Interview with Peter Whitaker

Describe your desk
Big, curved, four legs, an uncomfortable chair, cluttered, cold in winter, hot in summer, my sanctuary. One day I'd like it to be in my own study!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the City of Hull, in the East Riding of Yorkshire. I am not sure if this has influenced my writing at all really, at least not consciously. I like Hull but I have lived elsewhere, Harlech in North Wales and Warminster in Wiltshire for example. No, I don't think that the places themselves have influenced me as much as the experiences that I have had throughout my life.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Total immersion into the world that I am creating in my imagination. There are times when this works so well that I forget to eat or drink or that I even have other concerns in this world. I really live the story in my mind. I often find that I can work out characters, plots, themes and events in my mind first before committing them to the page. They say that reading is a form of escapism and if that is true then it must be even more so for the author. That said, I can remember the thrill I had when I saw my first book in print!
What do your fans mean to you?
They keep me cool in the summer! Oh, not those types of fans. I don't know if I have any but if I have then they would mean a lot. I see it as something very important that another person can connect with the imaginary worlds that I create through my writing and that it matters to them in some fashion, even if it is just enjoyment through reading. If I have made a connexion to someone in that way then I don't want to disappoint them, in fact I would like to talk to them and maybe learn what I am doing right.
I remember once telling a friend that I would measure my success as an author if I sold just one book to someone that I did not know. Well, that has happened now and the feedback that they gave me was brilliant. In retrospect I would say that a fan can make the whole long, tiresome, lonely process of writing all worthwhile just by telling me that they enjoyed the book I wrote.
What are you working on next?
Two books actually. First, there is the third and final installment of a historical fiction trilogy that I actually began my writing career with and the other is a fantasy novel! I used to read fantasy when I was younger, I loved Tolkein's work. I have, however, become a bit bored with medieval based fantasy, as I explained to my son when we were discussing Game of Thrones. I lamented that there were not, as far as I knew, any alternatives so he told me to write one! I started work on it beginning with a simply idea of a huge mountain and it has sort of grown, the book I mean, not the mountain! The first draft is effectually finished and soon as I have published the third historical fiction novel, in October 2017, I will be giving the fantasy book all of my attention.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Life! I love life, being alive, being me even. I am an insufferable optimist in practically everything apart from politics. I have a wife who is as beautiful as she is amazing and I find her totally amazing to the point where I wonder what she's doing married to me int he first place?
I am also disabled with impaired mobility thanks to a rare muscle condition. Getting out of bed is challenge and it's one I have not yet failed to meet. There are no good things about being disabled, I am not a role model, I do not look to inspire anyone else, it's just that this is my life and I spend most of my time concentrating on all the good things in it, even on those days when my body doesn't seem to like me very much!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
At work (boring), socialising, cooking, watching tv, going to the cinema and theatre, listening to music, traveling, reading, supporting Hull City, talking with my wife over a bottle of wine, browsing the internet, drawing, photography, learning new things, and dreaming up new imaginative worlds to write about!
What is your writing process?
I start with the original idea and explore it by trying to write a brief outline. From that I develop one or more characters with back stories. If this works then I start developing the plot and move onto to doing research on specific themes, historical events, etc. If I have reached this stage then I am doing some serious writing. To support it I create a workbook in Microsoft Excel, I find this an excellent way of keeping all my information together, which when writing an historical fiction epic tends to be an awful lot of information. I write initially in Word and then transfer it to Sigil to make an EPUB file for final submission.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Yes, it was a collection of Greek Myths when I was a child. It totally fascinated me. It was a combination of the imagery and the inventiveness of the stories. I still enjoy going back and re-reading those myths.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
No, not now. I seem to have always been writing stories. I think that at first they were just for my own amusement. I have always had a good imagination, read constantly and over a wide number of genres. There was probably a time when I could not get another book, I was often ill as a child, and so I suppose that I started writing my own.
Who are your favorite authors?
I do not have favourites, or at least I try not to. I find them limiting. I have always read a wide variety of genres, adventure, classics, horror, science fiction, biographies, histories, science, comedy, drama, poetry. There are some authors that I do seem to return to though, Alexander Dumas is definitely one. I think that it is not so much the author that I that relate to but the story. If the story is good then that is what I want, the author comes secondary in that respect.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I do not know! I see ebooks all the time on the internet as I am trying to build up a presence there. I like to support other authors and I have got to know quite a few that way, which often leads me to reading their book and submitting an interview. Occasionally I visit websites that promote ebooks, but not that often really. Also, my ebook library is full of classic books that I am trying to read but never seem to get as much time as I need to do so,
How did you come to write a book like Eugenica?
I have often asked myself that question. At the time I had just completed the second in a historical fiction trilogy and I just felt that I needed time away from that project. There were a couple of other ideas that I could have pursued but Eugenica was the strongest. Originally the project was called 'The Maleficent Design' by the way, but then Disney went and released their movie and I did not want to appear to be jumping on their bandwagon as my book was still being written.
Being born disabled has exposed me to what is both good and bad about people. In one sense I have been very lucky, my family and friends have all been wonderful. I have a small group of friends who have never treated me as anything but a normal person including the banter. That has always meant a lot to me. However, I have also experienced a lot of what is more negative in the treatment about the disabled. My wife says that there is a lot of anger in the book and I think that she is probably right. I remember that the government of the day had been carrying out an active anti-disabled campaign through the media prior to dismantling the disability benefit system. That certainly made me angry.
In Eugenica I wanted the disabled to be portrayed as just people who also had to cope with something that most normal people never have to. That was the main driving point of the book for me; an honest representation of disabled people. I wanted them to be the heroes in their own tale, not exclusively, that would be a kind of segregation, which is what those who dislike the disabled seem to want. No, they interact with 'normal' people, make friends as well as enemies, enjoy humour, and, when necessary, display some genuine courage.
Published 2017-06-17.
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Books by This Author

Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 164,320. Language: English. Published: June 17, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Alternative history, Fiction » Adventure » Action
A dark adventure set in a 1930's alternate history where a world, and Britain in particular, comes under the rule of Eugenics. A group of young people become pawns in a secret war involving pursuit by car, plane, and train. Powerful government agents pursue Grace and Tom who are persecuted for failing the eugenic test. A roller coaster of an imaginative ride!