Welcome, Spring is here and so are some of your favorite authors. Today we are happy to have Nora Peterson with us. She is going to talk a little about herself as well as her book PAST IMPERFECT. On behalf of Coffee Time Romance, we want to extend a warm welcome.
Hello Ms. Peterson and thank you so much for taking time to chat with us today!
Thank you. It’s good to be here.
Ms. Peterson would you tell us a little bit about yourself?
First and foremost, I’m a wife and mom to eight grown kids (his, mine and ours), which is exactly why it took me so long to get around to writing for me. My husband and I have lived in the Phoenix, Arizona area for about sixteen years now, but we’re originally from Ohio, by way of Southern California and Wichita, Kansas.
Our two pound puppies, Mango and Ziggy keep us busy, but when I’m not writing or trading the stock market, I enjoy researching my family history, hiking and camping–and reading, of course. That said, I have to admit that deciding a few years ago to move my writing to the top of my priority list meant that I’ve had precious little time for any of my other interests. In fact, I may just have to come back for another crack at life, just to fit in everything I’d like to do.
Ms. Peterson I read Past Imperfect and loved it! It is your first Mystery, before it you wrote a finance book. What or why made you decide to write a mystery?
I’m really happy to hear that you enjoyed Past Imperfect. Authors live to hear that we’ve connected with our readers.
Past Imperfect was both my first work of long fiction and my first mystery. I suppose it was inevitable that I would write in that genre since I tend to read mysteries, historicals and political intrigue. I don’t think I have the patience to craft a historical and my experience doesn’t qualify me to write about spies, but I know people and understand–or think I understand–how their motivations can sometimes lead them into troubled waters, which is really the basis for any mystery.
Will Casey McCloud the heroine in the book, show up in any more books in the future to solve mysteries?
Casey might show up in another book at some point. I really like her character and she’s still carrying around enough baggage to get her into more trouble. But I have a few other projects I need to finish first.
What did you do before you started writing?
Like most authors, it seems I’ve always been a writer of one sort or another. In my case, I was never employed as a writer per se, but writing was always a part of my career. I started out in the radio industry, where I wrote commercials and public service announcements in my spare time. Then I moved into marketing in the computer industry, where I managed a customer support program for applications developers. One of my duties there was to compile and edit a software catalog—one of the first in the industry, as a matter of fact. Eventually, I ended up writing long-term planning documents for a Fortune 100 company, before taking early retirement and turning my attentions to writing almost full time.
Ms. Peterson, I noticed you are writing another finance book, are they for you; harder or easier to write than a mystery?
Writing non-fiction is far easier for me than fiction. And finance is a natural fit for me, since I trade the stock market. This is going to sound silly, but for me the hardest part about writing fiction is choosing names or what color a person’s hair should be or should the primary setting be Arizona or California or Boston. Writing fiction involves a complex decision-making process that simply isn’t necessary when you’re writing about facts. Of course, that’s what’s so wonderful about fiction, too. So, they both have a place in my heart.
Past Imperfect is a mystery do you ever plan to write a romance?
That’s a good question. When I set out to write Past Imperfect, I thought I was writing a mystery. When it was finished, I shopped it to publishers as a mystery, but a little voice inside me kept asking if I’d crossed the genre line that separates mysteries from romantic suspense. I’m still not entirely sure about the answer, but I’ll probably continue in the same vein, incorporating enough romance into the story to make my characters real and maybe even face danger from unexpected places.
Ms. Peterson, did you have to do a lot of research for Past Imperfect?
Funny you should ask because I really boxed myself into a corner in that department with Past Imperfect. In about 1989 my husband and I took a trip to visit his daughter, who had married and moved off to Boston. Well, there’s a popular saying in Boston that goes something like this: “A great place to visit but you wouldn’t want to park there.” We learned first hand–in an RV, no less–how true that is. We spent four days there and finally threw our hands up in frustration, kissed the kids good-bye and headed for home four days earlier than planned. Before we left, though, I’d seen enough of the city to fall in love with it and on the way home, I started plotting my story.
Of course, had I made the decision while I was there, I would have taken pictures and made notes while I could hop on a train and see things first hand. But, I rarely do anything in the most expedient way. So I had to do my research over the Internet and through endless phone calls to my daughter, clarifying local lingo and routes from one place to another, and so on.
Past Imperfect is written in first person, did you decide that you would write first person from the beginning or did it just come about that way?
Have you noticed that I’m not good with one word answers? Here’s another funny story. Past Imperfect was originally written in third person. It was awful. So I re-wrote it from scratch, still in third-person. It still stunk. I re-wrote it again, this time in first person, with Angie Drummond as my protagonist. It was better, but given that Angie was reeling from the death of her father and finding out he’d lied to her about their true identities, the mood of the story was really heavy. So I killed off Angie and re-wrote it again, still in first person, but introduced her friend Casey McCloud as the main character. What a difference! The story just came alive.
I noticed you have a large family; how does your family perceive your writing career?
My husband is very supportive–that’s just his way. The kids all said the right things, but I’m not sure they truly understood that it was really happening–until they saw the book cover. The rest of the family has been great, too. My mother passed away about three months before Past Imperfect was released. She was so proud and kept telling me she wanted to live long enough to see it in print. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way, but she did have the mug I had made up for her with my cover art on it.
Ms. Peterson can you give us you web site address?
My website address is: http://www.norapeterson.com
Is there anything in writing that you would like to do; but have not done yet?
I have enough writing projects in mind to fill up a couple more lifetimes. But, for this time around, in addition to what I’m already doing, I’d like to write something enduring.
I love what I write. My fiction is intended to entertain and enlighten and my nonfiction is intended to help people understand the world of finance. I see value in both of them, but I’d like to write something bigger–something that really touches humanity and leaves the world better for it. When I figure out what it is, I’ll splash it all over my website so that everyone knows to look for it.
Do you have any works in progress?
I am currently working on two projects. The first is a dictionary of financial terms, titled Wall Street Lingo. I’m really excited about it because it’s done in a way that I think is completely new and different. People tell me that I have a real skill for explaining things so that anyone can understand. I hope that with Wall Street Lingo I can make everyday people (like me) less intimidated by the world of investing.
I also have a new mystery series in the works. It introduces Kat Law, a stock trader with a dangerous habit of digging a little too deeply into the inner-workings of Corporate America. I learned my lesson from Past Imperfect and have chosen to set the series closer to home—right here in the Phoenix area.
Is there anything you would like to say to your readers before we end ?
Yes, thank you. I’d like to thank each and every one of them for taking the time to let me introduce myself and invite them to stop by my website. I’ve got pages on it with photographs of both Arizona and Boston, so they can get a sense of where my work is set. Of course, there are pictures of Mango and Ziggy, too, and lots of other good stuff. And of course, I’d like to encourage them to drop me an email if they’ve got questions we didn’t cover.
Thank you so much Ms. Peterson for chatting with us, and letting us get to know the writer better.
The pleasure was all mine. Thank you for the opportunity.
Once again another interesting interview with one of your favorite authors!