I'm happy to welcome A.S. "Pete" Peterson back to chat about the release of Fiddler's Green
It's been a year since you've visited us for an interview. What are some of the changes you've experienced since the release of the first book and what you done in preparation for the second?
I was pretty anxious in the months leading up to this release. When The Fiddler's Gun came out last year I was pretty sure that people would like it and receive it well but I wasn't prepared for the strong emotional reactions that some readers had to it. People were desperate to find out what was going to happen. Several times I was approached by people who were on the verge of tears and who wanted me to assure them that Fin would be all right, that the story would end well. How do you answer that? Especially knowing that you are going to put your character through all kinds of fresh new hells before the end. So my mind's been heavy with the responsibility I have to my readers to make sure that the story serves the investment they've made in it.
I think that bearing that responsibility has made me a better writer. It really caused me to think long and hard about why I was writing scenes and characters in certain ways. It took me a long time to write the last few chapters because I really had to wrestle with how I was going to handle their emotional weight. There were so many things that had to come together and resolve just perfectly. I just had to sit down at my keyboard and sweat my way through it. I was an emotional wreck by the time I wrote the last lines. I think it all worked out well. Readers will have to decide for themselves.
What can fans of The Fiddler's Gun expect to discover in the pages of Fiddler's Green?
Transformation. In a word, I think that's what this book is about. It's about the long, painful, and ultimately triumphant journey of a woman in search of her own identity and independence. I think readers will find that what started in the first book as high adventure, really takes a turn for the epic in Fiddler's Green. The stakes are higher than ever and the story moves across the Atlantic to France, Tripoli, and Malta where Fin gets to meet, fight, and kidnap some great new characters including knights, a countess, and even a pasha.
Did anything turn out differently in Fiddler's Green than you expected it would?
I knew the end almost from the beginning of writing The Fiddler's Gun, but I knew it only vaguely. So in writing my way toward it there were a few things that surprised me. For one, the resolution to Fin's relationship with her father caught me off guard. I expected it to end one way and as I wrote it something completely different happened. Now it's one of my favorite passages of the book, I think it turned out beautifully. It's an amazing and mysterious thing when your characters do things you don't expect.
How did you come to include the Knights of Malta in your story?
Years ago, when I first started writing The Fiddler's Gun and was doing research on pirate and naval history, I came across references to the Knights and was fascinated. I knew that Fin was going to sail to the Barbary Coast and get in trouble with the Barbary pirates but when I stumbled onto this order of seafaring knights that patrolled the Mediterranean protecting people, the story really opened up for me. I could hardly believe I was lucky enough to be writing a book that featured not only pirates but knights, too--and both in their authentic historical context. It was just so good that it could only be true.
You've been working on this story for a long time..how does it feel to know that it's all out and finished now?
It's great and at the same time, I'm a little sad. I'm happy that people can finally finish the story and experience the tale that's been in my head for so long, but it's intimidating to now have such a blank canvas in front of me.
Are you working on anything new? Can we expect another A.S. Peterson book next year?
I've definitely got a couple of new books stewing (and partially written). I'm not sure which I'll commit to yet but I've got an inkling. I've always wanted to write an epic western and I think I might take the leap. The problem with that idea is that Larry McMurtry pretty well put a giant period on the genre with Lonesome Dove. So I've got to find a way to do something different. I've got a few ideas. We'll see. (note from Amy: I just read Lonesome Dove for the first time this year and am eager to read more well written epic westerns. No pressure.)
Can you tell us a little bit about the plans for The Rabbit Room Press?
I'm really excited about the future of the press. We've got five or six books, I think, that are written and that we want to publish. It's a matter of finding the financing now, but I'm optimistic that things are going to work out. I think the industry needs more presses that brand themselves in ways that readers are attracted to in the same way that Pixar has branded themselves in animation. I'd love to develop the Rabbit Room Press along those lines so that readers are willing to read a RR press book because they trust us, and they trust that we know good storytelling, even if it doesn't sound like the sort of thing they'd normally read.
Thanks again Pete for stopping by!
If you missed my review of Fiddler's Green, you can find it here along with other great links!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Interview with A.S. Peterson, Author of Fin's Revolution Series