M.: I must have instrumental music playing when I write. Doesn't matter what kind, but if it has words, I end up singing along and typing out what I’m singing instead of what I’m supposed to be writing.
Paul: What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
M.: I love the Jean M. Auel Clan of the Cave Bear series, and Anne Rice’s earlier vampire novels. There’s something so vivid and real about both authors’ writing. But Stephen King is probably my favorite author. I adore horror stories. They feed my vivid imagination.
Paul: If someone had the power to step into your creative mind what would they see?
M.: A great deal of conflicting images, I imagine. I’m often thinking about a handful of different characters and scenes in which I could place them all at once.
Paul: What is a typical day for you?
M.: I get up at five to see my fiancée, Megan, off to work. Then I come back up here and start promotional materials – I run through Twitter and Facebook, visiting all the groups. By then, the author for whom I do some editing is usually about online, and we spend some time chatting, then I get to work on her newest piece. We work over Skype and instant messenger. I work for about two to four hours, depending on how she’s feeling. Then I usually carve out some time for myself – I write a little bit, or I read over a work in progress.
Paul: In all the years you've been publishing your work, what is the biggest mistake you made that you could share so others can avoid making it?
M.: I would certainly have included the fact that there is a sequel to my book coming out next summer (so that it would clear up some questions that reviewers have had) and I would DEFINITELY have included my Twitter, Facebook and Kindle links in my author’s blurb at the end of the book.
Paul: How do you find the time to write?
M.: Even if I’m not putting fingers to keyboard or pen to paper, I’m actually writing in my head all the time. Even if it’s just with a snippet of a name or a song that I heard on the radio. These things come back to me later and I work them into my projects.
Paul: What is one thing you hope I do not tell the readers?
M.: If I told you, I’d have to trust you not to tell them, wouldn't I? I hope you don’t tell them that I started this thing out not believing that anyone would ever want to buy my book and that it would just sit there and languish on Amazon.
Paul: If you are self-published, what led to you going your own way?
M.: I've been reading about it a lot over the past year or so, and I think it’s going to be a very big thing very soon. Not to mention the fact that we, as independent authors, maintain more control. It’s a headache, having to learn how to promote yourself, but you learn a lot more, too.
Paul: Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
M.: I am the kind of person who can take a name and a setting and give someone a (hopefully good) story an hour later. For longer pieces, I try to plot things as I go along, but my characters are constantly surprising me. For instance, I’d intended for none of the minor characters in my novel, Undisclosed Desires, to ever really take center stage for any length of time at all, but after what happens with Keith D’Ameron’s manservant Marlon, things sort of changed gears on me.
Paul: Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
M.: I don’t think I have to do a great deal of editing. I edit more for continuity mistakes than grammatical ones. I have an excellent grasp on spelling (despite my tendency to use British forms of spelling) and a reliable handle on grammar.
Paul: Do you have to do much research for your stories?
M.: Yes. Nothing more than a trip to the library or a few hours a day spent on Google wouldn't provide for me, but I have to have an accurate picture of the setting in which I’m writing in my head.
M.: Undisclosed Desires is my first published work, and it's set in 16th century Spain. A vampire named Keith D’Ameron is traveling through Europe and comes into Spain. Seville is the city into which he wanders, and he is not looking for anyone or anything in particular until he hears a single heartbeat. Curious why this heartbeat attracts him above all of the other ones in the city, he investigates – and falls instantly in love with the man he finds. That’s Javier Estas. The rest of the book details their growing relationship as Javier figures out that he's attracted to men as well as women, and what to do about the matter of his wife, whom he does love in his own way.
Paul: What inspired you to write this book?
M.: These two characters were early characters born of my own spin-off of some of Anne Rice's vampires. I had different takes of their stories written in short bursts (left mostly unfinished) over the years since high school, and when I participated in National Novel Writing Month for the first time in November of 2009, my fiancée suggested I write their story out in full.
Paul: Do you also write any poetry, non-fiction or short stories?
M.: Yes to the poetry, though not very often anymore. Non-fiction… usually not. I have of course, but mostly for school papers and the like. Short stories are a medium I truly enjoy reading, but as you can see by the length of some of these answers, I’m not very good at ‘short and sweet.’
Paul: Do you have any pieces of work that will never see the light of day?
M.: I’m sure I have plenty. A lot of my half-finished works revolve around a world which has so much complicated backstory to them that it would take two books alone just to flesh it out enough to make it understandable, but it's a world that my fiancée and I have been making up, either orally or down in diaries and the like, together for nearly thirteen years.
Paul: Do you enter competitions? Are there any you could recommend?
M.: I have not yet entered any, as I’m just getting the hang of searching for the right ones myself, but I would recommend looking into the one that Amazon and Createspace hold for Indie Authors. I missed the deadline this year, but I’ll submit next year, most probably.
Paul: How much marketing do you do for your published works or for your 'brand'?
M.: I do as much as I can. I'm learning as I go along, so some days, it seems like I do more, but others, less.
Paul: What’s your favorite / least favorite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
M.: Definitely the self-promotion ranks as my least favorite. I am a shy individual that does not really enjoy pushing myself out there. I’m perfectly happy to help other people push themselves, but it’s hard to get me to do the same for myself. What has surprised me – and pleased me – most is the thrill I get whenever someone new stops by and says they've read my book, or know someone else who would really love a copy.
Paul: What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have any hobbies or party tricks?
M.: As I’ve said before, I’m always writing. But I love going out to the movies – more inspiration – and to our Pathfinder gaming nights with our friends and my fiancée. (Pathfinder is much akin to Dungeons and Dragons).
Paul: Well thanks 'M', I wish you every success for the future.
Paul: Well thanks 'M', I wish you every success for the future.
M. on Twitter: @MPetersDesires
M. on Facebook: M. Peters
M.'s latest book: Undisclosed Desire (Amazon)