Hi Peter, thanks for taking the time to speak to us.
No, I should thank you, it's nice to talk.
So could you tell us a bit about yourself?
Well I live in Leeds, but I'm from the north east of England originally, on the coast.
And how did you get into writing?
I did a PhD some years back, in criminology. I found to very difficult. I was about half the way through when I just hit a block, I just couldn't write anything. I was also at the time quite isolated because of the studying I was doing. And I found this old poem I had written years earlier, it was a bit rubbish, but I got the idea of turning it into a story. So I started writing it, and every few days would present my wife with a new chapter. She would read it before bed-time, it was like a little serial, I felt like Charles Dickens. I just loved watching her read it, she enjoyed it, and it just grew from there. And writing it really helped me get my confidence back, and I went on to finish my PhD as well.
So that was your fist attempt at writing fiction?
No, but it was the first time I was ever really able to finish something. I had to.
And what do you like to read?
Well, I read pretty much anything and everything. I read cereal packets if there is nothing else. I have read a lot over the years, classics, pulp, all sorts. I like reading about travels, and the sea. I love Moby Dick, that’s such a warm, funny book, very different to the films that have been made, which are usually really depressing. I remember the first time I read it, I just laughed and laughed. Mark Twain is similar.
Recently I’ve been reading some great contemporary stuff, China Mieville’s The City & The City which explores how easily people can tolerate really awful living conditions and deny the humanity of others. I also read Matt Haigh’s excellent book How to Stop Time, and the Blue Salt Road by Joanne Harris, a really beautiful book drawing on the selkie myths of Scotland and Ireland.
My favourite writers though are those I read as a child, especially Ursula LeGuin and Susan Cooper. Their books are fantastical, often featuring magic and wizards, but they are so richly woven and beautifully written, and I can see their influence in my own work, and the things I would like to write going forward.
And what are you working on now?
Phew, I have too many ideas and not enough time. I’m writing a film script, a horror comedy set in Leeds. I’m also trying my hand at a bit if Young Adult type fiction set in a post-apocalypse Britain. Plus a few other things, let’s see if I get time. At the moment, my full-time job takes up most of my time.
Thank you very much
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