Went to the above author meet in Waterstones, Leeds on Sunday even though I hadn't read any of his work except for a couple of sample chapters on my tablet but decided to go as I could get more writing tips from him, plus he's a fantasy writer!
Also had read very good reviews of his novels in SFX and Sci Fi Now magazines, starting with The Painted Man which was his debut novel and also nominated for a David Gemmell Legend Award.
Plus the fact he had travelled all the way from Boston, America - I couldn't resist.
The night started with about an hour of Q & A with Peter who had just arrived in Leeds. He was very relaxed and humorous and held the rooms attention from the off. The room was full (with fellow geeks and geekettes).
Here's a run down of what Peters answers were and what I learned:
His inspirations when young included Tolkiens The Hobbit, and Terry Brooks Shannara novels which Peters Demon Cycle series is inspired by as he always wanted to write about Demons and a world with low magic. This is because some fantasy novels he has read have magic as an easy solution to the story.
He wrote part of The Painted Man during the 9/11 attacks on New York and used that in the characters to chart fear and how people react to disasters.
Peter wrote 60% of the first novel on his Windows phone on his commute to and from work as a PR. He synced his phone to his Computer at home. When he was at home he wrote the rest and took a year.
Before that Peter wrote 2 books but both rejected his agent gave him a writing book to read and go back to the better of the two Painted Man (Forgot to ask him what the writing book was!).
The Demon Cycle is pitched as 5 books but he is planning more in the future in different parts of the world the books are based in. The current set of books are set in one part of the world which he advised was the size of Texas. He has kept the events in one place so he could have a tighter story arc. He has made notes of other places in the world not shown for future books.
There are no plans for prequels as yet but could happen in the distant future but there are Novellas which are brought out between the novels to act as appetisers for new novels - these are The Great Bazaar and Brayans Gold.
Peter plans meticulously the books writing loads of notes and chapter breakdowns and once the story is right he can get into the characters.
His routine now includes taking his daughter to school, the gym, then home to write - this is basically the same routine I had planned if I ever get published! 1000 words a day is what Peter writes because it's achievable and no excuse but sometimes goes over and it adds up quickly. Peter writes slow and steady and can still achieve 2 books a year. The last book he has written quicker.
Each novel has a different protagonist and the reader learns about the world as the characters do. He likes reading different POV to get in each characters head. Also swords are of no use in this world as people can't get close enough to the demons with them. The Demons in the novels are elemental and live in the worlds core. They adapt to how they rise up - e.g. An ice demon who can spit ice comes from icy river.
Peter has been approached by producer Paul W S Anderson(who made the Resident Evil films as well as others) to make the bookS into films but he wasn't sure and watched all his films. He liked some of the effects they had done but wasn't 100% sure. At present an Agent is going around Hollywood shopping it about as the filmenite options expired.
After the Q & A we were all invited to get our books signed and ask a question and get a photo with him. This is something I've done only a few times mainly because I botched my question I asked David Gemmell and also because it can take so long. Luckily me and the gf were near front so I decided to get it done which I was glad about (although even at back I would have stayed to get book signed as he had come all way from USA and might not be back for a few years )
I was nervous but managed to ask the following question:
Did you find it hard to get an Agent? And have you any tips?
Answer - Yes I did, you have to learn to accept rejection and do alot of do overs. I was in a very fortunate position living and working in New York, this put me in touch with a lot of agents and being in the right place at the right time certainly helped. My advice to you is to talk to Agents like they are normal people, listen to what they have to say and put yourself out there by going to conventions and meeting agents face to face.
Hopefully I won't be as nervous when I meet more authors at Cleckheaton Literary Festival.
All in all a very good Author talk and one author I will keep my eye on.
A review of his novel The Painted Man to follow soon.