Oct 032013

Interview: Peter Ward

What’s the hardest part of writing a book?
For me, the hardest part is definitely persevering to the end. In the early stages of writing a book, it’s easy to sit down for a couple of hours a night and pour your thoughts onto a page. Everything is new and exciting – your characters are developing, the story is just getting started, and things are fresh in your mind. And you don’t need to worry too much about where things are going – you can almost write with reckless abandon. But as you get further and further into your story, you begin to comprehend the daunting task ahead of you. All those plot elements you excitedly set up earlier now need to be dealt with. Your favourite scene needs to be cut because it doesn’t make any sense in the broader context of the story. All that stuff. Over time, you might have doubts about your plot, you might be struggling with your characters motivations, or you might reach a point in the story where you don’t know how to proceed. Without the will to persevere, these obstacles can kill an author’s will to finish his or her story, and sometimes it can feel as though you would rather abandon the book altogether, just to free yourself from having to think about it anymore. Rising above this can be incredibly hard, but once you do, finally writing “The End” after putting in so much effort is the most satisfying thing you will ever feel as a writer.

Do you read reviews written about your book?
Yes – I read every single one. If you have written a review of either Time Rep (my first book) or Note to Self, I’ve read it, and I’ve probably read it four or five times, poring over every word. Of course, I realise it’s completely narcissistic of me, but it’s only been a few months since I was published, so seeing people write stuff about my books on the internet is still a novelty. I have to say though – it’s nice that the reviews have been mostly positive (so far), but at the same time, I’ve found the more negative reviews to be very constructive as well. A recent review of Note to Self for instance had some criticisms I found useful to think about, which I’m now bearing in mind when writing my next book.

How long did it take to write your book?
Five long years! Note to Self took absolutely ages, and the main reason it took so long was because when I got half way through after three years, I scrapped everything I had written and started again. It was probably the most painful thing I had ever done (apart from eating a ghost chilli once which I DO NOT recommend), but I had no choice. The first draft was very different to the book you see now – Richard was rich and arrogant, the tone was much more like my first book (with jokes all the way through), and when I showed it to people, the feedback was unanimously negative. So I threw it in the bin and started again. In that sense, I suppose you could say it took me two years to write the current book from beginning to end, with a three year false start.

Do you write your book from page 1 to the end, or do you jump around?
Page 1 to the end – I can’t write any other way. If I have an idea for something that I think should happen later in the book, I’ll write a brief summary about it in my accompanying notes, but nothing more. I can see why other authors might write passages out of sequence (locking their ending in safe for example), but for me, I’m worried that if I jump around and start writing different scenes from later on in the story, there’s a risk that the writing will appear disjointed. Worse than that, I want to give the story the freedom to evolve in different ways I might not anticipate early on. That becomes harder if I’ve spent time writing later scenes that I need to connect together, which in turn could compromise the potential for the story to go off in a more interesting direction.

About Peter Ward

Peter Ward

Peter Ward was born in London in 1980. He was educated at William Torbitt Primary School and Ilford Country High School in Essex, before studying English Literature at the University of Southampton.

He started writing his first book Time Rep in 2002, which took six years to complete. He then left it in a drawer for three years before putting the first draft of it on the internet in 2011. After being downloaded 60,000 times and receiving (mostly) positive reviews, he thought it would be wise to approach a literary agent. This led to a new and improved draft of Time Rep being published by Diversion Books in 2013. A German translation is due later in the year through Piper Verlag GmbH. He began writing his second book Note to Self just as Time Rep was being completed in 2008. The final draft was completed in February 2013 and is due to be published by Diversion Books later this year.

He lives in London with his partner Lucy and a very small cat.

Interview: Peter WardNote To Self by Peter Ward
Published by Diversion Books on Sept 17, 2013
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction
Find the book: Amazon, Goodreads

In a world where technology controls everything, sometimes your own handwriting is the only thing you can trust.

Richard Henley is an ordinary man leading an ordinary life, but when he finds strange notes in his own handwriting warning that someone is trying to kill him, he is sent on a journey to places he never knew existed. With an ominous and all-powerful organisation on his trail, his only hope is to trust unexpected allies, take control of his life, and uncover the truth about what happened to the girl he loved twenty years ago. A darkly humorous commentary on our app-obsessed culture, if Richard can stay alive, his world will never be the same again.

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