Interview with Peter Coster

What do you read for pleasure?
Tom Clancy - because I like the background depth to all his stories, which gives the sense of potential reality despite begin fiction.
Simon Scarrow - Again, well researched historical adventure.
Bernard Cornwall - the same.
Terry Pratchett - for creating a mirror to the real world that if real, is one of those fairground mirrors that distorts everything and yet you can still see what it is.
Beyond this I'm quite eclectic, detective stories, horror, even romance, whatever the mood requires.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have Kindle at the moment but I want to upgrade to an i-pad or something similar.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
One of my jobs was as a Publisher's Agent, for a mainstream publisher. This was before e-books and central buying and involved actually going into bookshops with samples of the latest release and actually taking orders for later delivery. I have a number of relatively short, specific interest books, published and printed as books, that I sell direct to retail outlets dealing with that subject, plus through bookshops and online.
The best way to sell a book is to actually SELL the book. Important as it is, marketing relates to an exercise that often falls short of actual selling a book and I find it easier to sell than market. Putting my books here is a new adventure and I've still a lot to learn about this avenue of marketing.
Describe your desk
It's big and cluttered, the full width of a small box room facing a window.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up near the small village of Wraysbury, Bucks, near the River Thames. My dad worked for BOAC at Heathrow, before that Imperial Airways so he was quite high up in the aircraft engineering side. My mum died suddenly when I was twelve. One day she was there, went into hospital for a simple operation, or so I and my brother were told, next minute she was dead. Someone thought it too upsetting for children to go to the funeral so never got to say goodbye. Not long after, my dad developed Parkinson's disease. My brother is three years younger than me so we weren't too close. A good psycho-anylist might conclude that I suppress my emotions and transfer them onto the characters I create. I'm not a psycho-analyst so I'll let the reader decide.
When did you first start writing?
As soon as I could pick up a pencil.
What's the story behind your latest book?
This is a story in itself.
I was working on a commissioned project, looking into the history of publishing. Most will know of Dickens and other classical authors of that period, who’s first books were commonly published in serial form, a chapter at a time and not as a complete book. If a chapter sold the next would be printed, often requiring a subscription. If not enough people subscribed the novel would fall by the wayside.
In addition to these, now classical, novels, there was a series of pamphlets and booklets telling the more bloodthirsty stories of highwaymen, grave robbers, ogres, monsters and of course, pirates. These pamphlets were colloquially called, Penny Bloods and Penny Dreadfuls, partly because that was the cost and partly because they contained accounts of bloody and dreadful deeds.
We now come to one of these, the account of a female pirate by the name of Charlotte de Berry. Look on many websites on the history of pirates and you will find her name including, as any lead character should have, an element of background history and the reason she became a pirate, though these accounts vary.
According to some, she was born in England in 1636, married an English lieutenant who was then flogged around the fleet for some misdemeanour and subsequently died. In another she married a Spanish captain who was killed in a shipwreck then possibly eaten by cannibals. Yet another has her married to a merchant captain who met yet another fate. However, the origin of the story of a female pirate by the name of Charlotte de Berry lies in one of these Penny Blood tales, most of which have long since been consigned to oblivion.
So we have an originally fictional character who has taken on the myth of reality, possibly. There is no conclusive historical evidence of her having ever existed but even so, the idea of a female pirate struck me as an interesting theme.
The Golden Guinea is NOT a rehash of any previous account relating to Charlotte de Berry. Nor is it a new version of that story. The only thing borrowed is the name, changed to Charlotte Berry and the fact that it is a story of a female pirate. Everything else, the location, her characterisation, the reason she ended up being a pirate, is totally original, the story of a different person completely.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I've worked for a mainstream publisher and have an interest in two small independents that produce specific and local interest titles.
The advent of e-publishing provides a new avenue more suitable for bringing novels to market than the books they produce.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I'm new here so we'll wait and see.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I can't not write.
What do your fans mean to you?
I'm not so much interested in gaining fans of me personally. I hope the people who read my books enjoy reading them, or if non-fiction, get something out of it.
What are you working on next?
I have the outline for a historical novel set during the English Civil War that doesn't involve King Charles I and Oliver Cromwell. I'm also working on a non-fiction title that challenges that the story of creation, AND the story of evolution, AND any idea of Alien intervention, are all wrong. The title is: The Alternative Genesis and it'll probably be the most controversial book ever written.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My daughter, Amy, who has Down's Syndrome.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Barely. I remember that it involved fairies but not much more than that. I was at primary school.
What is your writing process?
I suppose I can say, disorganised. Sometimes it starts with an idea for a character, sometimes a plot. The question, what if? pops into my head. I like to get the ideas down and then I go back and work them through, rearrange, rewrite and only then do I arrive with a draft that can be worked into a story.
If non-fiction, its a matter of gathering the facts, maybe expanding on those gathered. Only then can they be put into place.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Biggles, not sure which one, but read them all. This can't be the first though. There had to be fairy stories and the usual children's books, but Biggles is what I remember.
Published 2014-09-18.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Ogre's Fairly Grotty
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 1,550. Language: English. Published: October 7, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Holidays & Celebrations / Christmas & Advent
It's Christmas, when Father Christmas delivers presents to all boys and girls that have been good. But what about those that haven't been so good? What about those that have been downright naughty? Is it fare that they get left out? Ogre the ogre doesn't think so and sets out to do something about it. Illustrated Children's Book published in aid of Mill Ford School for children with special needs.