The Priest and the Peaches is one of the most delightful Christian books on today's market. While it is aimed toward young adults, I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed Larry Peterson’s portrayal of the incredible problems young adults and/or children face after they have lost both parents.
IT MAKES SENSE TO ME
By Larry Peterson
We ask God's blessings for all of us Americans on this 4th of July, 2012
"In God We Trust".
1. Why did you choose this setting?
I was born and raised in NYC (the Bronx) so the setting was ingrained in me: the people, the sights and sounds, the places, the smells, style of living, etc.
2. How is it a fundamental part of your overall theme?
The setting is in a blue-collar neighborhood of God fearing, family oriented, hard working men and women, husbands and wives and their children, who were more or less all on the same socio-economic level and for the most part were mostly Catholic (of varied ethnicities) sharing a similar value system. This value system is part of the Peach kids and the people in the neighborhood understand it.
3. How challenging was it to write about?
The challenge was in creating a sense of place. For example, in NYC there are many ethnic groups that are always interacting and fifty years ago there was a lot more of the old-world customs that were still very pronounced within these different groups. So, sometimes the interaction among the folks was strained because of "differences". Amazingly, most folks learned to get along. But some never did and that would lead to prejudices.
4. How did you develop your setting as you wrote your book?
The setting was more or less established early on in the book. It was a neighborhood in the Bronx back in the mid 1960s and the people there were more or less living comparable lives. Once that was established the setting was in place for the rest of the book.
5. How do you transport them there through your writing?
I try not to be overly descriptive because the action and dialogue and emotions might be shut down. So I think the answer to this might be through dialogue and inner emotion which I try to show using omniscience.
6. How do you introduce them to an area they may not be familiar with?
This is where description comes in. I do try to introduce the impending description through dialogue or a visual by a character. For example, Teddy and Scratch arrive at the funeral parlor and talk a bit before going in. Once inside, Scratch leaves Teddy alone and then Teddy begins looking around. Now I can describe what he is seeing which is the lobby of the funeral home.
7. How do you go about making the setting come alive for the reader?
I guess you have to try to make sure that the setting and the characters and the various scenes all come together. I mean, don't write a descriptive scene if you don't need it. It has to be part of the emotion of the moment. Who cares about "beautiful flowers up on the hill" if they have nothing to do with the story. If someone is hiding behind the flowers with a high-powered rifle, then there is a point to writing about it.
1. Who is the plot based around?
The plot revolves around the five Peach children, Teddy, 18, Joanie, 17, and their three younger brothers, Dancer, 14, Beeker, 10 and Joey, age 6. Their father suddenly passes away and, since their mom had died a few years earlier, they are now on their own. Teddy is in charge and they have to join together to begin their fight to stay together as a family as "grown-up world" attacks them head on.
2. What is the main idea of the plot?
The book takes the reader on a journey where the importance of faith, love and belief in God can prove to be an invaluable ally in trumping the challenging and pressure filled world of creditors, past due bills, an empty refrigerator, having no money, and many other things adults have to deal with. These kids are raw rookies who have been unexpectedly thrust into the "big leagues."
3. When does the plot take place?
The time frame for the story is the mid 1960s.
4. Where does the plot take place?
The story takes place in a south Bronx, blue-collar neighborhood.
5. Why did the plot develop the way it did?
It was simply a progression of a real life situation. From the sudden shock of being orphaned, followed by having to plan a funeral for their father, to discovering the rent and utilities are behind, not having any money available and so on. It was simply a natural progression into a quagmire that many adults have trouble dealing with, no less kids. They are quietly guided (as adults often are) by the steady and calming hand of the parish priest, Father Tim Sullivan.
6. How did you come up with the idea for the plot?
My brothers and sister and I did lose our folks when we were quite young. I had never planned to write anything based on that but when our brother, Bobby, died a few years back we were all sitting around after his funeral reminiscing about the "old days" and we wound up having a grand time sifting through and recalling memories. That is the point in time I thought I might base a book on those days. I guess I just ran with it because the book is fiction.
1. Who is your favorite character?
Beatrice Amon, the antagonist.
2. Why is he/she your favorite?
As the story unfolded Beatrice morphed into someone that even surprised me. Hopefully the reader will be as surprised as I was.
3. How did you come to create him/her?
Once I happened to pass by a woman as I was walking and she was dressed in a black dress that hung to mid-calf, wore thick soled, ugly black shoes and sported a wide rimmed black hat that sat on her head at an angle. She was walking like someone who was on a mission, fast and purposeful, and had a mean look on her face. Her eyes never waivered from looking straight ahead. Our encounter lasted for about two seconds but I never forgot her and the bleakness that surrounded her.
4. Where was he/she given life in the creative process?
In my quest to find a suitable antagonist I toyed with several ideas: a mean nun and/or an overbearing relative, (that almost happened with Aunt Vera) to name a few. I settled on the mean, intrusive neighbor. It just seemed to fit into where I was going.
5. What do like the most about him/her and what do you dislike the most about him/her?
What I like about Beatrice is who she really is and why. What I do not like is how she masked herself by shrouding herself in meanness to escape her reality.
How did you come up with the title of the book?
The book title underwent an unexpected metamorphosis. Why? Because the book did also. The original draft presented the Peach siblings as adults, living their lives, each having their own families etc. At a get together they were reminiscing about their early years. The first title might have been “Back in the Day”. That was sort of lame. The story was also too confusing. Anyway, things began to change and ultimately I simply took the reader back to 1965 and began from there. Enter Father Sullivan and the antagonist, Beatrice Amon. Result, “The Priest and the Peaches”. When I began writing this book that title was the furthest thing from my mind.
What were the challenges to getting the book published?
There have been quite a few reviews where two comments impact me about the work. They are, “It was an easy read” and “I loved the characters”. That tells me that if you can actually put together a story that flows freely and engages the reader you are well on your way to overcoming the principle challenges to becoming published. The trick is to NOT fall in love with what you write. Respect the person who will be reading your work.
What book are you reading right now?
At this very moment I am reading (or studying) a text-book titled “Child Welfare—case-studies”. The reason is—research for my current project which is the sequel to “The Priest & The Peaches”. I also have started reading a 1996 publication titled, “The Search for The Shadowman” by Joan Nixon which is a YA novel.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
My first book only made it halfway through the first draft. That was 25 years ago. There were so many things going on back then I could not focus. It is still sitting in a box under my desk. I plan to pull that out one of these days and actually finish it. Some quick math tells me I was 41 at the time.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Sure—be tenacious, never quit and make sure you’re work is mechanically sound. Be prepared to re-write and edit over and over. Don’t count on spell-check and computer formatting to do it for you. If you write any slang dialogue the computer will tell you it is wrong. Remember that a machine does not know everything.
What are you currently working on?
As mentioned above, the sequel to “The P & The P”. I have neglected it somewhat as I have journeyed around on the book tour but it is foremost in my mind. I’ll give you a “peek”. The youngest Peach kids, Joey, now 7 and Beeker, 11, spend their summer vacation out in the country with friends of Father Sullivan. They meet a strange young girl in the woods. I’ll leave it at that.
Favorite Book?—————“The Old Man & The Sea” by Hemingway.
Favorite Author?————-toss up: C.S. Lewis/Hemingway
Favorite place to read?——wherever it might be quiet
Favorite Genre?—————I have to go with YA.
Last fun one:
If you could choose to be a character from any book, who would it be and why? I’ll be honest here. 20 years ago I may have answered this question as asked. So, I thought about this and have come to the realization that the answer is, none. I would not want to be anyone else, real or fiction. Each and everyone of us is unique in our own way and, to paraphrase Popeye the Sailor, “I am what I am.” It works for me.
What was the inspiration behind your novel?
My brothers, sister and I did lose our folks when we were quite young but I never actually considered writing about anything relating to those days. Then, about four years ago our brother, Bobby, suddenly passed away. After his funeral we were all hanging out with old friends at a pub in Monroe, NY. Stories of "back in the day" began to flow free and easy and before you knew everyone was laughing and more and more memories were being triggered. Even though it was a sad time it also became a beautiful time. That was when I began thinking of using our experience as the basis for "The Priest and The Peaches."
Do you see any of yourself within the cast of characters you created?
Yes, I'm sure I can find part of myself in Teddy Peach.
Why did you choose to write a Young Adult novel?
I did want to write this at the YA level because I wanted to demonstrate to the younger folk the power of family love and forgiveness. We do live in a very "me-istic" society where self-gtratification seems to be revered and I simply wanted to present another side to that mind-set showing that giving of oneself instead of thinking of yourself can be very rewarding.
What do you hope a reader can take away from your novel?
How imporatnt it is to L-Y-N (Love your neighbor).
What difficulties, if any, did you encounter while writing this novel?
The development of the antagonist, Beatrice Amon, was challenging but as she began to come "alive" I entered into her bleak world and began to really understand her. I believe I was able to capture the "real" Beatrice and share her with the reader.
Your book is set in the Bronx; do you have experience living in this area? How did you capture the character of this city?
Thanks for the easy question. I was born and raised in the Bronx. It is part of who I am. As I began to write the book the sights, smells, sounds, the people, the streets and so on turned into a DVD inside my head. It is amazing to discover how many memories you have stored inside you that are resting dormant just waiting to be ignited.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Some folks have something inside of them that craves something they want to do in their lifetimes. They even made a movie called “The Bucket List” that addresses this type of thing. As for me, I know I always wanted to be a writer but it just took a very long time to get there. I am blessed, I am where I always wanted to be. My "bucket” is empty.
How many jobs did you have before you became a writer?
I‟m a senior citizen and stopped counting a long time ago.
How long does it take you to write a book?
This question more or less asks for an ambiguous answer. Who knows how long. You may think you have it all straight in your mind and then you begin to write and your muse kicks in and suddenly new things begin to happen and new people begin to appear and you are traveling to an unexpected destination. Then there are re-writes and editing and more re-writes and more editing and----sorry, no definitive answer to this question.
Do you have a routine that you use to get into the right frame of mind to write?
Actually, no. I just do it and it is usually in the morning.
Where do you get your ideas or inspiration for your characters?
Characters come from people I know, have known, have been briefly in contact with or have maybe seen for the briefest of moments as they pass by. You never know what might trigger a simple thought or observation into exploding into all these other ideas. But they all come from somewhere.
What is the first book you remember reading by yourself?
I think it was Melville‟s, “Moby Dick”, in grade school.
What are you reading right now?
At this very moment, nothing. I read a book a few days ago called “The Dark-Thirty” by Patricia McKissack. Published in 1992 it deals with African American folk stories that were passed on from generation to generation through verbal story telling. “The Dark-Thirty” is the 30 minutes that precedes darkness each day and all the tales are scary. Learned a lot about the mind-set and culture of the African-American community from way back when. Loved it.
What is your favorite comfort food?
A fresh piece of warm Italian bread with butter. (That is some serious health-food)
What do you think makes a good story?
If the reader can connect with the characters and like them, especially the protagonist.
What book, if any, do you read over and over again?
I always go back to Hemigway‟s, “The Old man and The Sea”, because of its simplicity and its ability to draw you in and feel the very hearts of the two characters, the old man, Santiago and the boy, Manolin.
Fun random questions:
dogs or cats?---------------------dogs
Coffee or tea?-------------------coffee
Dark or milk chocolate?----dark
Rocks or flowers?-------------flowers
Night or day?-------------------day (early morning)
Crayons or markers?---------crayons
Pens or pencils?----------------pens
What’s your favorite thing to do outside?
I coached youth baseball for many years. Last time was in 2004. Surprisingly, and I am a "grandpa," I was recruited to coach again. The local Little League called my son and asked him if he would manage a team. He asked me to be his coach (nepotism--lol). Anyway, we have a team of 7 & 8 year olds (one is my grandson) and we had our first practice the other evening. Two of the kids are "special needs" children. Five of them cannot even catch a ball. This will be a fun springtime. Stay tuned. They call me "coach gee-pa." Gotta love it.
Has a review or profile ever changed your perspective on your work?
It is interesting how reviewers can come up with so many varied takes on the same story. I read them all and I do pay closer attention to the negative ones. This is the audience too and their take helps me to learn how different folks can be. I do not think that a review or profile has ever changed my perspective. You certainly cannot please everyone so, as a writer, I do not take offense at negatives. I must admit, I did have a review posted not to long ago that was not just negative it was almost angry. Since I have received so many positive reviews I was a bit taken back. This particular review bashed everything, spelling, punctuation, grammar, even the character of the priest. Funny part of it is, I did not even know who they were.
What's your vision of a perfect society?
In my book the acronym, L-Y-N is used by Pops. He has taught this to his kids and when he holds up his thumb and pinky that is the sign for it. Many folks in the neighborhood are aware of it. It means Love Your Neighbor. Therein would be the answer to a perfect society. As long as pride is in us as a people it will never happen here.
What's your definition of happiness?
Happiness is something that is inside you. You do not need money, or power or position or anything like that. Look at Whitney Houston. She had everything; money and fame and fortune but was she happy? How does someone like Mother Theresa remain so filled with peace and contentment. She literally had nothing. But she emptied herself for others. So, if I were to place a definition of "happiness" in the dictionary I would describe it as "the ability to empty yourself for others."
What's the weirdest thing that has ever happened to you with a fan?
Okay--I am getting a kick out of this. I'm don't know if I actually have any fans. Maybe that is the weirdest thing of all.
What advise would you give to inspiring authors who want to get their stories published?
It is imperative to "stay the course." You have to work at this. You have to deflect criticism and accept rejection. Norman Mailer's, "The Naked & The Dead," was rejected 12 times. Joseph Heller's, "Catch-22," 22 times; Louis L'Amour was rejected 200 times before he caught on. Nicole Langan, my publisher from Tribute Books, reminded me that it is "a MARATHON not a sprint," so, I keep on trudging along.
Who inspires you?
People that inspire me are those that face adversity with a smile on their face. (Have you ever sat in a room where a dozen or more folks are undergoing chemotherapy treatments and some of them know that they are terminal. Yet, invariably, the majority are laughing and joking and have become friends with each other It is a beautiful thing. Folks who readily accept responsibility for their own action and do not always say, "It wasn't my fault. This one did this or that one did that". That is an example of what my inspiration is.
Do you write with music? Why or why not?
I find this question intriguing because I must have been asked it a half-dozen times. The answer is no and I do not know how people do that although a lot of writers must. It would completely distract me to listen to music and write.
What are your comfort books, books you can read again and again, that foster and rekindle your desire to write?
Hemingway's "The Old Man & The Sea" and C.S. Lewis', 7 volume "The Chronicles of Narnia."
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I always liked to write, even as a kid. It just took a heck of a long time to actually be a writer. Many detours along the way. But I was where I was when I was supposed to be there. It is all "good."
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I have begun the sequel to The Priest and the Peaches. That is a work in progress and, truthfully, I have neglected it somewhat as I travel around doing the virtual book tour. But answering question and doing interviews and guest posts etc has been a great experience and, as a writer, has helped me greatly.
by Larry Peterson
She showed me the cover of Sweetly by Jackson Pearce, The Other Life bySusanne Winnacker and If you Go Into the Woods by David Gaughran and mentioned that she wanted a similar vibe that matched The Priest and the Peaches. She let me read the novel and I loved the unique feeling the story had. The characters were all so vivid in my mind's eye. I ended up deciding to use vines with a peach background and the silhouettes of the family and this time did not buy an image to work with but created the images myself.
This was the result:
Larry is originally from the Bronx, so the setting of the story came easily for him. I asked him what he liked best about his hometown.
"There is really no other place like it. When you are growing up there, you don’t realize it. It’s home. It’s the way it is. But when you grow up and sort of peek in from the outside you realize what an incredible city it is. The different people, ethnicity, cultural differences, all blending together. Millions of folks crammed into subways and buses every day , insane traffic jams and, although it is far from perfect, when stuff happens , like 9/11 and the Great Blackout of 1965, New Yorkers join together and help each other and give of themselves. It’s a beautiful thing."
He has lived in Pinellas Park, Florida, for the past thirty years. He and his wife have a two bedroom home (his kids and grandkids live nearby, but not with them), and he's converted one bedroom into an office. He has a file cabinet at each end of the long window wall. He bought a ten-foot kitchen counter top with a backsplash and set it between the file cabinets, making a work area. The counter has two computer stands below it.
"I have the monitors and office supplies on the counter and there is a small desk on my right. Papers are strewn all over the place and my poor wife, a quite orderly person, cringes when she peeks in," he admitted. "It is OK---I know where everything is. I’m lovin' my little world."
Larry gets up between 5:30 and 6 every morning, makes coffee, showers, boots up the computer, then checks and cleans up messages. He goes to 7 AM Mass and is home by 7:40. In the perfect world, he tries to write for four or five hours.
"There are distractions that you must attend to," he explained. "For example, I am in the middle of a three month virtual book tour. It is necessary and takes a lot of time. But I am loving it and an unexpected perk has come from it. Answering so many questions about so many different things has helped me to know myself better, not only as a writer but as a person also. The fact is, I appreciate having this interview to do. It expands me for me."
When Larry's not writing, he's very involved with The St. Vincent de Paul Society. He's been a member for almost twenty years and works with the poor and homeless. He's also been recruited and is returning to coaching youth baseball. He and his son have taken on a team of six and seven year olds.
"When did you first consider yourself a writer?" I wondered.
"Since the novel has been released and has received some awesome reviews I am close to believing I am a writer. I never really thought I was any good at it. Mediocre at best. But when people in the business who do not know you give KUDOS to your work it is humbling and also tells you your work is OK. So, I guess that does make me a writer. Now, ain’t that the cat’s pajamas.. Thanks for asking this question. You helped me finally figure it out."
I asked him what inspired him to write.
"My answer has to be nothing. I just liked doing it. Even as a kid I enjoyed writing stories. I remember kids in school who loved to draw. They just were good at it and liked doing it. What was their inspiration? I guess it was the enjoyment they received from doing it. That leads me to have to retract my nothing answer. I guess many of us, depending on what we discover we like to do, inspire ourselves. That leads us onward to see what others might do in the same area and that results in further inspiration. I guess that’s how it works. "
When he moved to Florida after being diagnosed with MS, he went to college and then started freelancing. One of his jobs was as a columnist for the Pinellas Park News. He met Judson Bailey, the editor/publisher, and he gave Larry the best advice he ever got about writing.
"He had worked for the AP for many years and his home base had been NYC. He was quite the character. He had a huge mane of white hair and huge white eyebrows. He wore a white cowboy hat and always seemed to have his feet propped up on his desk, his red-cowboy boots with the silver, metal tips staring at you. He also smoked a corn-cob pipe. I am not making this up," he assured me. "Anyway, he liked my work (most of it was tongue-in-cheek stuff about family and also satire). I wrote a column a week and he never edited anything. But he said to me, 'Petie,' (he called me Petie) 'always be yourself. You have a unique way of saying things. Don’t let anyone change you.' I never forgot that."
I asked Larry how he came up with the titles to his books.
"I think it is a metamorphosis. My first book, Slippery Willie’s Stupid, Ugly Shoes was originally Willie Wiggles. It morphed into Little Willie Wiggles and, by the time it was published, it was Slippery Willie's Stupid, Ugly Shoes. The Priest and The Peaches went through the same process. It was A Bronx Funeral and The Best Damn Funeral Ever. Once the priest, Father Sullivan, appeared and became a primary character it became The Priest and The Peaches."
I don't think anyone did. I just liked doing it. This is one of those questions that have made me think about things as I travel along the blog-tour highway.
Not really. I do write with pen and paper before I go to the keyboard and I am a morning person. That's it.
I don't nor could I. That's like trying to read while you watch TV. My brain is not that nimble.
Do you have a favorite
I guess this means in general and not necessarily from my book - I love Santiago from Hemingway's Old Man & The Sea. He is old, worn out, alone on the sea, doing what he has to do, no fan fare, no audience, and is having the greatest battle of his fishing career. He wins the battle and the sharks strip him of his trophy yet, he has no regrets.
When did you first get the idea for The Priest and the Peaches?
My brothers and sister and I did lose our parents when we were quite young but I never considered writing about that or something based on that. Then, about four years ago our brother, Bobby, suddenly passed away. After the funeral we were at a pub up in Monroe, NY, and were were sitting around reminiscing. Well, more and more memories began to come forth from all of us and, before you knew it, we were laughing our heads off and having a grand old time. It was awesome. That is when the idea began to germinate. The book is a fictionalized account of those days and many of the characters and incidents can be attributed to "poetic license."
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I guess so. But it took me most of my life to actually get there. The cliche, "You gotta do what you gotta do," would fit me well. I was where I was when I was needed and always tried my best to do what I had to do no matter the circumstances. This relegated writing to the lower echelons of what "needed" to be done. Today I am blessed to be enjoying what I like to call my "permanent senior moment" which is that of being a writer.
If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go and why?
I really have no desire to go anywhere in particular but if I actually had to choose it probably would be the Vatican. The history and treasure trove of artifacts there would be something to see.
What is one item on your bucket list?
There is something and it just popped up last week. My son and I began coaching a Lttle League team of six and seven year olds. One of the boys has a form of autism. He does not pay attention , cannot throw a ball or catch one. If we can get him to actually learn how to throw and catch by April that would be quite an accomplishment. That is the one thing on my previously empty bucket list. We'll see how it goes.
Describe The Priest and the Peaches in just five words!
Loving your neighbor means forgiveness.
Chocolate or vanilla?
Vanilla (but today it is chocolate---I am flexible)
Target or Walmart?
Walmart is two miles from where I live. So, Walmart equals convenience.
Ice cream or frozen yogurt?
Movies or books?
Books, although I do not read nearly as much as I would like to.
What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
Larry Peterson, born and raised in the Bronx, NY and I have lived in Pinellas Park, FL for the last 31 years.
When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
I think when this new book launched I began to feel I was a writer. There is still a certain ambiguity in my feelings about this.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
The title of the book is "The Priest and The Peaches". Five, newly orphaned kids, find an inner strength to stay together because they have the love of family within them. (You asked for 20 words and that is exactly 20)
Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
The publisher is Tribute Books from Archbald, PA.
Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
I have started work on the sequel to "The P & The P". This may definitely develop into a series. We'll see.
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I tried to write it at the YA level because I wanted to give the younger folks a sense of how even young people can use the power of family love and caring for others to help conquer any obstacle.
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I probably started writing in grade school. Just "scribbling". There was no inspiration. I just liked doing it. I had to graduate to official senior citizen status before I actually became what one might call a writer. It was a long road traveled.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
No actual routine. No music either. I do most of my work in the morning. I have turned a bedroom into my paper strewn office and that is my funky, little writing world. Just lovin' it.
Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
My wife happens to be an outstanding proof-reader. She also has a great insight into grammar. I drive her crazy with some of my NYC street dialogue. She is the only one who sees the book before I dare send it off. I tried critique groups etc in the past but that, for me, was absolutely frustrating. There was never a constant that you could seize upon.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Yes--I read every review and try to respond to every one, even if negative.
What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
The toughest review I ever had actually was two days ago. This was not even a review, it was more or less an excoriation trashing the grammar, the dialogue, and the whole concept especially the character of the priest. There was an actual anger going on which I did not fully understand. Funny thing was, a few hours later I received a beautiful note from someone thanking me for writing the book. In fact, the reviews have been, for the most part, outstanding and very humbling. That's just the way it goes.
Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
No--I would never ask anyone to change their review or opinion. You can't please everyone. Just look at the political vitriol taking place. If they don't love you they hate you---no gray areas.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
Actually, the title did change several times so, to answer, no, it probably comes later.
How do you market/promote your books?
Right now we are doing this 3 month on-line book tour. Plus, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. Marketing is not my strong suit and I am trying to learn different ways to promote. It is very hard and very competitive.
Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
You get past writer's block by writing your way out of it. Even if you are only putting gibberish on the paper sooner or late a cohesive thought will find its way out.
Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
Sure---I believe that all fiction ultimately comes from who the writer is and what he/she has experienced in life. Life experience is the seed and from there who knows what the writer will grow.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
The message in "The Priest and The Peaches" is simple--L-Y-N (love your neighbor) The message in my children's book, "Slippery Willie's Stupid, Ugly Shoes" is basically the same because it teaches kids how we are all different and that is an OK thing.
Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?
I may be influenced by Hemingway. Why? He keeps thing simple.
What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
I am reading a YA book called "The Village By The Sea" by Paula Fox. If you want to read books with great description and less dialogue, check her out.
Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
No, I don't think so. I think people will always want a hard copy to hold. I expect that down the road technology will be available to make your e-book into a hard copy for minimal cost and people might respond to that. I'm not sure.
What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
You have to keep at it, be thick skinned, and never quit no matter what.
There were no entries, so there is no winner.
Enter to win the young adult ebook release, The Priest and the Peaches from Tribute Books.
1) Email subscribe to this blog (in the right sidebar) and confirm your subscription in the follow-up email you will receive.
2) Leave a comment with your email address.
The Priest and the Peaches
by Larry Peterson
Historical fiction novel set in the Bronx in the mid-1960s
Take a seven day journey with the five, newly orphaned Peach kids, as they begin their struggle to remain a family while planning their dad's funeral.
They find an ally in the local parish priest, Father Tim Sullivan, who tries his best to guide them through the strange, unchartered and turbulent waters of "grown-up world." A story that is sad, funny, and inspiring as it shows how the power of family love and faith can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
Click screen to watch.
1. What (and how many) works have you released? What are they about?
My first book was a children’s book, “Slippery Willie’s Stupid, Ugly Shoes”. Released in Jan, 2011, it is about a boy who has slippery feet and slips, slides and spins all over the place. He has special shoes made for him so he won’t slip and slide but he hates them. He thinks that they are the stupidest, ugliest shoes in the whole world and is certain that everyone will laugh at him if he wears them. The book deals with accepting differences in others and shows how we are all different in one way or another. My new book, “The Priest and The Peaches” is a YA novel and was released Jan, 2012. It is the story of five newly orphaned kids and how, with the quiet guidance of the local priest, begin their quest to stay together as a family. The book shows the power and importance of family and how it is so important to L-Y-N (love your neighbor).
2. How did you get the idea for your work? What lured you to your topics?
We had a three year old foster son years ago who was so hyper and lacking of any self-control that he would run into things (the wall, a door, run off the front steps etc) but he never got hurt. That is where the idea for Slippery Willie came from and it grew from there. As far as “The Priest and The Peaches” is concerned my brothers, sister and I did lose our folks when we were very young and it was a difficult time for us. The book is a fictionalized story but the basis for it comes from the early years in our lives.
3. What scene, topic, or section was the most intense (or visual) for you to write?
There is a scene in the book that takes place between the antagonist, Beatrice Amon, and the priest, Father Sullivan. As I wrote the scene I could not believe how if actually made me emotional. I had not planned it and the words just fell together. It was amazing.
4. In the event that your book became a screenplay (or documentary), who would you like to see included in the casting?
Wow, I never thought about something like this. Okay, I’m a big fan of Robert DeNiro. He would be perfect for the character of “Pops”. Beyond that---I just don’t know. Maybe Matt Damon as Father Sullivan.
5. If you could meet anyone or see anything (characters, locations, events, abilities, creatures, etc) from your novel, who or what would you choose?
I would probably like to go to “Pops’” New Year’s Eve wake.
6. How did you go about selecting your cover?
I didn’t. My publisher, Tribute Books, had that done and I was blown away by it. I would never have come up with something so perfect. It tells a story all by itself.
7. Do you have any upcoming projects? When can readers expect them?
I am working on the sequel to the Priest and The Peaches. I have a ways to go on that. In fact, doing the on-line book tour has stifled me some in working on it. It should be done by the fall.
8. Why did you become an author (or start writing)?
I don’t know why. I always liked to write, even as a kid. But my life experiences detoured me. I am not complaining or making excuses. I did what I did when I had to and during that time being a writer would have been a luxury requiring time that had to be devoted to more pertinent things that were not about me.
9. What do you love the most about being an author?
The freedom to do your thing and write it down.
10. What or who inspires you to write?
I guess it is my life experiences in dealing with all sort of different people many of them being the poor and homeless as a member of the St. Vincent De Paul Society.
11. What is the top cause you champion?
Try not to pass judgment on others. You just don’t know the journey they have traveled. The old cliché, “Walk a mile in my shoes” is profound.
12. What advice do you have for anyone who is interested in becoming an author?
You must persevere. You must be thick skinned and accept rejection gracefully. Be a demanding taskmaster when it comes to re-writing and editing your own work.
13. What is the one thing your readers should know about you?
I have attained the rank of official “senior-citizen” (the gov’t says so and they never lie) and being a writer is what I call my “permanent senior moment”.
14. If you could do anything (for a career), besides being a writer, what would do?
Being a writer is as good as it gets and if I could have started 40 years ago I would have.
15. Aside from writing, what are your hobbies?
Sorry, I have no hobbies to speak of.
16. What is…?
a.…your favorite author?
Hemingway, for his simplicity.
b.…your favorite book or series?
Hemingway’s “Old Man & The Sea” & C.S. Lewis, 7 volumes of Chronicle of Narnia
c.…your biggest literary inspiration?
Walt Whitman’s “O Captain-My Captain” written upon the death of Abraham Lincoln
17. Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what artists? If not, do you have other muses?
Nope—I don’t know how folks can do that. My “muse” is rattling around inside my head and we have a grand time tormenting each other.
18. Is there anything that helps you write or is unique about your writing process?
Helps me write? You got me. I just do it. Unique? Maybe the fact that I use pen and paper. The keyboard comes later.
19. Which, if any, character do you feel has the most of your characteristics (behavioral or otherwise)?
Probably Teddy Peach. I’ll leave it at that.
It all started with a 3 year old...
"The Priest and The Peaches" is my first novel. My first published book is a children’s book, "Slippery Willie’s Stupid, Ugly Shoes". The seeds for "Slippery Willie" were planted by a foster son we had many years ago. His name was Brian, he was three years old, and was the most hyper-active, uncontrolled kid you might imagine. He would jump up and run into walls, doors, fall off steps etc. and never get hurt. "Slippery Willie" is not like Brian but that is where the idea first came from. As far as the novel my brothers and sister and I did lose our parents when we were very young and that is where the book had its origin.
He's traditional in every sense of the word...
Traditionally published. Everyone has a personal preference in things and the self-publishing market has become huge. Personally, I always felt that if someone besides me, an outsider, someone I did not know and in the book business, actually liked what I did, I might believe I could write. For me, self-publishing would never validate my abilities. But, that’s me and I know that there is a lot of quality self-published work out there.
His desire to write and his inspiration...
I have always wanted to write, even back in grade school. It just took a VERY LONG time before I actually got to the point in life where I did it. My bio gives a peek into where I have been prior to becoming a writer. The people and experiences that live inside me.
A creature of habit...sort of...
I’m a morning guy. Up at 5:30 or 6. Shower etc, Coffee, boot up PC, check messages, go to 7 a.m Mass, home by 7:45 and try to write until early afternoon. Rarely happens because when you work at home it is like having your cell phone suddenly drop a signal. It is hard to have a consistently solid, clear signal.
A space to write...
I have a bedroom that I turned into an office. That is my upside down corner of the world. My wife gets a headache when she looks in. I have stuff all over the place but I know where everything is. I am actually a neat and tidy guy but when it come to writing I have so many bit and pieces of paper and books strewn about well, I’m sure you get the picture. For me it is IDEAL!
Writing has it's surprises...
As your story unfolds the unexpected things that happen. You think you know what is going to happen but new characters pop in, character traits take a twist, location changes unexpectedly…when that happens it can be an absolute adventure for you.
There are challenges...
The editing process can be very challenging, plus knowing when to say STOP and I'm FINISHED. You have to be ruthless and know when to kill off whole paragraphs and even chapters and characters or—maybe not. Marketing and sales are big challenges as well. The market is so inundated with stuff, especially with self-publishing so readily available and accessible and search engine optimization and tag words‖ so prolific in so many categories. A writer could be the next coming of Earnest Hemingway or Edgar Allan Poe and never get noticed without proper promotional work ---whatever that might be.
He's published now...
Well, I am certainly an unknown quantity and I certainly have not made any money, YET. All of that stuff will happen if it is supposed to. I leave that in God’s hands and I can honestly say, I do not worry about any of that. I do have the luxury of being able to write every day, I am very busy (especially now, doing this three month blog tour) and it is all, as the modern cliché goes, GOOD. I have been blessed.
You just might be surprised by...
Beatrice Amon, the antagonist, might surprise folks. I’ll leave it at that.
What the future holds...
The next book is a sequel. The life of the Peach kids continues. With that said, I think I have blabbered enough. If anyone might have a question(s) for me I would be happy to answer them. Just go to my site or e-mail me. I was born and raised in the Bronx, NY. For 15 years I worked in the NYC building trades as a Metal Lather/Reinforcing Iron Worker but had to leave that business when I came down with MS. My wife, Loretta, our three kids and I moved to Florida 30 years ago basically (because of my illness) so I could escape the cold, ice and snow of northern winters.
1. Tell us why we should read your book in twitter detail. (140 characters or less)
The Priest & The Peaches---sad, funny, kids taking care of kids--family and love.
2. What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
Editing. When you write YOUR words down and look at them later it is your creation that you have to be ruthless with it. We have a tendency to sort of fall in love with our own work. I don't. When I re-read something I have done I know what has to go and it is like, OH NUTS!-now I have to do it over. So I call myself something like "dumb" or "idiot" and get busy re-doing.
3. How do you balance serious moments with funny ones in your books?
Never thought about this. I think I try to insert humor into the most serious situations. For example, when Teddy throws a punch at the "Trumpet Man" and punches Scratch by mistake busting his nose and blood is all over the place. That was a serious situation but it was funny.
4. What is one of your biggest pet peeves?
People butting into conversations others might be having simply because they have a need to say something that is not an emergency and have no respect for the folks talking together. Also, people on cell phones in restaurants when they are with folks. You can talk later. There was time we had no cell-phones or pagers or answering machines. We all survived. Leave the phone in the car.
5. What is your favorite part of the Holiday Season?
Thanksgiving Day thru January 1 - I love the whole Christmas season.
6. Least favorite?
January 2. Back to reality.
7. If we had an author talent show, what would your talent be?
I would ask if I could sit in the audience. I'd be the loudest clapper.
What inspired you to write The Priest and The Peaches?
My sister, brothers and I did lose our parents when we were quite young. I never planned to write about it but then our brother, Bobby, died suddenly in 2007. After the funeral we were all hanging out at a local pub reminiscing about the “good ol’ days.” We wound up having such a great time telling stories about what had went on so many years before. Laughter ruled and it was, to me, a beautiful thing. Anyway, I guess when I was driving home to Florida from NY the idea for the book began to develop. Please remember that the book is a work of fiction as many of the characters and incidents are fictional.
Are there any more in the series, if so how many?
Yes. I have begun work on the sequel to The Priest and The Peaches. How many might be in the series? Don’t have a clue. The more you think and the more you write the more things begin to happen. So, who knows.
If so, have you planned the entire storyline, and do you know how it’s going to end?
Actually, it is like driving down a winding road. You see the road in front of you but you cannot see round the bend. You know that something is around the bend but you are not sure exactly what. But you do have a picture in mind of what the final destination will look like. Depending on where the winding road leads you that picture might prove to be something you never expected. So–no, I do not know how it will end.
Was there any particular scene/chapter that was your favorite to write?
I think the scene between Father Sullivan and Beatrice Amon when Beatrice opens up and reveals where she was when she was four years old. Then Father Sullivan shares something deeply personal about himself with her. As I was writing that scene I actually teared up and could not believe I was reacting that way.
Which books are you reading right now?
You may find this weird but I just finished two short stories: one was “The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving. This was written somewhere around 1830 (I’m not sure) and I love to read the different words that they used back then like “Treacle” is molasses and “choleric” for grouchy. Then there was “The Gold Bug” by Edgar Allan Poe. This story is a massive riddle and Poe, who loved cryptographs, really runs with this. Truthfully, I do not understand the puzzle in the story but it can be fascinating to see how these old masters spun a yarn.
What’s next on the agenda?
Like I just mentioned, I have started the sequel to The Priest and The Peaches. One thing at a time for me.
Tell us one thing about Larry Peterson that we won’t be able to find on the Internet?
Okay—I come from a tough, blue-collar background but that never altered the fact that I get choked up and cry at many a movie. I watched “The Locket” the other evening and sure enough, when the movie ended I needed a couple of paper towels. Tissues were too small.
City or Country?
I swear, this is dumb. Fine--New York City. And it is in America in case you didn't know.
Pen or Pencil?
Pencils keep on breaking and my stupid fountain pens keep leaking and keep ruining my shirts because I always forget and stick them in the pocket so I choose chalk. Got a problem with that?
Cats or Dogs?
Cats are too sneaky. Gimme a dog any day. I can trust a dog.
Polk-a-dots or Stripes?
How about both. Like stripes with polkadots between them. Yeah, this is dumb. Now I know why Teddy wanted me to answer these questions. He's probably laughing his head off about this.
Pancakes or Waffles?
Polly Chinkins or Schmun? Betcha don't even know what they are. So, if you answer me I'll answer you.
Books or Movies?
Well, I like that James Bond movie, "Goldfinger" with Odd-Job and his killer top hat and how they crushed that guy up in the the Lincoln at the junk yard. That was cool. So, movies.
Harry Potter or Twilight?
Who is Harry Potter? Twilight? What's that mean? Okay, you mean right before dark. So what?
Coffee or Tea?
Beer--only kidding, I'm not "old" enough to drink beer. Don't tell my brother I said that, okay? He's always freaking out at me for sneaking beer. Answer is coffee.
Skiing in the Alps or Lying on a Beach in Spain?
None of us ever went skiing and if I had to go to a beach I'd rather go out to Coney Island. Spain--sure, why not. Our phone number is CY3-3790. Give me a call and let me know what time we're leaving. Man, Teddy is gonna be so ticked off at me for this.