An Interview with Author Peter Skeels
HELLO AUTHOR PETER SKEELS, WELCOME TO WORLDAUTHORS.ORG! WHAT DOES YOUR TYPICAL WRITING DAY LOOK LIKE?
I live in a cabin in the woods in the mountains. I also live alone, so that keeps my life very simple. I typically write in the mornings after coffee and meditation. My routine is getting up around 5:30 and writing or editing by 8; I finish four to five hours later. Sometimes I write all day; sometimes, I take days off; and sometimes, I write throughout the day. Writing is very pleasurable for me.
WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION FOR THE BOX?
I was having a glass of water with a wealthy friend when I placed the glass on his solid-wood desk. Giving me a look of disgust, he got a coaster, wiped the table dry, and put the coaster under the now-wet glass. That moment stuck with me, and I wondered why he didn’t see the alternative.
WHO INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE?
William Golding was my most significant inspiration. Maupassant and Baudelaire were two others. But there are so many writers I could name. Besides all of those, however, was my inner belief that no one could write about the material I wanted to write about better than I could.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE THE BOOK?
The Box took about a year from start to finish. I got stuck when writing The Box because the story didn’t want to go where I was taking it. I took several days off, went fishing and hiking, and when I returned to The Box, I wrote without knowing what I would write or how the story would go. It was fascinating yet daunting but fun.
WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE ARE THE HALLMARKS OF A SUCCESSFUL WRITER?
The hallmarks of a successful writer are telling the story as clearly and concisely as possible. One doesn’t want to be verbose, but at the same time, we’re telling our story as clearly as we can.
WHAT TIPS WOULD YOU OFFER STRUGGLING, ASPIRING WRITERS?
My first tip is that writers write because they must. It’s the same as when you have a job and go to work each day- you go because you must go. When I’m writing, it’s all I think about, and I look forward to writing. My next tip is to have patience with your writing. If what you’re writing isn’t perfect, keep writing. Editing will fix everything. My last tip is to write the same as you tell your story. Just write your story as if you were telling it to someone, and then edit it until you feel it doesn’t need any more editing.
HOW MANY HOURS A WEEK DO YOU WRITE?
That varies, of course. When I write a novel, the average is about 30 hours a week, but those hours can double as deadlines approach. When writing short stories, I write about three to four hours a day for approximately three to four days a week. As I said earlier, I live in a cabin in the mountains, and across the street is a lake that often beckons me. I also try to walk 2-3 miles most days. Plus, I have seasonal work, such as splitting and stacking firewood, working in my vegetable garden, and fishing. The fish I catch I smoke and freeze for winter. Some of the trout I fillet and freeze for winter. I heat my cabin using a woodstove, so that’s a daily chore during the winter. I don’t live a subsistence lifestyle, but plenty of daily tasks need to get accomplished.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ASPIRING WRITERS?
I’m a fiction writer, so keep that in mind. My first tip is that writers write because they must. It’s the same as when you have a job and go to work each day- you go because you must go. When writing, it’s all you should think about, and look forward to writing. My next tip is to have patience with your writing. If what you’re writing isn’t perfect, keep writing. Editing will fix everything. My last tip is to write the same as you tell your story. Just write your story as if you were telling it to someone, and then edit it until you feel it doesn’t need any more editing.
The author has been a draft dodger, a traveler, a stone mason, a single parent, a teacher, a businessman, a life coach, and a storyteller. He has lived and traveled extensively throughout America and Europe. He sought to find his way in life despite not having a handy how-to guide. His two constant guiding principles are his belief in God and to always try to do the next right thing. He has been, more than anything else, a naturally happy survivor.
You can reach at website skeels.org