Hello again fellow bookworms and page turners. This week I had the Pleasure of doing an interview with Peter Newman, who’s debut novel The Vagrant was released in April this year. Some of you may already be familiar with Peter and his velvet tones from his role of Latimer, the well mannered, and ever so slightly dangerous butler and man servant to his wife Emma Newman in there co-operative Podcast Tea and Jeopardy.
I will be posting my review of The Vagrant shortly after this interview, but for now it is my honour and privilege to introduce you to Peter Newman.
Please introduce yourself to our readers, and tell us what inspired you to be a writer?
Hello! I’m a writer and podcaster based in Somerset, where I live with my wife and son. I also work as a trainer and Firewalking Instructor. I sometimes pretend to be a butler for the Tea and Jeopardy podcast, which has been shortlisted for a Hugo Award. I also like running, roleplaying and computer games.
I think I’ve always wanted to be a writer, I just didn’t realise it for quite a long time. In terms of who got me writing, Emma (my wife) started on the road a good few years before me, and she’s very inspiring. One day she turned to me and suggested that I should be writing too. I haven’t looked back since then.
Since releasing your debut novel “The Vagrant” in May this year, are you planning on taking a break, or are you looking to move in a different direction, before cracking on with the sequel ?
The sequel is written! I’m working on edits at the moment.
How long did it take you to write The Vagrant? and what did you use to procrastinate most while writing it?
I started it in 2011 and put it on submission in August 2013. It got picked up in Jan 2014 where it went through further edits and revisions. I stopped working on it towards the end of that year.
I have many procrastination tools. The top three were: Twitter, Mass Effect and How it Should Have Ended videos.
The artwork on the cover, is amazing. Could you tell us who did the art work? and will you be working with them in the future?
With pleasure! The artist is Jaime Jones and I’m absolutely thrilled with what he did for The Vagrant. And yes, as far as I know, he’ll be doing the cover for the sequel as well. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with! You can see more of his work at: http://www.artpad.org
Do you think that the illustrated cover plays an important part in the book buying process?
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! I don’t think it’ll make a terribly written book into a bestseller and I don’t think it’ll make a masterpiece fail but I’m convinced it makes a big difference and is the first point of contact between you and a potential reader. Personally speaking, if I like a book’s cover, if it speaks to me, then I’ll have a glance at a sample or the first page. And from there, who knows? I think that’s what good covers do. They grab people’s attention and invite them into your book.
From looking at your blog I can see you are an avid gamer, would you say this is a source of inspiration for you, especially the darker and more visual elements of storytelling. Also would this be an area you would like to get into in the future?
Gaming has doubtless seeped into my brain on some level and games like Final Fantasy 7 and Warhammer have definitely had an influence. I do have plans to get more involved in this sort of thing in the future. Watch this space!
If you where to incorporate a character from your Dungeon and Dragons campaigns into the Vagrant story arch. Which one would it be?, and how do you think they would influence the plot if at all?
To be honest, I cringe at the idea of just porting a D&D character direct into the Vagrant’s world. I’m a bit of a purist in this regard. I’ve also been asked a few times about putting the Vagrant in another writer’s world or one of their characters into mine but somehow that feels wrong to me. I think characters belong in their own worlds!
When you are writing do you have any specific methods to how you plan your working, writing, & researching?
Hmm. It varies a bit depending on the book. I tend to know the start and end points of the book, with odd plot points strung out between them, and I usually have a more detailed plan of about three to four scenes ahead of where I’m at. I often read work aloud after I’ve written it as part of my editing process. I’m not the best researcher and if I have a friend who’s an expert, I’d much rather talk to them about my ideas than sit online for hours. Saying that, I love reading things for pleasure. So long as I don’t realise I’m researching, I’m quite good at it!
Do these methods still apply when co-writing the Tea and Jeopardy Podcast? and do you have any tips for an aspiring butler?
Not really. When I write, it’s like I sink into the book, which I love but is very quiet work. With Tea and Jeopardy, Emma and I write it together. It’s much more energetic as we can bounce ideas off each other. There’s normally lots of tea, coffee and laughter involved too.
Being a butler is easy. You just have to be good at everything, always know where to be and never, ever, get upset. Making a perfect cup of tea is also important.
How important do you find social media to be in the life and career of a published writer?
That’s a tough one to quantify. I don’t think being active on social media guarantees any kind of writing success and I don’t think it should be used as a sales tool. However I think it can be very useful in giving lonely writers contact with the outside world. I’ve made some great friends through social media and it allows me to feel connected to what’s going on. I’ve also found people online to be incredibly supportive and when someone drops in to say something nice about your book, it is the best feeling.
However, writing blog posts, face book updates, or tweeting (or whatever it is people do on Tmblr or Whatsapp) is no substitute for actually writing books.
And finally what are you reading at the moment?
At the moment I’m reading Children of Time (so far it’s very impressive) and the fifth edition D&D Monster Manual for a campaign I may run later in the year.
If you wish to find out more about Peter , you can follow him on Twitter, and have a look at both the his Official Website, or listen to his co-operative Podcast – Tea and Jeopardy, all of which are listed below.
Until next time, read more books..