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Knowledge Base .: Meet The Author .: Fiction .: Interview With Peter Rennebohm Author of Blue Springs

Interview With Peter Rennebohm Author of Blue Springs

Author: Peter Rennebohm

ISBN: 0878392270

The following interview was conducted by: NORM GOLDMAN:  Editor of Bookpleasures &CLICK TO VIEW  Norm Goldman's Reviews

To read Norm's Review of the book CLICK HERE

Today, Norm Goldman, Editor of Bookpleasures.com is pleased to have as our guest, Peter Rennebohm.

Peter is the author of a soon-to-be released novel, Blue Springs, as well as being the author of Be Not Afraid: Ben Peyton’s Story, and French Creek.

Good day Peter and thank you for agreeing to participate in our interview.

Norm:

 

Peter, when did your passion for writing begin? What kept you going? Was there anyone who really influenced you to become a writer?

Peter:

As an English Literature major many moons ago, I was inspired by an old professor who gave me my first “B” in a sophomore English class.  It seemed logical at the time that if English was the only subject I could excel at… well, that became my major by default.  Actually, I was an avid reader, and of course in those days, we had fewer diversions than this current generation.  However, a stint in the Army, coupled with early marriage and mounting debts, forced me out into the real world.

I spent the next 34 years in business, but always had a notion that someday I’d get back to writing.  Once I retired—officially, that is, I wrote a book about taking care of my granddaughter, Lilly.  Nine months of two days a week provided what I thought was a wealth of material for the book.  Alas, there are just so many ways one can describe a diaper change.  The book remains unpublished—as it should.

Norm:

How did Blue Springs come about? How did you get the inspiration for this book? What methods did you use to flesh out your ideas?

Peter:

Once the Lilly book was completed, I tackled my first novel—it was published finally as, FRENCH CREEK.  This was a thriller, but as I soon discovered, it was pretty bad.  I found a very good, albeit harsh copy editor that I use to this day and she quickly made me realize how little I knew about writing.  I tossed that manuscript in a drawer and began studying the craft of writing.  I read almost everything I could find on the subject and decided to write short stories.

 I’ve been very fortunate to have a number of them published, won some awards along the way, and somewhere during this period, wrote a rather lengthy short story that I turned into BLUE SPRINGS.  By the way, the best book I’ve found on the craft of writing was Stephen King’s, “On Writing.”  He states that there are three parts to a novel: narration, description, and dialogue.  And what about plot?  “It’s nowhere,” sez he.  “Plotting and the spontaneity of real creation aren’t compatible.  Life is plotless, and thus so should be fiction.”  But, I digress. 

Once I had a better handle on what constitutes good fiction, I felt much more confident in my ability to tell a story, and I went back to finish FRENCH CREEK.  I learned that it was important to maintain a high, consistent level of tension throughout the book.  The “W” theory of fiction writing is a good guide—that is, starting from point A, the protagonist immediately is in jeopardy, slips down to point “B”, recovers and climbs to point “C”, and so on.  BLUE SPRINGS follows that formula quite closely, I think.

 Norm:

Can you tell us how you found representation for your book? Did you pitch it to an agent, or query publishers who would most likely publish this type of book? Any rejections? Did you self-publish any of your books?

Peter: 

Like most writers, I guess, I attempted to find an agent by sending out many, many query letters.  After a while, I gave up.  Frankly, I’m not sure what these folks have to offer a new writer—if anything.  Certainly, they are the gatekeepers to the world of the major publishers, but as there are only six or eight majors left, the odds seemed staggering.  So, I concentrated on the 85,000 other small to mid-size publishers that I felt would take a more focused interest in my work.

I was fortunate to find a publisher locally who liked my first book, BE NOT AFRAID: BEN PEYTON’S STORY, and they agreed to publish it.  They have been great to work with in that I can participate financially to any degree I choose.  Here’s the deal:  every writer I know of wants to see his/her work published—otherwise, why write?  We all want someone to read our work and find some level of enjoyment in the reading.  The small presses of the world afford us that opportunity and now that I know that I must handle most of the marketing of my books, I might as well get paid more money than the mere ten to twelve percent offered as a royalty.

Norm:

It would appear from my reading of Blue Springs that this book seems to have a broader mission than simply entertaining or storytelling, as there were many different themes interwoven into the plot such as forgiveness, alcoholism, family relations, and child abuse. Can you talk more about that mission and what you hope readers will take away in terms of their relationships with other individuals?

Peter:

 I don’t write to educate… I write to entertain.  I love writing fiction and this means that the fiction writer is simply telling a story.  My goal is to write the kind of story I’d enjoy reading—something that won’t leave me with a migraine headache as I try to keep track of characters and plot development.  If a reader learns something from my work, it’s not intentional, believe me.  I don’t pretend to be William Faulkner so the reader won’t discover much symbolism in my work.  However, that being said, if I can evoke some sort of emotion—whether that be sadness, joy, or fear, then I have accomplished what I set out to.

Norm:

What challenges or obstacles did you encounter while writing your book? How did you overcome these challenges?

Peter:

Actually, unlike the first novel, this one went pretty smoothly.  I don’t outline—don’t want to know how it’s going to end, frankly.  My thrills come from a beginning question of, “What if?”  As each character and scene is introduced, the story takes a different tack and I’m always surprised at how the story just seems to have a life of its own.  But in the case of BLUE SPRINGS, I started with an existing short story and simply expanded it from what it was.  The difficulty for me is tying up all of the details—making sure the timeline is correct, that the mystery makes sense, and being certain that some secondary character isn’t left dangling without a purpose to the overall story.  I depend heavily on my editor to point out mistakes—mostly grammatical, or if I’ve neglected to tie up a particular thread.

Norm:

How did you approach writing the character of Charlie? Did you plan him out or did he evolve as you wrote the book? What would you say is Charlie’s biggest strength? His greatest weakness?

Peter: 

It’s a cliché, of course, but I strongly believe that there is more than a kernel of truth in every piece of fiction.  Part One—the Hunting Trip, was based on a number of different experiences I had as a young boy with my father.  I guess I’ll leave it at that.  Charlie’s greatest strength is his resolve, his big heart, and his love of nature and all living creatures.  He is the wild flower as it’s described in the book—a late bloomer that somehow manages to survive and grow in the midst of a field of larger, more menacing weeds.  His greatest weakness would seem to be his naiveté.  He’s too trusting, probably, and as a city kid, he’s out of his element when he heads west.

Norm:

What's your advice to achieve success as a writer?

Peter:

Another cliché, I’m afraid:  read everything that relates to the type of work you want to create, and write every day—even if it’s just a paragraph in a journal.  Find a mentor—pay for one if you must—a freelance copy editor can be a wonderful help to make sure your work is headed in the right direction and is presentable prior to any submission.  I’d also suggest entering as many writing contests as one can afford—sooner or later, a story will be noticed and become published.  A list of writing credits will not only give the writer a sense of confidence and fulfillment, but publishers and those that purchase books will take notice.

Norm:

Is there anything else you wish to add to our interview that we have not covered?

Peter:

Good Grief!  No!  I’ve already prattled on way too long.  If anyone has read through to this point, I thank them for paying attention.  If anyone would like to ask me any questions, or advice, they can contact me through my website

 Thanks once again and good luck with your new book Blue Springs.

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