Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. ~ Jas 5:13b (NIV)
The writers critique group I began in Nashua, New Hampshire got happier, crazier, and more interesting the night Jeremiah Peters showed up. I’m certain that he and his compelling stories would make any gathering more interesting, whether in a critique group, in the pulpit, or at home surrounded by children and grandchildren. Jeremiah’s first novel, A Message to Deliver, published by HopeSprings Books, is debuting the first week in June 2014.
CLARICE: Welcome, Jeremiah! Not everyone who writes is a natural storyteller. You are. When did you start telling stories? When did you decide to put them on paper?
JEREMIAH: First of all, let me say thanks for allowing me this time. It’s a privilege!
I guess I’ve always liked to create stories. I remember sharing scary stories with friends, sometimes around the campfire. The first story I got paid for was back in fifth grade. My older sister was in seventh grade. Her English assignment was to “Write A Story.” She was having trouble, so I put together this four-page thing. It had evil Twains and good Trids. She got a B-. I thought that was pretty good. I think she paid me a quarter.
CLARICE: Who has influenced your writing the most and how?
JEREMIAH: I loved Ray Bradbury. His writings were imaginative. They aggravated me, too, not always turning out the way I wanted. Also, I loved Agatha Christie. She keeps me guessing until the end. I never figure out her mysteries. I guess I’m a little slow.
CLARICE: Who has supported you the most in your writing dream and how?
JEREMIAH: No contest. My wonderful wife, Jodie. I don’t know how many times I’ve been ready to quit, doubting my own abilities, when she’s been there to encourage me. She’s always believed in me. Wait. I feel a Kenny Rogers’ song coming on . . . “She believes in me. I’ll never know just what she sees in me . . . ” I think I’m going to cry.
CLARICE: Go ahead and cry Jeremiah. I’ll wait . . . and probably cry, too, especially if you sing.
Okay, are you composed enough to answer another question? Good.
I first met you a few years ago at the writers’ critique group I was facilitating. Now you and I are in the same fiction critique group. What do you think you gain personally from being an active member in a critique group?
JEREMIAH: Abuse. You people are too mean! Just kidding. The group offers much. First of all, we share advice about our work. I’m always interested in hearing what the others have to say. Being in a critique group also compels us to write. You don’t want to go empty-handed.
CLARICE: Empty-handed? You mean like you did last month? Moving along . . .
JEREMIAH: A woman, sent from Heaven to deliver God’s message of love, gets caught in a battle against an abortion center, and entangled in the spiritual warfare between an angel and a demon. When the secrets of her own past are revealed, she faces the ultimate question: Is God’s love and forgiveness enough to cover her sins?
I think that was a couple more than fifty. Sorry about that.
CLARICE: You’re forgiven.
A Message to Deliver is a work of speculative fiction. Do you write in other genres? What are you currently working on and what other projects do you have planned?
JEREMIAH: I’ve dabbled in middle reader fiction in a trilogy called The Adventures of Amelia Black. Also, this summer, at a publisher’s suggestion, I’m working on a Christian fantasy book, tentatively titled The Dragons Are Lying.
CLARICE: How do you come up with these varied ideas?
JEREMIAH: I have a couple of theories. 1) While I’m sleeping, Armenian leprechauns unzip the back of my head and stick the ideas in my brain. 2) There is an alternate universe where all these stories are real, and somehow certain people on our world are tapped into this reality. I lean towards the Armenian leprechauns.
Sounds crazy, but isn’t it better than me shrugging my shoulders and mumbling, “I dunno”?
CLARICE: Maybe. But here’s a thought to ponder. An “I dunno” answer might avoid the men in white coats showing up. Next question . . .
As a committed Christian, do you plan to seek publication solely in the Christian market? If not, how do you see yourself fitting into the general publishing market?
JEREMIAH: I’d like to stay in the Christian market if I can. If I were to fit into the regular market it would have to be a publishing house that would accept my Christian world view.
CLARICE: What is an average day in the life of Jeremiah Peters look like?
JEREMIAH: I guess it’s really kind of dull. I’m a Pastor, so I spend time doing my churchly duties: visiting the sick, preparing Bible studies and sermons, vanquishing evil, getting cats out of trees. Stuff like that. Also, I try to write each day. Unfortunately, I don’t always get this done.
CLARICE: Now, how would your wife Jodie answer that same question?
JEREMIAH: My wife would say, “My wonderful husband spends his day thinking of ways to make my life easier. He is such a dreamboat!” [Jeremiah’s wife Jodie was unavailable to either confirm or deny this statement. :-)]
CLARICE: What do you want your readers to know about you? What do you want them to experience while reading your books?
JEREMIAH: I want my books to bring out some emotional response in the reader. I want laughter. I want tears. I want people to say, “Jeremiah, that was a great story.”
In a book like A Message to Deliver it goes beyond that. I want people to think. From the beginning, I said that book was about forgiveness–forgiveness from God, forgiveness of others, and forgiveness of self. I hope when people read the book, it will make them deal with those issues in their own lives.
CLARICE: One last question. Is it possible for you to be totally serious for any length of time? Do you think it’s even necessary?
JEREMIAH: I’m sorry, Clarice. I couldn’t hear you. There was a rubber chicken sticking out of my ear.
It’s an interesting question, one that I struggle with in blogging. Sometimes I blog on very serious stuff, small devotional things. Other times, I’m trying to raise money for poor boneless chickens. Can you imagine going through life with no bones? It’s a dilemma.
But to answer your question, yes, I can be serious. It’s simply that when I get together with people, like our critique group, I kind of cut loose a bit. However, if you’d like to talk to me of serious issues, like salvation, the Christian walk, God’s plan for this world, I am here and willing.
To learn more about Jeremiah Peters visit his blog Ramblings and Reflections or on Facebook. When Jeremiah is not writing you can find him preaching at the New Hope Church (150 Berkeley Street, Lawrence, MA) and sitting on his deck in Sandown, NH, enjoying the wild life. A Message to Deliver, published in June 2014 by HopeSprings Books, is now available on Amazon.
When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future. ~ Ecc 7:14 (NIV)