A software developer by day, an avid writer in his spare time, Peter has been spotted walking around the Tuxedo Park Renaissance Faire with a subtly-robotic miniature dragon on his shoulder and a vacuum-tube-bedecked top hat.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
By day, I’m a software developer. When not telling computers what to do, I am frequently to be found reading, or else engaging in commentary on various political sites.
Where are you based?
I’m living in Fairfield County, Connecticut, within reach of NYC, but far enough out that it’s possible to have a non-concrete front yard.
Tell me about your upbringing.
You know all those stories about poor tortured artists whose only hope was writing or painting or whatever? Yeah, no, I have wonderful parents who supported me every step of the way, made sure I got a good education, and who are just two of the best people alive. I went to a small school in New Hampshire, the Canterbury Children’s Center, for kindergarten through 3rd grade, where they had a fantastic early educational model based on guided exploration of interests rather than sitting at desks and learning by rote. I found high school to be a generally excellent time as well, demanding but rewarding; along with the more specific academic subjects, it was enormously useful to learn public speaking, how to take proper notes, and time management.
Have you published before?
Migon is my first published novel. I’ve had some short stories published before, starting with Do Not Question The University in Diabolical Plots, and Dead Air was my first dead-tree publication in When You’re Strange.
Do you write anything other than fiction?
I’m not nearly as active as I’d like to be with the ancillary elements of writing; I have a website, www.pckeeler.com, as well as a Twitter handle, @PCKeeler, and a Facebook page for my writing under ‘Gyndri Parvasi’, but I tend to find I like the actual writing itself more than writing about writing. I’m also a member of the Fairfield Scribes, a small, select group of writers in Fairfield County; in addition to critiquing each other’s work (and it’s amazing what an insightful amount of commentary everyone gives me), we’ve also put out a pair of anthologies – Z Tales, based on zombies, and the freshly-released When to Now, a collection of stories about time travel.
You write your fiction with a pen and paper. Why would you do that?
Yes I do, initially at least. Once I’m done, I’ll transcribe it into a Word document for more reliable storage and easier reading, but I spend all day at a keyboard for work, so switching to a physically different mechanism for fiction writing helps make a mental distinction.
You must have amazing handwriting then?
No. My handwriting is atrocious.
How long have you been writing for?
I started Migon in 2010, officially, but I’d had the idea floating around in my head for quite a long time before that, before I decided that I wanted to actually do it instead of just thinking about it. Before that, I had done various bits of creative writing, but nothing with any eye toward publication.
Do you have any advice for new writers?
Join a critique group and make sure they’re good. If everyone applauds and says “Oh, you’re so brave for writing” and you leave with nothing but a warm glow, then it’s not a critique group; that’s a support group. Ideally you want people who will say “Well, I see where you’re going with the plot, but did you know female characters are allowed to have personalities nowadays?” Or something along those lines. If one person says it, consider it. If three people all say it, they’re probably onto something.
Can you tell me about your debut novel, Migon?
Basically, it’s a book from the point of view of the ‘familiar’ character. The protagonist, Gyndri, is transformed into a miniature dragon, a type of creature that is generally considered extremely powerful and extremely dangerous in this setting. In that form, he can’t really interact with human society very effectively, so to pursue his goals, he has to become a wizard’s familiar, then get the wizard to take action. There have been a number of appearances of ‘familiar’ characters in recent years – from Hedwig the owl in the Harry Potter series to Loiosh the jhereg in the Vlad Taltos series to the dæmons in His Dark Materials – but I wanted to see the world from that character’s perspective.
It’s science fiction, but most of the characters think it’s fantasy. Just imagine a house full of voice-activated gadgets, but you can’t see them, don’t know what the activation words are, and have never heard of electricity, and you might get their perspective. It’s suitable for YA (and categorized as such), but I wrote it without that specifically in mind.
Migon is available on Amazon now, in both Kindle and print editions. I highly recommend buying multiple copies and leaving rave reviews.
Thank you Peter for taking the time to talk to me today. As Peter said, Migon is available to purchase from Amazon now, as is the time travelling anthology When To Now published by the Fairfield Scribes if you would like to read Peter’s contribution.
If you enjoyed this interview then why not follow my blog where I’ll be posting more interviews and conversations soon. I regularly provide an insight into my own experiences as I publish my debut novel, In The End, an apocalyptic thriller that will leave you breathless, available to pre-order now.
If you’re an author, or work in the industry and you’ve got an interesting story to tell, drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org