7 Minutes Reading Time
Freddie P. Peters lives in London. She was first a lawyer and then became an investment banker.
She loves art – visual, music, cinema, etc., and supports many charities in the field. Freddie also likes to give back to the community by mentoring young professionals.
She was born in France, in a small town between Bordeaux and Cognac. After working for thirty years in London, she dares to write in English. Besides her love for the arts, she always wanted to tell stories.
She writes because she believes there is a lie to expose or an issue she feels warrants attention. Freddie follows a simple formula for writing – write, read, write, read, write…
Freddie P. Peters is an established writer and has published four novels as part of the Henry Crowne Paying The Price series. She uses her knowledge as an investment banker to write this political and financial series, with a bit of espionage thrown in.
She has recently written the first book of the Nancy Wu crime thriller series. In Blood Dragon, she creates a formidable heroine, Nancy Wu – Queen’s Council, and consultant to Scotland Yard.
As a subscriber to Freddie’s Club, I received an email request to join her ARC team for Blood Dragon, which I’ve gladly accepted. After reading the book and checking out her website, I wanted to find out more about this intriguing author, and I am so happy Freddie has agreed to this interview.
Hi Freddie. Welcome, and thank you for your willingness to answer a few questions.
1. Your native language is French. What was the biggest challenge you faced when you started writing in English? What strategies did you use to overcome this challenge?
Just perhaps a preamble to set the scene before I answer your question, I am a lawyer, and I hold a Master’s from King’s College London. I am not trying to impress but simply want to show that I have felt very much at ease with the complex language of business and law for many years. So, it was a shock, not unexpected but still, a shock when I regressed to writing English using French sentence construction. It was a disquieting experience, to begin with, then thrilling when I was able to spot the old French patterns and work around them.
Oh yes! I am also writing in English as a second language. And English grammar can be quite a challenge…
But I set myself to rise to the challenge…
First, I returned to the work time and time again and then let it stand for a while – like a good baker waiting for the dough to rise! A fresh eye is so much more accurate.
We call ourselves writers, but sometimes I think it should be editors. Since it seems edit forms the most significant part of the process…
Secondly, I dug out my old English grammar books. And it is fun, believe it or not – good grammar is enjoyable.
Thirdly, I found very experienced editors and copy- editors who understood what it meant to be bilingual. They were hugely helpful.
2. Are there therapeutic benefits to modelling a character after someone you know?
I’m not sure it is therapeutic, but it is satisfying, and it feels right to be exposing character traits that are deeply flawed. It is not about revenge, more about shading light over the unspoken, the forbidden, the taboos.
3. You have just published Blood Dragon – the first book in the Nancy Wu series. How did you come up with the title for your book?
The title came to me surprisingly fast. Because the book involves China, I was thinking about ways of referring to this county through a powerful image, and dragon felt immediately right. Blood, well, the book is a thriller, and there is inevitably quite a bit of that in it, but it also refers to family blood ties… and so Blood Dragon it was.
4. Tell us about the process for coming up with a cover for Blood Dragon?
When I start a new manuscript, I create what I call a book summary – a couple of images that inspire me when I write, as well as a few lines of text that capture the book storyline. And so, I had found what I thought was a strong image, the silhouette of a woman, caught in an unwelcoming space and surrounded by fog…
It is the image of the woman you see on the cover. My excellent cover designer, Ryan, came up with a brilliant picture of the Forbidden City in Beijing with a Mao Zedong portrait hanging ominously over the gates and created the final image – mysterious, intriguing – yet attractive.
I love the cover. The forbidden city in the background often features in movies as well, serving as a symbol for China. And the fog creates a feeling of tension and unease…
5. How do you celebrate when you finish your book?
This year, of course, was a little different. But when I finish the manuscript of a new book, I treat myself to something I may not have been able to do because I worked hard at finishing the book to a deadline. It might be going to see a show, going to a restaurant with friends – or perhaps nipping to France to see family and more old Uni friends.
6. Have pets ever gotten in the way of your writing?
Constantly, my cat has a little ritual – when he enters the office in which I work, he jumps on the desk and insists I pay attention to him, and inevitably -I do. I have to be stuck on a difficult piece or be very inspired not to find time to stroke him a few times.
We can’t live without our pets. They keep us grounded and sometimes provide a welcome distraction.
7. When you are writing an emotional or difficult scene, how do you set the mood?
Images help me a lot when it comes to entering a particular state of mind, a mood. So, I like to find a picture or pictures that will inspire me, or perhaps I re-read a passage in a book or a newspaper article I have discovered during my preliminary research. This piece sets the tone of the idea I am trying to convey. I feed my imagination and emotions to deliver the scene I need to write.
8. What does the words ‘literary success’ mean to you? How do you picture it?
I feel I have achieved something valuable that can perhaps be defined as ‘literary success’ when readers tell me they have enjoyed reading my book or that the content as well as the story have enthused them, moved them, or made them think.
Having a strong group of regular readers who are engaged and give me frequent feed-back would be a sign of success.
9. What is your favourite word, and why?
Let me simply quote Rumi…
Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates.
- Is it true?
- Is it necessary?
- Is it kind?
10. If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
The philosophy I try to live by – respect, kindness, honesty.
If only all people live by these values, the world will be a much better place…
Do you prefer:
- Summer or Winter? Summer.
- Coffee or tea? Tea.
- Dog or cat? Cat.
- Morning person or night owl? Night owl.
- Beach holiday or camping? Beach holiday.
- Movie or book? Book.
- Meat lover or vegetarian? Difficult, I’m French… but vegetarian.
- Introvert or extrovert? Extrovert.
- Travel locally or internationally? Internationally.
- Text message or Call? Call.
I am currently working on Book 5 in the Henry Crowne Paying the Price Series: Impostor in Chief.
In a secret British Intelligence Services’ location, on one of the Mediterranean islands, Henry Crowne is preparing himself for another high-octane MI6 operation. His legend is in place. He is the only man who can play the game. Or can he?
I’m sure your readers are looking forward to the next Henry Crowne book. And I’m sure many of them will also check out Blood Dragon, the first in the Nancy Wu series.
There you have it. French author Freddie P. Peters, who still writes her books by hand, have a cat that helps her to edit and believe in respect, kindness and honesty.
We wish you a strong group of regular readers who are engaged and give frequent feedback, and we all look forward to your next book.
Susan van der Walt is an avid reader of genres like crime, thrillers, adventure, and true stories. On Read or Rot she shares her favourite books and quotes with you. She also writes articles, book reviews and book recommendations. She lives in Alberton (South Africa) with her husband, Warrick, and fur baby, Pixie.