Let your potential readers get to know the person first — use social media and post pics of something you love doing, leave breadcrumbs about a book your working on, funny pictures of your pet, and just let the world get to know you as a person first, before introducing them to you, as an author.
As part of my interview series on the five things you need to know to become a great author, I had the pleasure of interviewing Peter Topside.
Peter Topside is an accomplished chef and baker, movie fanatic, a proud father and husband, and the author of the Preternatural series.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share a story about what brought you to this particular career path?
I’ve always had a passion for writing. And I had a fairly rough childhood, which gave me the inspiration to funnel all of my energy, thoughts, feelings, and recovery into my books.
Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?
I remember when I finished Preternatural, I thought it was going to be a one off story. And it took me almost 25 years to write, so I was content with just finishing it. But once it was done, a sequel just organically flowed out, and then the same with a third book shortly after. It was the strangest, yet most fascinating, journey I’ve had to date.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in your journey to becoming an author? How did you overcome it? Can you share a story about that that other aspiring writers can learn from?
My biggest challenge was being a total outsider to the literary community, with no contacts, resources, or know how to do anything. It was very scary and after getting rejected from a multitude of literary agents, editors, and cover artists, I almost gave up. But I was determined to accomplish my goal to publish my first book. So I learned everything from the ground up, self-published Preternatural, and then found the proper professionals to work with me on the subsequent sequels. It was a hard journey but I never gave up, which is my best advice for new authors.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I made a huge mistake thinking that getting published was an easy feat. I just figured that you write a book, call a publisher and you’re golden. It is anything but that. So that humbled me a great deal early on.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I am currently wrapping up all the work on my upcoming book, Preternatural: Evolution, which is the second book in the trilogy. I am simultaneously working on the rough draft of Preternatural: Reckoning, which is the third and final book in the trilogy, due out in 2022.
Can you share the most interesting story that you shared in your book?
The most interesting is probably Alexandra Hugh’s journey from being a meek and meager side character, to a dominant main character. It was never my intention to highlight her as much initially, but as I continued writing all three books, she just naturally evolved and took charge.
What is the main empowering lesson you want your readers to take away after finishing your book?
I want my readers to believe in themselves and never lose hope. I understand that while things may seem impossible and unbearable, you are strong enough to overcome anything.
Based on your experience, what are the “5 Things You Need to Know to Become a Great Author”? Please share a story or example for each.
- Use Goodreads — this is an absolutely crucial step in connecting with other authors, readers, and getting your books noticed.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions — use messages boards, again Goodreads is a goldmine, and don’t be afraid to reach out to the professionals.
- Prepare for people not to like your book — it’s hard when you get the first few bad reviews. You beat yourself up and doubt your abilities. Understand that not everyone will love your book, whether it’s the writing style, plot, characters, etc. However, try to focus on the ones that do enjoy your works.
- Say thank you — whenever someone leaves a nice rating or review, always be sure to thank them for their time and efforts.
- Let your potential readers get to know the person first — use social media and post pics of something you love doing, leave breadcrumbs about a book your working on, funny pictures of your pet, and just let the world get to know you as a person first, before introducing them to you, as an author.
What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a great writer? (i.e. perseverance, discipline, play, craft study) Can you share a story or example?
Perseverance and discipline. I was told in school that I would never succeed in anything, whether going to college, having an accomplished career, or publishing a book. I beat the odds and did all of those things.
Which literature do you draw inspiration from? Why?
I had a long period where I was unable to read for enjoyment due to challenging life circumstances. It wasn’t until after I finished my trilogy and got back into reading, that I found my writing has a lot of similar principles to HG Wells. His stories are fast-paced, adventurous, and the writing is to the point.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Thank you so much for this. This was very inspiring!