Today, we have a new, young, children’s author, Tony Peters, visiting Literature & Fiction.
Shelagh: Hi Tony, please tell us a little about yourself.
Tony: I guess I can start at the beginning. I was born in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada, and I was raised in Swift Current, Saskatchewan. I have my Youth Care Worker Certificate, and my General Biblical Studies Certificate. I love working with kids, so having written a young reader book kind of suits as it gives me a chance to interact with kids. I have been married for two years as of May 12 (I know I am only 21, but I am proud to be happily married to my high school sweetheart). I love reading, and have been reading novels since as far back as I can remember. Being a published writer is a dream come true and I hope to make a full time career out of it.
Shelagh: When did you begin writing and in what genre?
Tony: I think I started writing when I was eight or nine, I am not sure which. When I learned how to write stories I was hooked, I couldn’t stop writing. Looking back they seem really lame, almost funny, but hey we all have to start somewhere right? I started taking writing as a serious career path when I took Creative Writing in high school, and I haven’t stopped pushing onward since. I love to encourage kids to write if that’s what they are passionate about. Pursue the dream, and don’t let any failures get in the way. Persevere through the trials and you can’t go wrong, the only thing you can do is learn from your mistakes/experiences and carry on. When I first started writing it was in a whole bunch of genres. My first two books though are kid’s mystery, one is published and the other I am in the process of seeking out a publisher.
Shelagh: What was your inspiration for Kids on a Case?
Tony: My inspiration… good question, I guess that I remembered reading a lot of mystery books growing up that dealt with really childish mysteries and I always wanted to find a mystery writer who wrote more adult situation mysteries for kids. When I couldn’t find any (with exception to the Hardy Boy Series) I decided to create one myself, and so began the creation of characters, setting, and plot (all before I thought of writing as a career choice). The characters in my book come from a combination of my school friends. None of the characters are created from one person. They are all little pieces of people’s characters.
Shelagh: Briefly tell us about your latest book. Is it part of a series or stand-alone?
Tony: When Kimberly Mockton is kidnapped by a gang of hardened criminals, it shakes her school down to its foundations. Her family is terribly distraught and their cry for help goes out to the community. Tyler Bowen, Kimberly’s good friend, fellow classmate and local trouble maker, gets caught up in the fray when he overhears a conversation at an abandoned house that leads him to believe he has discovered Kimberly’s kidnappers. Knowing no one would believe such a story coming from a child, he pleads to his classmates for help. The few who believe him form their own group of private investigators.
It’s Tyler Bowen and the “Kids on a Case” to the rescue! The group of friends find themselves searching for the kidnappers and with the help of Police Chief Goodall they are hot on their trail. They must use quick and strategic thinking in order to keep up with the moves of the criminals. It will lead them to use methods someone of their young age shouldn’t have to result to. With their lives at risk, they will use both determination and perseverance to follow the investigation where it leads them.
Their investigation will challenge them to search within themselves for the strength to go beyond their age. It will stretch their minds and physical strength to limits they never imagined they had. Their young lives will never be the same again…
This is a short series (there may only be two; I have not decided yet).
Shelagh: What’s the hook for the book?
Tony: The hook for Kids on a Case is that it is adult style mysteries taken on by children. This draws in the attention of children as they really are miniature adults who want very much to be like us in every way. Also my characters are all very different bringing many aspects to the table making it easy for the readers to find someone they can connect with.
Shelagh: How do you develop characters and setting in your books?
Tony: I will deal with setting first. Since my books all take place on a planet very similar and yet very different than ours, I have created detailed maps of the planet. When I bring up a city I must create a map for it so that it will match up in every book. These maps help me develop settings and keep them congruent with the previous work.
Characters are a lot of fun for me to create, I especially like coming up with fun names. I will have to keep in mind the characters role in the book and try to come up with characteristics/personality traits that will suit their role. I come up with as many little details as I possibly can, although many of these details never come onto the paper, they are still kept in mind when molding them. It’s kind of fun to picture the character in your mind, the hard part is getting that picture into the minds of your readers.
Shelagh: Who is your favorite character?
Tony: My favorite character so far is Tyler Bowen, my main character. Maybe it is because he reminds so much of myself when I was younger (with a few major changes of course). I have molded him into a brilliant young boy with a heart of gold, who cannot keep himself out of trouble. He goes where his curiosity leads him with no regard of the consequences.
Shelagh: Do you have specific techniques to help you maintain the course of the plot?
Tony: When I write I make sure that I have a clear picture of the plot before hand, writing down as many details as I can. Of course things do change as I write, but then I still have my outline to fall back on. I am a compulsive organizer so everything must be done just so. Keeping an outline and detailed plot in mind focuses my attention when writing so that I will always be able to keep the end goal in sight.
Shelagh: Do you have a specific writing style or preferred POV?
Tony: I actually do not have any particular Point-of-View that I stick to. I like to write a variety. I guess first person makes it easier to relate with your characters, but it does limit what you can do with secondary and tertiary characters.
I think that my style also changes with each book, it kind of depends on what I hope to accomplish with each book. I do prefer fun and easy going, but I can be serious. I enjoy reading sarcasm in books, so that may have affected the style of Hunting Black Dragon. As Tyler ages he is becoming more bright and sarcastic. He does not like stupidity and the reader sees it in his thoughts, which I hope will bring some chuckles from my young readers. Sarcasm also slips into my next YA drama through Liam Kerrigan and his dealings with two inconsiderate detectives.
Shelagh: Share with us the best review that you’ve ever had.
Tony: This review was done by Ariel at bookatopia.blogspot.com/:
Tyler is well known for having a knack for getting in trouble, and when his friend Kim goes missing he gets together a group of friends to try and find her. The police are on the case, however they always seem to be one step behind the kidnappers and the kids’ help proves to be indispensable to track them down.
When I was reading this book I couldn’t put it down until I reached the end, the plot is well thought out and the author is great at using imagery in his descriptions. I would have liked to get to know the characters better and for Donuro to be explored more, it sounds like it has the potential of being an interesting place but it isn’t mentioned much, it left me curious about it. This is the main reason I have given this book a rating of 3.5 and not 4 as I personally like some level of detail where relevant. I only wish that this book was longer and I am looking forward to the release of the sequel.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in young adult mystery novels. Visit the author’s website for more information http://tonypeters.webs.com.
Shelagh: What are your current projects?
Tony: My current projects are my sequel, Hunting Black Dragon, where Tyler and his friends are hunting down a gang of ruthless criminals. He must free a friend’s father, while working with the police and government agents. It ends up being much more difficult and dangerous than he could have ever imagined.
I am also working on an adult war novel called The Swenoran Rebellion. This one is about Admiral Juan Alvarez. He must free his country from the hands of a ruthless tyrant. All because of a promise he made to the previous Emperor. Although it may very well cost the lives of everyone he holds dear, he will honor his oath.
Another project is a young adult drama about a pair of young boys. Six year old Jordan Connor, whose parents are divorcing, while he suffers from leukemia; and Liam Kerrigan who has been abused by his drunk father for many years, whose parents are also divorcing. The pair develops an odd friendship and must help each other through these hard times that no child should have to deal with. The question is who is helping who?
Shelagh: Where can folks learn more about your books and events?
Tony: To find out about my books and events they can go to my website, http://tonypeters.webs.com