The book-reviewing website Literary Titan was nice enough to interview me after their five-star review of Danger Peak. Click on the link below to read it, or you can read the interview in full below the link.
Danger Peak follows three loyal friends who set out on a fun adventure to find out what’s on top of Danger Peak. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
Danger Peak is based on a short story I wrote when I was a kid in 1988 called Action Bike (hence the ’80s setting). I was inspired by the old-school, 8-bit Nintendo game “Excitebike.” I’m not sure if you’ve ever played it before, but it was one of those programmable games where you could construct your own course. One day, I built a giant ramp that looked like a mountain, and I wondered what would be on top of that mountain. That was the germ of the idea. I was also influenced, unfortunately, by the death of my brother, who passed a few years before I wrote the story. My final inspiration was growing up in the ‘80s and the many misadventures I had with my two best friends riding our bikes all over town, though we didn’t get into as much trouble as my characters! (laughs)
Your characters were well developed and fun to follow. What were some driving ideals behind their character development?
For anyone who knows me, I think it’s obvious that Robert, the main character, is loosely based on me, and any author who says the main character of their book has nothing to do with them is lying to you! (laughs) He’s much braver than I am, though. I would never attempt to climb Danger Peak myself, and I haven’t even ridden a motorbike before. I did ride a moped once, though. Does that count? (laughs) Chris and Rinnie are very loosely based on the two best friends I grew up with that I mentioned before. I say “loosely” because I took many liberties. For example, even though Rinnie is overweight, he’s based on a friend who used to be rail thin, but this friend, like Rinnie, also loved Nintendo, was picked on a lot by my other best friend, and always seemed to be chasing the ladies (laughs). Also, Chris is an amalgamation of one of my best friends, who also loved “Miami Vice” and was great with the wisecracks, and another friend who passed away in the early ‘90s. Like the character in the book, he was always very loyal to me, and I named the character after him.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
There’s the obvious theme of “Climb every mountain” since in my book, there’s literally a mountain—a magical one. Everyone’s mountain is different in life. For me, it was writing and publishing this book. The other major theme is dealing with and overcoming grief. I’ve said this before in another interview, but it bears repeating. Everyone has had someone close to them die. For some, that happens earlier than others. For me, it happened when I was 8. I hope that my novel gives people hope in that just because the person you loved died doesn’t mean the love you had for him or her has to die as well.
What is the next book that you are working on, and when will it be available?
My next book, if I ever get around to writing it, is going to be more ambitious than Danger Peak. I think the concept of the book is actually better than Danger Peak, but so far, the story isn’t there yet, though I wrote the outline, and it’s twice as long as the outline I had for Danger Peak. I told you it was more ambitious! (laughs) This doesn’t necessarily mean it will be longer, but it’ll cover more ground. Danger Peak is more or less about the death of my brother; this one is going to be about the death of childhood, so it’s going to be darker and maybe a little scary at times. There’s a supernatural element too, but I don’t want to give the whole thing away. The problem is finding time to write it. I have a full-time job, two young kids and a dog to take care of, a wife to make happy, a house to fix up, this book to promote. I’ll be surprised if I finish the book in a year. I’m sometimes amazed I had time to write the first one! (laughs)
P.S.: Danger Peak is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble: