Aicha Zoubair

Jessica Bell

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Author Interview – RW Peake

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Genre – Historical Fiction

Rating – PG13

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Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? Well, the funny thing is that I visited Rome for the first time this past October. I decided that it was probably a good idea to actually, you know, visit the place I’m writing about. I’ve already decided I’m going to be going back. And ideally, when I describe the battles and the terrain, I would have liked to have walked the ground myself. However, thanks to Google Earth, I could do that virtually at least.

What books have most influenced your life? Too many to count. I consider Stephen King’s “The Stand” to be the best book I’ve ever read. Although I will have to say that most recently Plutarch’s Lives, and Caesar’s Commentaries have had a huge impact.

Have you ever considered anyone as a mentor? Yes, but he was unwitting in his role, and I didn’t realize it until recently. Ironically, my real area of expertise is the American Civil War. It was what I focused on when pursuing my BA in History. One semester, I needed a history class, but none of the ones I wanted were available. All that was left was an Ancient History class, taught by Dr. Frank Holt of the University of Houston. And he ignited in me an interest that slowly developed into a passion, and it was through his influence and his ability to present the material in a way that I (and a lot of students) completely connected to. So without Dr. Holt, “Marching With Caesar” would never have been written.

Can we expect any more books from you in the future? Yes.

Have you started another book yet? Not yet. As I said, right now I’m polishing the next book, but the writing that I’m doing is focused on my blog, with a story I titled “Caesar Triumphant”. It’s a suppositional history based on a simple premise, that Caesar didn’t get assassinated on the Ides of March. As it was widely known at the time, the very next day he was scheduled to go conquer the Parthians. My story picks up ten years after the Ides, where Caesar not only conquered Parthia as he planned, but in his attempt to outdo Alexander, he just kept going. Now he’s poised to conquer the last lands, an island nation known then as Wa, but what we now call Japan. The idea is based on a simple daydream; if the Legions of Rome were to face the samurai, who would win? Granted, the classical era of the samurai occurred about 14 centuries later, so these people that Caesar’s army faced have the characteristics of the samurai. I’m willing to bend history, but not to the point where time travel is involved. And while this started out as just for fun, it’s kind of taken a life of its own, so I’m toying with turning it into a book before I pick Marching With Caesar back up.

Where do you see yourself in five years? If I’m still alive I’ll be happy. Seriously, I never thought I would live this long. But if I could have a couple books on the bestseller list (whatever that means five years from now), and have a yacht and private jet, I’d be satisfied.

What are some of the best tools available today for writers, especially those just starting out? The ability to publish your own work has altered the landscape and has made it easy for people like me to get my work out. As long as you don’t go into it with the expectations that the masses will come flocking to your work, and as long as you actually have some sort of critical input from people who aren’t related to you by blood or marriage, or who owe you money, the sky’s the limit.

What contributes to making a writer successful? Being good at what they do? Seriously, I don’t know. I see such a wide variance in authors who have experienced success that it’s hard to narrow it down to one or two common factors.

Do you have any advice for writers? It makes me feel pretty presumptuous to give anyone advice, given my relative newness at this, and the fact I haven’t sold a gazillion copies, yet. Again, I think it would be to finish what you start, and then revise, revise, revise.

Do you have any specific last thoughts that you want to say to your readers? Thank you for responding to Titus and his story in such an overwhelmingly positive way. It really is humbling to see, and I’m sure that my daughter would tell you I need all the humbling I can get.

What do you do to unwind and relax? Shoot people. On video games.