Broken Pieces

Author Interview – RW Peake



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Genre – Historical Fiction

Rating – PG13

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Who or what influenced your writing once you began? Louis L’Amour was a huge influence on my writing from the very beginning. In fact, in my Soviet invasion novel, you can track when I was introduced to his Westerns by the sudden shifting of location. My friends and I loaded up our riding lawnmowers (the one thing I knew how to drive at that age) and puttered up to Colorado, where we traded in our modern weaponry for trusty six-shooters and Winchesters and the lawnmowers for horses. We would mosey on into town and slap leather with the Russkies, then ride out hell-bent for leather. Good times.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? Finishing it. I can mark the point where I went from “a guy who writes” to “writer” when I sat down and actually finished my first adult novel, the Damning Secrets title that I mentioned. And that’s what I tell other young writers now. If you start something, finish it. Go back and tweak it, revise it, modify it all that other stuff AFTER you finish it. Because until you actually finish a project, you’re just dabbling.

What is your greatest strength as a writer? According to my readers, it’s my ability to make a strong connection between the reader and character, particularly when it comes to their physical world and the challenges that come with it. “It’s like I was there” is a pretty common comment in my reviews. So I guess it would be that.

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it? Nope. Never. Not once. Ever. And I don’t know why, but it makes it hard for me to relate to other writers who talk about it. I just don’t have a frame of reference for it.

Can you share a little of your current work with us? Well, I’m kind of in between major projects. The Marching With Caesar series is a four book series, but it’s already written. So right now I split time between polishing what will be the third book before I send it to my editor, adding to a story that I’m telling on my blog, and fleshing out my long-term strategy for what happens after this series is over. Oh, and I “work” at playing video games.

Can you tell us about your main character? Titus Pullus is an anomaly in many ways, while at the same time he’s a typical Roman. Physically he’s out of the ordinary because he was born very large, and would grow to over six feet tall. When the average Roman of the day was only about 5’4″, he had a natural advantage. In addition, growing up under the circumstances he did, with an alcoholic father who did no work himself, he grew up strong even for his size. And because of the relationship with his father, who hates him because he blames Titus for killing Titus’ mother in childbirth because of his size, Titus is determined to get off the farm. And the way to do that for people of his class was through enlisting in the Legion. But Titus has a further ambition, and that is to elevate himself into the equestrian class. He’s aided by the fact that he’s extremely intelligent, but at the same time hampered because of his lack of education. And it makes him extremely sensitive about his lack of letters, and he overcompensates for that lack with martial prowess. His ambition serves as the fuel for the success he will experience in the Legions as he rises through the ranks.

How did you develop your plot and characters? I’m not sure how well I can explain this, because frankly I’m not sure if other writers work the same way or not. But when I started this story, I had a starting point, and an end point. Titus is one of the lucky few men who survive a 42 year career in the Legions to retire a wealthy man who’s achieved his goal of elevation. The story is how he got there, and most importantly what it cost him. But while I knew how it was going to end, it was the journey there that took a number of twists and turns along the way. And here’s where for all I know I do things differently. Or maybe everyone’s like this. But when I would sit down to start the day (this was a full-time 7 day a week, 8+ hour a day project) everything I was going to write that day was already written……in my head. I think that’s one reason I never have writer’s block, because the actual creation of the words happens in my head so that it’s just a matter of me taking dictation from myself when I start typing. So I don’t have moments where I sit staring at the screen, trying to decide what to do next, because it already has happened. And in that sense, it was as much of an adventure finding out how the story was going to go as it is for the readers now.


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