Today I have an interview with Peter Best, I have not long read his book The Burden of Truth, see here for a full review. You will need to scroll down.
If you were not an author, what would your chosen career be?
There are really many things I would have loved to have done when I was younger. One of them would be a downhill racer. Skiing is a great passion of mine. Saying that, I don’t think I would have anywhere near the skill these guys have. Another one would have been acting. A few years ago I managed to talk my way into working as an extra on a film. It really was great fun, and a lot harder than what it looks like.
Unfortunately the film got panned, even though they were expecting it to do very well. Hope it had nothing to do with me being in it, even though if you blinked you would have missed the parts I’m in.
If you've spent time researching for your book, how difficult is it to not overload the reader?
When I was working on The Burden of Truth, I carried out an immense amount of research, interviews etc. All in all, I learnt some very interesting stuff, especially when it came to the subject of Karma, as well as other Buddhist teachings. Really I was stunned to see just how deep and complicated this subject of Buddhism can be. In a way it’s such a shame I was unable to use most of it in the book. If I did, then as you said, the reader would have been overloaded with it all. I’m not saying the reader would not understand it. It’s just most of it wouldn’t have fitted well into the story. All the same I had some great discussions, and so pleased I did because when I look back, what I had learnt has made a very big impression on my own life and how I live it.
Are there characters in your books based on people you know? If they've read it, did they recognise themselves?
I’m sure somewhere in the book there’s a little disclaimer saying something like all the characters are fictitious. However, if you promise not to tell anyone, there are many characters in this book who are based on real people I have come across over the years. Perhaps not on how they look, but on how they act, and moreover, how they think. Also there is a person in there, who I have actually named. She has been a rock to me and helped me a great deal, and it was just a little way to say thank you. By the way, she absolutely loved it and told the whole world about it.
What advice would you give someone who was just starting their writing career.
Aim high; set your targets and aim as high as you possibly can. Pick the genre you wish to write in and then think of the best author in that genre. Then, set out you work to be better than that author.
Okay perhaps this may well be a very tall order, especially for first time authors, but at least try. That is the advice I gave myself when I first started. Now I’m not saying my work is anywhere near those authors around me, as a matter of fact it many would say it falls short of the mark and they’re probably right. But with this in the back of my mind, it forced me to work harder, to make the story better and better. Even if it meant re-writhing thousands of words, it had to be done, and I think it’s a policy every author should have.
Is it strange reading your own words at a book launch, and with this in mind has it ever made you change the prologue of a book because you wouldn’t want to read it out loud?
Not so much a book launch, but every so often I go up to the Ipswich Literary Festival. Really it’s great there with a wonderful atmosphere. One of the events is an open mike set up. What happens is you put your name in the hat and if it’s pulled out, then you can read whatever you want. Luckily for me my name was pulled out. By the way, I was ever so nervous, bearing in mind there were quite a few talented authors in the audience.
However, I still got up there, and I read the prologue to, The Burden of Truth. At a guess this lasted something like ten minutes or so, possible less. Anyway at the end, I received a wondrous applause; much to my relief. Also the feedback afterwards was amazing.
I now go regularly to a spin off event, which is a reader/writer café. This takes place every few months or so. It’s been a great practice, even though I’m still as nervous. Now getting back to the question; is it strange reading my own words? Yes it was very strange indeed. Somehow the whole piece was completely new to me, even though I’ve read it countless times. Oh, and as for, would I change a prologue because I wouldn’t want to read it out loud? Thinking ahead, I might just do that
Peter, Did you plan from the start of Burden of Truth for it to be a Trilogy?
At the very beginning I only had plans to write, one stand-alone book. Even when I had the plot all worked out, I still had the idea of only the one book. However, as I started to get into the flow of the writing, many new ideas came into my head. At one time I did think of incorporating them into the story but I was concerned the word count would go sky high. At the time I was trying to get the count down anyhow. When I had finished the first draft, I wanted to leave the manuscript for a few months or so, then go back to it with fresh eyes so to speak. It was during these few months when I started to look at the ideas again, and as luck would have it, I came up with a very basic raw idea on how I could push the story along to a second book. Fortunately for me more ideas have crept into my head, and now I have made a start on building the plot for the third and final instalment. The second book is coming along great, but I must say the third has still quite a bit to go yet. But I’ll get there.
Thank you to Peter Best for being my guest author today, please contact me if you would like to feature in an interview.