?
A. “Billy Bathgate.”
Q. Where are your favourite places to read?
Q. What books do you read to your children?
A. They’re too old to read to now.
Q. When you read do you prefer a book or a Kindle/tablet?
A. A book.
Q. Any tips for aspiring authors?
A. Lower your expectations and check your ego at the door.
Q. What can we expect from you next Peter?
A. I am currently in the middle of writing my fifth Jimmy Dugan mystery called “Everybody Lies.” I expect it to come out sometime next year.