Interview with John T Peters

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Currently my non writing time is taken up by;
(a) I think reading would be my next time consuming hobby. For many years with raising a family with a more than full-time career and part jobs in carpentry and remodeling, there was never any time for relaxing and reading. For me reading is relaxing so trying to catch up on reading books. I've read some Stephen King, Follet, Clancy, books like Shogun, Charcoal and some I forget. I also want to read some classics by authors Mark Twain, perhaps Dickens, books like Pride & Prejudice, To Kill a Mocking Bird, etc.
(b) I love cooking and always interested in new tastes and, in the words of Emeril Logasi, kick it up another notch. Consequently my waist line shows it so I must try harder to follow my food passion in moderation.
(c) Since semi retiring I have more time to make and spend time with friends which I missed during my busy career life. It is possibly my best time spent next to spending time with my wife.
(d) I've always loved music so when time permits I plan to take guitar lessons, improve my so far amateurish attempts at self learning and take piano lessons just because. Also interested in learning other languages such as German & Chinese.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
My friend gave me a Kindle reader he wasn't using. It's very handy when traveling by bus or subway which I seem to do quite often.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Actually my first story was the seed that grew into "Pink Is for Disappointment". As it says in the intro, I only planned to write a short story for what I consider to be my adopted family. It grew from there into the book that is now available here with many revisions and additions in the last four years.
What is your writing process?
I'm not sure I have a set process. I have possibly four books on the go at any time with another four or more story ideas in my computer "Book Ideas File". I have a main book that I currently work on but when an interesting idea hits or an idea that doesn't fit into my current writing, I dump it into there for later consideration. I've never used the story outline method. I generally let the story lead to wherever it goes except the Pink book which is more like a memoir. But even my Pink book took on the same element. One event led to another, to another and I found it necessary to fill in the blanks, and before I knew it, it was a book.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I can't remember the first story I read. Due to our seclusion from the outside world and my parents obsession with their restrictive religion, I was isolated from any and all books other than their religion.
The stories that actually fascinated me and started my interest in books and stories were from some of the hermits living in the bush in south eastern Manitoba. They were wonderful story tellers. They would take a couple of boring sentences from an uninspired speaker and turn it into an hour or longer spell bound mystery. Without radio, television or books, they were my entertainment and they were fantastic. Where modern media replaces imagination, the hermits with their stories forced you to imagine a world I never saw or dreamed of through words and tones. They made their own entertainment and forced the listeners to do the same.
How do you approach cover design?
Poorly, very poorly. I have a mental picture of what I would like to see. Then I hire someone to develop it.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
A long time ago I read a book called "Charcoal". It was a book about a Blackfoot man in the late 1800's or early 1900"s, I forget the exact date. It was sort of a juxtaposition between native Indian culture and the white European culture being forced on them.
I liked "Shogun" for the same reasons, clashes of cultures and times.
"The Last Empress" documenting the Song family's rise to power in China.
"The Opium Wars" showing Europe's and ultimately America's thirst and eventually their failure, to colonize the world in their own deficient vision.
"The History of Christianity" detailing many of Christianity's infantile arguments over mere wording in various texts leading to fights, executions and wars resulting in thousands if not millions of people slaughtered for no good reason. All from a doctrine that preaches to love thy neighbor, not hate your fellow humanity.
What do you read for pleasure?
I love history when it objectively addresses different points of view. Lately I've started reading more renown authors of fiction. I have a lot of catch up to do, so far I'm not married to any particular authors. Like music, I can leap from R&R to country, to folk, to blues, etc rather effortlessly, as long as it's good to my ears.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
So far I only have Kindle. I read on Kindle. When I get home, my computer is for writing.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I've sold quite a few through family and friends although that' proven to be a very time consuming and costly method. Ordinary publishers have turned out to be of "0" help, actually wasted time and money without any response.
I have friends self publishing on eBooks and achieving some success with minimal time and financial demands. I need to get their names they use as authors and print them here. I'm indebted to them.
Describe your desk
Ha Ha. I live with my wife in a small house/apartment in China. My desk is a 4' desk & hutch that resembles what could be called a Hell Hole except it's too small to become too cluttered after being crammed to the max with 2 computers, 1 desk & 1 laptop, printer and books and more books.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I think it's already answered in other parts but I was born and raised in south eastern Manitoba in what can only be called an isolated rural village without any conveniences such as radio or TV. My first influences for stories were verbal stories from the hermits in the bush that had a highly developed gift of oral story telling. Later in school I became interested in the wider world picture but it seemed my teachers had the infamous notoriety of possibly making the wildest and most pleasurable sex sound boring. So after leaving school at a young age, a kindly elderly librarian showed me interesting books about history giving three widely varying accounts of the same so-called historical fact. Also books on psychology, law and many other subjects. The history I was taught in school that consisted mostly of people and dates, became fascinating in the hands of writers that could bring history alive with insights into cultures and personalities.
It was my introduction to the role of the writer, boring or fascinating, words that insinuate truth or fiction, guilt or innocence, antagonist or protagonist, and it's all at the writers fingertips.
When did you first start writing?
I liked writing essays in school and taking my adult upgrading to college entrance certification. Career and raising a family interrupted my love for reading and writing for many years till I semi retires five years ago. Now my wife blames me for liking my computer (writing) more than her.
What's the story behind your latest book?
It's basically a memoir of growing up in a poverty minded family that restricts most thoughts and actions that would improve the family's life using countless excuses with vague references to ethnic backgrounds and religious beliefs to make any suggestions unacceptable.
The moral is suggesting that poverty is many times not due to a lack of money. In my family's situation there was a mental deficiency that was perhaps condoned by religion that caused them to live an impoverished lifestyle, especially for the children. Even though they had more money than many in the area, they created an illusion that all difficulties were due to a lack of money. Someone else was always to blame. There was nothing they could do about it.
It could just as easily been called "Lies My Parents Told Me". But "Pink Is For Disappointment" came from my mother's own mind and her handwriting, it was the only thing she'd written into my otherwise empty baby book. I was supposed to be a girl.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I was completely shutout of ordinary publishers. The standard logic in many author groups is after you write one book, you spend the rest of your living moments promoting that book. Send out thousands of manuscripts at your own expense, run all kinds of blogs and write daily promotions on every social media site you can find and expect "ZERO" replies. Oh yes. and give your books away at no charge to anyone and everyone, hoping someone, somewhere, someday will actually read one. There is no room for family, friends or enjoyment of life, just mail thousands of manuscripts and promotion.
I love writing but I have spent forty years in selling in one fashion or another and now I literally hate selling. For me, writing is like mental therapy. At the end of the day, my soul is at rest. I can create or listen to music that soothes my emotions, create cooking that satisfies my body, write a story that expresses and satisfies my soul.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I already think of my writing as successful. It helps me see the world from a different perspective. Generally people say things without thinking and regardless of whether you are proud or ashamed of what's been said, it's out there. Writing gives me a chance to reread, edit, add or delete till I'm comfortable with it. That is my success. It is as close to expressing my soul as I can get.
If my book can be appreciated by others with some financial success, that would be a pleasant unexpected extra.
Published 2015-10-27.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

A Kind Word
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 66,780. Language: English. Published: November 1, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Canada
A Kind Word - historical fiction - the main gold rush years were from 1860 to 1900 from California to the Klondike and Alaska although dreamers still search for gold even to the present day. There wasn't any one stereotypical gold seeker. A few succumbed and settled down along the way, others died in the attempt. A small number took what had been discarded and found a priceless treasure.