Interview with Peter Wilkins

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Nothing. I get out of bed because I have to go to work.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I spend about eight hours a day listening to people talk about their problems, then I come home, make dinner, hang out with my wife and kid, and go to bed. On the weekend, I like to play disc golf, or make music, or go for a run, or read, or watch a movie. About one night a week, I go to band practice. I also spend too much time dicking around on Facebook or doing some other mindless crap.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I remember part of it. The only thing that sticks out is that I used the word "warship" instead of "worship." Maybe I was ahead of my time.
What is your writing process?
I am a terribly undisciplined writer, which is why I didn't publish my first book until I was 53 year old. I love creating stories, but the actual writing process is a bit of a slog for me. So I usually write a few paragraphs, and then call it a night. I tend to edit as I go, so I don't do a lot of re-writing, even though all the experts insist upon it. Now that I've actually put my first novel out there, I'm hoping the next one won't take so long. Time will tell.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't remember the first story I ever read, but my mom read a lot to me as a kid. I remember "Charlotte's Web" tore my heart out. According to my mom, I cried uncontrollably when she read that one. The first novel that stuck with me was "The Catcher in the Rye," which also true for about eleventy-billion other people. Another big one was "Cat's Cradle," by Kurt Vonnegut. Those were the two big influences early on - Salinger and Vonnegut.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
It's hard to answer this question, because I have about a thousand favorite books. I've already mentioned two of my favorites - "Cather in the Rye," and "Cat's Cradle." So I'll come up with five different books. However, I could make this list every day for a year and not repeat myself. As far as the question "why," I'm not going to attempt to answer that, other than the fact that I thought they were great books. So:
1. "To Kill a Mockingbird," Harper Lee. Also, this is the best movie ever made.
2. "The Magus," John Fowles
3. "A Prayer for Owen Meany," John Irving
4. "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant," Stephen R. Donaldson. Technically, this is a trilogy. Sue me.
5. "The Power of Now," Eckhart Tolle. The only non-fiction book on my list. This was a huge impact on my novel, "The Dreaming Moon."
What do you read for pleasure?
Most of my life, I have read novels of every stripe for pleasure, but lately, I've been reading more non-fiction. Examples include "A Short History of Nearly Everything," "Cosmos," "A Brief History of Time," and the like. I love astrophysics, but most of it goes right over my head.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I'm terrible at marketing, so I can't really answer this question. Tomorrow, I plan to peruse various marketing guides, including Smashwords' guide, so we'll see what happens. So far, all I've done is plaster links to my book all over Facebook.
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing shortly after I learned to read, about age 40. Just kidding! But I did start writing early on, around age six or seven. There are those who believe my writing has improved very little since then.
What's the story behind your latest book?
This is a good question. I had an idea for a story that followed a similar arc, but then I started writing another novel, a post-apocalyptic thriller (because there's not enough of those). Then I read "The Power of Now," and "A New Earth," by Eckhart Tolle, and the story for "The Dreaming Moon" fell into my head. For a while, I wasn't sure which novel to work on, the post-apocalyptic one, or "Dreaming Moon." At first, I told myself I needed to write the other one, because of some rule like "Finish what you start," or something. But then I asked myself the question, "Which story wants to be told more?" The answer was obvious, so that's the one that I wrote. I describe the book as a cross between Eckhart Tolle and "Futurama."
What motivated you to become an indie author?
What motivated me to become an indie author? The fact that I wasn't a best-selling author. So I could become an indie author, or not be a writer at all. Of course, I still harbor the dream that my book will catch the eye of some editor or whatnot, and my book will be published by some big company, and go on to sell five million copies, and I'll never have to go back to my job as a therapist. Hey, that's one of the requirements of being a writer, right? A good imagination.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Well, so far, I've sold a whopping five copies of my novel on Smashwords, which is five more than I've ever sold, so there you go.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
As I said before, the actual act of writing for me is kind of drudgery. What I love to do is create, which I can do for hours at a time without writing a word. Of course, if I do manage to write something to completion, and it turns out pretty much the way I wanted it to, and it doesn't suck, well, there's joy in that.
What do your fans mean to you?
I'll answer this question if and when I make a fan. Here's my smart-ass answer: they help cool the room, and provide a pleasant white noise while I'm trying to go to sleep.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on a novel called "Damaged Goods." It's an improbable love story between two people who believe they are too defective to be lovable.
Who are your favorite authors?
J.D. Salinger, Kurt Vonnegut, Stephen R. Donaldson, J.K. Rowling, Harper Lee, J.R.R. Tolkien, Eckhart Tolle, a bunch more I can't remember right now.
What is your greatest strength as a writer?
I've been told I write good dialogue. That's usually what I hear in my head most - dialogue between characters. Usually, it sounds fairly realistic. It's also the most fun to write, because it flows better than anything else I write.
Do you wear boxers, or briefs?
Which is more important to you - being a good writer, or a good storyteller?
What an excellent question. Whoever came up with this question must be a very insightful, intelligent person. I would much rather read a great story from a not-so-great writer than read a lousy story by a good writer. Case in point - after J.K. Rowling published the first couple of Harry Potter books, some people criticized her by saying she wasn't a good writer. That was mostly sour grapes from failed writers, but more importantly, whatever you say about Rowling's skills as a writer, she is a fantastic storyteller. I also think she is a fine writer. Look, we can't all write like J.R.R. Tolkien, and thank goodness for that. Give me a good story every time.
What is your "real" job, and how does that impact your writing?
By day, I am a psychotherapist. Which is to say, I'm a therapist who deals with psychology, not a therapist who is a psycho. At least, that's what it says on my website. But I digress. Talking to people all day about real-world issues has probably helped me as a writer, because I've learned a great deal about what makes humans tick. That's the most interesting topic in the world - people.
What are you doing right now?
I'm dividing my time between answering these questions and watching "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" with my wife and five-year-old daughter. She is freaking out. My daughter, that is. My wife has seen it before.
What is the most important thing in the world?
Where did you get the title of your book?
A few years ago, I heard a song on one of my Pandora stations that grabbed me right away. It was "The Dreaming Moon," by The Magnetic Fields. It's a very haunting, beautiful song. I was working on my novel at the time, and one day it just occurred to me that the title of the song worked for the book. The name of one of my main characters is Ayla, which just popped into my head. I Googled the name, and apparently, it means, "halo around the moon," in a Turkish language. So it was meant to be.
Published 2018-03-11.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Dreaming Moon
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 131,610. Language: English. Published: March 4, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
The Dreaming Moon is a story of adventure, spiritual awakening, and forbidden love on a distant world that held the secret of Earth's survival... or its destruction.