Jack Cannon's American Destiny

Rachel Thompson

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Author Interview – RW Peake

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Genre – Historical Fiction

Rating – PG13

More details about the book

Connect with RW Peake on Facebook & Twitter

Blog http://blog.rwpeake.com/


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.

Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot? As I say in my author’s bio, I’ve been the pointy tip of the spear of my nation’s policy, so there is inevitably some commonalities between my story and that of Titus and his friends.

How important do you think villains are in a story? Never given it much thought, to be honest. I think because I don’t necessarily buy into the idea that anyone is pure good or pure evil, so that even the ‘villians’ in my story, like Spurius Didius, will show himself to have redeeming qualities. While my hero Titus does some really dickish stuff to others in his climb to the top.

Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it? Besides wearing socks with sandals?

How do you promote this book? Every way I can think of. I know there’s a lot of debate in the indie community, for example, about the merits of social media, and I’ve gotten some very…spirited resistance to the idea. All I can say is that for the first book I used Facebook to great effect, helped a great deal by that “secret weapon” of my cover.

I also do things like this, with Orangeberry, and I’ve tried a few other things. Being brutally honest, it’s a learning process and there have been some dry holes along the way. But probably the best promotion is through the readers themselves. In a really short period of time (at least so I’m told), for an unknown, self-published author, in the 8 months that the first book has been out, I’ve garnered more than 100 reviews, and 95 of them have been 4 or 5 stars. The word of mouth has been outstanding, and now that I’m sitting at more than 10,000 copies sold for the first title, and several weeks in the #1 spot in the Ancient Rome genre, I would have to say that the word of mouth promotion has been the most effective.

Will you write others in this same genre? Ah, the 64K question. For some time I’d been wavering about this. I hate it when people use the “But I’m an artist” crap, and yet I found myself saying, “But I want to do more than just write about Rome. I’m an ARTIST.” Thanks to a very loyal, and vocal, group of fans, I’ve seen the error of my ways. Yes, the “Marching With Caesar” will continue, and I’ve already begun creating a “genealogy” that has my character Titus Pullus as the founder, where characters from that family tree will be Marching With Caesar throughout Rome’s history. After the release of the fourth and final book of the Titus Pullus series, in May of 2013, I’ll be announcing what comes next.

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