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On The Table Read, “The Best Book Reader Magazine in the UK“, horror author Peter Topside shares the creative process and inspiration behind his book, Preternatural Reckoning.

JJ Barnes editor of The Table Read online creativity, arts and entertainment magazine

Written by JJ Barnes

I interviewed author Peter Topside about his writing career, what inspires him, and the work that went into his new book, Preternatural Reckoning.

Tell me a bit about who you are.

Peter Topside, author of Preternatural Reckoning, on The Table Read
Peter Topside

My pen name is Peter Topside. I am an accomplished chef and baker, movie fanatic, a proud father and husband, and a Clinical Exercise Physiologist by trade.

When did you first WANT to write a book? 

I was about 10 years old when I first realized that I wanted to write my stories.

When did you take a step to start writing?

I began drafting up concept pictures, random chapters and sequences, and even storyboard ideas around that same age.  I didn’t actually write a first draft of the first Preternatural book until about 8 years ago.

How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?

About 25 years.

How long did it take you to complete your latest book from the first idea to release?

I never intended on writing more than one book, but after it was done, the rest of the now trilogy just organically flowed out.  I wrote the second and third books, back-to-back, in 2020.  Book 2 released in April of 2021 and book 3 is scheduled for April 12, 2022.

Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write Preternatural Reckoning?

I felt like my story and characters had more to tell than what could be contained in just 2 books.  Preternatural Reckoning needed to be the definitive ending for everything in the trilogy.

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What were your biggest challenges with writing Preternatural Reckoning?

Figuring out how to end the story.

Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?

I grew up in a very abusive household, but always admired my mother’s strength in enduring it all to keep everything held together.  Then I met my wife, and had an amazing daughter, met some very strong willed women, and was even geared towards movies that had strong female leads. 

Alexandra Hughes was never intended on being the focus and heroine of my stories, but she came into her own as I wrote.  And the character just took off, blazing her own trail.

Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?

Preternatural Reckoning, by Peter Topside, on The Table Read
Preternatural Reckoning

Blackheart is the epitome of an abusive, dangerous, and manipulative person.  I had the hardest time coming up with a character that you wanted to hate because of their horrible actions, thoughts, and feelings, but also one that you could feel empathy for, too.  I wanted to reader to get the full experience of a conflicted dynamic with the villain, as to get a sense of how masterful he was at manipulating the characters in the books.

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What is the inciting incident of Preternatural Reckoning?

In book 1, when David is turned into a vampire by Blackheart.  That triggers everything else.

What is the main conflict of Preternatural Reckoning?

Faith and abuse.

Did you plot Preternatural Reckoning in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?

I took a lot of time to develop each book in the trilogy, before I actually wrote anything.  I wanted each to have its own unique feel and plot, while continuing the main story at its core.  The very end in Reckoning, I honestly didn’t know what to do until I got to it.  And the conclusion just wrote itself.

Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Preternatural Reckoning need?

The first book, I did almost all of it without any support.  And not coming from an education, experience, or background in the literary world, it was a gigantic undertaking.  After that experience, I had professional help to develop and get prepared for marketing and publishing on books 2 and 3.

What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?

Be true to your story and yourself.  You’ll get feedback that can make you second guess yourself, but stay steadfast in your journey.

Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?

So, in Preternatural Reckoning, there is a bit of world building.  I have some very loose concepts in mind for other horror stories that could take place in the same world, but be totally independent of the Preternatural trilogy, too.  Whether they actually come to fruition or not will depend a lot of if the demand is there.

And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?

I am so proud that I have accomplished a lifelong goal, not once, but three times.  It was one of the hardest things that I’ve ever strived to do, but I am extremely humbled and grateful for where I am today.

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