This past weekend I released to the blogosphere my ravings about the book The Fiddler’s Gun. I had so much fun traveling through these pages that I had to see if I could chat a bit with the man behind the book. Kindly, he said yes. Please join us today over a cup of coffee -or tea, and welcome warmly, Pete Peterson, author of The Fiddler’s Gun.
So Pete, as long as we are in this virtual coffee shop…. how do you take your coffee?
Pete: I’m actually more of a tea person. Which is a bit ironic I suppose since I do most of my writing in coffee shops. Right now I’ve got a tasty apple chai in front of me. They saw me drive up and had it waiting when I walked in the door, one of the awesome benefits of being a regular.
Pete, apple chai sounds good! I am going to have to try that. Please share a little bit about how the idea of The Fiddler’s Gun came to be.
Pete: About ten years ago I decided that instead of wrapping Christmas presents up like a normal person that I’d lock them in treasure chests and bury them all over my parents farm. I drew a treasure map for everyone involved, gave them a skeleton key, and told them they were on their own. They had to solve the riddle on their map and dig up their presents on Christmas morning.
One of the riddles referred to a grave marker. I made the marker myself, a simple wooden cross, and meant to carve the name “Phineas Button” into it, for no particular reason. I didn’t realize until after I was finished carving the name that I’d misspelled it and left the ‘s’ off, turning it into a feminine name.
So that started the wheels turning. Who was this girl, Phinea Button, and why is she buried here and what does she have to do with all this treasure? A couple of weeks later my brother and I challenged ourselves to write books and made a bit of sibling rivalry out of trying to finish first. I won by a mile (even though his On The Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness was published first.)
So Fin’s story came out of that strange set of events.
Fin is such an interesting, full of life, character. I think even the fact that she is a female in such a masculine type tale is intriguing. Was there any reason behind that?
Pete: It was really all born out of my stumbling onto the name. I tried to imagine why someone would name a daughter Phinea and it all flowed out of that. And early on I envisioned this young girl aboard a pirate ship, possibly even as its captain, and I wondered how such an unlikely thing could happen. That really interested me. I wanted to write a story that could explain, realistically, how a young woman, three hundred years ago, could accomplish such a thing. So I started researching the time period and discovered all sorts of interesting things. Like the legend of the Georgia War Woman, and real-life female pirates that disguised themselves as men for years, like Anne Bonny and Mary Reed. I tried to tie a lot of real history and folklore together into a single believable character.
I read in The Rabbit Room that your brother also has written a book. When did you know you wanted to be writers?
Pete: I think we’ve always wanted to write. He’s been telling stories as a songwriter for years and I’ve been writing in some form or other for as long as I can remember. But writing a book is a daunting task when you’ve never done it before (or even if you have) so I think it just took us a while to sneak up on the idea and finally say, “Yes, we are going to do this.” And we did. He’s published the first two books in his Wingfeather Saga (Wingfeathersaga.com) and they are fantastic, kids go bananas over them. His imagination runs a completely different course than mine so I’m constantly amazed by his writing. He’s working on the third book in his series now.
Having recently finished The Fiddler’s Gun I am eager to see where The Fiddler’s Green will take us. Will this book be the conclusion of the series? When can we…ok, I, expect publication of this book?
Pete: Yes, Fiddler’s Green will be the conclusion of Fin’s story. I can tell you that Fin and the crew will get to see the “Old World”, the Mediterranean, but I’m not promising that everyone will make it back. I like to think of The Fiddler’s Gun as a story about how Fin got lost. She really loses her way, I think, and makes some bad choices in the first book so that at the end, she’s become stronger, certainly, but not necessarily better. Fiddler’s Green is the story of Fin finding her way home, dealing with the consequences of who she’s become, and learning to resolve the conflicting facets of her nature into a whole that she can live with.Fiddler’s Green is about 2/3 done now. I hope to have it out this Christmas.
Woo hoo! Christmas present! What’s next for you as a writer? Are there other ideas, other books in your future?
Pete: I’ve got a couple more projects in the pipeline. After Fin’s story is finished I’m anxious to get back to work on a Young Adult book that I started last year and am really excited about. I’m also excited about growing the Rabbit Room Press, we’ve got a lot of great ideas that I look forward to bringing to life.
It is my tradition around here to ask those I chat with if they could share a little known fact about themselves. How about it Pete?
Pete: Hmmm, let’s see… I’ve been woodworking for almost as long as I’ve been writing, and throughout the process of writing The Fiddler’s Gun I took up boatbuilding. I built two cedar canoes and half a sailboat as a means of nautical research. I also built my own violin which, along with a replica of a Spanish blunderbuss, now resides in a handmade case in my living room. Whether or not there’s a hidden map to be found, well, that’s a secret.
Oh, I hope there is a hidden map! Thank you so much Pete for the brilliant book, and for your time!
Pete: Thank you, Sheila. It’s been a pleasure.
Be sure to check out more information about The Fiddler’s Gun, The Author, and The upcoming release of The Fiddler’s Green (as well as a pretty sweet promotional idea that could get you an advanced copy!) here at