Author Interview: Soren Paul Petrek
Today is my stop on the Cold Lonely Courage blog tour and I am pleased to welcome Soren Paul Petrek on to the blog with a quick interview! He’s come up with some intriguing answers!
What is your favourite thing about writing books?
Writing is a creative outlet distinctly different from my work as a trial lawyer.
My mother taught me to read at an early age and we created storybooks together as part of that process. I love to read, especially the kind of novels that I write. Writing one book is an extremely meaningful personal achievement. Now, I’ve written several.
I love to interact with book groups and people at my book signings where we all share a love of books and reading. Physical books have a life of their own, the words inside, artistic expression. We have many flaws as human beings, but creating art in its many forms, isn’t one of them.
Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
Madeleine Toche first appeared as a secondary character in The Patience County War. I chose to write about Madeleine’s life and adventures during World War Two and her character became three dimensional, complicated and apart from stereotypical female fictitious spy we’ve become accustomed to in movies and sadly books as well. While Madeleine is a young, attractive French woman, she comes from modest surroundings. She certainly doesn’t parade around in stiletto heels, shoot from the hip without a hair out of place.
My novels follow Madeleine through her life and the same experiences we share, love, marriage, children, family, and friends. The gifts of life are at hand, they aren’t kept in a bank or come from a store.
What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
Coffee or tea.
I learned to drink tea, working in the Maintenance Department at Richmond College, London. It was the early 1980’s and the majority of the men I worked with had been in WW2. Their stories were the best history lessons one can have. Stories about battles at sea, Dunkirk, the battle of Brittan and what life was like under the bombs during the Blitz.
I sat my O level at the Heathland School, Hounslow. The only foreign student in the student body, maybe in the area. One day a fifth former, clearly a former Skinhead wore a Nazi badge to school. It was a Swastika. The staff’s reaction with fury. A whole school assembly was called after the young offender was expelled from the school grounds. Several older teachers, having served in the war reminded the students what the hateful symbol meant. The assistant Headmaster threw it to the ground. I know how brave and resilient British people are. I have seen it.
Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
I get distracted and write in either short or several much longer sessions where I get the story down on the page as I create it in my mind. I don’t outline or write from notes, except articles I’ve kept during my research, that continues throughout the writing process.
How do you research your books?
I collect many books on the subject and also do searches online. For example, prior to her death, my mother collected many books for me covering various historical aspects of World War One. One learns quickly, it was a global war. Many of the books came from used bookstores in London. I am preparing to write the prequel to Cold Lonely Courage, under No Man’s Land. The most important thing is to have even a sliver of an idea regarding how life was for the young men fighting one another in a setting that can only be described as hell. That experience was their introduction to adult life. All Quiet on the Western Front could have been written by a soldier on either side of the carnage.
In Under No Man’s Land, Madeleine hasn’t been born and many of the characters from Cold Lonely Courage are young men fighting one another in the trenches on the Western Front.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Died in the Wool panster. The story takes me where my imagination and characters lead. While I may have a sketchy storyline in my head, it changes as new ideas occur to me. It is a marvelous feeling to write that way.
If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
Middle Earth. I’ve read the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit more than a dozen times. I would probably join Tolkien and declare I am a Hobbit.
If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
Liam Devlin, from Jack Higgins novels. It’s better to be with Devlin, than against him.
About the book
Madeleine Toche races to the front only to find her brother mortally wounded during the German Blitzkrieg attack on France at the outset of World War II. His death and her rape at the hands of an SS Stormtrooper cast Madeleine down a path of death and violence when she joins the British Special Operation Executive. Killing the Gestapo is one thing, but when she’s sent after Field Marshall Erwin Rommel the entire German Army stands in her way.
Discover a new thriller with Madeleine Toche, in war against the Germans to protect herself and her brother!
About the Author
Educated in the U.S., England and France, Soren sat his O-level examinations at the Heathland School in Hounslow, London in 1981. His undergraduate degree in Forestry is from the University of Minnesota, 1986. His law degree is from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota (1991).
Soren’s novel, Cold Lonely Courage won Fade In Magazine’s 2009 Award for Fiction. Fade In was voted the nation’s favorite movie magazine by the Washington Post and the L.A. Times in 2011 and 2012.
The French edition of Cold Lonely Courage (titled simply, Courage) was published January 2019, by Encre Rouge Editions, distributed by Hachette Livre in 60 countries. Soren’s contemporary novel, Tim will be released along with the rest of the books in the Madeleine Toche series of historical thrillers.
Tuck Magazine has published several of Soren’s poems, some of which have been included in Soren’s book of poetry, A Search for Solid Ground.