Character Interview: Peter Stoller

In advance of the Virtual Book Fair this weekend, I thought I’d post this interview with Peter Stoller. And hey! You can grab his novel for just 99 cents on Amazon!

1. Name: Peter Stoller
2. Role: Protagonist
3. Age: 36
4. Description: Tall, thin, ash blond hair, grey eyes, sharp features
5. Nickname: n/a
6. Occupation: Intelligence Agent
7. Location: London
8. Goal in life: to take over the Agency when my boss retires
9. Motto: Quod me nutrit me destruit (that which nourishes me destroys [me])
10. Family: Estranged mother, deceased father, deceased older brother
11. Best friend: Charles
12. Current conflict: Charles is accused of counterespionage, and Peter must find out the truth
13. Favorite Food: Ice cream
14. Addictions: Work
15. Pet Peeve: Inefficiency
16. Favorite Hobby: I don’t think I have any.
17. What do you do for fun? . . . Work?
18. Favorite childhood memory: Time spent with my brother. He always let me tag along.
19. Dream job: Doing what I do.
20. Favorite part of your day: Getting into the office before everyone else and settling in.
21. Pessimist, Optimist, or Realist: Realist, I think.
22. Beverage of choice: Tea.
23. Most annoying person in your life: Depends on the day. There are a number of candidates. Miranda, Jules, Gamby… Trevor is always near the top of the list.
24. Taken or single? Any love interests? Taken, very taken.
25. Pets: None, unless Mr. Martin counts.
26. Biggest Fear: Failure. On any front.
27. Guilty Pleasure: A gentleman doesn’t discuss it.
28. Most embarrassing moment: My first kiss. Any and every first kiss, come to think of it. That’s always an awkward moment.
29. Greatest Strength: Loyalty.
30. Greatest Weakness: Loyalty.
31. Who do you most admire? Gordon Lessenby
32. Are you keeping any secrets? It’s my job to keep secrets.
33. Where do you see yourself in ten years? Still doing my job in whatever capacity I’m most needed.
34. Advice for the reader as they follow you through your journey? It’s in my nature to withhold information. Probably best to keep that in mind.

Peter & Charles – In the Stars

I’m sad to have to admit having overlooked Peter’s birthday a couple days ago. A while back, you see, I established birthdays for him and Charles so I could have a look at their astrological charts and synastry. Yes, I’m that kind of a nerd.

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You can see how it was love at first sight, and also how career is a stumbling block for them. Communication, too, is moderately tricky.

It’s a fun little exercise and a nice piece of additional detail to play with. Charles passed away some years ago (he was older by a few years, after all), but I have a feeling Peter is hanging on by his fingernails . . . Something of a recluse now, one of those pensioners who perpetually wears a cardigan . . . I picture him in a house made cavelike by wood paneling, lined with many bookshelves, a number of knitted afghans strewn about, and one ugly, threadbare armchair. Peter sits there and reads and sips tea. He’s slow but sharp as ever, isn’t interested in things like the Internet, telly works just fine for him, thank you.

That’s if you ever wondered what happened to them. And if you don’t even know who they are, read the novel.

Character Interview: Peter Stoller

I ran across a list of “ice breaker” questions on Facebook that seem like good interview questions for a character. So I decided to ask Peter Stoller a few.

MPL: Who was the last person you held hands with?

PS: I decline to answer that.

MPL: But it was totally Charles, right? We all know it was Charles.

PS: It’s really none of your business.

MPL: Oookay. Are you loud, outgoing, or shy?

PS: . . . Shy, I suppose.

MPL: You suppose?

PS: Well, are those my only choices? I’m not loud, and I’m not particularly outgoing, therefore I must be shy.

MPL: Let’s just move on. Have you ever given up on someone but then gone back to him or her?

PS: [stares]

MPL: Right. How about . . . [scanning list] Do you like big crowds of people?

PS: Not particularly, but they can be useful in certain circumstances.

MPL: You mean spy stuff.

PS: [blank stare]

MPL: You’re not very easy to interview.

PS: In my line of work, we’re not meant to be.

MPL: What do you do when you wake up?

PS: Open my eyes.

MPL: What do you say during awkward silences?

PS: Nothing. That’s what makes it awkward and silent.

MPL: Oh, for— Do you have trust issues?

PS: In my line of—

MPL: Work, yes, we get it. If you’re being extremely quiet, what does it mean?

PS: That I have nothing to say.

MPL: Do you believe everyone deserves a second chance?

PS: No. Not everyone.

MPL: You sound very definite.

PS: Is that a question?

MPL: All right, what was the meanest thing someone ever said to you?

PS: [laugh] Just one? I wouldn’t know where to start.

MPL: What about the nicest thing?

PS: [frowns]

MPL: No one has ever said anything nice to you?

PS: It was nice at the time, but . . .

MPL: What was it?

PS: Byron used to say I was his world, the only thing that mattered.

MPL: That’s sweet. Who is Byron?

PS: [shakes his head]

MPL: A boyfriend? He was in the book, right?

PS: Yes.

MPL: And what happened to him?

PS: Suicide. [beat] I think we’re done here, yes?

MPL: But . . .

PS: We’re done. I’m done. [stands up to leave]

MPL: Just one more thing. Please.

PS: Hesitates.

MPL: You and Charles? You did get back together, didn’t you?

PS: Officially? No.

MPL: Unofficially?

PS: [slight smile] See you in the next book.

If you haven’t read it yet, pick up The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller from Tirgearr Publishing. Excerpt and all buying links available here.

Fighting the MC

Peter and I are fighting.

Or, more accurately, we’re not speaking.

If you’re only just now tuning in and thinking, Who’s Peter? Her boyfriend? Let me say . . . Kind of. In the way that writers’ characters are sort of like lovers. At least for me. I fall in love with my characters; I couldn’t write about them otherwise. And as with any relationship, there are ups and downs, and there are times when we don’t get along. We do things that irritate one another. And sometimes we need some alone time.

I’m probably crazy.

Anyway, I’ve been running flat-out on these revisions, and things had been going pretty well, and now I’ve hit the proverbial wall. I’ve been working for three days on a particular scene and can’t make it come out right. And before you say, Then move on—that’s not how I work. I shouldn’t say “never.” I have sometimes skipped ahead and written a scene that I know comes much later because it was just so fresh and clear in my mind and needed to be put down on paper (or screen). But I don’t have that right now, with this revision. I’m plowing through the old-fashioned way.

In any case, I’m exhausted enough now to want to chuck the whole thing right out a window. Of course, I won’t. I still love Peter deep down and could never jilt him. What I may try next is just writing random scenes and seeing what sticks. I think maybe I’ve been trying too hard to do something specific in this scene, rather than letting it flow naturally. And while each scene should have a purpose, it should never be forced. That’s probably why Peter is so annoyed with me.

And of course I’m impatient. I want to be done. But Peter and the novel deserve better than a rushed job. And the readers deserve better, too. So. Deep breath and start again . . .

Instagram

So I’m finally going to try Instagram. But because my name was taken*, I’m using Peter’s name for the account. Yes, that’s right, one of my fictional characters has an Instagram account. It will probably consist largely of photos from my gardens because I am in love with all my flowers. I think Peter would approve.

*I mean various forms of “M Pepper” were taken. I didn’t try “Langlinais” because no one can ever spell it. In any case, if you do want to follow me (us?) on Instagram, the button is on the sidebar.